Investor & Founder of Enygma Ventures, Co-founder Under Canvas
Sarah-Dusek | Investor & Founder of Enygma Ventures, Co-founder Under Canvas

"Because what I have learned the hard way, which is so obvious but great, businesses as brilliant as a business idea require execution."

- Sarah Dusek

Sarah Dusek, Investor & Founder of Enygma Ventures

Talk Takeaways

What better way to bring in a fresh perspective than bringing in a woman all the way from another part of the world, from the majestic rainbow nation, South Africa. From her journey working in an NGO to the establishment of a Venture Capital Fund for women, Sarah Dusek shares the story and the lessons she learned along the way. Jeffery is in for another fantastic episode that will surely inspire everyone in the startup industry, especially for women who also want to change the world, one idea at a time.

Topics discussed:

  • Eight Years as an NGO Worker
  • Sarah ‘s Life Changing Questions as an NGO Worker
  • The Reluctant Businesswoman
  • Under Canvas Inc.
  • Sarah talks about Scaling as Building Blocks
  • Dealing with No’s in the Tech World
  • The Need for Experienced Advisors
  • Enigma Ventures
  • Execution as the key for every Business Idea
  • Sarah’s Motivation in her Venture Capitalist Journey
  • The Need to Empower Women in the Business World
  • The Story of a Successful Female Founder in Zambia

About

Sarah Dusek is a venture capitalist and co-founder of Enygma Ventures, a venture capital fund. She invests in women-led businesses in Southern Africa, creates solutions to wealth disparity, and provides access to capital for women.

In 2017, after successfully selling her company, Under Canvas, for more than $100 million, Sarah launched Enygma Ventures. In that same year, Under Canvas received a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list, and Sarah was named to Ernst & Young’s EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women list.

Sarah began her career in the nonprofit world in her early twenties working in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. After almost eight years, she became disillusioned with the lack of change resulting from her efforts. She realized that the most effective vehicle for driving change and solving big world problems is business. Businesses are sustainable solutions to problems. They drive economies, create self-sufficiencies, and change our world. Business can, and should, be a force for good.

Today, Sarah offers online courses for early-stage entrepreneurs (hosted at www.pranary.com). Over the past year, five thousand entrepreneurs have gone through her programs to become investor-ready and learn how to build valuable companies. She is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, The Telegraph, and TRT World. She is also chairwoman of the Women’s Giving Circle for The Global Good Fund, a social entrepreneurship leadership
development program, and sits on the board of ten (and rising) startup companies in Southern Africa, as well as Under Canvas.

Sarah has an LLB Law degree from Exeter University, UK, and an MA from University of Manchester in Missiology. She divides her time between the US and South Africa with her husband and two children.

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund Ask An Investor. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s please welcome Sarah Dusek from Enigma Ventures as our investor for today. Welcome Sarah. it’s a real pleasure to have you here today.Transcription for Sarah Dusek

Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund Ask An Investor. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s please welcome Sarah Dusek from Enigma Ventures as our investor for today. Welcome Sarah. It’s a real pleasure to have you here today.
Sarah: Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.
Jeffery: I’m very excited today to get the opportunity to chat with you. One, because you’re in South Africa. I love South Africa. and then the second point is that you’ve done a lot of great things from taking a company, selling it, diving into venture and fully baked into this venture side. so we’re excited to unpack all this and learn a lot more about yourself and all the great things that you’re doing. So to start, maybe you can share a little bit about the background and all these great things you’ve done and then one thing about you that nobody would know.
Sarah: okay. well if you’d have said to me 20 years ago, Sarah Dusek in 2022, you will be a venture capitalist. I would have laughed my head off. so my journey into finance is probably quite an unusual one actually in that I started my journey as an NGO worker. So prior to even getting into business, I worked for non-profit organizations. first in Africa and then in the far east. so my transition into business was coming at business with the idea that money capital is the dark side. It’s the evil side of the world and we stay away from such things, but quickly realize money is really what makes the world go round and entrepreneurs are the pioneers and the builders of the future. and I definitely considered myself a pioneer even in my early 20s. So after about eight years of working for non-profit organizations, I really had this sort of hunger within me to build something that would solve problems. and I realized having a for-profit business was maybe a better vehicle for driving change, solving big problems, making big things happen. so that led me into entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in turn led me into being the investor I am today. so one thing that maybe was, my one thing that you didn’t know about me. [Laughter] Jeffery: well, I did read up that you were in the not-for-profit and what I love about that is that you’ve really hit lots of different avenues in the world from going to a space where the world revolves around helping people and the money somehow magically appears when you need it and when you need it even more. you have to fight even harder to find it and then you get out into the real world and say that wow, the whole world runs off this capital. How do I jump into this and make things work a lot smoother? one of the things that I love. I love it. Well, it was interesting that when you said that, if we asked you this 20 years ago if you’d be a venture capitalist. one thing that I can relate to is I was in the same boat. I never really focused on people that had money. I just figured I would be a solutionist in everything and then when I was putting together my first company, I actually wrote down on this spreadsheet or the bubble thing and you wrote it down and put it in a drawer six years ago. I found it and this was before I started the company and on it I had a venture capital that I wanted to do this arm and I was like oh my jumping. I had no idea. somehow I must have come across this 20 years ago and I don’t know how I did because I didn’t even know how I knew about venture capital. so I guess somehow it magically appeared. maybe through osmosis while I was sleeping or something. but fascinating how you transition into these spaces and what you bring to the table and I think I want to kind of jump back into the not-for-profit side and maybe when you were going through this not-for-profit side and working with the NGOs and it’s obviously quite popular especially in the African continent. What were some of the takeaways that you kind of built up from that because you were coming in from a law perspective? so I’m sure you’re very detail-oriented and everything is probably very logistically broken down. and then you’re going into this space where a lot of unknowns can happen, all the time were you able to utilize a lot of what you had built on what you went to school with and all those things as you kind of propelled your way through this NGO space or was it just so randomly new and a total different experience?
Sarah: yeah. actually you’re right. I trained as a lawyer and I actually use my law training more in my day-to-day life now than I certainly did when I first started out working for NGOs. so at the time, I remember thinking this was a whole waste of time. but it certainly wasn’t always the time. and it’s been very valuable to me recently. But I think, yeah, the NGO world. I was disillusioned by the NGO world after sort of six or seven years of working in that space because what I realized was most people who work in that space really are trying to save the world. I mean we are in that space because we’re trying to be a solution to some of the world’s biggest problems or small problems or large problems. I mean it’s about trying to do good and trying to drive change. and one of the most frustrating things was feeling like gosh, we’re just bandaging and obviously the world is a needy place. so we have to bandage needy people in needy situations. But can we solve any problems? so I always felt like we’re not really getting to the root of trying to solve anything. When I was in Africa for example, I did a lot of AIDS education work and health education. and the AIDS epidemic and crisis kind of had imploded in the world at that time. and I just remember thinking, we’re doing that, we’re spending a lot of energy and doing a lot of work. and I don’t know if we’re getting to the heart of the problem and I don’t know the root of that problem. For example, even if you ask me now, there are so many factors at play even with that one particular issue and it needs a whole variety of solutions to solve it. and I just remember feeling like I don’t know that this is the right vehicle to solve anything long term and make it big in driving change. You find that the reason is because they’re always running at 100 miles an hour because the problems are so deep, happening so fast that you’re running beside the problem and you don’t really have the time to slow down. so you’re repairing while running and it is a repair you’re not able to slow down. and say let’s hold on a second, here is the root of the problem. It is x now. let’s try to go after that and because it’s always a running machine going so quickly you’re not able to jump in. so the focus is very spread out.
Jeffery: Yeah, absolutely.
Sarah: I do think that and I do think that the problem with non-profit organizations is you constantly need funding for the work that you’re doing. and when funding in the non-profit space is whatever sexy at the time is getting the money. So when you don’t have a sustainable solution for solving your own problem, you are relying on outside donors. you are reliant on people to still keep seeing your problem as the sexy problem for solving. so the lack of sustainability around that and the longevity of what it takes to really make something happen and drive change is complex. so there were so many issues there. But for me, I just felt like we could actually that’s the very heart of what a business does. It takes a problem and tries to solve it in a particular way for a particular person with a sustainable solution because it has to be profitable. if it’s going to survive and going to continue. and that’s what I love about business, the vehicle of business is just the energy around. This has to be self-propelling. this has to sustain itself. This has to be ongoing and solve a real problem for someone. Otherwise, no one’s going to know what to spend any money on. so that’s what I love about businesses and even the businesses that we’re working with today. and you said, I have a venture capital fund in South Africa and we are focused on investing in women-led and founded businesses. so we’re actively seeking to empower women to solve the problems that they can see and create opportunities for them to have access to capital to empower them to do that. and that’s exciting. That’s exciting work. and I think a lot of the time, sometimes I guess as we’re running through life, we don’t realize, but a lot of the things that we do early on tend to be what we go back to.
