A chance to own a piece of the SUN!

A chance to own a piece of the SUN!

The age old adage “reach for the stars” has for many always been just that, a popular idiom. Now South Africans are being given the chance to not only do that, but to literally get a chance to own the SUN!

Through platforms such as Uprise Africa, The Sun Exchange, a growing brand in Africa, renowned across the world as a technology and renewable energy leader, now anyone can earn an income from the sun by buying and leasing solar cells to businesses and schools across South Africa, and soon, in countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Many of us are still quite ignorant of the ramifications the electricity we use has on our environment.

There are fundamental problems created by the traditional methods of generating fuel, such as burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuel fumes creates air pollution, which has a massive ripple effect on the earth’s atmosphere and in turn leads to environmental phenomena we simply know as climate change.

Traditional electricity generation also has other, more far-reaching consequences, on the global community such as the high cost implications that lead most remote parts of the world, Africa in particular, to still have no access to electricity.

The Sun Exchange is the world’s first buy-to-lease marketplace for solar cells. The innovative financial tools developed are enabling the global community to come together to drive sustainable energy development and make the environmental, social and economic benefits of solar power accessible and affordable for all.

Since launching in 2015, they have built a community of over 8,000 Sun Exchange members across more than 140 countries who are already bringing solar power to 13 South African schools, businesses and organisations, offsetting 1,500 tonnes of carbon (CO2) emissions a year and rising.

Sun Exchange has received extensive awards and recognition for its innovative approach to solar finance, including recently being named by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa. The multi-award winning company recently sold its millionth watt of solar power and was listed by Fast Company as one of the top 10 most innovative companies in Africa.

In its current fundraising initiative, Sun Exchange is seeking to raise up to $3 million (approx. R45 million) to grow its business. Of the $3 million being raised, the Company would like to raise R7 million (approx. US $460,000) from its global community of supporters via an equity crowd funding campaign with Uprise.Africa. This R7 million will equate to approximately 5.2% (fully-diluted) of the post-money equity of Sun Exchange, if the Company’s total fundraise reaches the $3 million goal. This would value the Company at approximately $10.7 million (R141 million), which is what is referred to as the fully-diluted post-money valuation — what the business is valued at after the funds have been raised (i.e., $460,000 for approximately 5.2% equity).

Already, more than one million ZAR has been raised via Uprise Africa’s equity crowd funding platform. This is over just a couple of days, which clearly indicates that the intended target will surely be reached and even surpassed in no time at all.

The Sun Exchange’s mission is simple — to connect the world to the sun. Hence, soon It will not just be a cliche’ you can literally “own a piece of the sun”.

To find out more on how to get involved visit https://uprise.africa/view_pitch/sunexchange and invest today.

Why startups with CRM Secure Better Investment on Equity Crowdfunding Platforms.

Why startups with CRM Secure Better Investment on Equity Crowdfunding Platforms.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM), is beyond just a software application, it is a methodology that allows businesses to acquire relevant information about its customers so as to learn about their needs and behavior to help develop a better relationship with them.

A CRM tool is a solution that can really help any business, but startups in particular, to showcase credibility to investors. There are reports of start-ups that were able to secure several stages of funding due to the use of a good CRM solution.Having one in place is extremely crucial, especially when you begin your outbound process and start to hire out the sales team

Once your business starts to expand, you will benefit from the advancement digitalization has had upon the product and service fields. There are various SaaS products available in the market, such as CRM software, or automation software that can introduce enhanced sales management to your business process.

Consequently, it helps speed up the growth of business whether it is already established or a start-up.

Reasons Startups with CRM are able to Influence Investors better on Uprise.Africa

1. Better Forecast and Estimation
An investor is concerned about two things, the performance data of a start-up and its growth potential. CRM when properly utilized captures these two factors perfectly. It provides information on the achievement of the start-ups in real-time and their future prospects. Business founders need substantial information about clients and projections to build a more powerful pitch for investors. Data provided also allows investors to examine whether the start-up is accurately valuated.

2. Start-up with CRM become Process-centric
A start-up’s success depends on their product and processes.  If the start-up has good processes but an unexceptional product, there is still room for improvement. However, if the processes are mediocre and the product is top quality, it is set up for failure. Efficient utilization of CRM solution makes sure the start-up has an effective operational process. Moreover, it shows investors that a start-up favours strategy.

3. CRM shows the Monetization method
Another point crucial for startups to consider is taking care of their customers, aside from products, this factor determines the growth rate of the start-up.
CRM is not just a tool for attracting investors alone. It is utilized so the business can grow in an organized way, and making use of technology to achieve that.

