Mustard, a London-based “venture capital agency” exclusively focused on Africa, has launched its idea-stage investment vehicle to create Africa-focused businesses that can resonate with a global audience, which she believes can deliver five-year “VC”-like returns.
Mustard believes that Africa’s future image will be largely shaped by the brands it is able to produce, and its ability to attract and move a global audience. After acknowledging the continent’s lack of strong brands and its ecosystems’ limited faith in their power for more than a decade, Mustard is launching a £4m investment vehicle to build early-stage tech companies story-driven, with like-minded founders and investors who believe.
Mustard’s idea-stage investment model will see it play the role of both investor and builder from the earliest possible stage. Mustard will identify visionary, veteran and influential individuals with “globalisable” business ideas, and provide the capital and expertise in engineering, design and storytelling to explore them before a company is even incorporated. If the business idea and founders are deemed viable, Mustard will continue to invest more capital and expertise to drive the business through to launch and early customer traction, before seeking an exit into a cycle. series A or B.
This model is markedly different from the typical approach to 10-year returns of African venture capital firms. African venture capital firms invest in multiple companies during their growth phase and play a hands-off advisory role in their portfolio companies. Conversely, Mustard will become fully involved as a builder from the formulation of the business idea, do so with far fewer companies (about 3-4 per year), and aims to provide its investors with VC-like returns in half the time (5 years).
For Mustard’s new venture capital agency model, its founder Ndubuisi Kejeh brought in renowned advisors in venture capital, growth, brand storytelling and talent management, namely : Parminder Vir OBEaward-winning film and television producer and former CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation; Chris WilliamsonManaging Director of Mpesa at Vodacom, Eunice Chouof Africa VC EchoVC partners, and Dudu Sarrlongtime friend and manager of Grammy Award-winning Youssou N’dour.
Parminder Vir OBE, award-winning film and television producer and Mustard advisor, said: “Africa has many stories to tell, and over the past twenty years the story of its resilient youth seen through the growth of tech startups has been one of the most significant. For the past four decades I have worked to bring stories from Africa and other cultures to the world through film and television, and I believe Mustard’s approach will help to do the same thanks to the meaningful brand narratives it builds for technology companies.”
Seni Sulyman, founder of BlackOps and former vice president of global operations at Andela, said: “From the first time I learned about Mustard’s idea stage thesis and approach to investing, it seemed really powerful. I can’t wait to see what comes next from the Mustard team because I want to see African brands go global, which will not only mean massive changes for the continent, but also for its place in the world.”
Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Africa and former CMO of Nike Africa, said: “Africa has the culture, drive and talent to create world-class brands, but over the years the rhetoric and desire have not been matched by production. Mustard’s story-first philosophy, hands-on approach to building and investing, and a focus on influential founders might be the shift we need to change the status quo.”
Eghosa Omoigui, General Partner of EchoVC Partners, said: “Mustard’s expertise in building businesses at the earliest possible stage, coupled with a strong brand philosophy, resonated with us for quite some time. African startups and their brands need to go out into the world for many reasons, among them access to wider consumer markets. Mustard’s idea-stage investment approach is unique and shows why a mix of approaches is what a growing startup ecosystem needs.