THE BUILD PROGRAM

Building new startups from the ground up

join THE build PROGRAM ↓

Igniting new businesses across the continent

Our Build Program brings FFA together with ambitious African entrepreneurs to design and build solutions to high-impact problems — and turn those solutions into massively scalable businesses.

We’re looking for creative, determined individuals, founders we can collaborate with to transform brilliant ideas into successful ventures. If you want to work with exceptional people and start a new venture with your own ideas, or to get involved with an existing opportunity identified by our Venture Design Team, we want to talk to you.

More than a startup incubator
MORE THAN A STARTUP INCUBATOR

Everything you need to succeed

We’re not a cookie-cutter startup incubator. In the Build Program, we collaborate on every element of developing a new business - from concept creation and prototyping to initial customer acquisition and investment raising. Our team of experts works closely with our founders to ensure that you have the rights skills to take your business forward. In addition to the resources and assets our team and partners provide, we invest £150,000 into each venture we build, de-risking the earliest stages of bringing a new venture to life and making sure our founders have the capital they need to turn their idea into a product and take it to market.

We work with risk-takers who believe anything is possible, and offer the tools and support required to turn ideas into reality.

build program details

A fast-track for exceptional founders

The Build Program is split into three distinct phases to bring the new venture from idea to launch — Design, Build and Spinout.

Identifying opportunities with massive commercial potential

Designing the venture

Venture Design is the process of identifying and forming new businesses, starting with real opportunities, not technical solutions. Rather than relying on luck, venture design looks at user needs and market gaps, and applies an iterative and collaborative process to create the foundations for new businesses. Whether you’re joining an FFA concept, or starting with your own idea, we’ll still work together on the first stages of the journey to building your new venture.

Turning concepts into tangible products and businesses

Building the business

Once we have decided to pursue an opportunity, we commit £50,000 to the venture and set about finding the best team to create the solution — and to build it as quickly as we can. We don’t waste energy; our process is optimised for speed, collaboration and learning. Working hand in hand with our founders, our goal is to learn as much as possible in the shortest amount of time — with every resource at our disposal aimed at building the right thing, in the right way.

Launching new ventures into the market

Spinout

After working through the program, our founders should have a product, and a promising business with the potential to scale. At this point we invest an additional £100,000 into your venture. You’ll also move into our Scale Program, with tailored, hands-on support as your challenges evolve and your business grows.

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THE VALUE OF BUILDING WITH FFA

So much more than money

Your first investor

We know that getting the initial funding to get your idea off the ground is often the hardest. We immediately put £50,000 towards every business in the program, cash that our ventures use to validate their feasibility and viability. Once we've gotten signals that a business is venture-backable and have collective confidence that we've proved there is a pathway to scale, we invest another £100,000 and spin the venture out into the market.

An exceptional team of makers and doers

Every founder in our Build Program works directly with our brilliant team of sector specialists to design and build their business. This includes our Makers Lab — a full-time team of digital and technical experts in software engineering, technology, product design, growth marketing, UX and UI. Additionally, you get support from our team on talent and hiring, PR, communications, partnerships and BD, and investment readiness and fundraising. A ready-made team is there to support you with all the skills necessary to launch your business into the market.

Product design
ENGINEERING
Brand
Growth marketing
Technology
Investment readiness & Fundraising

Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets with a unique footprint across 20 African countries. With more than 54,000 employees, approximately 1,200 branches and 9,000 ATMs on the African continent, they’re able to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management.

Netcare operates the largest private acute hospital, primary healthcare, emergency medical services, psychiatric hospital and renal care networks in South Africa. In addition to its world-class acute private hospital services in SA, Netcare provides cancer services including radiosurgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and robotic-assisted surgery. Netcare’s core purpose is to provide person centred health and care, digitally enabled.

Partner with corporate investors

We work with our corporate partners to help your venture go farther, faster, taking advantage of their assets to give your startup a unique edge. Their expertise, data, market insights, relationships, credibility and capital become your superpowers. Our Partnerships team is on-hand to help you get the most value from our corporate network. 

They might be your first customer, introduce you to important distribution channels, and give you the invaluable feedback that takes your product development from good to great. Their investment in us, and in you, means there’s no better place to make it happen.

Connect to a global network

As part of the Founders Family, you are instantly connected to an extensive ecosystem of local and global investors, top-tier corporates, and world-class startups and talent.

The founders family platform

Founders Factory London, Paris & NYC

Founded in 2015 by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, building and scaling over 220 businesses in Europe. Investors include: L’Oreal, easyJet, Aviva, CSC, GMG, M&S, Holtzbrinck. Voted the Hottest Accelerator and Early Stage Investor in Europe at the Europas, and raised over £160 million for its businesses.