4. Transparency
Transparency is quite important to investors, for example, if as a start-up on Uprise.Africa, you are making claims of huge sales volume but can’t back it up with anything except invoices. On the other hand, we have another start-up that is able to back up its sales figures with data on customer interactions such as purchase pattern, number of purchases, etc. Investors would be more convinced about the second start-up because there is proof that actual transactions taking place.

Transparency in your startup transactions and cements the trust between the business owner and investors.

CRM software allows start-ups and SMB’s to manage their ever-growing contact list with ease. In addition to that, it also allows you to divide responsibilities, leads, and accounts among-st the available human resources.

With the increasing number of start-ups vying for investment on Uprise.Africa platform, start-up founders should keep in mind that authenticity is an important factor that investors are looking for. This value is not derived from complex presentation, pledges or impractical projections.

To give your start-up the authenticity it needs to successfully conclude its equity crowdfunding campaign, you have to be able to present evidence of the concept you are pitching along with past performance data. The data should show commitment, processes adopted, and finally the growth pattern of the start-up

Start-ups with all this information are more likely to secure more investors willing to commit through equity crowdfunding campaigns.

Find out more on how to secure investment on our website http://localhost/uprise_africa/.

Pitch Your Business Idea Like a Pro!

Pitch Your Business Idea Like a Pro!

“In the Business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.” – Harold S. Geneen

Becoming an entrepreneur is a thrilling and amazing feat. Every business impresario will tell you there is nothing like literally seeing an idea that started in their mind transform into tangible reality. How well you can execute the transformation of an idea into a potentially highly-successful business depends on you knowing what your idea is worth in the first place.

More importantly, you need to have the skills to translate imagination into action. Sadly, some business ideas never get past being castles in air while some ideas are easy to take forward and flourish. So how do you ensure that your business idea converts and sees the light of day? Equity crowdfunding is one groundbreaking opportunity that is creating a plush meeting ground for innovators and investors

So now the question is, once presented with the platform, how does one create an investor-ready pitch? Let’s take a look at some of the basic steps every startup business should have in the bag.

  1. Develop a value proposition

In a few short sentences, summarize what your business does, who your target market is and explain how it will be successful.

Answer these questions in your summary: What problem does your business solve? What are the benefits of your business? Why would your target market buy your offering instead of your competitors?

Important to remember:

  • Keep your summary short (3-4 sentences).
  • Be to the point and specific

2. Set a funding goal (that is within your reach)

Setting a target for your business that you believe you have the ability to achieve is essential.

Answer these questions: Who is your target market? Look at your network of friends and family. How large is it? Are they willing to invest? Do you have other people you believe would be willing to invest in your business?

3. Valuate your business

Asses the value of your business in relation to the amount of equity you wish to give away in exchange for capital. Clear, well presented and concise financial documentation is required to ensure your potential investors understand your business model and have enough information to make a knowledgeable judgment about the potential of your business.

4. Have an Exit strategy

Your exit strategy outlines how Investors will make a return on their investment.

5. A detailed Marketing Plan

Marketing must-haves include a marketing budget, content calendar for both digital and print media, social media strategy, involving influencers and paid advertising.

6. Establish your Branding

Logo and signage are essential in establishing your brand identity.

Once you have followed these basic steps, you would have laid the foundation to build a well-fortified business pitch. There is still a whole lot more that goes into actually implementing a pitch. Uprise. Africa, South Africa’s first equity crowdfunding platform, recognizes the need to groom innovators to access resource pools essential for business growth. We strive to help our entrepreneurs through all these crucial steps.

For more pitch tips and to find out how you can register with Uprise.Africa

Visit http://pitchtips.uprise.africa/

Overview of the Crowdfunding around the world.

Overview of the Crowdfunding around the world.

Crowdfunding is a collective approach to raising funds for your business, whether it’s a start-up or merely a business idea. Even established businesses use crowdfunding for expansion and growth. This method of acquiring capital allows businesses to advance their market reach, while tapping into a network of individuals (friends, family, and day-today or new investors) who pool their resources together to fund their operations.

There are many ways to organize funds, such as online platforms, events and social media. These allow businesses and individuals to utilize the power of networking to increase their exposure and reach.

The World Bank has estimated that there are up to 344 million households in the developing world able to make small crowdfunding investments in community businesses. The trend which will continue to grow and friends and families will continue to finance business ideas with crowdfunding’s online extension to access the capital and global reach of the community, or “the crowd”.

According to statista, the crowdfunding sector totals to $6.9 Billion USD in 2019 and it is projected to grow annually from 2019 to 2023 at a rate of 14.7% to reach $12 Billion USD by 2023 globally.

