Video Africa Virtual Investor Conference Drives Capital Raising Activities in Africa
Verdant Capital – IMAP South Africa recently hosted its proprietary Video Africa virtual investor conference. Edmund Higenbottam, Managing Director at Verdant Capital shares details on the conference’s origins and explains why investor conferences such as theirs are so vital in terms of helping drive essential capital raising activities especially during the current economic crisis triggered by COVID-19.
What led to you to decide to host your own investor conference?
The first Video Africa was held last year during the first weeks of the disruption caused by the pandemic. We had been due to attend a large investor event in London, which we always attended and used as a key part of our marketing efforts, when just a couple of months before the event was due to take place, it was cancelled. This was the case for all the organized events in the first half of 2020. Investor conferences play a significant role in our annual program, where we can meet one-on-one with our clients and be at the forefront of their capital raising activities. We were also acutely aware that many of our investors, unable to meet investees under these new and challenging circumstances and with more and more event cancellations, were concerned about their portfolios and business development, and how they would originate, source, and prosecute new deals. The capital that these institutions provide to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (“MSMEs”) is essential and even more so during an economic crisis, therefore, we immediately took the decision to host our own investor conference, all in a virtual/video conference format, maintaining the same dates and meetings previously arranged with our clients.
Who was your target audience for the event and how was it received?
The conference was focused on fintech and microfinance and attended by capital raising clients and investor partners. It was so well received, that we immediately announced dates for 2021. At this year’s conference and over a period of three days, we held more than 140 one-on-one meetings with 45 leading investors from 22 countries, as well as 18 of our selected clients, with operations in 13 countries across Africa, ranging from fintechs to inclusive financial institutions – all of which we have sell-side or capital raise mandates signed. Represented were microfinance banks, credit-only institutions, innovative credit businesses, technology driven leasing businesses, payment companies, and insurtechs who are currently raising debt or equity through Verdant Capital.
What would you say were the key factors that contributed to the events success?
The online format, with tailored, high quality and screened one-on-one meetings, enables our clients to kick-start capital raising even under lockdown and strict and constantly changing restrictions. Furthermore, with no travel required, we managed to secure an even higher level of attendance than at your typical roadshow, which of course benefits all parties. Video Africa has proven an extremely efficient means to interact with, and ultimately invest in, leading fintechs and inclusive financial institutions from around the continent. Discussions during the event included new opportunities and new business models addressing perennial issues impacting access to financial services and the short-term challenges and medium-term opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns.
Why do you think investors are so keen to attend Video Africa?
Eight years ago, our goal was to become the biggest capital raising firm for mid-market financial services and microfinance in Africa, and I’m pleased to say that we have succeeded and are now the number one advisor in the private credit market. At the same time, our M&A business has doubled since we became a member of IMAP and of course M&A is a 2-legged business, and many of the capital raising activities have the potential to lead to M&A opportunities. We have worked extremely hard get to where we are, to establish a proven reputation, as well as build strong investor relationships and cement our position. We have also expanded our international reach and have access to a global IMAP team. Therefore, investors trust us to successfully deliver relevant opportunities, and our clients, to find the right investors and Video Africa is the ideal platform for this.
Are there plans for Verdant Capital to host a Video Africa 2022?
Given the success of the first two conferences, Video Africa will now be held annually, playing an important role in stimulating access to finance for institutions working within the parameters of the “new normal”. The dates are already set for next year, March 8-10, 2022 and we are anticipating an even higher attendance as investors look to us to drive essential capital raising activities. In anticipation of the event becoming a regular feature of our business, we have trademarked “Video Africa”.
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