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Investing in Tambua Health, Brass and FunnelJoy

We have spent the last 3+ years making early bets on companies building the future of Africa.

Today, despite the reality of the currently Covid-19 pandemic and its far-reaching 2nd and 3rd order social and economic effects, that hasn’t changed as we believe that this pandemic makes a stronger case for investing in innovative startups that are nimble and able to benefit from a boost in user adoption and lower customer education costs as people find new ways to live, work and communicate.

Moreover, the way we get out of rot is by building.
In furtherance of this mission, we are happy to back, Tambua, Brass, and FunnelJoy.

Tambua Health:

The first time we spoke to Lewis,  we were immediately blown away by the “why” behind Tambua, it was a compelling and deeply personal conviction around solving the problem he and his team were going after.

Lung related disease is an enormous and growing burden on society, resulting in one-in-six (16.7%) deaths globally, that’s about 2.5 million deaths annually across the world, More than $25 billion is spent each year on respiratory diagnostic procedures globally. While most respiratory diseases have a cure and are manageable, early diagnosis is the most essential for successful treatment. Unfortunately, medical imaging devices are invasive and expensive making them out of reach of some health care facilities and in facilities where they are available the associated cost is quite expensive making it increasingly difficult for everyday individuals to access quality healthcare service, which explains why the acoustic-based lung imaging and lung function test device built by Tambua is in itself revolutionary.

Tambua Health is using lung sound analysis to transform the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases globally. They have built a hardware device called the T-sense that generates images of the lungs by detecting the vibrations of sound as air moves in and out of the lungs using sensor arrays put on the back of the patient. The team has approached this in a fundamentally different way using first principles and has brought new ideas and advances in machine learning, acoustics, biomedical engineering, and electronics to lung diagnostic.

Brass:

Operating a business account for most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is expensive on average, opening an account requires several walk-ins to the bank, starting minimum balance, fees at every step of the way, a 10-page+ form and a lot of friction, not to mention limited access to credit or tools, basically no real value asides being able to receive and send money inefficiently.  Within our portfolio, we also observed how companies string together multiple tools just to run their finances semi-efficiently. 

And so when Sola shared his vision of 100% digital bank, tailored specifically for SMBs, designed to provide them with superior banking experience and tools to help them run more efficiently and increase revenue, we were sold.

Traditional banks have not applied anywhere near the same degree of innovation to  SMEs as they have done to consumer retail banking, even if the later still begs for improvement. While they are great at treasury management, they have massively underinvested in creating tools and services that enable SMBs to succeed, thus creating massive white space for a product like Brass.

Brass is a digital bank for SMB 100% online, no walk-ins, that provides them with a suite of product and tools designed to help them grow their business and significantly reduce the friction of doing business. Join the waitlist here to get notified when they go public.

FunnelJoy:

When we met Sam late last year, his thinking around solving a problem for digital entrepreneurs across the world and in the process building a globally relevant product deeply resonated with us, as we have always wondered why African founders weren’t building for global markets, More importantly, he had also spent the last 4 years selling multiple digital products across multiple continents and understood the challenges around doing this on a deep level. 

FunnelJoy is an all in one tool designed for digital entrepreneurs, marketers, and creators to help them capture, convert and engage leads and sell products online, FunnelJoy was built to simplify the process and offer an easy to use sales funnel tool to online entrepreneurs (something they can set up without the help of a web developer) that helps them convert visitors to actual leads or purchases. It’s a simple drag and drop tool to create landing pages and sales/membership funnels. The alternatives are expensive, non-intuitive, complex and require developers, designers, and “so-called ” experts to help build 

The Marketing automation software market is a $25B+ industry and expected to reach $32B in 2024,  Today, a lot of digital entrepreneurs rely on sales funnel tools to market and sell their products online and as more people explore digital commerce for the first time, FunnelJoy offers them just the right tool to do that. 

Interestingly >90% of the companies customers come from the US and European market and the product has a high retention rate. This speaks to how founders can build great products, loved by users all around the world irrespective of their geography.

So today, we are super excited to announce our investments in Lewis, Sola, Samuel, and their teams. They are some of the most talented founders building today and it is a privilege to partner with them.

Kayode Oyewole 

Partner, Ventures Platform Fund

About Ventures Platform Fund

Ventures Platform Fund invests early in mission-driven founders that are building capital-efficient platforms that democratize prosperity, plug infrastructural gaps, connect underrepresented communities, create efficiencies, solve for non-consumption, and improve livelihoods.

