For many African entrepreneurs, raising venture capital remains a hurdle. Many African companies have had their growth stifled as a result of a lack of funds to extend their operations. One Nigerian entrepreneur has stepped forward to help close the startup funding gap.
Maya Horgan Famodu is the founder of Ingressive Capital, a $10 million venture capital business based in Lagos, Nigeria, that supports African startups. According to CNBC Make It, Ingressive Capital has sponsored a number of potential African firms since its inception, including Paystack, a Nigerian fintech firm recently bought by Stripe.
Horgan Famodu’s decision to build a venture capital firm is based on her personal experience of being unable to raise funds when she first moved to Nigeria to launch her own fund. Her upbringing also influenced her desire to enter and succeed in the venture capital profession.
“The feeling of knowing you have the capability, the determination, and the tenacity to do anything, but access is taken away from you… “I despise that sensation so badly that I don’t want anyone else to experience it,” she told CNBC Make It.
She began Ingressive as an investment advisory firm, establishing a solid name in the market, before launching Ingressive Capital in 2017 at the age of 25. Horgan Famodu is thought to be the youngest person in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch a startup fund. She is also the first woman in Nigeria to do it alone.
Nigerian-American Horgan Famodu was born and raised in a small town in Minnesota. She began her career in New York, working in mortgage banking at JPMorgan Chase and private equity research. Horgan Famodu grew interested in African entrepreneurship while working in the United States.
She was troubled by the reality that many African firms were unable to secure funding to expand their operations.
“We started bringing global investors to Africa before tech was a thing, back when the questions were less about ‘how many M&A transactions have occurred in the African market this year?’ and more about ‘how many M&A deals have occurred in the African market this year?’ ‘Do Africans have access to the internet or electricity?’ It was vital to not only shift the focus of Africa’s story to its great innovations and potential but also to sell a future that few could have predicted. She highlighted to Forbes why Ingressive Capital was necessary: “I believed I had an obligation to use my access to assist the next generation of African inventors.”
Aside from Ingressive Capital, Horgan Famodu runs a non-profit that offers micro-scholarships, technical skills development, and talent placement to African youth.
Forbes Africa just named the 30-year-old among the 30 under 30 in Technology. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental sciences from Cornell University after attending Pomona College. She also attended the university’s Prelaw program.