Democratising Access to Venture Ecosystem: Young African Catalysts Exits Pilot.
Young African Catalysts (YAC), a first-of-its-kind venture ecosystem, has exited its private pilot phase, a year since its inception. Their tech-enabled ecosystem and venture fund leverage data and community to democratise access to the African venture ecosystem and enable young Africans to upskill, find jobs, and unlock investment.
Founded by Luke Morsert, Head of Investments at eminent Pan-African fund, Future Africa, and Karl Nchite, former investor and Impact Lead at Dutch impact fund, Goodwell Investments, YAC started as a way to ignite collaboration amongst leading young Africans in the venture ecosystem. In just over a year, its invite-only VC community grew to include the foremost investors, under the age of 35, from the 50 premier venture capital funds across Africa, as well as internally share over 250 startup funding deals. Their meteoric rise has seen the founders invited to speak on African venture capital globally at Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia business schools, as well as the Global Impact Investing Network. Moreover, the pair have led over a dozen startup investments in countries ranging from Egypt to Mozambique.
According to co-founder Luke Mostert, “Given the nascent nature of the venture ecosystem in Africa, established, older stakeholders tend to hold a competitive advantage. At Young African Catalysts, we are looking to empower first-time operators, first-time founders, and first-time venture capitalists with the infrastructure to ignite their journeys.”
Exiting the pilot phase
After 15 months in pilot, YAC now seeks to disrupt the limited and exclusionary hiring landscape in the venture ecosystem with their Aspiring YAC Fellowships, which are targeted at young professionals looking to break into venture capital or startup operator roles respectively.
Their first cohort will be in the VC space, with the curated program spread across eight weeks and taught by existing Young African Catalysts. The Aspiring YAC Fellowship will include bi-weekly lectures covering modules such as pitch deck analysis, financial modelling, valuations, and founder etiquette. Uniquely, Fellows will work on real-world investments directly from both YAC’s venture scouting wing as well as the YAC Venture Fund, which will offer practical experience for them on their educational journey.
After completing the programme, select Aspiring YAC Fellows will be offered 3-month internships with partner VCs with the mutual option for full-time employment thereafter. Speaking on this, Karl Nchite (Co-founder & CEO) says “YAC provides a first-of-its-kind experience that we believe can benefit emerging talent interested in the African ecosystem. Through our vocational fellowships, aspiring fellows have the opportunity to learn from leading African venture capitalists and work collaboratively with African startup founders currently raising capital. This is unique in the fellowship landscape as it allows aspiring talent to learn directly from the professionals that they aspire to emulate. In essence, we’re building the ‘On Deck’ of Africa, but better, and doing so for Africans and by Africans.”
The YAC Fund
Set to launch in H2, the Young African Catalysts Fund I leverages the YAC ecosystem’s community and data to invest between $25,000 and $100,000 tickets in startups that facilitate the development of jobs and infrastructure for the next generation of Africans. This includes startups in talent development, the digital economy, and green solutions.
Young African Catalysts Inc has been entirely self-funded to date, while the YAC Fund I is actively accepting investments.
To learn more about YAC or apply for the Aspiring YAC VC Fellowship, visit their website.