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The core of entrepreneurial innovation for West Africans
The innovative funding platform that matches founders to investors, mentors,
domain experts, professional services providers and early adopters.

Get all the help you need to start and grow your dream into a thriving business
Find investors, mentors, experts and professionals that can be the difference between real entrepreneurship and mere want-repreneurship

Do all the best investment opportunities always seem out of your reach?
Here’s your chance to finance a startup and watch it grow, potentially increasing the value of your stake several-fold.

It’s so rewarding working with startups
Share your wealth of knowledge with startup teams as a mentor, sector expert or professional services provider.

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Hi, We are Push & Start

About Us

We are a bunch of passionate and persistent investment gurus with a calling to start up West Africa

  • Story

  • Status

  • Skills

We got fired. We got angry. We found a new love – entrepreneurship. But she didn’t love us back. We did all we could, but as they say in the Marines, “When the going gets tough, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to your level of training”. That’s when we became Lean Startup converts. We’re now on a mission to help founders like us sidestep all the mistakes we made and get the help we wish we had.

Business Analysis 90%

Finance 92%

Domain Knowledge 75%

Persistence 150%

Looking cool in sunshades 95%

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Ideas are a commodity, execution of them is not - Michael Dell, Dell Computers

What’s in it for Me? (WIIFM)

You’re in good hands with us.

Learn

Build

Measure

  • Crowdsourced funding

    Crowdfunding

    Crowdfunding leverages the collective effort of numerous individuals who pool their resources (in this case money), usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people – people like you. These people may be friends but more often they are near-perfect strangers who just happen to have a shared vision.

  • Business planning

    Business Planning

    Project authors (start-up founders, entrepreneurs, visionaries, etc.) must think deeply about their business ideas. Our process is rigorous and designed to help project authors think about the issues that affect their business’ success. This sort of thinking is rated highly by investors. Business analysts are available to work with you to fine-tune your ideas and build a robust business model that will pass muster.

  • Business and Professional Networking

    Business and Professional Networking

    Networking is consistently ranked as one of the top three value-enhancing activities of any successful entrepreneur. Our platform provides numerous avenues for entrepreneurs to engage their peers across industries and borders. Learn from those who have already travelled this road and when the time comes, share your experience with others.

  • Find mavens, earlyvangelists and sneezers to propagate your ideavirus

    Propagate your ideavirus

    An ideavirus is a concept, a service, a product, or something neat and noteworthy that people tell other people about, sparking viral growth. Two catalysts for any ideavirus are earlyvangelists and sneezers. Earlyvangelists are unlike “mainstream” customers because they are willing to take a leap of faith and buy an early version of a product from a startup. Their willingness to pay is a critical part of the customer discovery process. Sneezers are the core of any ideavirus. Sneezers have credibility which they leverage to spread your message to ten or twenty or even 100 people.

  • Invaluable mentoring from top-notch professionals and successful entrepreneurs

    Mentoring opportunities

    Entrepreneurs get much more advice than they ask for from family, friends and even the dude who owns the store next door. Your mentor will help you sort out which you should follow while advising you on more complicated business matters that are beyond your friends’ and family’s expertise.

  • World class professional service providers

    World Class Service Providers

    Because the informal sector is pervasive in Africa, there’s a lot of informal entrepreneurism. This reality often prevents SMEs from professionalising and thus scaling their operations. We maintain a directory of capable accountants, lawyers, business analysts and consultants who are itching to work with you on your project and deliver superlative results.

  • Access to relevant entrepreneurial ecosystems

    Access to Relevant Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

    We will expose you to a whole new world of entrepreneurial activity, connecting you to relevant resources that can help your business grow. Find entrepreneurial collectives, incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists (VCs), angels, etc. who serve your particular industry and begin to build relationships that will boost your business.

  • Tailored for Africans by Africans

    This is Africa

    We are Africans and we need to create home-grown solutions to our unique challenges. If we don’t, who will?

  • Become Lean Startup certified

    Lean Startup & Bootstrapping

    Lean Startup isn’t about being cheap but it is about being less wasteful while chasing a bold vision. We will expose you to the principles of the Lean movement and you’ll see why it has taken the world by storm.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Polymath, President

Learn
Build
Measure
Repeat

Your margin is my opportunity – Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Our Ethos

We drank the Kool-Aid. We think you should too. Here are some of our all-time favourites.

My best entrepreneurial advice is to start – Dave Morin, Path co-founder

Partners

These are some of the remarkably innovative people we’ll be working with.

We’re NOT endorsed by the following people . . . even though we wish we were!

Herman Chinery-Hesse

In order to change Africa, you need to change most Africans. You need to go . . . where small businesses dwell.

Nicky Oppenheimer

I am a great believer that if you know how to operate in Africa, there are unbelievable opportunities

Tony Elumelu

Africa is capitalism’s final frontier, and as such it offers boundless economic opportunity — not just for investors and entrepreneurs to build successful businesses, but also for economic growth to solve many of the continent’s most pressing social challenges.

Get yourself up here

This could be you. Share or tweet this and you could be selected as one of our Regular Joe/Jane endorsements.

When you’re a one man show, you have to focus on the most important thing to get done today – Noah Everett, Founder of Twitpic

FAQs and T&C

The Push&Start difference

Small business finance is a challenging prospect for most non-specialists and we want you to be able to focus on what you do best – creating value for yourself and your backers. An independent accountant is required to protect both you and your investors and to ensure everything is above board.

A good mentor is an invaluable asset for any founder. You will have the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone who knows what you’re experiencing and can give you candid and constructive feedback and pointers. It’s also a great networking opportunity.

