Reasons Why Zim Techpreneurs Didn’t Make It Into FasterCapital’s Incubation Program-Lessons To Be Learnt

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Young people working at a startup

The Zimbabwean economic scenario is well known for its challenges and opportunities. Building a successful startup is clearly not a walk in the park! Which is why we have very few success stories. The challenges range from financing, finding a good mentor, finding a good technical partner to develop your app/website/tech solution e.t.c Which is why it’s good that there are opportunities like FasterCapital’s incubation programme that can offer a ready-made solution for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs challenges. There were a number of startups that applied for the first funding round of the year by FasterCapital and unfortunately from Zimbabwe none of the startups was selected. Here are a couple of reasons why startups were not selected:

  1. Failure to follow instructions on the website! Our application page at FasterCapital has specific instructions such as filling in an offline and online form, supplying a pitchdeck, supplying a business plan with financials and swot analysis, photos of the startup team including their LinkedIn profile. FasterCapital does not consider any application that lacks the above.
  2. Realistic valuation of your startup idea or business: at times as entrepreneurs, we tend to exaggerate the value of our business which also leads to an exaggeration of the investment required this has a tendency of putting off investors and the team at FasterCapital it’s always good to place a realistic valuation and as much possible consult an experienced financial expert to help you have a realistic value of your business.
  3. Scalability model: FasterCapital like most international VCs are looking for a business model that has the potential to grow beyond Zimbabwe into several markets regionally and internationally some of the ideas submitted didn’t have a model that showed the entrepreneurs had put thought into scaling beyond Zimbabwe or better yet even beyond Harare.
  4. Go to market strategy: especially for startups that are still at idea stage without an MVP; a compelling well thought out ‘go to market strategy makes a large difference as it shows you understand the market and its dynamics. For startups or entrepreneurs wondering what ‘go to
    market’ means please click this link.
  5. Credible Financials: This point probably goes along with the second point highlighted on valuation the financial forecasts for your startup. They may not necessarily reflect what will happen once you acquire funding but they at least have to be credible i.e you can’t claim you will make a $1 billion in 5 years from a $20 000 investment in the Zimbabwe market place, it’s simply not realistic.
  6. Being a one-man gang: FasterCapital, as well as most international VCs, don’t support the idea of solo entrepreneurs. They prefer co-founders! If you don’t have a co-founder it will be tougher to raise $. And more importantly, it will be tougher to build your company.

A few other reasons, especially for startups that have been around for a while, is not showing traction or growth in the marketplace which is very important. FasterCapital does offer a unique model that has world-class technical development, funding and mentorship in the mix. Zimbabwean startups, by all means, should try as much as possible to take advantage of this mix to enhance their chances of success. These are just some of the reasons why applications were turned down by FasterCapital. We still encourage startups to apply as we have new funding round opening up next month.

For more information about FasterCapital feel free to contact one of the regional representatives: Tawanda Mutukwa at email: or phone/Whatsapp:+263772446619


  1. Van Lee Chigwada

    Hie Tawanda, I just went through your article. I have some points to raise also.

    1. Not having a Linkedin Profile means I am not a serious business? I do not get the Linkedin requirement part. How does a social network factor into a business requirement?

    2. Valuation is a tricky topic. I think you should look at a start-up and valuate it yourselves before you fund it. As a tiny start-up appealing for funds, the moment I bring in valuators, I am going to go very broke and I have no guarantee if I will get the funding. It could sink my start-up.

    3. I agree with you entirely. A lot of fellow Zimbo start-ups have get rich quick schemes that won’t work beyond their tiny demographic.

    4 and 5 I have no comment.

    6. This one, you need to maybe become flexible on. I am a sole-entrepreneur and may continue to be so for a while. I employ part-time specialists when I need them as I can’t afford full time employees yet.
    VCs may prefer teams, but the statement that soloing it may make it tougher to build a company, that’s not a correct blanket to place on someone.

    Lastly, as I have noted with most VCs, you have a one-size-fits-all when it comes to every thing. This pushes away a lot of potential opportunities.
    Not to sound clichè but a similar one-size-fits-all ruler was used to measure Google when they started out hunting for capital. Do not make the same mistake of overlooking good potential by applying a formula to all types of startups.

  2. Tawanda Mutukwa

    Hi Van

    Thanks for your comments!I will try respond as best as I can

    On your point 1 – this actually one of or standard expectation and practice for us at FasterCapital if you will notice everyone at FasterCapital actually has a Linkedin profile including startups and techpreneurs that are part of the FasterCapital family so that is not going to change anytime soon.

    On your second point yes we do our internal valuations and KPIs for anyone who pitches a startup! but at the end of the day as a founder its also important for you to come with a reasonable valuation of your startup afterall how do you negotiate for equity stakes if you yourself don’t even have a clear idea how much your startup should be worth and 15% of the pie is equal to??

    On your last point this is just globally accepted standard for VC investments you just have to find a way of creating a team like I said no VC anywhere will invest a one man gang and thats very critical for you to know and accept and if we look at most of the great Tech companies of our time e.g Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Apple e.t.c they were not started by one man gangs or solopreneurs it was teams that started them and teams that helped them grow to reach the sheer heights of legendary massive success that they are enjoying today as the saying goes “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far go together”, African Proverb”