Jeffery: So you started off working in an NGO and helping people and helping big problems but maybe not getting the connections that you wanted to really solve them because in a way, we’re just a cog in a big machine wheel in that sense. and then you pulled yourself out and decided, I need to make this change. and I think you probably gained a lot of learning and a lot of support mechanisms and probably connections around the space. so you decided to jump in and create your own business and you raised capital to enable this business. Can you share a little bit about that journey and what was your decision to jump into the business? and then what made you decide that you needed to raise funds versus just building a business yourself.
Sarah: yeah. well .I was a reluctant businessman, jumping into business. I was definitely reluctant as I said. but the final sort of penny dropped for me that business could be a force for good, that business could be used to drive change and do good in the world. So that’s how I approached business. and my husband and I realized when we started to think about businesses as an amazing vehicle, we started to think. Well, we don’t know anything about running a business. We’ve never done this before. so I came into business with the idea of, I’ve got to learn. If I’m going to be able to use business as a vehicle for good, I’ve got to learn the mechanics of how you build a business, how you scale a business, how you grow a business. so we really dove right in. and my husband and I built a company in the US together called Under Canvas which was taking the safari concept from Africa and bringing it to incredible outdoor places in the US and we wanted to prove this idea that you could create access to incredible places by not destroying them so we could do development in a much more sustainable way. could we create a light footprint on the earth? could we educate folks about sustainability and leaving no trace and minimal water usage and being zero waste and all these kinds of environmental ideas? and so we pioneered a very small business. and as I said. I didn’t even know what venture capital was. was so we certainly weren’t thinking about building a business and raising capital right out of the gate. We were trying to find a business solution that would be sustainable i.e that would work and that people would pay for, and would be profitable. and we went through a couple of different iterations before we got to the elusive product market fit not knowing though what the terminology for product market fit was at the time. But within three years, it took us three years to get to that elusive place and we finally ended up with a business model that could work and that we were really getting some traction with and really felt that could be scalable and that we could grow it and actually could be something of real substance. because the interesting thing for me was, my early realization was, if your motivation is impact and driving change, you can’t stay small. you can’t think small. if your real motivation is to make a big difference in the world. so I had to think. we had to start to think about how we build a big business, not just a small little lifestyle business. so that led us on a journey of discovery and of realizing. Yes, you’re going to definitely need more money if you’re going to try and play with the big boys. and that was when we were six years in when we realized we’ve got to raise some capital to grow our own business, scale it now.
Jeffery: That’s great. and a great story that you actually worked as a team partnership to work through these problems which were building a big problem to solve and then iterating to get to that year three. and then again, probably continuing to iterate and look at the scaling. and you mentioned scaling in a few different areas. What does scaling mean to you? Because I think this is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit. even if it’s an early stage company, they’re oh, you’re scaling. I’ve got two people. so I’m not scaling. but you’re telling me, I have to scale. So how am I scaling when I’m two people? but you tell me. So can you share what scaling means and how an entrepreneur can look at scaling because you’re bang on that. anybody that wants to invest, usually you take capital when you’re trying to scale. and that’s kind of the note. like if you want to be large and as you mentioned, play with the big boys and play, be competitive. you take some capital but can you kind of share a little bit about what that was for you that said we’re scalable now, we’ve got the right model, let’s get some capital.
Sarah: yeah. I think there’s a couple of different ways to think about scale. and nobody does zero to hero in one leap right. Scaling is about putting building blocks in place that you go from here and then here and then here and then here and in here and here. but when you’re starting, the big question is, do you have something that a lot of people could access? So could a lot of consumers use it? could a lot of people use your service or buy your product or use your platform or whatever? So even when you’re sort of figuring out product market fit, your minimal viable product, you’re the earliest version of your product you already should be thinking about. Is this something that more than 10 friends and I will ever want to use or pay for or buy? And for us we started to think about scale when we had a replicable model. so I didn’t have a tech business. so it’s slightly different when you’re in tech and when you’re in a different kind of business. but I started thinking about it, there is a business model here that has a replicable pattern. For example, you could take this with retail. For example, I’ve got one store that knocks it out of the park. and it’s incredible. and we’re the only people who sell this. do this package, this or whatever. could we do that same thing in 500 other places? that’s thinking about scale for tech. when you’ve got a platform for example, you’re thinking about, could the offering that we offer today be used by a million people and could we put the building blocks in place to help us grow our customer base to acquire a lot of consumers, a lot of users and that really is all that scale is. it’s replicating what you’ve got in a larger fashion that more people can use and access your services and that replication to me sounds very much looking at how can I commercialize this business and how can I set it up so that if one day I’m x exit from this business that these building blocks are in place, that these components are really transactable. easy that anybody can implement from a licensing model all the way across to just being able to operate stores in many cities. so you’re really trying to replicate that single process that refined it, so much to make the fastest quickest conversion to allow you to make money. Is that a fair statement? Yeah, I think that pretty much nails it.
Jeffery: So in that time frame that you were doing, this obviously, you did it very well and you were able to continue to replicate and build this out when you started to get in front of investors. Now I’m going to take a guess and say that this was probably around 2010, around the time that you were looking at the capital or a bit later than that, a little bit later, it was 2015-16. so this was kind of the, I guess the world was just starting to open up a lot more on the capital side. It came after the 2007 financial crisis. Everybody was dumping money into everything. There were a lot of groups starting up everywhere. so the world was pretty heavy in cash flow for venture capital. That is so now you’re approaching these venture capitalists. you’re coming in from I guess a service model versus a pure tech play. so you are going against the wave of how everybody looks at scaling money. What was your experience as a female founder diving into the tech world and trying to build up capital for the model that you had started to replicate?
