Young African Catalysts aims to widen access to Africa’s VC environment while providing young people a range of VC-related tools.
Young African Catalysts (YAC), a VC firm that seeks to widen access to funding, has recently launched and aims to democratize access to the African venture ecosystem. The organization aims to provide young Africans with the tools they need to upskill, find jobs, and unlock investment.
The co-founders, Luke Mostert and Karl Nchite, initially started YAC as a way to encourage collaboration among leading young Africans in the venture ecosystem. In just over a year, their invite-only VC community grew to include lead investors from 50 premier venture capital funds across Africa, sharing over 250 startup funding deals internally.
YAC’s Next Steps
YAC’s next step is to address the limited and exclusionary hiring landscape in the venture ecosystem by launching the Aspiring YAC Fellowships, aimed at young professionals looking to break into venture capital or operator roles. The fellowship is a curated eight-week program taught by existing Young African Catalysts, which will target the VC space.
In addition, the Young African Catalysts Fund I is set to launch in H2, leveraging the YAC ecosystem’s community and data to invest tickets of between USD 25,000 and USD 100,000 in startups that facilitate the development of jobs and infrastructure for the next generation of Africans, including talent development, the digital economy, and green solutions.
Empowering Young African Startups
Mostert believes that the venture ecosystem in Africa is still in its early stages, giving established, older stakeholders a competitive advantage. YAC aims to empower first-time operators, founders, and venture capitalists with the infrastructure they need to start their journeys. Both founders stated that YAC provides a unique opportunity for emerging talent interested in the African ecosystem.
For Young African Catalysts by Young African Catalysts
According to Mostert, YAC’s curriculum is specifically designed to incorporate these two critical elements and culminates in a chance to showcase the participants’ talents and ideas to VCs during the Aspiring YAC Demo Day. The Demo Day will offer interns the opportunity to work with VCs, allowing them to learn directly from professionals that they aspire to emulate.
Africa’s startup environment
According to Partech, tech funding within Africa grew by 8% yoy in 2022 to USD 6.5 billion. Globally, VC funding fell by 35% over the same period, however Africa was one of the few markets that saw net growth. The top three countries for startup investment were Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt.