Irrational capital

Irrational capital

In the world of entrepreneurship, it takes one to know one. As we talk shop at various forums, from government, to financial services and even at the burgeoning table of the fabled angel investors, the reality on the ground is that there is a huge disconnect in the expectations of available capital and nascent startup opportunities.

It has been said that there is more than enough capital to go around and that there is instead a dearth of solid scalable ideas worthy of even a cursory glance in a world of constant hype and attempts by many at the next big thing.

As an advisor of the now fully committed Safaricom Spark Venture Fund and through my work with Demo Africa, a technology launchpad that provides a platform for startups from across Africa to go live to the world, I have interacted with over three thousand propositions, concepts and ideas at various stages of actualization.

Talking to many entrepreneurs and sifting through pitches and documentation gives a real pulse of the working and state of the startup ecosystem and one gets the sense that capital keeps missing both the point especially in the early stages.

This has been affirmed in recent work looking to raise a fund to address the needs that have repeatedly surfaced from these interactions. Seating at the table with a number of advisory groups and funds of funds type organizations, it takes only a few minutes before we hit a wall with many, who while still claiming to have an appetite for the emerging market opportunity and the risk carried, especially so by early stage enterprise are still stuck in their ways and carry a rather taxing checklist suited to an entirely different class of corporate entity.

I feel that understanding what it means to be in the trenches building a company is important for anyone who is actively engaged in building deal pipelines for investment. Issues of local culture, personal networks, trust quotients, industry tectonics come into play in ways that a template process – good for factory styled line, never quite appreciate.

What this means for many early stage entrepreneurs is that even with a clear need to raise capital to hit full potential they often view the process as tiresome, wrought with asks and demands but very little support. For the owners and minders of capital, it means many lost opportunities courtesy of processes that predispose them to ignore many worthwhile startups who may end up in the dead pool.

Irrational capital understands that bookkeeping, governance, streamlined daily operations et cetera can be paid for and that the ‘soft issues’ account for a lot more than credit for them is given and should be where the focus is.

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