S; yeah, I didn’t hear a lot. No. and I became my best friend. and it used to. I mean it just made me cry. I mean quite frankly it was so depressing because I kept hearing you’re not tech. So we don’t invest in anything that’s not tech and it took me a long while to figure out that there are other types of investors. There’s not one type of investor and I certainly lumped all capital into one pot and thought that everybody was the same and that’s definitely not true. you’ve got investors that specialize in all sorts of different niches. I mean you can probably guarantee that if you’re thinking and doing it, there is an investor that specializes in your thing. because there are so many different types, niches, types of money, types of return. There’s long-term capital, there’s impact capital, there’s shorter term venture capital. I mean the spectrum is enormous. So for an entrepreneur, that’s super confusing right and really hard to navigate when you don’t know what’s up. So it’s certainly worthwhile getting some advice from someone who has connections to the investment world and asking how I fit in? Do I have a business model that fits in anybody’s bucket or am I building something that I need to fund with debt and go to a traditional bank? Where do I fit? do I have something that’s investable in? and we’ve spent a lot of time over the last 18 months in particular helping people understand what an investable company looks like because that for me was really where I started from. Do I have something that’s investable? and whilst I heard a lot of no’s from tech investors, I eventually found folks who loved family businesses and my husband and I were in business together. They loved what they called multi-site businesses. so that’s anything that is location specific that has multiple replications of locations. and they loved doing deals where they could put some debt to work and some equity. so equity being owning shares in your company with you and that was a magic fit for me. but I must have gone through, I don’t know dozens and dozens of no’s to finally get a yes. And one of the secrets I learned along the way was that there are magic people in this world called brokers. and brokers do exactly this. They help people help entrepreneurs. brokers deal with investors and try to find you the right kind of capital for your right kind of business. and when you’re not super connected, i.e you’re not sat in Silicon Valley and you don’t have an Ivy League education and maybe you’re not friends with the last founder who built the last unicorn, having an inside insider help you connect with the right people can be really valuable.
Jeffery: I totally agree with that. and that’s some great knowledge to share to founders is that people always say, make sure your audience when you’re pitching them. and I think a lot of the times we just pitch and then we realize that. and I think it’s great that you got those many no’s because most people don’t get any no’s because they don’t get any response. so you’re lucky that you got the no’s. at least you knew you were in the wrong spot and you could eventually pivot to the right investor side. but from that, I think it’s very knowledgeable to share that even though you’re reaching out to everybody. do your homework on the investor to find out. do they invest in this stage because stage or vertical? because if you’re going to pitch them and they’re not going to give you any valuable insight, and I think the other side of that. Yeah. and it’s not just knowing what you’re looking for. but they might start giving you feedback and their feedback could really damage your outlook on your business because they’re giving you feedback for a category or vertical that you’re not even in because they feel guilty not helping you. so I think there’s a lot of mismatch that can occur. and I love that your secret tool. There were brokers. I think that that is super valuable. and I think the other side too is when you start to look at statistics, the number of companies that are funded every year from venture capital from angels is so minimal. family and friends are the number one. 78% of investments are done through them. Before, eight percent of angels and three percent of venture capital. so you really have a really small community and you really do need to do some homework to make sure that you’re really hyper focused. If your business is focused, I think your investment thesis of who you’re going after should be just equally as focused now, taking the obvious, building this out and going after the capital and finding the support. and I love the fact you found a group that supported the family side and businesses that were scalable through the type of model you created.
Sarah: I remember years ago, a not-for-profit came to me and she said I want to build a not-for-profit. I’ve got this. it’s doing this. I want all this money. Well, there is a group that will invest that way. but you’re also in a very tough space because non-profits don’t typically sell and they don’t work that way. so you’re going to have to find a way to manage that model. so as you guys who are reaching out and continuing to grow and finding ways to build revenue models and build up what you’re doing, did you find that at some point tech investors were coming back? because now, you did use tech to start to Expose. your first investor was really in the meat of things of what you’re doing. but the next investors started to unfold more and say, wait a second, this is a bigger tech play. we’re more interested today. well that’s the interesting thing about venture capitalists too which I’ll tell you all the others. My other secret is that once someone is invested in you for the first time, a whole lot of other people will now be really interested because investors really aren’t that smart right. [Laughter] I’m not sure what I’m going to say there. we’re going to have to edit this part out. tell everyone. but making an investment is a risk right. because you’re basically making a bet on someone and a business. those two things maybe the founding team and the business itself. so when someone else has made a bet on a business and has someone else has validated, this is really a thing. it is easier for other investors to want to even look at an idea when they might have been hesitant previously because someone else has already thought, oh no, this is valid. this is a thing. and has put some money in already. so that they say money begets money. and it is true. but a lot of it is about proving yourself and finding ways in which other people can get sort of proof points into your business and for yourself that allow people to feel more confident. is it is really helpful? and you don’t. There are lots of ways to do that other than just by having someone invest. but even as you’re talking about friends and family, even the amount of money you and your friends and family have backed your own idea is significant right. I know. When I get pitched all the time, founders have not sacrificed a single thing. they’ve put no money. they’ve not taken any risks. It’s like, why on earth would I take a risk on you when you haven’t even given up your day job, haven’t mortgaged your house, you haven’t sold a car, your third child is not mortgaged. I’m joking. but have you taken any risks yourself? and that’s valid. That’s a proof point right. I’m willing to put everything I’ve got on the table and make this happen because I really believe in it that much and that’s really what investors are looking for. Are you believable? Is your business believable? and have other people believed in you? and does that help create some validity for getting people confident to believe you too?
Jeffery: I love it. and there’s also, I guess in that stream of people accepting and jumping in and the first investor and all of these little pieces that help de-risk your business. there’s also the side of and you mentioned that one investor that really took a liking to what you did because they were already in that space. is it possible, and even at early stage that you start to look for advisors or coaches that have that 30-year experience and get them on the board, get them on that pitch so that people can resonate with that experience? Do you think that carries a lot of weight for where entrepreneurs should be going?
