Mustard Lunches: An Idea-stage Investment Vehicle for Building Africa-focused Brands That Reach Global Audiences Mustard, a London-based ‘venture agency’ exclusively focused on Africa, has launched its idea-stage investment vehicle to originate Africa-focused ventures capable of resonating with global audiences, which it says can yield ‘VC-type’ returns over five years.
Mustard believes that Africa’s future image will be largely shaped by the brands it is able to produce, and their ability to attract and move global audiences. Having recognised the continent’s absence of strong brands and its ecosystems’ limited faith in their power for over a decade, Mustard is launching a £4m investment vehicle to build narrative-led technology ventures from the very start, with like-minded founders and investors who believe. Mustard’s idea-stage investment model will have it play the role of both investor and builder from the earliest stage possible. Mustard will identify visionary, veteran and influential individuals with ‘globalizable’ venture ideas, and provide the capital and expertise in engineering, design and storytelling to explore them before a company has even been incorporated. Mustard will invest capital and expert knowledge to help the venture launch and attract customers, if the founders and venture idea are viable. Mustard may then seek an exit in a Series C or B round. This model is very different from the usual 10-year returns approach used by African VC firms. African VCs are able to invest in multiple companies in the growth phase and also play an advisory, hands-off role in their portfolio companies. Mustard conversely will get fully involved as a builder from the venture idea’s formulation, do so with far fewer companies (Aproximately 3–4 per Year), and aim to provide its investors VC-type returns in half the time (5 years). For Mustard’s new venture agency model its founder Ndubuisi Kejeh has brought in renowned advisers in the areas of venture capital, growth, brand narratives and talent management, namely: Parminder Vir OBETony Elumelu Foundation’s former CEO, a film and TV producer who has won numerous awards; Chris WilliamsonMpesa MD at Vodacom Eunice Chou, from the Africa VC firm EchoVC Partners. Dudu Sarr, long-time friend and manager of Grammy-award winner Youssou N’dour. Parminder Vi OBE, award-winning film and television producer and Mustard Advisor, stated: “Africa has many stories to tell, and over the last twenty years the story of its resilient youth seen through the growth of tech startups has been one of its most significant. Over the last four decades I have worked to bring stories from Africa and other cultures to the world through film and television, and I believe Mustard’s approach will help to do the same through the meaningful brand narratives it builds for tech ventures.” Seni Sulyman, founder of BlackOps and former VP Global Operations at Andela, said: “Right from the first time I came across Mustard’s thesis and idea-stage investment approach, it sounded really powerful. I am keen to see what comes next from the Mustard team because I want to see African brands go global, which will not only mean massive changes for the continent, but also for its place in the world.”