Investors and startups shaking hands and exchanging greetings

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“Meet the Tôshikas” – UNDP’s first venture capital investment promotion programme with Japan kicks off with Angola, Zambia, and South Africa

 

 

Pretoria, South Africa, June 28, 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its Africa Sustainable Finance Hub (ASFH) and the support from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI), is set to drive more Japanese venture capitalists (VCs) toward Africa. In its newly designed “Meet the Tôshikas” programme, UNDP not only provides Japanese investors with a deep dive into African startup ecosystems, but also offers promising African startups an investment readiness journey. For this  first edition, the programme will take place in Zambia, Angola, and South Africa.

The word “Tôshika” means “Investor” in Japanese. As its name suggests, the UNDP Meet the Tôshikas programme proposes a novel way for Japanese investors and African startup ecosystems to discover each other. 

UNDP designed and implemented this program with the support of Double Feather Partners, a consulting firm selected and hired by UNDP through a formal competitive process. In addition, this program sees the collaboration of Japan-based VCs who applied for and are participating in this program; Samurai Incubate AfricaTSI Japan, and Verod-Kepple Africa Partners, and local field accelerators who have a re-contracted relationship with UNDP; Acelera Angola (Angola), Grindstone (South Africa) and BongoHive (Zambia). 

The UNDP “Meet the Tôshikas” programme started with an original selection process with the applications of 256 startups. It included desk research, direct interviews, field visits, ecosystem events, and a 3-week Bootcamp, leading to the selection of Top 30 startups in total (10 startups per country). The three Japanese venture capital investors participated in the selection process, including site visits and direct interactions to improve and increase business matching opportunities.

Out of 30 startups that joined the Bootcamps, 6 finalists in total (2 startups per country) earned the opportunity to undergo a highly tailored practical 3-month Investment Readiness Support Program (IRSP). Additionally, the Top 6 startups will also receive a $20,000 catalytic grant and take part in a 1-week activity-packed investors roadshow in Tokyo, punctuated by an exclusive pitching opportunity in front of the Tôshikas. 

“We are extremely honored to be able to provide, through our benefactor METI, a unique opportunity for African startups to travel and meet Japanese investors and, on the other hand, Japanese investors to discover exciting startup  venture opportunities from Africa sourced from a well-informed and deliberate ecosystem development approach that takes into account both the local potential growth and risk awareness through our network of field partners”, says Tomas Sales, Private Sector Special Advisor at the UNDP Africa Sustainable Finance Hub which oversees the UNDP Meet the Tôshikas project. “By combining a mature market such as South Africa with other nascent markets such as Angola and Zambia, we offer a fuller picture of the breadth and depth of early-stage opportunities to investors contemplating entry points for capital deployment in Africa”. 

Today, UNDP is proud to reveal the Top 6 finalists startups from Angola, South Africa, and Zambia that have made it through the selection process, respectively: 

Angola

  • Anda (mobility): Formalizing the 2-wheeler moto-taxi market in Angola, providing financing, training, and insurance to drivers, better and safer service for its customers.

  • Mamboo (e-commerce/delivery): Providing quick and seamless food/FMCG deliveries via its design award-winning platform.

South Africa

  • Zoie Health (women health/health benefits): A platform empowering women communities and small businesses to get pro-active about their health.

  • Jobox (HR Tech): Helping university graduates get their first gigs, and universities learn more about their graduates.

Zambia

  • Bosso (e-commerce/construction): Building a platform to make building houses simpler and cheaper.

  • AfriOnline Group (e-commerce/delivery): An integrated platform that allows customers to order from restaurants, supermarkets, and Wholesale.

Moving forward, the UNDP Meet the Tôshikas Investment Readiness Support Program (IRSP) is set to take place between July 9 and September 27, while the Japan Roadshow – including the exclusive pitching event in front of the Tôshikas – is scheduled to happen by end of August 2024.

For more information about the UNDP Meet the Tôshikas, its activities, Japan-based VCs and participants, please visit https://www.undp.org/africa/meet-toshikas.

 

Media Contacts

UNDP – Africa Sustainable Finance Hub

Sachiko HARA (sachiko.hara@undp.org)

About

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow at @UNDP.

The UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub

The Sustainable Finance Hub brings together UNDP’s financial expertise to harness public and private capital for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- supporting governments, investors and businesses in reaching climate, social impact and sustainability targets. Its work drives systemic change towards a sustainable financial architecture that benefits people and the planet. Find out more about its integrated services that ensure all finance is sustainable, at sdgfinance.undp.org.

Japan-based VCs participating in this program:

Samurai Incubate Africa

Japan-based venture capital firm that focuses on investing in African startups. Since 2009, Samurai Incubate has established nine funds across ten countries, investing in 248 startups and achieving successful exits with 112 ventures. We had the privilege of interviewing Managing Partner Rena Yoneyama to gain critical insights into their investment criteria and strategies. Learn more at https://samurai-incubate-africa.asia/

TSI Japan

Established in 2018 as a spinoff from Technology Seed Incubation Co., Ltd., founded on April 15, 2002, and later acquired by Tsucrea Co. Ltd., TSI-Japan stands as a venture capital and advisory firm headquartered in Tokyo. Specializing in the Southeast Asia and African markets, TSI-Japan is committed to fostering business creation and growth. Their support extends across various domains, including company establishment, investment, financing, market development, and business sales. Learn more at https://tsi-japan.com/en/

Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures 

A joint venture between Kepple Africa Ventures ("KAV") and Verod Capital Management ("Verod Capital"), which manages VKAV's funds (registered in Luxembourg). VKAV's fund (registered in Luxembourg). Launched in 2022, the fund provides growth support to startup companies working to solve various social issues across Africa. Learn more at https://vkav.vc/

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