Launched last year, M-funding helps social impact entrepreneurs access finance via equity and donation-based crowdfunding. Based in Kigali, the startup also has operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“The idea came from my personal experience with the difficulties I had financing my first startup. I figured that if I could solve my own problem I could solve the problems of several other young people, because access to finance is a general problem for young entrepreneurs,” chief executive officer (CEO) Koko Legrand said.
His solution is M-funding, which allows entrepreneurs to submit their projects for due diligence before they are published on the platform. If funding targets are met, the startup takes a percentage commission.
So far, eight of 13 attempted projects have raised their target amounts, with US$10,400 raised in total from 23 unique investors. There are another 23 projects currently actively raising funds, with a total value of US$865,000.
“Beyond connecting young entrepreneurs to investors, M-funding also provides technical support and legal assistance to young entrepreneurs after financing their project on the platform in order to protect investors and strengthen the trust of our customers,” Legrand said.
Self-funded to date, M-funding is actively seeking finance of its own, in order to drive sales growth, strengthen partnerships, and expand operations into new markets. It is looking for US$50,000.
Legrand has identified a host of other crowdfunding platforms across Africa, but said Rwanda and DRC are underserved. He sees a major opportunity for growth in these and other markets, but says M-funding must overcome initial challenges, mainly centred around lack of understanding of the concept of crowdfunding, and lack of trust from potential investors and entrepreneurs.