Not really. Look at it this way, even if you tried, you couldn’t completely convey your vision to another person. No one can. Furthermore, you hold the keys to your project and decide who can view the project. However, we discourage overly strict controls unless your idea relies on as-yet unpatented but highly valuable intellectual property. Word of caution: if you insist on non-disclosure agreements before viewing your project, most investors will probably give it a pass.

It depends. We have default tipping points which can be relaxed if you get a majority of your investors to agree to your tipping point review request.

A tipping point is a level below which all funds raised will have to be returned to investors. Essentially we estimate the tipping point to be the minimum level of funding required to implement your idea and this is set at 70% for all projects.

No. We use a proprietary algorithm to assess your unique risk premium which is added to an index value representing your country’s economic outlook. You then have freedom to either adopt that combined rate or select a rate above that which incorporates the value you hope to derive from the funding. Sounds complicated? Trust us, it really isn’t.

That’s entirely up to you. Assess your idea and value your business then equate that to the funding you require to arrive at a fair deal for investors.

Benefits

Definitely. Beyond your own connections, we reach a vast array of investors who are searching for viable investments. If you’ve done your homework, yours will surely appeal to someone somewhere.

Moreover, beyond funding, we can help you with the customer discovery process by sharing your ideas with a wide and diverse spectrum of individuals, many of whom may be a part of your addressable market. If they don’t bite, you should interpret that as an unambiguous verdict on the appeal of your idea and go back to the drawing board.

You can also find professionals and mentors who have extensive experience dealing with businesses at your stage of development who can fill out the gaps in your team’s skill set.

You can raise any amount from $10,000 to $10,000,000 (in your local currency) depending on your business needs, the attractiveness of your addressable market and your company valuation. We do advise you to seek and accept investments with caution. Try not to raise too much so you don’t lose control too soon.

Rubbish at accounting? So is over 80% of the population. Also remember that the business plan is just a communication tool and you already communicate with people every day so no worries. If you think you need the help of a professional to work with you and craft a business narrative around your idea, we have seasoned business analysts and consultants who you can engage for a small fee. You might even find some who will work for no upfront fee and you pay nothing if your project is unsuccessful.

Certainly. As an individual you can raise funding here as well. Naturally, you can’t give out any equity in yourself so individual fundraises are 100% debt, i.e., loans which must be repaid.

Simple. We all understand that business is risky. Failure happens more frequently than we like to admit but your investors understand the risks and all they expect is that you put in your level best to make a success of your project. And communicate clearly and often.

Indeed you can. Beyond that, we also have screens of our own that ensure we do not promote businesses engaged in any form of illegality.

You can always work as one of our domain experts, sharing your knowledge whenever you see an opportunity to do so. If you have the skills, you can provide professional services to startups as well.

No it isn’t. We believe if a thing is valuable, that value should be ascertained and charged for. You wouldn’t give your services or products to customers for free would you? Having said that, our fees are more than reasonable and our primary motivation is not money. Not by a long shot.

Lean Startup methodology is all about avoiding waste. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of opportunities.

About Push&Start

Crowdfunding has its origins in the concept of crowdsourcing which is the broader concept of an individual reaching a goal by receiving and leveraging small contributions from many parties. Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support a common project.

Due to the origins of crowdfunding, it has been widely applied in a donations-based structure where contributors do so simply for the joy of doing good and supporting someone else’s dream. At Push&Start, we have chosen to take a different road. We believe in give and take and we also realise that people struggle to appreciate ‘free’ gifts.

For one, all contributors can expect to get something back in return for their contributions. It may be a repayment of their principal with a little something extra in the case of debt or it could be an ownership stake in a startup (entitling them to a share or business profits) in the case of equity.

Secondly, deals on this platform employ a more rigorous structure and there are mandatory requirements to ensure founders and investors are protected.

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that Push&Start operates in a lightly regulated area. Private companies are given leeway to raise funding as long as they refrain from advertising to the wider public. Telling your friends about your idea and asking them to chip in and tell their friends also is hardly advertising to the wider public, now is it?

We are operating out of our Nigeria office though as we roll out to other West African countries we fully intend to have boots on the ground there as well.

Push&Start is an online property of Bellerophon Limited.

You should trust us because we have come full circle back to our origins – finance.

You should trust us because during our sojourns, we learnt a bucket load of amazing entrepreneurial stuff that you can only learn by doing.

You should trust us because we’ve been in your shoes – as investors and as founders. We know your frustrations because we’ve lived with them for so long.

You should trust us because we’re not interested in putting lipstick on a pig or sugar-coating the bitter truth. You can count on us to keep it real and do right by you.

Terms and Conditions T & C

Please note that investments on this platform are neither regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nor insured by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. The value of an investment will fluctuate and, when sold or redeemed, may be worth more or less than its original cost.

An investor should consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing

Past performance is no guarantee of future results

Mentor Matching and partnership with at least one professional services provider are non-negotiable and mandatory elements of the programme for entrepreneurial teams and individuals.

We are not a bank and we don’t accept investor deposits. The entities we work with are usually small, privately held companies or individuals so the industry regulators pretty much ignore us. Essentially, shine ya eye!

Believe us, this isn’t child’s play. Please don’t risk your children’s college fund on this. Stuff goes up and down, including investments.

Depending on your age, income, exposure, risk tolerance, and financial goals not every investment is suitable for you. Speak with a financial advisor if that helps.

It’s tempting to look at a track record (yours, ours, and anyone else’s) and think you can somehow use that to predict the future. You can’t, end of.

No mentor, no independent external accountant, no funds. Period.

Contact

3 Omobola Close, off Falolu Road, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria

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