How Pariti is connecting founders with capital, resources and talent in emerging markets

According to Startup Genome, Beijing, London, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Tel Aviv are some of the world’s best startup ecosystems. The data and research organisation uses factors like performance, capital, market reach, connectedness, talent, and knowledge to produce its rankings.

Startup ecosystems from emerging markets excluding China and India didn’t make the organisations’ top 40 list last year. It is a known fact that these regions lag well behind in all six factors, and decades might pass before they catch up to the standards of the aforementioned ecosystems.

However, a Kenyan B2B management startup founded by Yacob Berhane and Wossen Ayele wants to close the gap on three of the six factors — access to capital, knowledge, and talent.

These issues, specifically that of access to capital, is heightened in Africa. For instance, only 25% of funding goes to early-stage startups in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to more than 50% in Latin America, MENA, and South Asia regions.

“We wanted to build a solution that will help startups be successful that otherwise would not have been able to get the resources they needed,” said CEO Berhane to TechCrunch. “This problem is especially acute in Africa because it’s particularly nascent, but this platform is designed for founders across emerging markets. So basically anywhere that doesn’t have a mature, healthy startup ecosystem.”

So, how is the team at Pariti setting out to solve these problems? Ayele tells me that in one sense, Pariti is like an unbundled accelerator.

In a typical accelerator, founders will need to go through an intense program where they are loaded with information on all the things a startup will likely need to know at some point in their growth. Whereas with Pariti, founders get the needed information or resources that are immediately relevant to helping them get to the next stage of the business.

A three-way marketplace

When a founder joins Pariti, they run their company through an assessment tool. There, they share pitch materials and information about their business. Pariti then assesses each company across more than 70 information points ranging from the team and market to product and economics.

After this is done, Pariti benchmarks each company against its peers. Companies in the same industry, product stage, revenue, fundraising are some of the comparisons made. The founder gets a detailed assessment with feedback on their pitch materials, the underlying metrics that they can use to develop their business and, their ability to raise capital down the line.

“This approach gives us an extremely granular view of their businesses, its strengths, weaknesses and allows us to triage the right resources to the founder based on their particular needs.”

It doesn’t end there. Pariti also connects the founders for one-on-one sessions with members of its global expert community. Their backgrounds, according to Ayele, run the gamut from finance and marketing to product and technology across a range of sectors. Pariti also provides vetted professionals for hire from its community if a founder needs more hands-on support building a product.

Ayele says founders can continue to go through this process multiple times, getting assessed, implementing feedback, and connecting with resources and talent.

On another end, Pariti allows investors to sign up on its platform, thereby collating data on their preferences. So once a startup wants to raise capital, the platform matches them with investors based on their profile and preferences.

“We’ve built an algorithm-based matching platform where we curate relevant deals to VC investors. We also simplify the investor reach-out process for founders, which is a huge pain point — especially in this ecosystem.”

Pariti’s investor platform

In a nutshell, Pariti helps founders connect with affordable talent, access capital and develop their businesses. Professionals can find interesting opportunities to mentor startups and get paid gig opportunities. They also get more exposure to the early stage ecosystem while tracking their progress, verifying their skills and increasing earning potential. Investors can run extremely lean operations with access to proprietary deal flow, automated deal filtering and on-demand experts to support due diligence, research and portfolio support.

According to the COO, the company has seen a tremendous amount of value built through the platform so far. A testament to this is an experience shared by Kiiru Muhoya, founder of Kenyan fintech startup Fingo Africa with TechCrunch, on how the platform helped him raise a $ 250,000 pre-seed round.

He said that after going through Pariti’s assessment ahead of a planned fundraiser, he realized that the market he was targeting was too small. Also, he needed to learn more about what VCs were looking for to be successful.

Muhoya decided to switch to being at the other end of things. Joining the expert platform on Pariti, he began to review companies and provided feedback to other founders. This led him to take some months off to pivot his business based on Pariti’s first feedback and what he had learned from the expert platform. He took his startup through another assessment on the platform and thus closed the round.

The company has made significant strides since launching in 2019. It has over 500 companies across 42 countries, 100 freelance experts, and 60 investors using its platform. Berhane also adds that five funds currently use Pariti’s operating system for their deal management.

“For us, I think we’re building the rails for how ventures are built and scaled in emerging markets. We have partners in place across emerging markets, including Latin America and India. We also have a strong interest in the United States, where we see a real need for our platform.” Berhane said.

It charges a subscription model for investors, but Berhane wouldn’t disclose the numbers. He says that Pariti will begin to charge a subscription fee for founders as well. Another revenue stream comes when investors or founders pay a certain transaction fee when using Pariti’s freelance experts for projects. The same happens when there’s any fundraise executed from the platform.

