Monthly Newsletter #6: Building a Global Movement with Untapped!
This newsletter was originally sent to The Nest network on Thursday, November 25th. To subscribe for future updates please click here.
TLDR: $100k in crowdfunding so far from friends and family, bringing international investors to Cape Town for our South Africa Showcase, and the origin of The Nest network…
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening!
Do you remember where you were when the world shut down?
I (Lundie, from Untapped) was living in Accra, Ghana, working for one of Africa’s biggest startup incubators in March 2020. I had packed up my life in Cape Town three months earlier to move there full time, and had just finished unpacking it. My then-boss called our organization together to let us know that borders would close within a few days, and most of my expat colleagues and I booked flights to our home countries amidst frantic, confused half-goodbyes. I expected to return to the continent a few weeks later, but ended up working from the US for the next eight months instead.
Isolation was named the temporary cure, even in countries and communities where social distancing wasn’t an option, and more and more small businesses around the world were forced to close their doors. Meanwhile, while we were all told to ‘stay home to stay safe,’ Zoom growth hit record highs. It became quickly and painfully clear just how important human connection is to us all in both our professional and personal lives.
Our founder, Jim, was locked down at home in San Francisco in April when he came up with the idea for our online pitch event, The Nest. While watching ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ with his 11-year-old twin daughters, Jim asked himself what would happen if he put a few of the emerging market founders he’d invested in himself, on a Zoom call to pitch to some other investors in his Silicon Valley network. ‘The Nest’ was born.
And it took off.
What began as a way to connect international investors to emerging market entrepreneurs (from home), quickly became an exciting proof of concept. The Nest saw 30+ weekly episodes featuring 60+ companies from across Africa and Southeast Asia, 2,000+ viewers worldwide, and $2M in investment commitments by the end of the year. It’s how I came across Untapped myself, and why I decided to join the team.
For founders — The Nest leads not only to monetary investment, but also strategic partnerships, network building, and valuable experience articulating their business models to those far outside of their market.
For investors — it introduces new markets and provides direct access to the immense potential and investment opportunity in these emerging markets. More than once, I have watched as investors from San Francisco, London, and Singapore have had their eyes literally opened to the exciting growth taking place in Nairobi, Lagos, and New Delhi. It’s knowledge I take for granted given the incredible founders I work with every single day, but our goal at Untapped is for the world to know them also!
Today, ‘The Nest’ is what we call Untapped’s global investor network as a whole. When I joined the team back in January, we began to consider how to add in-person components to The Nest network, as it slowly became safer to do so. We introduced our first ever in-country investor event in Cape Town back in May, and this month, we saw the second edition of our South Africa Showcase come to life!
Untapped’s South Africa Showcase is a highly curated three-day program that brings a select group of international investors to Cape Town to join the Untapped team on the ground, combining cultural experiences with a hands-on introduction to the local startup ecosystem.
We have already seen commitments for new investments and witnessed countless new connections, and now over a dozen people are flying home to help us spread the word about the enormous opportunity the South African and greater African startup ecosystem holds.
Check out some highlights below, and stay tuned for our next Showcase dates coming in May 2022… We can’t wait to do it again!
Untapped updates by the numbers…
ONE MILLION: Dollars we are currently raising for our next equity round via crowdfunding on WeFunder, to build out our Smart Asset Financing platform and give anyone, anywhere the opportunity to invest in emerging market entrepreneurs. Join us now before we go live to the public next week!
NINETY: Guests present at our South Africa Showcase throughout the three-day program held in Cape Town on November 8–10. Thanks to all those who joined us!
FIFTY: Investors from The Nest network that have signed up to be equity investors in Untapped via our crowdfunding campaign, which officially goes live next week!
TWENTY: Hematology analyzers for preventative analysis for small clinics in Kenya, financed with Smart Asset Financing for our new operating partner, Ilara Health!
On The Nest next month…
Friday, Dec 3 — Ask Us Anything — Q&A with the Untapped team: Have questions about our Smart Asset Financing investment model, why we’re crowdfunding, or anything in between? Ask away! Register to join us here.
Thursday, Dec 9 — The Nest on Clubhouse — “Is crowdfunding the future of fundraising?”: Crowdfunding allows everyday investors to accelerate the growth of startups worldwide, and enables startups to get invaluable feedback from would-be investors on their product, build community, and communicate their vision and mission. Is raising from retail investors the future? Let’s discuss! Register to join us here.
Keep well and see you out there!
*Disclaimer: We are ‘testing the waters’ to gauge investor interest in an offering under Regulation Crowdfunding. No money or other consideration is being solicited. If sent, it will not be accepted. No offer to buy securities will be accepted. No part of the purchase price will be received until a Form C is filed and only through Wefunder’s platform. Any indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.