Founders Forum

Founded in 2005, Founders Forum is a private network of the world’s leading digital and technology Founders, corporate CEOs and senior investors, who engage in open debate, discussion and problem-solving.

First Minute Capital

Founded in 2017, FirstminuteCapital is a $100m early-stage venture fund with a global remit. It is backed by Atomico, Tencent and Henkel, and 30 ‘unicorn’ founders.

founders and ffa

What we look for in a founder?

You should have

  • Experience bringing digital products to market, either at a startup or agency
  • Commercial success in building or growing a company or...
  • Success in expanding a product’s reach and impact
  • Experience in managing a team and driving successful outcomes
  • Intuitive commercial sense and ability to understand what consumers want, and reconcile this understanding with commercial imperatives
  • Strong communication skills and ability to share and discuss technical and non-technical subjects with diverse audiences
  • Resilience and the ability to thrive in an uncertain, fast-paced environment

Non-negotiables

  • Sheer resilience and appreciation for failure
  • Relentlessly resourceful and creative problem-solving
  • High-risk tolerance and boundless ambition
  • A collaborative approach and willingness to be wrong

If you don't tick every box...

But have related or transferrable skills and experience, why not get in touch and explore one of the many other ways we could work together? Get in touch

OUR PORTFOLIO

Success stories from our Build Program

EXPLORE OUR PORTFOLIO →

Thoughts from our founders

Victor Chaitezvi

The value from the Build Program is indescribable. Could not ask for better partners than those that don't sleep when you don't sleep!

Victor Chaitezvi
Tripplo
(
CEO
)
Financial wellbeing for workers across Africa

FloatPays gives employees access to a portion of their earned income at any time during the month.

Cape Town, South Africa
READ MORE →
The golden standard for African road freight logistics

Tripplo is a logistics software platform built to automate and optimise operations for transporters in Africa.

Johannesburg, South Africa
READ MORE →

Build your next venture with FFA

Join as an FFA startup founder

The FFA Venture Design team focuses on finding real opportunities to build successful new businesses. While we’re incredibly excited about the possibilities that new technology offers, we never start the process with a technical solution. Instead, we look for tangible human problems, and innovative, scalable ways to solve them. Usually with a smile on our faces and the thrill of a new challenge in the air.

We reduce the risk of a new venture, providing a validated product idea and IP backed by our corporate partners — while you focus on building the business.

View current opportunities ↗

Apply with your own startup idea

FFA also partners with entrepreneurs who are still in the idea phase. If accepted, you’ll collaborate with the Venture Design team to refine your initial concept and proposition, and we’ll explore the idea together before pitching it to our investors. If the refined concept is approved, we’ll take the next step together. If not, all IP produced will belong to you, and you can move the venture forward independently, with as much sound advice as you’d like to take with you.

We want to get to know you. So come in, spend some time with us, and let’s find out if we’d make a great team.

apply now →
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Quick answers

Do I have to pay for FFA’s support?

The simple answer is “no”. We view our entrepreneurs as our partners - it’s why we call them our co-founders - and are set up to deliver key support without draining your limited early resources.

What about other costs?

Our initial £50,000 investment will not only cover your salaries and those of anybody you hire, but can be used to cover technology development, marketing experiments, travel and any software you may need.

Who employs me before the business is created?

We take care of all administrative overheads, using Founders Factory Africa as an umbrella company until spin-out, so you can focus on the product and business. You will have an employment contract with Founders Factory Africa until we create the business.

How much do founders pay themselves?

During the initial build phase, we recommend that founders take no more than £3500 per month. We recognize that this will require concessions for many founders, but we believe it’s essential to ensure that the venture has the capital it needs to go the distance. However, we recognize no two scenarios are the same, and this amount is negotiable in certain circumstances.

Do your corporates have any special rights?

Not initially. We make the investment as Founders Factory Africa, so you won’t even see their name on the cap table. The only time they have any rights is at the point of a liquidity event, meaning the venture is looking to be acquired. At this point the corporate investors have the right of first refusal. If a venture reaches this point, it has already been a great success for everybody!

Are there any additional benefits?

We’ve negotiated deals for our portfolio with providers that will benefit your business. From software to specialist legal services, we’ll be vetting and negotiating on your behalf.

What happens when I apply with my own idea?

If you join us to develop a concept that we previously incepted or an idea of your own, we’ll still work together to refine the concept and proposition. This is a chance for everyone to test-drive our relationship. At any point during this process, either side can choose not to proceed. If the concept isn’t approved by the Investment Committee, all the IP produced remains yours, and you are free to continue building the venture on your own.

Building new startups from the ground upIgniting new business across the continent