The emergence of crowdfunding in Africa
According to the Afrikstart Crowdfunding in Africa report, crowdfunding platforms in Africa raised $32.3 million for various projects in 2015. Overall market potential in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at $2.5 billion by the World Bank Infodev by 2025. The practice is rapidly rising in popularity, but in order for to African crowdfunding to flourish further, governments need to develop regulations.
Here are some other key points from the report:
South Africa leads the way
Africa has 57 listed crowdfunding platforms in 2015, all founded and headquartered in Africa. South Africa is the home to most of these platforms – it accounts for over a third of African crowdfunding platforms in 2015. Nigeria comes second, closely followed by Egypt.
Most crowdfunding platforms fund projects within their home countries
Crowdfunding is a new alternative form of fundraising in Africa, so most platforms try to gain foothold and a significant market share within their home nation, before planning wider expansion.
There are only five pan-African platforms
These are Afineety, M-Changa, Pitchoffice, Fundasolva, and real estate platform RealtyAfrica. Afineety started in Morocco, then expanded to Senegal and Ivory Coast. The Nigerian crowdfunding platform Funda Solva listed 2 projects from Cameroon and Ghana. Kenyan platform M-Changa is expanding in Tanzania.
31.5 percent of Africa-based crowdfunding platforms specialised in promoting projects related to social causes
The second most favoured category was business and entrepreneurship (21 percent), then creative and innovative projects (17.5 percent). New project categories that emerged in 2015 include renewable energy, healthcare, and education.
Various causes fuel the popularity of crowdfunding
According to the report, crowdfunding in Africa is fuelled by a real market need of alternative source of financing, the expansion of mobile technology, the rise of a middle class, and the active contribution of the African Diaspora.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.