Talking about fundraising, the company recently secured an undisclosed pre-seed capital from angels and VCs like 500 Startups, Kepple Africa and Huddle VC.

But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Pariti as one issue that has stood out in dealing with founders and investors is trust. Berhane says founders have shared some horror stories about engaging with investors, while investors have shared trust concerns about founders reporting false numbers.

Pariti tries to address this by providing NDAs for both parties where the company will not share founders data with investors until they want it to be.  And investors won’t get deals that Pariti hasn’t thoroughly vetted.

Both founders of East African descent — Berhane from Eritrea and Ayele from Ethiopia — crossed paths a couple of times but took different routes to be where they are now.

Wossen Ayele (COO) and Yacob Berhane (CEO)

Ayele started his career at a consulting shop with offices across East Africa before moving back to the U.S. for law school. There, he got his first exposure to the early-stage startup world and worked with an emerging markets-focused VC fund.

“I could see how technology and innovation could play a role in helping communities – whether it’s through financial inclusion, access to essential goods and services, connecting people at the base of the pyramid to markets,” he said.

Upon graduation and completion of his legal training, Ayele headed back to Nairobi to get involved with its growing African startup ecosystem, where he and Berhane founded the company.

The CEO who studied finance and investment banking in the U.S. moved back to Africa to start a pan-African accelerator in Johannesburg, South Africa. While he has worked in managerial positions for companies like the African Leadership University and Ajua, Berhane spent most of his time brokering deals for them which ultimately led him to start Pariti. 

“After helping businesses raise more than $ 20m and seeing how that money led to job creation and upward mobility for employees, I knew there was a path I could have that would be meaningful within finance. I continued to think about the growing asymmetry of access to capital, talent and knowledge in the startup ecosystem and the lack of infrastructure addressing it. Pariti was how we wanted to solve it.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Requirements to apply for Startup Capital?

Does anybody have experience applying for startup capital for a tech business?

What stage do you need to be at? Do you need to have an MVP or proof of concept? Do you need to be operational already?

A lot of these venture capital programs (y combinator, Coinbase Ventures, Crypto com Capital etc) are huge names with a lot of money but give very little information about the initial process, you basically just have to cold call them with an email. Furthermore, what information should that first email convey?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Quadrille Capital secures €511 million for 4th tech fund, with up to 50% to be invested in Europe

Today Quadrille Capital, an independent global investor in technology and healthcare growth equity, has announced that it has successfully raised €511 million for its fourth technology fund Quadrille Technologies IV. Up to 50% of this amount will be invested in Europe. Founded around 15 years ago, Quadrille invests in the most promising technology companies worldwide,…

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EU-Startups

Examine Key Forces Shaping Revenue Based Financing Market Growth | Capria Ventures LLC, Decathlon Capital Partners, Fleximize, GetVantage, SABINE CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC, Uncapped Ltd – WhaTech

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Sequoia Capital India’s Surge invests $2M in sales engagement platform Outplay

A Zoom screenshot showing members of Outplay's team on a video call

Outplay’s team members on a video call

Sales engagement platforms (SEP) help sales teams automate and track the large number of tasks they need to do each day as they contact leads and hone in on potential deals. Focused on small-to-medium-sized companies, SEP startup Outplay announced today it has raised $ 2 million from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge program for early-stage startups.

Outplay was founded in January 2020 by brothers Ram and Laxman Papineni and now counts more than 300 clients. Before launching Outplay, the Papineni brothers built AppVirality, a referall marketing tool for app developers.

Laxman told TechCrunch that Outplay’s customers come from sectors like IT, computer software, marketing and advertising and recruiting, and most are based in North America and Europe.

Outplay is designed for teams that use multiple channels to reach potential customers, including phone calls, text messages, email, live chats on websites, and social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. It integrates with customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce and Pipedrive, giving sales people a new interface that includes productivity and automation tools to cut the time they spend on administrative tasks.

Screenshots of Outplay's sales engagement platform for automating sales tasks

Outplay’s platform

For example, Outplay can be used create sequences that send initial messages through different platforms, and then automatically follows up with new messages if there isn’t a reply within a pre-set time frame. Outplay also provides analytics to help sales people track how well sales campaigns are working.

Two of Outplay’s biggest competitors are Outreach and SalesLoft, both of which hit unicorn status in recent funding rounds. Laxman said Outplay is focused on ease of use, with other differentiators including more integrations with CRMs and other software, and a strong customer support team.

