THE SCALE PROGRAM

Driving startup growth across Africa

join THE SCALE PROGRAM ↓

Fuelling success for African founders and teams

The Scale Program works with remarkable African founders and startup teams to drive swift, sustainable growth and long-term success.

We are looking for established, early-stage African startups and driven entrepreneurs to join the FFA family. We’ll work together to scale your business, offering the access, infrastructure, and extra tools needed to support your ambitions and scale your startup across the continent. If you’re interested in collaborating with a creative, experienced team of industry experts and unlocking your ventures’ full potential, talk to us today.

NOT JUST A STARTUP ACCELERATOR

Every tool you need to thrive

We’re not just a typical startup accelerator.  We’re your partners and we take this seriously, working with you to help your business grow.  While advice is helpful, it isn't the same as teaming up,  building your product, developing your AI engine, discovering new distribution partners, or walking hand-in-hand to pitch your business to global investors.  We have all scaled businesses before — we know there is nothing as valuable as technical delivery and hard work.

We work with risk-takers who believe anything is possible, and offer the tools and support required to rapidly and successfully scale a business.

SCALE PROGRAM DETAILS

Collaboration for transformation

The Venture Scale program is designed to help you establish product-market fit, and get your business ready to scale — delivering mass adoption and competitive dominance.

Learning your business, understanding your needs
and designing your pathway to scale

Pre-scale sprints and kickoff

We work hand-in-hand to grow your business — so we begin by spending time together to deeply understand the ins’ and outs’ of your company. Our aim is to position your business for scale — the pre-scale activities are designed as rapid sprints into the product, technology, growth and financials of your business. These activities explore how these areas work, and identify any challenges or gaps that need immediate attention. The Scale program will officially begin at your kickoff week, designed to bring together everything we’ve learned so far. We’ll map out your scale vision together —identifying where you are in that journey and defining the path you’ll take to reach your goals. Each startup leaves the kickoff week with clear objectives and a bespoke execution plan.

Delivering your business priorities and objectives with a committed team

Six months of dedication

During the main phase of the Scale program, startups work to achieve their goals, using the expertise of the FFA team to make better decisions, faster, as they face new challenges and uncover new opportunities. We work together to validate the product, pricing, economics, customer acquisition and retention, and establish opportunities for distribution channels, investments, and partnerships. Functional sprints, strategic reviews, and check-ins keep us all on track with your scale roadmap.

Reflection, reviews and planning for the future

Wrap-up and roadmap

Sustainable growth is our goal, and we make sure working with FFA has a lasting, positive impact. The program ends with a strategic wrap-up where we review all achievements and learnings, and support you to define the roadmap for the next 12 months of your journey to sustainable scale. Once the program is finished, we continue to invest in your long-term success through our network and FFA community.

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THE VALUE OF SCALING WITH FFA

Insight, expertise, and custom collaboration

So much more than money

Our 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’. 

The world-class talent,  time, access and opportunities gained by scaling your startup through the FFA program is valued at £220,000 — complemented by an initial cash investment of £30,000. With a total investment value of £250,000, we make sure you have everything you need to truly transform your business.

A made-to-measure experience

Your startup is unique, and we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Every FFA program is bespoke, designed and implemented according to the specific needs and growth and scale objectives of individual ventures. Working together with the founding team, we define how we will measure success, identifying the resources and requirements that will optimise the way we’ll work together to reach those goals.

A brilliant team of makers and doers

Every team in our Scale 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 Business Development, investment readiness and fundraising. A ready-made team is there to support you with all the skills necessary to scale your business.

Product design
ENGINEERING
Brand
Growth marketing
Technology
Investment readiness & Fundraising

Further investment and ongoing support

We bring invaluable experience as investment professionals, helping you communicate the commercial potential of your business in a way that investors understand. We’ll help you define clear and robust financial models based on your capital needs, create effective pitch decks to capture investor attention, and offer advice on structuring and negotiating investment terms. We’ll also aim to introduce to the right investors who will help you on your journey to scale. 

Partner with Corporate Investors

We work with our corporate partners to help your venture go farther, faster, 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 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.

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.

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.

STARTUPS AND FFA

What do we look for in a startup?

