At Yubini, our goal is to get you through the first phase. This usually means: get you to the point where you are able to build something impressive enough to raise money on a larger scale. Then we can introduce you to later stage investors or acquirers.
We make small investments in return for small stakes in the companies we fund.
Venture investors supply some combination of money and help. In our case the money is a smaller component. In fact, many of the startups may not need the money immidiately.
What happens at Yubini? The most important thing we do is work with startups on their ideas. We hacker and we spend a lot of time figuring out how to make things people want. So we can usually see fairly quickly the direction in which a small idea should be expanded or the point at which to begin attacking a large but vague one.
Another important thing we do is help founders deal with investors and acquirers. We can make introductions, but that part is easy. We spend much more time teaching founders how to pitch their startups to investors, and how to close a deal once they have generated interest. In the second phase we supply not just advice but protection; potential investors are more likely to treat you well if you have a good mentor/accelerator like us, because how they treat you determines whether in the future we will steer deals toward or away from them.
We also get the startups we fund incorporated properly with all the standard paperwork, avoiding legal time-bombs that could cause serious hassles and delays later. We introduce founders to lawyers who will often agree to defer payment for legal work. We regularly help startups find and hire their first employees. We can help with intellectual property questions, like what to patent, and when. One of the least publicized things we do, for obvious reasons, is mediate disputes between founders. No startup thinks they’re going to need that, but most do at some point.
The kind of advice we give literally can’t be bought, because anyone qualified to give it is already rich. You can only get it from investors.
Once in 3 month, we invest a small amount of money in an average number of startups. We have two batches per year – one from January through March and one from September through November. The other times we organize and involve in startup events and Hackathons.
To apply to Yubini you just fill out an Application form. We invite the most promising groups to meet us in person, and we make funding decisions immediately afterward.
Most of the founders in each startup we fund (and always the CEO) are expected to move to the Benin City for the duration of the three month batch. During those three months, founders participates vigorously in trainings, exercises and experiments weekly and can meet with partners,exparts and interact with other startups in the ecosystem.
During the batch, we host 2 weekly dinner at Yubini, and at each dinner we invite an expert in some aspect of startups to speak. Typically, speakers include startup founders, venture capitalists and executives from well-known technology companies. Speakers often end up advising or investing in startups they meet at the dinners.
About ten weeks in, we host Demo Day where all the startups can present their products and services to a specially selected audience of investors and press.
Funding startups in batches works better for everyone. It’s more efficient for us, and better for the startups, who probably end up helping one another at least as much as we help them.
Because we fund 10 startups, Yubini is building an alumni network. So whatever your problem or challenge from building your website,app or an API we have the resources and you can decide to partner with any of our developers in building your CTO department.
We think founders are most productive when they can spend most of their time working, testing results. Our goal is to create an environment where Startups can focus full time on building product and talking to users.
We are building a testimony amongst startups in Benin City Ecosystem and Nigeria as where startups can build and iterate quickly.
We try to interfere as little as possible in the startups we fund. We do not take board seats or many of the other powers investors sometimes require. We offer lots of advice, but we cannot force anyone to take it. We realize that independence is one of the reasons people want to start startups in the first place. And actually, it is also one of the reasons startups succeed. Investors who try to control the companies they invest often end up destroying them.
Why do we work so well? Our goal is to be the preferred source of seed funding for startups in Nigeria and to be that we have to do it right for everyone. The good founders we help will one day know one another, so if the groups we fund feel they are not getting the right deal, no one will want funding from us in the future. And later stage investors especially Venture Companies also tend to know one another, so if the companies we seed end up being broken in any way, no one will want to invest in them in the future. So we must get it right from onset.
We are focused and on track, because both the startups we fund, partners and their next round of investors will equally happy with us.