Sarah: I do think it carries weight. I think recognizing that you need experienced advisors on your team is another really great sort of flag in your camp because you recognize, I don’t know it all and I need people around me who have expertise that I don’t have. so the faster that you can do that, because investors are often looking at your team’s level of experience, do you have in your team? and when you’re starting out, maybe you’re tiny. I mean maybe there’s just three of you or four of you. So the more expertise you can put in the pot, the better. and I used to say that all the time to people. I say when I interacted with someone who I liked and had given me really great pieces of advice, I said, could I list you as one of my advisors? and they said, well what does that require? and I said well nothing really other than saying you’ll pick up the phone to me when I call you or answer my email or text message if I’m asking a question. but it creates validity for me saying I have these people who know things about things that I don’t necessarily know and have experience that I necessarily have that are in my camp and that’s definitely really valid. for sure it sounds like doing that type of approach with the companies you work with today or even with yourself. When you are starting your business, I’m going to guess that that first investor you still talk to that they’re still part of your network. you still communicate with them because that’s what relationships are right. they’re building a relationship. so that first person that really got you, I’m sure that they’re still held high in priority because they understood you. So is that really the start of how communication or how relationships are really built and how they can help you in the rest of your life. and that’s how you build great networks.
Jeffery: absolutely.
Sarah: And why? There was an early debt investor prior to us raising any really large-scale institutional capital. and he gave us a loan when no one else would loan us anything. I mean he really took a big hit on us and really took a liking to the idea that we had and made us alone and took a warrant for some stock in our company. so if we’d have been, nothing would have happened. then he would have got nothing. but I’m still friends with him to this day and when I was raising capital for Enigma Ventures, I reached out to him and said okay, I’m going to go again. what do you think you are? and he’s like, yeah of course, I’m in. and that’s amazing right.
Jeffery: so building that group of people that believed in you once. and you proved yourself and want to go on another journey with. It’s great. It’s really great. Amazing. and you do you want to follow the people that are winning? and they’re doing a great job. and even if they have a down round, you’re still excited to be part of that journey because now you’ve built a relationship with that person and you want to support them as best as you can. and I think that all of those parts really do drive into that. and even from the coaching and the pitch things that you guys do, all of those things build out a community. they build out relations. they build out an interest. how important is the idea being pushed across to investors versus the relationships you see that they’ve built on their deck. like a lot of investors will say that I’ll invest in an A team and a B product. Is that something that you would agree to? and why?
Sarah: yeah. if you’d have asked me maybe 18 months ago, I would have said 18 at two years into being an investor, I would say yes, definitely. because what I have learned the hard way which is so obvious but great, businesses as brilliant as a business idea requires execution. so businesses don’t grow. businesses don’t scale. Nothing happens in a business without somebody or somebody executing on the idea and actually making it happen. and the reality is that ideas and talk are pretty cheap. People who can actually execute are the minority one and the struggle is finding those gems and groups of people who really can make things happen. and absolutely it would be better to have an average idea that was executed flawlessly that develops and becomes more over time than it would be to have the next incredible new idea that no one’s ever thought of before. and nobody will be able to actually make that happen.
Jeffery: So yeah, 100%, a lot of great ideas get invested and fail because they don’t have the proper execution. so I think that you’re bang on with that businesses require execution and if you can’t execute, there’s not much there to a business. No, unfortunately. well scared welfare. That’s brilliant. I think it makes a huge difference to founders. I think everybody goes in looking at their business thinking they’ve got to be perfect. this has got to be the best. and they sometimes avoid having that great team to support what they’re doing. and then their idea just takes forever to build. so I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head with that. and I think people should focus a lot more on the execution and that goes from follow-up to making sure that investors have what they need. Everything is about being timely and making sure that everybody can get behind what you’re doing.
Sarah: So yeah, I was just going to conclude by saying execution really is the rub of where it’s at in terms of. you can’t raise money without having executed right. So every stage of the journey of scaling really depends on the team’s ability to execute on the vision that they had in the first place, keeping that motivation going and driving that business forward.
Jeffery: Absolutely. So now that you’ve jumped into this, it sounds like you’ve had some great learnings over the years of running a venture firm which is awesome and I’m excited because I think you said this in one of your interviews that there needs to be more women. and you were yourself saying that you wanted to go into a space that just didn’t have a lot of women invested. and being able to see yourself on the other side of the table which brings a lot of value not only to the founder but to the room of investors. seeing that there’s more ideas and there’s more people at the table creates a nice equal balance. So now that you’ve kind of taken that ship and run it forward and started to look for female-based founders and groups, how are you finding that is working out? Are you finding that you’re getting a lot of female founders and male founders coming to you saying, hey man, why can’t you invest in me? you’re a great investor, why can’t I get a piece of this? So is there kind of a lot of that going on? I would suspect it is because there’s not a lot of investors in the African continent and it’s amazing that you are doing this. but how are you kind of balancing your way through and ensuring that everybody’s getting equal opportunity at Sarah and the team to invest in them.
Sarah: yeah, well one of the things that frustrated me when I went out to raise capital and really my own venture capital journey has been formed by my frustrations of being an entrepreneur dealing with venture capitalists. so trying to fix what was frustrating and broken on my end and one of the things was so few women. I mean, I think maybe I encountered one maybe two female VCs in my whole sort of trying to raise capital, so it was very male dominated, which really is the crux of the problem of why more women are not getting funded right. there’s an unequal balance and it’s true. We like to invest in what we can understand. We like to invest in people like us and we like to feel like we’ve got a connection because at the end of the day, this is a marriage. you invest in a company. you become a partner with that founder, quite literally become a partner with that founder. so you do need to have something in common or be connected or like them and often we can’t understand ideas or problems that don’t resonate with us. so that’s why diversity is really good for the investors in particular. It is because if we don’t have people of color or women at the table, we’re going to have a very small subset of people getting capital to build a future of the world that we all live in. and that’s how I think about investing. investing is building for the future. It’s building technology. It’s building our systems. It’s building our world. It’s building our culture by what gets built through the ideas of entrepreneurs. so my own journey was like, well, if I sell my