Launched in 2018 and headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re a unique bunch of creative builders, designers, entrepreneurs and mentors, who bring a wealth of knowledge and years of experience to the founders and teams we work with.
Founders Factory has a heart for Africa. We are proud to be a part of its complex and flourishing fabric, and we are humbled by its history of individual and collective progress. Locally grounded and globally connected, we’re becoming the go-to innovation partner for startups, investors, governments, and corporates — throughout Africa and beyond.
The African startup ecosystem has shown extreme resilience during these challenging times, and we’re extremely proud of the collective commitment of the FFA portfolio to develop technology that supports efforts to help fight COVID-19.
I was introduced to the intricacies of business in Africa in 1995, when I started working in Mankien, South Sudan. And it changed my life forever. From then on, I knew that I would always want to work in, and learn from, Africa. And I realised that no matter what, here I will always be a humble guest. It is this humility that drives my hunger to learn and create and build, and it is the principle that guides how we work at Founders Factory Africa.
Africa needs to support its growing startup ecosystem by enabling more entrepreneurs to succeed. I don’t believe that Founders Factory Africa is a revolution or a panacea. We’re not here because Africa needs to import talent or ideas, and we’re not needed to cultivate innovation or ambition. We’re here because we’re inspired by the unlimited and uninhibited creativity, leadership, and spirit of African entrepreneurs.
Our mission is to fuel their success.
Roo Rogers, CEO
We’re local, with our offices in downtown Johannesburg serving as a hub for our community and our first line of research. We believe that creativity can come from anyone, and that they have to be given space to fail and take risks in order to succeed.
Our senior leadership has worked extensively with entrepreneurs across Africa and South Asia. Before establishing FFA, they grew over 75 startups to a portfolio value of $120mm.
The majority of our team are African, complemented by key members from all over the world. Wherever we’re from, we share the same ambition — to create something radically different and incredibly successful. We believe the future is here, in African soil, and we’re proud to help it grow.
Emerging and frontier markets are not charity cases for Western markets to save — from demographics to culture, R&D and innovation to talent, Africa is a central hub for designing the future. In fact, rising talent and life-saving developments in technology are coming out of Africa to inspire and help the world. The size of Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy has more than quadrupled since 2000. We are here to support the startups driving this growth across the continent and beyond.
Designing and building businesses in Africa requires a more creative, strategic and innovative approach — we’re designing for complex markets where regulations are still in development, where informal markets make up the majority of the population, and where so many opportunities exist to create utility-scale impact and returns. In Africa, entrepreneurs are untethered by heavy infrastructure and interest lobbying, and are able to build transformative products and networks that have a nearly instant impact on real lives. This hyper-local approach to market opportunity is scaleable, locally and internationally.
Image courtesy of Kudigo
Where governments and large business sectors failed to realise the opportunities, African startups are solving real human needs. This is why startups are the backbone of the innovation and technology boom in Africa. From health startups preventing disease outbreaks through rapid diagnostics, to fintech startups enabling access to financial markets — African entrepreneurs are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution at scale. And more than that, Africa’s startups are starting to change the world outside of the continent too, transforming global supply chains and driving world-class research.
We offer more than a simple cash injection — growing a successful business takes time, expertise and support and a painstaking amount of hard work. FFA startups are supercharged by our hands-on team, corporate partners, local knowledge, global community and investment opportunities — a unique combination we call the ‘unfair advantage’.
Every startup collaborates with our brilliant team of sector specialists to design, build or scale their business. This includes our Makers Lab - digital and technical experts in software engineering, technology, product design, growth marketing, UX and UI. Additionally, we offer support with talent and hiring, PR, communications, partnerships and Business Development, investment readiness and fundraising.
We’re backed by leading Pan-African corporations — Standard Bank Group and Netcare. We work together with our corporate partners to solve many of the scaling challenges that businesses face — taking advantage of their assets and networks to give your startup a unique edge. Their expertise, data, market insights, relationships, credibility and capital become your superpowers.
Our startups leverage the influence of our global network to solve logistical and geographic challenges, while working with the best technical talent to drive adoption and engagement. While delivering for the African consumer market, we harness the social and financial capital of the international Founders Family network to attract new investment and highlight the potential and opportunities of the African startup ecosystem.
Our Build Program works with ambitious African entrepreneurs to design and build solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing challenges — and turn those solutions into massively scalable businesses.
The Scale program works with remarkable African founders and startup teams to drive swift, sustainable growth and long-term success, collaborating to help startups meet their potential for scale.
The Founders group of companies, built by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, is built on the belief that the world would be a better place if entrepreneurial spirit can flourish. They have created the best ecosystem in technology to support that idea. Founders Factory employs over 130 digital operators and has launched hubs in London, Johannesburg, New York and Paris.