Global Voice Group scouts for African tech start-up investment
Global Voice Group (GVG), a global provider of ICT and reg-tech solutions for governments and regulatory bodies, has partnered with Disrupt Africa to identify tech start-ups from across the continent to which it can provide funding and support in scaling.
Founded in 1998, with its main offices in Spain and South Africa, GVG assists governments and authorities, through big data analytics, in their digital transformation and the effective promotion of compliant and truly inclusive digital ecosystems.
The company, which in Africa works with customers in Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Congo, Gabon, Uganda and Rwanda, collects and analyses big data from crucial economic sectors, including telecommunications and financial services, and turns it into actionable information to enable data-driven decision-making in areas such as revenue mobilisation, telecom regulation, digital security, financial transactions oversight, and mobility data.
GVG is now looking to partner with, and make direct investments in, African tech start-ups.
It has partnered with Africa start-up ecosystem focused business Disrupt Africa, as part of its Pipeline service, to identify start-ups in the ICT sector, where synergies are obvious with GVG's core business.
Specific focus areas are Digital ID/Mobile ID; Artificial Intelligence/Business Intelligence; Blockchain; Data analytics; Mobility data; Digitisation of national payments systems; Payment gateways focusing on interoperability; and Digital addressing and verification systems.
The companies are inviting applications from start-ups with large addressable markets, with a clear geographical preference in Africa, but with capabilities to add value globally.
GVG is also prioritising clear business models, competitive advantages and barriers to entry, and the ability to scale across various markets. Start-ups must have realisable financial models (technologies that are scalable via a B2G model are preferred), and high quality management teams.
Selected companies will have the opportunity to access up to US$300,000 in funding, though the average ticket size will be between US$30,000 and US$100,000. GVG’s preference is to invest for the longer-term where synergies with the start-ups are strong and realisable, and no exit terms are required.
The company is looking to take advantage of meaningful equity stakes and said pre-seed/seed stage start-ups are ideal “though GVG would like to see some evidence of traction if possible”, it added.
However, start-ups that have surpassed the valuation levels required to secure an appropriate equity stake will still be considered if the start-up fulfills the other requirements of the mandate.
In this scenario GVG said it will explore other commercial arrangements.
“In the current economic climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s developing technology ecosystem needs investment and support from established companies such as ourselves more than ever before. Consolidated companies like ours can provide start-ups with financial support, extensive experience in the sector, and an established and secure network of contacts. On the other hand, young tech start-ups offer a deep knowledge of the latest technologies, a necessary renewal of ideas and processes, a fast adaptability to change, a great ability to multi-task and lots of energy to get ahead. It is a win-win scenario,” said James Gabriel Claude, chief executive officer of GVG.
“Our aim is to invest in or partner with exceptional entrepreneurs that have unique ideas to assist them in scaling their business models to generate sustainable growth. We do this by leveraging our expertise, access to markets, data and technologies, and by funding these exciting young companies.”
Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa, added: “This is an exciting opportunity for start-ups in the developing reg-tech space, which has gained relatively little attention thus far but is one that is increasing in importance globally. GVG is a leader in this sector, and the chance to access funding and - just as importantly - support from the firm is one that could help a number of companies across the continent accelerate their development.”
Applications for funding and support from GVG are open until 18 December 2020.