company, we’ve got some capital. I really think it’s really important that more women get in the ring and more women start holding a hand out to help other women arise too because it’s really important that we all sit at the table and sit at the table together. so that was my primary reasoning. and then my sort of second bug bear was a bit like we talked about earlier. it’s really hard if you are not well connected to even get a meeting. you said I was privileged to have pitched. I definitely was privileged to have got meetings right. So if you are not connected, you are not in the bubble of getting a meeting. Getting in front of people is really hard. so one of the things and a lot of women are not even thinking about raising capital to grow and scale their businesses. they just, like I was not even aware that this whole industry existed and that I needed it. So one of the things we have done is hold open applications three times a year. So you can go on our website right now, April coming to the end of the month when we’re recording and you can go on my website and fill out our application form, a two-minute form not overly complicated, not only difficult and apply for funding and see if you’re eligible. If you’ve got a business that’s eligible, make an application. and we have seen over the last year, maybe 8000 applications for funding in one year. so people also told me that there are no women building businesses and there will be no women to invest in which is absolutely not true. So it’s a case of how do we raise awareness for women and help women understand what it takes to think big and why they should think big in the first place, why both, why they should build big businesses. because it’s hard. So why should anyone do that, why does it matter that women do that and two, how do we make it accessible so that more women can easily do that without it being a network game or who knows who. and do I know the right things? Can we help the right things and can we help you get in front of people who might give you some money?
Jeffery: I love it. No, that’s a great journey to be on and I think at this point too. It’s really a lot of people coming to the table to help these founders better understand how to isolate what the real problem is and then understand how to scale a business. and I know we chatted about what scaling was but I think it’s guiding them to help build those building blocks so that they can look at their business and see that this is something that can be a hundred times bigger than where it is today. and I think sometimes we all lack the vision of where something can go and that an outside party or investor can help businesses see that and that’s again by helping them shape the problem. and I think that makes a big difference when a lot of female founders tend to just enjoy the process of building it and look at probably the scaling of it being a more of a difficult thing with more hands making less work and that there’s a really good opportunity to drive something successful and amazing. and having someone like yourself being a leader in the space, doing it once yourself and now helping many do it, it’s a pretty exciting journey.
Sarah: yeah. It’s hugely exciting. and I think women don’t necessarily even imagine that they can build something bigger than they’ve got because they’re super heads down in the business utilizing the resources they’ve got, plotting on building something great without stepping back and realizing actually if I put some fuel in the tank and really that’s what venture capital is. It’s just fuel. could I grow 10 times bigger than I am today? because they often imagine that’s just ten times more work than you’re already doing. and I’m already doing way too much work and that’s not how scaling works right. but that’s often the mindset is I can’t take on any more than I’m already doing because what I’m already doing is too much and scaling and putting capital to work is about thinking about building great teams people around you to make things happen and removing yourself and removing yourself from the day-to-day making it happen piece to actually execute on a much bigger vision.
Sarah: I love it. I love it. and I think you should kind of just post that right there and have that shared across all of the sites that you run and operate because that is really defining how women but people in general should also look at their business because I think there’s the fear. and Everybody wants capital. but capital for status quo isn’t really going to cut a venture capitals check. it really has to be well planned out on how you’re going to take this from a million to 100 million. so I think that’s amazing. I appreciate it. I love it. we’re going to kind of transition a little bit more now into one of those heartfelt moments. a story that you can share about maybe one of your founders and what it took or what she or he went through to become a rock star in the process of building a company. If you have a story that you could share, I think that’d be great.
Sarah: I would love to share a story about one of my female founders and she’s in Zambia and she is building a bank for the unbanked. so she is servicing customers who live on less than five dollars a day and creating access to capital for them, creating financial services products for them such as payments, insurance, savings products. She’s really becoming an incredible bank and a huge percentage of people in Africa have no access to financial services are not banked. so I don’t have a bank account which really excludes them from operating in any other world than in a cash society. and we all know, most of us know we all rely on some form of credit in one way or another right. whether we’ve got a mortgage or a car loan or some insurance or we all need credit of some kind and the people at the bottom of the socioeconomic tier literally have virtually no options. so she’s building an incredible bank for them. and when she started, she made enormous sacrifices. She had been working with a previous company and decided she was going to go out and launch this thing that she had a vision for in her own mind. and sold her car, moved her house, moved into a smaller house so she could get herself some startup capital to actually start moving in this space and testing out her ideas and using her own money. and within 18 months, she has done over two and a half million dollars of revenue. in 18 months and this is servicing clients who live off less than five dollars a day of income. so she is doing extraordinarily well. I mean she’s not only creating a very viable, very amazing profitable business but she’s also tackling really hard problems of solving systemic poverty and connecting to a problem that if we don’t solve, it’s more of the same for millions and millions and millions of people. and she’s trying to tackle that one person at a time, one financial service product at a time. and I’m creating a whole new economy that has never existed before amongst that people group. so that’s super exciting to be involved with. She’s empowering women in business and trading. and it’s super exciting. At the moment, she’s like a race. She’s literally like a racehorse, just going for it every single day. and I am so proud of her because she’s extraordinary in every way.
Jeffery: Amazing. and that is a great story. and I think all of the African continent countries could use a rockstar like her that knows what it takes to do. and continent-wise, agreed. No, that’s brilliant. I love it. great story. Okay. we’re going to jump into rapid-fire questions. and thank you for sharing that. so pick one or the other obviously. coming in from a business perspective for an investor, founder or co-founder?
Sarah: okay. I’ve got to clarify the question. I’ll try to be faster than the others. have I got to be one or if you’re an investor, are you choosing a founder or a co-founder? I’m choosing the founder.
Jeffery: okay. unicorn or four year 10x exit?
Sarah: unicorn.
Jeffery: okay. Tech or CPG?
Sarah: tech.
Jeffery: NFT or Web 3.0?
Sarah: Web.
Jeffery: Ai or blockchain?
Sarah: Ai.
Jeffery: first time founder or second third time founder?
Sarah: first time.
Jeffery: first money in or series A?
Sarah: first money in.
Jeffery: angel or VC?
Sarah: VC.
Jeffery: board seat or observer?
