The cofounder of Carbon, a digital lending company, Ngozi Dozie, has said that
the recent collapse of the techfocused Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) may result in
less funding for African startups this year.
Dozie in a blog post highlighting the takeaways from the bank’s collapse said this
is the time for African startup founders to focus on core operations and manage
their costs because Venture Capitals (VCs) now have fewer funds to throw
According to him, most investments into startups are financed by Silicon Valley
Bank and its peers and with the recent developments, VCs now face uncertainties
that will make them withdraw and become less adventurous in investing.
SVB and VCs: Explaining the relationship between the collapsed bank, other
similar banks, and the major VCs investing in African startups, Dozie said:
“The banks make loans to VCs to fund their investments; When VCs call
capital from their investors then the bank is paid out. But the main point is that
SVB and others are a vital cog in the Silicon Valley machine. SVB operated as
a lender, financier, payroll facilitator, investor, and venture debt financier.
Overnight all these are no more and not all of these services can be replaced
“The psyche of investors and operators alike has changed overnight. When
there is uncertainty, people naturally go back into their shells or their countries.
That sense of adventure to look at other markets; disappeared. The patience
to keep investing in a region that has seen little or no exit is severely
A slowdown in investments expected: Dozie said African startups should expect
a slowdown in investments on the continent. He said there would also be more
pulled term sheets and delays in getting that critical followon funding.
“We have no idea of the scale of the current problem and how it will affect
companies in the West or here. But we know that the operating and
fundraising environment has not improved. And as such, founders need to
react accordingly. But it’s important to be realistic about how we got here.
“The truth is that we need more local investors. When we rely on foreign
investors then we expose ourselves to imported problems. You got money
offshore and had to domicile in the USA. Now we know you weren’t forced to
do this but imagine the conversation if you insisted on transferring the $10
million raise to your Wema or Kenya Commercial Bank domiciliary account,”
While emphasizing the need for more local investors in Africa, Dozie said the
reality of investing in Africa right now is that funds are raised offshore, companies
have to be domiciled offshore, and the funds raised are kept in offshore banks.