THE VFA FELLOWSHIP
Whether you're looking for your next challenge or planning a major career move, becoming a Venture for Africa Fellow gives you a unique opportunity to gain startup experience and local industry knowledge while contributing to meaningful impact at a leading African startup.
Venture for Africa is a fellowship program designed to immerse top global talent in the African startup landscape. We partner with Africa's fastest-growing startups to co-design an experience that enables fellows to quickly gain relevant skills and in-market knowledge, complete real project work and get fast-tracked to apply for a full-time role in their field.
Are you ready to #TaketheLeap?
HOW IT WORKS
Get Matched: Apply and get matched with a VFA startup partner in your area of interest.
Get Immersed: Spend 3 months in this role, during which you will be immersed in the local context, receive training from expert mentors, and get to understand market nuances.
Get Working: Work on real project deliverables for your assigned startups while being paid a stipend. Final projects will be presented to the startup team, and you will receive feedback.
Get Hired: While full-time roles are not guaranteed, you are fast-tracked through ordinary application processes for available full-time roles with the startup post the fellowship
Startup Partner: Optimizer Foundation
Founded in 2017, Optimizer Foundation is an impact investing organisation (org. structure is non-profit), with a presence in Nairobi, London and Stockholm. The Foundation strives to improve access to education and health services, as well as youth employment opportunities across East and West Africa. As such, the Foundation invests capital (equity/debt), coupled with business advisory support, into early (seed) stage businesses demonstrating impactful and scalable solutions.
Optimizer Foundation is now looking to recruit an Investment Associate to be based out of Nairobi to offer support in growing its portfolio of impactful early-stage businesses. Your key focus in this role will be on growing the pipeline (sourcing/evaluating) of high potential investment opportunities; working on due diligence processes; and providing advisory support to the portfolio companies.
The role is a unique opportunity to join a young and fast-growing impact investing organisation and play an instrumental part in building the portfolio for East and West Africa, improving the lives of millions of people over the coming years.
Deal scouting/assessment: You will be tasked with growing the pipeline of high potential social businesses across East and West Africa. This includes identification and initial assessment of investment opportunities.
Due diligence: You will conduct due diligence on high potential investment opportunities.
Portfolio management: You will monitor select portfolio companies, including analysing financial/impact reporting, participating in investor meetings, providing/coordinating business advisory etc.
Building sector expertise: You will support efforts to deepen the Foundation’s expertise in its core sectors, as well as in specific business models, geographies etc., through research and monitoring of sector trends.
Relationship building: You will build/manage relationships with key ecosystem actors including investors, accelerators/incubators and other organizations as well as represent the Foundation at key events in the region.
Reports to: COO
East African citizen (i.e. legally eligible to work in Kenya) is a requirement
A minimum of 3 years of relevant experience – i.e. investment role; strategy/management consulting; or equivalent business advisory roles
Strong analytical and strategic thinking skills – i.e. qualitative/quantitative research; financial analysis (i.e. assessment of financial models/business cases) required.
Existing network across the start-up and (impact) ecosystem in the region highly preferred.
Track record in the social impact sector – i.e. experience working with social businesses or in an impact-oriented role.
Demonstrated self-starter/ability to work independently; thriving in an entrepreneurial environment of a young and fast-growing impact investing organisation.
Strong project management skills.
Venture for Africa is a fellowship program designed to fill talent gaps in Africa’s startup ecosystem by enabling top local and global fellows to access opportunities with leading startups in Africa. Our flagship 3-month fellowship program combines on-the-ground experience offering localized context, expert mentorship, and real project work at leading startups hiring now. Launched in 2020, our mission is to accelerate economic growth and technological innovation in Africa by mobilising the next generation of startup talent and equipping them with the experiences and context they need to meaningfully contribute to elevating businesses and livelihoods in Africa.
May 2020We launched on this date announcing open applications for our inaugural cohort, the Venture for Africa Remote Fellowship; matching skilled global talent with leading, African tech startups via a 3-month immersion program.
June 2020Our inaugural fellowship kicked off with 5 fellows working across 3 startups in Nairobi, Kenya
November 2020Recruitment drive for VFA Cohort 2
January 2021Following 350+ applications, our second cohort kicked off with 4 additional fellows and a new partner in Lagos, Nigeria