Sarah: board.
Jeffery: safe or convertible note?
Sarah: convertible.
Jeffery: lead or follow?
Sarah: lead.
Jeffery: equity or interest payments?
Sarah: I like both. I’ll take equity, but I like both.
Jeffery: okay. favorite part of investing?
Sarah: My favorite part of investing is people.
Jeffery: number of companies invested per year?
Sarah: The most we’ve done in one year is eight.
Jeffery: preferred terms?
Sarah: I don’t know that I’ve got preferred terms. Still, my big thing that I’m trying to solve is can I beat bench capital statistics? so this is the competitor in me. Venture capital statistics are that. Maybe one or two are unicorns and everyone else fails or is very mediocre. I don’t like that. So I want to see more women succeed and I want to think about how we create alternative versions of capital into businesses that allow more businesses to become unicorns. however we define a unicorn, I like to define it in impact and return. but how do we make capital work better for more people so that more people can succeed.
Jeffery: I love it. The same reason I got into it was to change the stats that felt the same thing. how can that invest in a category? That’s one out of ten.
Sarah: Yeah, this isn’t an investable category. This is the last category you’ll try to prove it wrong but it’s very tough. It’s very tough. It is hard. and it’s hard and we’ve got to fail along the way to find the solutions and that’s part of the journey of being an entrepreneur. Can you fail enough in order to succeed? and we’ve got to get good at failing in order to find great solutions.
Jeffery: I totally agree with that. verticals of focus?
Sarah: I am sector agnostic.
Jeffery: I love it. two qualities a startup needs to stand out for you to take a look at them.
Sarah: really great extraction of some kind. So whether that’s users or monetary or they’ve just made a lot of progress, they’ve made progress with a little that they’ve made, a little go a long way and that they’re really all in like that they are really hungry, that they’re driven and obsessed by what they’re trying to do.
Jeffery: I love it. All right. personal side. book or movie?
Sarah: book.
Jeffery: Superman or batman?
Sarah: superman.
Jeffery: restaurant or picnic?
Sarah: I like both but the restaurant. I like saving it right.
Jeffery: five minutes with Bezos or Oprah?
Sarah: Oprah. hands down.
Jeffery: I love it. mountain or beach?
Sarah: beach.
Jeffery: bike or run?
Sarah: bike with some power, with electric power.
Jeffery: oh, I like that.
Sarah: yeah. Those are good. We have a portfolio company that makes electric bikes.
Jeffery: yes. Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets?
Sarah: Big Mac. I don’t like either actually. What’s the next one?
Jeffery: trophy or money?
Sarah: money, because then you can go buy a trophy in logic.\
Jeffery: beer or wine?
Sarah: wine.
Jeffery: camera or mobile phone?
Sarah: mobile phone because they’ve got a camera in them.
Jeffery: king or rich?
Sarah: kings don’t have a lot of power as with the rich. Many people will be asking questions when you’re a king.
Jeffery: concert amusement park?
Sarah: Yeah, the latter.
Jeffery: fortune cookie or birthday cake?
Sarah: birthday cake.
Jeffery: Ted Talk or book reading?
Sarah: book reading.
Jeffery: most famous person that pops into your mind?
Sarah: Obama.
Jeffery: The last podcast I just did said the same.
Sarah: Oh, it’s pretty funny why that is though. Not only is he famous, he also just released a new Netflix show about national parks. so he’s like in our Netflix stream. So when you’re in our network, what are you going to do?
Jeffery: That is true. Okay, favorite book?
Sarah: the bible. I am a lover of the wisdom of ancient biblical literature.
Jeffery: I like it. great answer. favorite movie and what character would you play.
Sarah: ah. I love Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner. because if you build it, they will come. so I would play the little child who believes you can see the posts. I can see them moving in and out of the cornfield.
Jeffery: yeah. favorite sports team?
Sarah: not a big sports lover but my family would kill me if I didn’t say Man United.
Jeffery: You mean Arsenal? I think they were trying to tell you to say Arsenal.
Sarah: definitely not.
Jeffery: awesome. the first brand that pops into your mind?
Sarah: Spanx. Ah, nice. It’s a good company. Hmm, an incredible female entrepreneur, did amazing things.
Jeffery: agreed.
Sarah: I read lots of stuff about her. She’s done a great job and now continues to support and do a lot of great things, so very empowering.
Jeffery: Yeah, she does. favorite app you’re using on your mobile phone today.
Sarah: not a big app user but I have used Noom recently, a relatively new app for managing and understanding how you eat and being mindful about how you eat and exercise and be healthy.
Jeffery: I quite like that. Noom. I’m going to check that out. Cool. What is the meaning of success to you?
Sarah: ah, that’s easy. Success is making a difference, leaving a lasting impact.
Jeffery: Yeah, doing something meaningful that will last. I like it. All right, the last question. What is your superpower?
Sarah: What is my superpower? I think I got two. Can I have two?
Jeffery: yes, hundred percent.
Sarah: I might be the first one to have two. That’s my superpower. having more than you asked for, more than you’re allowed. No, I’m a dreamer. I think I can see and connect with that I think. I’m an inspirer, so I like to inspire people to see what I can see. so I think those two go together.
Jeffery: I love it. I think with your background and all the great things that you’ve done, I believe that a lot of people would see the future that you see in them and I think that it’s empowering people to be better people and be better at business and being able to see where they can go. and I love it. so I would say that it’s awesome. more people need more people like you supporting them so they can see where they need to go and you’re going to help them take them there. Thank you. In saying that, thank you very much for all your time today, Sarah. It was brilliant to get to chat with you and learn more about everything about yourself and all the great things that you guys are up to and the way we like to enter shows is we like to give you the last word. so anything that you can share to investors or to founders I turn it over to you. but thank you again for all your time today.
Sarah: ah, it’s been my absolute pleasure being here. It’s been so much fun. I haven’t had this much fun on a podcast in ages. It was great. My last thing, my last word I guess, both as an investor and entrepreneur, is to make it count. make what you do count for building a better world.
Jeffery: I love it. I can’t even write that fast but make it count. a great way to end it. I love it. Thank you very much Sarah. have a fantastic day. Thank you, YouTube. Bye. Okay, that was awesome. I really enjoyed the journey that Sarah went on because again it’s a little bit different being in the NGO space than jumping into building her own company, doing it with her husband really building up a strong business going for venture capital and then exiting from that company and then turning another page and jumping into the venture capital space and being out there helping women across the African continent building companies and helping them expand learn and being able to take their business somewhere where they probably didn’t envision. I think that’s amazing on all the great things that Sarah’s been able to build up and how she’s been able to help a lot of founders. so really great insights. and I think as she mentioned, being able to utilize that background from her legal side and the NGO side really has helped her. and I think a lot of the stuff around motivation impact and just getting things done execution is the best way to prove to people that you’re ready for capital and for scaling. In saying that, thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this conversation, please feel free to share with your friends or subscribe to our YouTube channel. follow us on Spotify, Apple and or Stitcher. Your support and comments are truly appreciated. You can also check us out at supportersfund.com or for startup events visit opn.ninja. Thank you and have a fantastic day.