Criteria we consider

  • Is the opportunity clearly defined?
  • How does the product address the opportunity?
  • Is the product experience conducive to customer adoption?
  • Is there a clear understanding of the customer and their needs?
  • Is there a distribution and sales strategy that optimizes customer demand?
  • Are there clear unit economics?
  • Is the business on the path to cash-flow positivity?
  • Is the investment thesis clearly identified and is there a pre-existing investment commitment?
  • Does the company have 6+ months of operating cash-flow?
  • Has the entrepreneur launched a startup before?
  • Do they have some intrinsic understanding of the market?
  • Does the entrepreneur have a clear understanding of the risks and challenges to scale?
  • Is it backed by proprietary technology, built in-house?
  • Is the solution better than others in the market?
  • Does the business show potential to scale across Africa?
  • Is there a strategic alignment to one of our corporate investors?

Non-negotiables

  • Early revenue and proven customer demand
  • Scaleable opportunity
  • Existing product
  • Strong leadership and team

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 Scale Program

EXPLORE OUR PORTFOLIO →

Thoughts from our founders

Kennedy Nyabwala

Bwala has gained so much knowledge & traction since joining the FFA Scale program, our product and brand evolved to best suit our customer needs. We've grown exponentially as a business due to this relationship.

Kennedy Nyabwala
Bwala
(
CEO & Founder
)
Africa's most comprehensive source of startup data

DigestAfrica offers real-time access to information and analysis on Africa’s high growth, early-stage tech companies.

Kampala, Uganda
READ MORE →
Ensuring quality education through affordable finance

Schoolable is facilitating affordable finance for education, helping parents, children and schools across Africa.

Nigeria
READ MORE →

Scale your startup with FFA

We want the founders and teams that join our program to be authorities in their subject matter and industry. We’ll provide the technical expertise, additional resources, corporate infrastructure, and the sense of humour everyone needs when working late happens over a long weekend.

Step 1: Getting to know each other

Any startup applying to the Scale program needs to understand what working with FFA would entail. Equally, we need to know if our program would be a good fit for you. Our application form is designed to give us a better understanding of your business, and the follow up process should help you decide if we’re right for you. If we both decide to proceed, great! We’ll invite you to our offices in Johannesburg, where you’ll deliver your pitch to our team and the corporate partner for the relevant sector.

Step 2: Starting the program

If it’s a match, we’ll make the investment and tailor the program to your business needs. After we understand more about your goals, we’ll work together to make them happen.

Apply for the Scale program  →
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Quick answers

What will participating in the program cost me?

We don’t ask you to pay us for participating in the programme. In return for our cash and services support, we receive equity in your startup. How much equity varies per startup, and is benchmarked against your latest valuation.

How do I know I’ll get the value we need?

Our entire business model at FFA revolves around the success of the startups in our portfolio, As such we are motivated to do everything and anything to help you scale as partners in your business. We don’t count hours or work on specific scope of work. We invest the time, efforts and resources necessary to make you a success,

What happens to my business while we’re in the program?

The simple answer is that your business and day-to-day operations must continue.  That’s why we build a roadmap and identify milestones that are focused on your business priorities. This should bring us together and help us align as one team, working to accomplish the same goals.

What happens to my business while we’re in the program?

The simple answer is that your business and day-to-day operations must continue.  That’s why we build a roadmap and identify milestones that are focused on your business priorities. This should bring us together and help us align as one team, working to accomplish the same goals.

Do I have to be in Founders Factory’s Johannesburg offices for 6 months?

It’s completely up to you. While we’d love to have you with us in the office, we acknowledge this may not be feasible for a number of reasons. Most importantly, we need you to continue to operate your business. The program has been designed to deliver effectively whether remotely or in person. So whether you come to us or we work remotely, we are committed to the same results. Or, even better, we can come to you!

Do your corporates have any special rights?

They don’t. We make the investment as Founders Factory, so they won’t even be on the cap table. Which, if you’re not familiar, is how a company represents who owns what percentage of the business.

Are there any additional benefits?

We’ve negotiated deals for our portfolio with many providers you’re probably going to need to get your work done. From software to specialist legal services, we’re vetting and negotiating on your behalf.

The scale programFuelling success for African founders and teamsDriving startup growth across Africa