Data processing and analysis company, AI Media Group has launched The Deal Room, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based platform which aims to connect AI-focused startups in Africa with Venture Capitalists and investors that are interested in funding them.
According to the digital data company, the platform became necessary following increasing demand by Africa-based startups, scale-ups and medium-sized businesses within its large network to be introduced to potential investors.
While the company has tried to connect some of these startups with investors, challenges such as access, transparency, intermediaries and fees have largely hindered progress.
The number of such requests has also continued to skyrocket, prompting the company to launch The Deal Room to help improve the service in terms of scale, process formalisation and automation.
CEO of AI Media Group, Nick Bradshaw, explained that the main idea behind The Deal Room platform is to facilitate rapid matchmaking between Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused startups and scale-ups on one hand, and investors that align with the firm’s stage of growth.
It’s often a minefield to find the right investor so we curated a group of like-minded investors that are interested in this space or who have a track record of similar investments to date. This is a long-awaited value add service for our community with no strings attached, no “middleman” and total transparency.Nick Bradshaw, CEO of AI Media Group
Funding is arguably the most pressing problem bedevilling tech startups and innovations on the African continent. While VC investment into the continent continues to grow year-on-year, only a minute percentile of startups seem to be getting all the funding.
A 2019 report estimates the total number of startups in Africa to be nearly 4,000. Sadly, only 427 of them attracted over $2 billion invested into the continent. This is a miserly 15%.
The reasons for this range from poor understanding of how VC funding works to which sectors startups are operating in and having a solid and diverse team.
Describing how AI startups in Africa are further handicapped in the funding side of things, the CEO of South Africa-based Xineoh, which uses AI to predict consumer behaviour, Vian Chinner noted that AI startups in Africa struggle to get good valuation and corporate organisations fail to fully comprehend and appreciate the benefits of AI.
And The Deal Room is looking to cover as much of these lapses with a healthy lineup of launch investors that cover a broad spectrum of the investment lifecycle.
These investors include CEO of Cirrus AI, Gregg Barrett; co-founder of Cape AI Ventures, Pieter Boon; co-managing partner of Knife Capital, Andrea Bohmert; Principal of E4E Africa Ventures, Bakang Komanyane; CEO of Britegaze Reshaad Sha; and Founder of Intelligent Impact, Aunnie Patton Power.
“BriteGaze Fund One’s primary purpose is to assist AI businesses to accelerate their growth in South Africa and across the African continent through the provision of growth funding and advisory services to expand into new verticals as well as new geographies,”Reshaad Sha, CEO of Britegaze
Nick Bradshaw also assured prospective startups that the platform is totally free to use, there is no paperwork involved and certainly no loss of equity.
“The Deal Room’s biggest selling point is there is no complicated paperwork, costs or loss of equity for companies looking to use the platform. They simply answer a set of confidential questions on the nature of their investment needs, details about their company, products or services and the AI Media Group then passes them on to the most appropriate investor(s). Just like internet dating, our goal is to make a perfect match and speed up the process of investment capital flowing into the African 4IR tech sector.”
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