Dream VC, a Remote Venture Capital Upskilling Institute, has launched a new fellowship program dedicated to providing more access and opportunities to traditionally underrepresented individuals in the African venture capital space. The four-month-long summer program which will run from June to September 2021 is one of the most comprehensive VC fellowship programs in the world and will place particular emphasis on young homegrown Africans and the diaspora. It aims to teach its fellows basics from conducting due diligence and drafting investment memos, all the way to understanding the strategies and legalities of setting up VC Funds or Angel Groups.
“Everyone is talking about investing in the next generation of African startups, but not enough people are talking about empowering the next generation of young African investors,” says Cindy Ai, cofounder of Dream VC. “The median age of the African population is in its teens and there’s a massive youth unemployment issue. People are saying entrepreneurship can help solve that. But beyond that, what if we invest in the young people from the community who will later be writing those checks to entrepreneurial peers?”
Here Is What You Need To Know
- Fellows who take part in the Dream VC program will get weekly training sessions and project assignments emulating real work done by VC analysts and associates. Fellows will also partake in engaging workshops and community-led upskilling mixers, as well as exclusive panel discussions with top African VCs and serial entrepreneurs on topics such as gender lens investing and more.
- Dream VC is on a very similar mission to Included VC, but with a focus on the Emerging Markets, where they hope to bring together top African VCs across the continent to provide more opportunities to young Africans.
- The program aims to build a talent pipeline of promising young investors that are intimately familiar with the pain points of the communities they grew up in and can drive change in the venture capital industry through an Afri-centric lens.
“Incredible programs such as Included VC have highlighted the importance of providing access opportunities to traditionally marginalized populations to get their foot into venture capital.” says Mark Kleyner, the other co-founder of Dream VC. “They are completely changing the game, and the venture capital context right now on the continent still lacks a strong base of young investors who want to become future ecosystem builders in their communities. The gap exists because there are not enough opportunities for these young people to build the knowledge, skills base, or get access to these elusive VC funds.”
Why Dream VC Fellowship?
Africa’s economic growth has tremendously accelerated in the past few years and has gained more and more interest from international investors. However, there still exists a massive gap between ‘homegrown financing solutions’ as well funding towards ‘homegrown startups’. A majority of the investors currently active on the continent are foreign, with North American and European investors at the top of the list. There are exceptions to this, such as Future Africa created by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, co-founder of Andela and former managing director of Flutterwave.
There exists a plethora of VC fellowships in places such as the United States and even student-run VC funds that source and invest in startups built by their peers. These opportunities are crucial stepping stones into venture capital, which is a notoriously difficult industry to break into. Traditionally, if an individual doesn’t have the network, access, background, or know how to ‘hack the competition’, the idea of breaking into VC can seem like a pipe dream.
While the international interest is now putting African startups in the spotlight, there are still very few support systems for aspiring local investors and opportunities for young people to break into VC on the continent. Dream VC exists to change this and democratize access to this industry through the Dream VC Fellowship program, which is entirely free and fully remote.
“We want to bring on young and diverse fellows across the continent and beyond who are visionary, highly empathetic, and extremely driven about birthing innovation in all tech sectors in Africa. The future of Africa will be shaped by this next generation and Dream VC was created to become the launchpad for them,” Cindy says.
A Look At What Dream VC Does
Founded in 2021, by a small team of Young Investors and Former Tech Founders including the founders behind MZZ Africa, Dream VC is an entirely remote-first educational institute, which is striving to democratize access and understanding about the Venture Capital space for professionals on the continent and among the diaspora. The institute celebrates its launch with a comprehensive inaugural 18-week summer program, which will train 20 future investors for the continent, and aims to increase that number as it scales its offering and launches new training programs.
- Applications are open now and will be processed on a rolling basis until the start of the program.
- Program Application Link
- Program Starts Mid June
- Program Ends Early October
- The program will begin with the topic “A Crash Course into VC” and go through 16+ weeks of active content, required workshops and special sessions, ending with much more complicated topics like “Portfolio Value Add” & “Launching one’s one VC fund“.