 

Additionally, crowdfunding funding platforms are rapidly expanding around the world with Asia and North America holding the largest share of the market. Africa is not far behind, with platforms such as Uprise.Africa catering for the African market. Uprise.Africa was established in 2017 as the first equity crowdfunding platform based in South Africa.

To launch a crowdfunding campaign on Uprise.Africa, the business sets a target amount of money to raise and each campaign runs for a 60-90 day period. A countdown begins and the amount contributed is summed up for people to see.


There are three types of crowdfunding: 
Equity, Reward, and Donation based Crowdfunding.Below, we delve deeper into the three forms of crowdfunding with the support of global stats.

 

 

  • Donation Crowdfunding:
    Here individuals pool their resources together without expecting a reward or financial return (equity) on their money. The idea is to donate as gesture of goodwill and or for the social benefits that the host community or the economy at large may reap from it.
  • Reward Crowdfunding:
    This type of crowdfunding is mostly seen as a subcategory of donation crowdfunding. In the case of reward crowdfunding, contributors pool in their resources together expecting to be rewarded in a tiered system.
  • Equity Crowdfunding:
    This form of crowdfunding allows investors to become part-owners with the founder of the business by trading their resources for financial returns in the form of equity shares. As equity shareholders, investors and contributors are given a share of profits made as distribution or dividend. This type of crowdfunding is rapidly gaining ground around the world and Uprise.Africa in South Africa forms part of this category. They provide small and medium enterprises with the chance to connect with multiple investors in exchange for an equity share

 

Equity Crowdfunding and the Global stats around It.

There is no doubt that equity crowdfunding is gaining immense popularity. There has been a lot of excitement from the industry, business owners, and experts on how it can revolutionize the way start-ups raise funding.

However, the outcome of equity crowdfunding in the United States, for example, has had mixed results. According to a report published by Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, it indicated that there is a geographical concentration of equity crowdfunding with California having the highest number of issuers at 35% tailed by Florida at a low 8%. Furthermore, the adoption rate in the U.S. is much slower in comparison to its European counterpart. This is indicated in Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance report, which state that equity crowdfunding across Eurozone amounted to a total of about $233m USD in 2016, meanwhile markets in the United States could only raise $30m USD between May 2016 and May 2017.

Consequently, the rise in popularity of equity crowdfunding has prompted the regulation of this sector. The U.S. government launched the SEC Title III of the Job Act (Regulation Crowdfunding) in 2016 in an attempt to regulate the industry. We take a look at statistics relating to the first 100 equity crowdfunding campaigns to launch under this regulation. Looking at the data compiled by Millyard Tech Law (May 2016 to September 2016) through the “US SEC EDGAR” system. Here is a summary of some of the results of the industries that used crowdfunding:

  • Mobile App and Internet services industry held the highest percentage at 33%, followed by consumer gadgets at 12%, and Beer and Spirit industry completing the top 3 at 8%
  • Nearly every industry was represented
  • About 60% were already in business for a year or less than a year
  • Most of the businesses were a startup or at the pre-revenue stage
  • More than half of the crowdfunding campaigns were equity crowdfunding
  • The major type of security offered was common stock
  • The range for the valuation cap was between $1.5-$4m USD
  • The top platform was WeFunder hosting 40%, and 28% of the crowdfunding campaigns achieve their aim

Between 2016 and 2017 after the act was launched, the crowdfunding segment experience more growth and successful campaign. A report from crowdfund capital advisors summarize the key findings:

  • There was an increase in the number of offerings from 178 to 481(2016-2017), that is a 267% increase
  • There was a 178% increase in proceeds from $27.6m to $49.2m USD.
  • A 202% increase in the number of successful offerings from 99 to 200.

From 2018 upwards, we continue to see increasing growth and adoption in equity crowdfunding through regulation crowdfunding act. There is an increasing number of entrepreneurs making offerings with 732 companies launching a campaign in 2018 alone. This crowdfunding segment is projected to continue growing and even predicted to surpass early-stage and seed capital funding in years to come.

Although, the adoption rate for crowdfunding in Africa is lower compared to the likes of North America, Asia, and Europe. Africa is gradually becoming more open to the idea of crowdfunding with South Africa leading the way by posting a transaction value reaching $7.6 million USD in 2019 and being the first equity crowdfunding platform in South Africa.

Additionally, there are reported 57 active crowdfunding platforms across Africa with 21 operating in South Africa alone.

The navigation system on financial platforms can be seen as daunting for most contributors and investors and thus Uprise.Africa’s platform continuously strives to simplify and improve the user experience and journey for both investors and startups.