Startups – TechCrunch

European gaming studios Happy Volcano and Snowprint nab millions of investment from Hiro Capital

Today Hiro Capital, a VC focused on backing innovators in video games, the metaverse, e-sports and digital fitness, has announced investing around €12.3 million into two European-based, and one US-based, game studios. On the European side, the two startups are Stockholm/Berlin-based Snowprint and Belgian startup Happy Volcano, with the US-based startup being Double Loop Games in San Francisco….

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UK’s VC fund Hiro Capital leads €12.3M investment in three video game studios: Find out here

Hiro Capital

London-based Hiro Capital is an entrepreneur-led Venture Capital fund focused on sectors such as video games, the metaverse, esports, and digital fitness. The fund has, today, announced that it has invested $ 15M (approx €12.34M) into three creative games studios – Snowprint in Stockholm/Berlin, Double Loop Games in San Francisco and Happy Volcano in Belgium

About Hiro Capital

Hiro Capital is a technology venture capital fund that invests in the UK, US, and European innovators in games, metaverse technology, esports, and digital fitness. It usually invests at the post-seed Series A and B stages. 

“We invest both in front-end content creators in games, esports and digital sports, and in deep tech metaverse applications of cloud, mobile, streaming, big data, AI, wearables, AR, and VR technologies. We back experienced entrepreneurial teams, building innovative technologies and content with a strongly differentiated proposition and with the scaling opportunity to become very large,” the company mentions in a statement.

The VC funds believe that games, esports, and digital sports will be a central pillar of entertainment, economic, and social life in the mid 21st century.

“The addition of these three exciting Games studios brings our total investments to 11, with more deals to be announced soon,” says Cherry Freeman, co-founding Partner at Hiro Capital.

The portfolio of Hiro Capital also includes Flavourworks, Polyarc, Lightfox, LIV.tv, Edgegap, Fix XR, and Nurvv.

How will the firms use the funds?

All three video game studios will use Hiro’s investment to expand their development pipelines and accelerate global growth. 

Ian Livingstone, a co-founding partner at Hiro Capital says, “Each studio has demonstrated innovation and expertise in developing fun-to-play games which resonate with today’s audiences. I’m especially pleased that one of the studios came through our first Dark Star™ event for emerging indies looking to scale their businesses. If only venture capital had been interested in the games sector back in the 1970s, I might not have had to sleep in a van during the early days of Games Workshop!”

Snowprint Studios

The Stockholm-based company was founded in 2015 and is led by industry veterans Alexander Ekvall and Patrik Lindegren, each formerly of King; John Hargelid, formerly of Paradox Interactive; and Wilhelm Osterberg, formerly of Wooga.

Snowprint Studios operates their debut mobile title Legend of Solgard and is now also working on three new mobile projects, including Rivengard, a turn-based tactics game that launched globally on 21st January 2021, as well as an undisclosed AAA mobile IP coming soon out of its Berlin studio.

Alexander Ekvall says, “The team has a deep understanding of building successful games companies and this is reflected in the support they provide. The backing from Hiro means we are better equipped than ever to execute on our mission to deliver genre-defining experiences.”

Double Loop Games

San Francisco-based Double Loop Games, founded in 2019, is a social mobile studio dedicated to making delightful, relaxing experiences for the biggest audience in games. The team’s leaders are industry veterans Emily Greer, co-founder of Kongregate; and Shelby Moledina, formerly of Warner Bros., Interactive Entertainment, and DeNA. 

The company is working on its debut game, and will soon launch its social mobile title, made for players who don’t think of themselves as gamers.

Happy Volcano

Belgium-based Happy Volcano was founded in 2015 by David Prinsmel, Jeroen Janssen, and Peter Maasen. The company has released the critically acclaimed narrative exploration game The Almost Gone and is currently working on a new soon-to-launch cross-platform game You Suck at Parking.

Hiro Capital’s future plan

Luke Alvarez, founding partner of Hiro Capital said, “Hiro was founded to invest in the super-sector of games, sports, and metaverse technologies. On every dimension, in every market, 2020/21 has been a story of strong growth – in users, sales, devices, stream views, and innovations. People fell in love, got married and graduated in games, and are coming out of lockdown stronger thanks to gamified wearables and VR fitness tech. As a VC, it is exciting to see our sector focus so emphatically confirmed. Finally, Hiro is a diverse team and so are these new studios, including our first female Games founders, Emily and Shelby (Double Loop Games).”

The venture capital is looking for more ambitious games entrepreneurs and will be launching the next Dark Star event for Games Studios in March 2021. 

Dark Star 2.0 will give game studios looking for investment the chance to hear from Hiro Capital’s partners and portfolio entrepreneurs about how and why to position themselves for venture funding.

Startups – Silicon Canals