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Series V VP Blog

Internal Communication During a Pandemic; Are You Doing It Right?

“Internal communication isn’t about telling employees what to think; it’s about creating and enabling authentic, ongoing dialogues with and between them.”

Paul Barton, ABC

Hello there. Happy Workers Day! This month on Series V, we talk about how those in management positions should communicate with the people in the organization especially when relaying important life-changing information. Please forward it to a friend and share it on your social media. We love to get feedback and suggestions, you can send them here.

I’m sure we have all gotten the memo that the world we now live in has gone remote and a great percentage of human interactions are now digital. This global pandemic has changed the landscape of human interactions and by extension, Internal Communication. 

While we applaud the good use of tools and software to bridge the gap in attempts to flatten the curve, we also have to be mindful of how digital relationships can tend to make us feel emotionally disconnected. I’m sure we’re all Zoom’ ed out by now but this is our new reality.

Internal Communication is practised as standalone departments, through the Human Resources Department or, in some cases, no particular employee/department is saddled with that task. Whatever the case, corporates that practice Internal Communication will agree that now is a very critical time to double-down on IC activities.

CEOs, Founders, Department Heads, Team Leads need to reach out to staffers more deliberately these days and be careful of how communications are delivered to them bearing in mind that we are all fragile and dealing with one form of uncertainty or the other arising from this global pandemic; ranging from health scares to job insecurities. This is the time for leaders to tighten their girds and lead.

The COVID-19 crisis has not only impacted sales and market values but it has also changed organizations’ structures and the management of some organizations has had to make painful decisions that will change the lives of their employees. These decisions are necessary for the sustainability of the organization and it is vital that management navigate this process successfully as that will determine how their own people, those that keep the engines roaring, respond to the message.

Below are 5 practical guides on how to communicate with staffers the right way at this time.

  1. Check on your team – A lot of people have found themselves working in isolation from the norm and now under challenging conditions such as managing to get their work done and taking care of the needs of their children. Make sure your communications are conscious of employees’ real concerns and always reiterate that their mental and physical well-being is the priority of the organization.
  1. Balance head with heart – While it is vital to communicate in a clear and concise manner, it is also just as important that this is done laced with the right amount of empathy.
  1. Be accessible – This is the time for an organization’s leadership to be seen and heard by junior employees. Management should be at the forefront of all Internal Communication. This will make employees feel like they matter and can openly talk about what they are feeling.
  1. Your employees > your customers – Customers are important, yes, but your employees are just as important if not more. Just like businesses have changed the way they operate for the sake of their customers, in that same vein, organizations should also realize that just like your customers, your employees have different priorities, and different ways in which they like to be reached. It can be more effective to tailor communications channels accordingly.
  2. Communication is a two-way street – While ensuring that information regularly flows from management to the rest of the organization, it is equally important that leadership is open to feedback, critics, questions, and concerns. Depending on the structure a company operates, employees are also encouraged to, at this time, reach out to management to know how they are doing, ask how else they can help, and proffer solutions on how to keep the company afloat.

Portfolio Chatter

  • It’s time to give back! VP Portfolio company, Printivo, has launched its line of #COVID19 PPE products. For every 5 face masks sold, they’ll be giving out 1 unit to non-frontline workers like cleaners, traffic wardens, and other service providers. Learn how you can contribute here.
  • The latest episode of Decode Fintech podcast by Paystack is now available. This episode features Nkebet Mesele, Visa’s Senior Director, Solutions Management, Sub-Saharan Africa. Listen here.
  • Read this article about How COVID-19 is affecting the Financial Market” by Kudi.
  • The folks at MDaaS have put together the COVID-19 Mass Testing Guide, a step-by-step playbook on how to set up & operate a mass sample collection site in low-income areas. Read about it here.

Inside VP

  • Congratulations to VP Founding Partner, Kola Aina, on being selected for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2020.
  • Read our latest press release on partnerships and support received from NCDC, LASRIC, MTN, and VP partners for Successful Startups from our #COVID19InnovationChallenge here.
  • We joined forces with key players in Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to deliver trusted, vetted and purposeful resources to guide specific businesses and communities, as they steer their businesses through this crisis. Learn more here.

What Are We Reading?

Everything on the internet.


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Stay safe and see you next month,

V.