Investing in early startups have high rewards but at the same time can be risky with various challenges along the way. Uprise.Africa provides a detailed process to guide startups in setting up their campaign and investors, how to participate in various crowdfunding campaigns.

Although Uprise.Africa focuses solely on the South African market, it is a good example of the African market opening up to equity crowdfunding.

Uprise.Africa is changing the way small and medium businesses source funds, by giving them an alternative option for securing investment.

Crowdfunding: An Opportunity Or Threat For Venture Capitalists?

Crowdfunding: An Opportunity Or Threat For Venture Capitalists?

Amidst the excitement surrounding crowdfunding, there is one group that continues to be skeptical – the Venture Capitalists. While nobody in the finance sector can deny the immediate surge in crowdfunding, talks about equity crowdfunding replacing Venture Capital by 2020 are a cause of concern among VCs. However, many VCs are dawning upon the realization that this does not signal an end of the Venture Capital model but the beginning of a new era, marked by collaboration between the two platforms. VCs do not need to look at crowdfunding as a threat, and here are the following ways in which they thrive together:

Misconceptions around Crowdfunding

One of the foremost concerns that VCs have expressed about crowdfunding is the existence of too many shareholders, which means an increase in both risk and liability, and hence makes regulatory compliance more difficult. However, this is a misconception since the proponents of crowdfunding have proven that public companies are able to manage a large base of shareholders. Moreover, many regulatory mechanisms are being set up in countries to govern crowdfunding such that investors invest through a single fund rather than hundred individual ones.

Collaboration between VCs and Crowdfunding

There is still a source of optimism since many VCs are getting used to the idea of equity crowdfunding, and are even discovering the merits associated with it. Firstly, VCs view these platforms as a data repository, which gives them real-time feedback about campaigns that gain popularity. This comes in very handy for VCs since they get data points on early market validation, such that they can replicate the same with their campaigns. A few ways in which crowdfunding and investor can come together and close deals are as follows

Crowdfunding is additional validation for the VC

If a company has gone through a crowdfunding round, it automatically implies that it has ironed out all the minor errors in its documentation and processes, and has been internally and externally vetted and set up their fundamentals and reviewed them. Hence, this means that they have already gotten one round of market traction, which is a symbol of the faith and confidence that investors have in the company. Earlier, this was viewed as a failure of the company since it diluted its authority by including many shareholders, but that opinion is changing for the better now.

Crowdfunding does not mean cutting off from other sources of capital

Another conception in the minds of many venture capitalists is the fact that only one source of capital can exist for a company. However, that is not true. Crowdfunding and venture capital can exist simultaneously and many companies have tapped the potential of both to chart a successful trajectory for themselves. In fact, many companies have even gone ahead and combined different sources of capital in the same investment round or through the same platform. Hence, the future of start-ups lies in collaborative working with venture capitalists, angel investors and other sources such as crowdfunding to exponentially grow their businesses.

Bringing their individual strengths together

The key to making your start-up work in the 21st century is by bringing together the strengths, guidance and mentorship through different networks. Hence, considering the combined value that venture capital and crowdfunding offers not only financially, but through other ways, is the ideal route you could follow as an entrepreneur. This is precisely why many start-up owners are choosy about the VC they enter into a contract with. While financial considerations are paramount and nobody wants to make a deal they lose money on, a successful entrepreneur carefully weighs the intellectual value and social capital that a VC can offer and make a decision accordingly. This does not mean that the crowd in crowdfunding does not have any value. Each shareholder is a potential advocate and marketing agent for the business and even the smallest investor that can bring you market traction is a huge asset. Often, it is the smaller investors who are relying on a profitable return and talk the most about the business they invest in and hence, bring in followers, supporters and even clients.

The snowball effects

This often happens in the start-up world that a founder spends between 6 months to a year meeting different investor, pitching the business to them and receiving good feedback. However, investors often retort saying that they want more insights on the revenue projections, or want you to have more investors on board etc. Basically, it is very difficult to ensure that the investors walk the final mile with you and it is one gentle nudge that gives them the push to do that. Crowdfunding can be that one gentle nudge, since it puts across a message that you are serious about getting funding and it also adds another layer of formality and structure around your entire process.

Conclusion

Despite the craze around crowdfunding and speculations about it wiping out venture capital from the world of finance, the crux of the matter is that both these platforms can peacefully coexist and even collaborate to help your business grow exponentially. Today, Venture Capitalists have started appreciated crowdfunding and many companies are offering parallel options, where VCs get preferred stock and special rights and crowdfunding investors get common stock with limited rights. As is evident in many cases across the globe, both entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are only going to benefit from such arrangements.

Partnerships