Series V
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Series V

Hey Founder, Take Care Of Yourself!

“Try dey take care of yourself; problems no dey finish” — Anonymous

This tweet by Oluyomi Ojo of Printivo is very instructional.

In an industry where many fail, there is already an immense amount of pressure on startup founders to succeed. Founders are constantly faced with challenges and question if they are going to be good enough to attract investors if they reveal what they personally struggle with — imposter syndrome, their startups surviving this current global crisis, salaries, keeping up employee morale, family, and the problems with the world at large.

“Startup founders worry about if they share, let’s say, something vulnerable about a big family issue they’re going through that’s creating a lot of anxiety and stress that they’ll be looked at differently,” John Meyer, CEO — Homebound, told Business Insider in an interview.

When a founder begins to feel unhappy, no longer enjoy work as before, easily exhausted, physically and emotionally knackered, cannot sleep well or focus during the day, easily distressed by the thought of networking, raising funds, and managing people, it is safe to say his motivation has taken a hit and, in no time, his performance will too.

Founders are expected to be strong, show unwavering conviction and commitment to the goal, be enthusiastic, and show no form of weakness. It’s surprising that in 2020, talks about work stress, burnout, and mental wellness are still stigmatized.

Humans, not built to be isolated for months at a stretch, are now faced with immense pressure from different bearings and almost only connected to friends, loved ones, investors, teams, customers by video conferencing, and emails. This can have a negative effect on the mental well being of the founder as the task of building a company in itself can be lonely and daunting and founders need to unplug from time to time, socializing and spending time with loved ones.

The uphill task of building successful startups births unhealthy behaviors like overworking and leaves little or no time to socialize and especially at a time like this, self-doubt and esteem issues begin to creep in. Finding the right people to talk to is key to managing such feelings.

VCs have a part to play here. Encourage founders within your network to unplug from time to time, possibly create safe spaces for them to share their concerns and fears with an expert that can provide relevant help.

Two weeks ago, the team at Ventures Platform engaged in a mental health training with the folks at Mentally Aware. This exercise was geared towards coaching employees on how to manage stress, work-life balance, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many more professional care options available to Nigerians these days and founders, startup employees should explore them.

It is important for founders on this entrepreneurial journey to understand the importance of taking care of their mental and emotional health as being healthy means being more productive and effective in both their work and personal lives and delivers long term gains.

Ultimately, being open and vulnerable about your struggles might just be a way to deal with it, talking about it is very therapeutic. It could also help to have a group of other founders (or friends, family, or partners) who come together to open up about personal struggles.

Can we, please, normalize openly talking about work and mental stress?

That’s all folks! Now, let’s dive into the other parts of Series V.

Portfolio Chatter

PiggyVest won the Techpoint award in the category of Best Nigerian app. Congrats guys.

CoBuildIT has commenced a housing project, 404-REGENCY — designed to give residents the perfect blend of functionality and class. The scheme consists of 4 units of 4 bedroom terraces topped off with 2 units of 4 bedroom penthouse apartments. It is located on the leafy, and exclusive J.H. Wariya Crescent in Karmo District; within a few minutes walk of Nizamiye — Turkish Hospital, and the Epicentre Lifestyle Mall (under development). Learn more here.

Join PayStack in a webinar with Y Combinator’s CEO, Michael Seibel, and Paystack CEO as they speak with African founders on how you can get into YC. Date: Tuesday, September 8th | Time: 5 PM — 6 PM (WAT) | RSVP here.

Fintech and music! What? Who would have thought? Listen to a monthly curated mixtape by Paystack here.

Use USSD withdrawal on Kudi mobile App today. Learn more here.

VertoFX’s marketplace offers a range of options including direct trade with other businesses, liquidity providers, and banks. Register for early access here.

Inside VP

We won the Techpoint award in the category of Most Active VC! We thank the Techpoint team for the recognition, our portfolio founders out there kicking ass, our investors, and the entire VP team.

We hosted our Q3 webinar — Conversations With… Adia Sowho who dropped gems on how startups can leverage partnerships to grow their startups. If you’d like access to the recording of the webinar, email

Ventures Platform Foundation will be hosting a Policy Dialogue Series, sponsored by the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, on Thursday, 3rd September 2020 at 11:00 AM WAT to discuss how the ecosystem can enable and support more female tech founders. On the panel — Dr. Omobola Johnson of TLcom, Anna Ekeledo of AfriLabs, Dr. Ola Brown of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Group, and Kofoworola Oyeleye of IyinCreative. Register here —

Ventures Platform in partnership and Acumen, with support from LoftyInc, has launched the Nigeria Impact Startup Relief Facility (NISRF). The NISRF is designed to disburse grants to ensure qualifying post-MVP stage high-growth startups who create impact remain viable and resilient through the COVID-19 crisis. The facility will provide grants between $5,000 — $20,000 to support startups whose businesses are either being adversely affected or modified in response to COVID-19 for a period of six months. The call for applications will close on Friday, 7th of September 2020. Apply here —

Ventures Park, our artsy co-working campus located in Abuja, which supports a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and innovators, is fully opened. They are taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of community members against COVID-19 using Sentinel X, an amazing health surveillance platform by MDaaS Global. For more information, email or visit their website — — to take a virtual tour of the Park.

Ventures Platform Foundation wrapped up the AgriLab program in a virtual demo day event. The leading startup — Agrolinka, founded by Linda Ekweogu, won an all-expense-paid trip to Ireland.

Kola Aina was featured in last week’s edition of TechCabal’s Next Wave on the new normal. Read here.

What are we reading?

Why most anti-poverty programs fail to eradicate poverty by Efosa Ojomo

Are you building a market-creating innovation? We would like to know more. Apply Here.

Stay safe and see you next month,




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