Quote:
“Because what I have learned the hard way, which is so obvious but great, businesses as brilliant as a business idea require execution.”

Sarah: Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.
Jeffery: I’m very excited today to get the opportunity to chat with you. One, because you’re in South Africa. I love South Africa. and then the second point is that you’ve done a lot of great things from taking a company, selling it, diving into venture and fully baked into this venture side. so we’re excited to unpack all this and learn a lot more about yourself and all the great things that you’re doing. So to start, maybe you can share a little bit about the background and all these great things you’ve done and then one thing about you that nobody would know.
Sarah: okay. well if you’d have said to me 20 years ago, Sarah Dusek in 2022, you will be a venture capitalist. I would have laughed my head off. so my journey into finance is probably quite an unusual one actually in that I started my journey as an NGO worker. So prior to even getting into business, I worked for non-profit organizations. first in Africa and then in the far east. so my transition into business was coming at business with the idea that money capital is the dark side. It’s the evil side of the world and we stay away from such things, but quickly realize money is really what makes the world go round and entrepreneurs are the pioneers and the builders of the future. and I definitely considered myself a pioneer even in my early 20s. So after about eight years of working for non-profit organizations, I really had this sort of hunger within me to build something that would solve problems. and I realized having a for-profit business was maybe a better vehicle for driving change, solving big problems, making big things happen. so that led me into entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in turn led me into being the investor I am today. so one thing that maybe was, my one thing that you didn’t know about me. [Laughter] Jeffery: well, I did read up that you were in the not-for-profit and what I love about that is that you’ve really hit lots of different avenues in the world from going to a space where the world revolves around helping people and the money somehow magically appears when you need it and when you need it even more. you have to fight even harder to find it and then you get out into the real world and say that wow, the whole world runs off this capital. How do I jump into this and make things work a lot smoother? one of the things that I love. I love it. Well, it was interesting that when you said that, if we asked you this 20 years ago if you’d be a venture capitalist. one thing that I can relate to is I was in the same boat. I never really focused on people that had money. I just figured I would be a solutionist in everything and then when I was putting together my first company, I actually wrote down on this spreadsheet or the bubble thing and you wrote it down and put it in a drawer six years ago. I found it and this was before I started the company and on it I had a venture capital that I wanted to do this arm and I was like oh my jumping. I had no idea. somehow I must have come across this 20 years ago and I don’t know how I did because I didn’t even know how I knew about venture capital. so I guess somehow it magically appeared. maybe through osmosis while I was sleeping or something. but fascinating how you transition into these spaces and what you bring to the table and I think I want to kind of jump back into the not-for-profit side and maybe when you were going through this not-for-profit side and working with the NGOs and it’s obviously quite popular especially in the African continent. What were some of the takeaways that you kind of built up from that because you were coming in from a law perspective? so I’m sure you’re very detail-oriented and everything is probably very logistically broken down. and then you’re going into this space where a lot of unknowns can happen, all the time were you able to utilize a lot of what you had built on what you went to school with and all those things as you kind of propelled your way through this NGO space or was it just so randomly new and a total different experience?
Sarah: yeah. actually you’re right. I trained as a lawyer and I actually use my law training more in my day-to-day life now than I certainly did when I first started out working for NGOs. so at the time, I remember thinking this was a whole waste of time. but it certainly wasn’t always the time. and it’s been very valuable to me recently. But I think, yeah, the NGO world. I was disillusioned by the NGO world after sort of six or seven years of working in that space because what I realized was most people who work in that space really are trying to save the world. I mean we are in that space because we’re trying to be a solution to some of the world’s biggest problems or small problems or large problems. I mean it’s about trying to do good and trying to drive change. and one of the most frustrating things was feeling like gosh, we’re just bandaging and obviously the world is a needy place. so we have to bandage needy people in needy situations. But can we solve any problems? so I always felt like we’re not really getting to the root of trying to solve anything. When I was in Africa for example, I did a lot of AIDS education work and health education. and the AIDS epidemic and crisis kind of had imploded in the world at that time. and I just remember thinking, we’re doing that, we’re spending a lot of energy and doing a lot of work. and I don’t know if we’re getting to the heart of the problem and I don’t know the root of that problem. For example, even if you ask me now, there are so many factors at play even with that one particular issue and it needs a whole variety of solutions to solve it. and I just remember feeling like I don’t know that this is the right vehicle to solve anything long term and make it big in driving change. You find that the reason is because they’re always running at 100 miles an hour because the problems are so deep, happening so fast that you’re running beside the problem and you don’t really have the time to slow down. so you’re repairing while running and it is a repair you’re not able to slow down. and say let’s hold on a second, here is the root of the problem. It is x now. let’s try to go after that and because it’s always a running machine going so quickly you’re not able to jump in. so the focus is very spread out.
Jeffery: Yeah, absolutely.
Sarah: I do think that and I do think that the problem with non-profit organizations is you constantly need funding for the work that you’re doing. and when funding in the non-profit space is whatever sexy at the time is getting the money. So when you don’t have a sustainable solution for solving your own problem, you are relying on outside donors. you are reliant on people to still keep seeing your problem as the sexy problem for solving. so the lack of sustainability around that and the longevity of what it takes to really make something happen and drive change is complex. so there were so many issues there. But for me, I just felt like we could actually that’s the very heart of what a business does. It takes a problem and tries to solve it in a particular way for a particular person with a sustainable solution because it has to be profitable. if it’s going to survive and going to continue. and that’s what I love about business, the vehicle of business is just the energy around. This has to be self-propelling. this has to sustain itself. This has to be ongoing and solve a real problem for someone. Otherwise, no one’s going to know what to spend any money on. so that’s what I love about businesses and even the businesses that we’re working with today. and you said, I have a venture capital fund in South Africa and we are focused on investing in women-led and founded businesses. so we’re actively seeking to empower women to solve the problems that they can see and create opportunities for them to have access to capital to empower them to do that. and that’s exciting. That’s exciting work. and I think a lot of the time, sometimes I guess as we’re running through life, we don’t realize, but a lot of the things that we do early on tend to be what we go back to.
Jeffery: So you started off working in an NGO and helping people and helping big problems but maybe not getting the connections that you wanted to really solve them because in a way, we’re just a cog in a big machine wheel in that sense. and then you pulled yourself out and decided, I need to make this change. and I think you probably gained a lot of learning and a lot of support mechanisms and probably connections around the space. so you decided to jump in and create your own business and you raised capital to enable this business. Can you share a little bit about that journey and what was your decision to jump into the business? and then what made you decide that you needed to raise funds versus just building a business yourself.
Sarah: yeah. well .I was a reluctant businessman, jumping into business. I was definitely reluctant as I said. but the final sort of penny dropped for me that business could be a force for good, that business could be used to drive change and do good in the world. So that’s how I approached business. and my husband and I realized when we started to think about businesses as an amazing vehicle, we started to think. Well, we don’t know anything about running a business. We’ve never done this before. so I came into business with the idea of, I’ve got to learn. If I’m going to be able to use business as a vehicle for good, I’ve got to learn the mechanics of how you build a business, how you scale a business, how you grow a business. so we really dove right in. and my husband and I built a company in the US together called Under Canvas which was taking the safari concept from Africa and bringing it to incredible outdoor places in the US and we wanted to prove this idea that you could create access to incredible places by not destroying them so we could do development in a much more sustainable way. could we create a light footprint on the earth? could we educate folks about sustainability and leaving no trace and minimal water usage and being zero waste and all these kinds of environmental ideas? and so we pioneered a very small business. and as I said. I didn’t even know what venture capital was. was so we certainly weren’t thinking about building a business and raising capital right out of the gate. We were trying to find a business solution that would be sustainable i.e that would work and that people would pay for, and would be profitable. and we went through a couple of different iterations before we got to the elusive product market fit not knowing though what the terminology for product market fit was at the time. But within three years, it took us three years to get to that elusive place and we finally ended up with a business model that could work and that we were really getting some traction with and really felt that could be scalable and that we could grow it and actually could be something of real substance. because the interesting thing for me was, my early realization was, if your motivation is impact and driving change, you can’t stay small. you can’t think small. if your real motivation is to make a big difference in the world. so I had to think. we had to start to think about how we build a big business, not just a small little lifestyle business. so that led us on a journey of discovery and of realizing. Yes, you’re going to definitely need more money if you’re going to try and play with the big boys. and that was when we were six years in when we realized we’ve got to raise some capital to grow our own business, scale it now.
Jeffery: That’s great. and a great story that you actually worked as a team partnership to work through these problems which were building a big problem to solve and then iterating to get to that year three. and then again, probably continuing to iterate and look at the scaling. and you mentioned scaling in a few different areas. What does scaling mean to you? Because I think this is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit. even if it’s an early stage company, they’re oh, you’re scaling. I’ve got two people. so I’m not scaling. but you’re telling me, I have to scale. So how am I scaling when I’m two people? but you tell me. So can you share what scaling means and how an entrepreneur can look at scaling because you’re bang on that. anybody that wants to invest, usually you take capital when you’re trying to scale. and that’s kind of the note. like if you want to be large and as you mentioned, play with the big boys and play, be competitive. you take some capital but can you kind of share a little bit about what that was for you that said we’re scalable now, we’ve got the right model, let’s get some capital.
Sarah: yeah. I think there’s a couple of different ways to think about scale. and nobody does zero to hero in one leap right. Scaling is about putting building blocks in place that you go from here and then here and then here and then here and in here and here. but when you’re starting, the big question is, do you have something that a lot of people could access? So could a lot of consumers use it? could a lot of people use your service or buy your product or use your platform or whatever? So even when you’re sort of figuring out product market fit, your minimal viable product, you’re the earliest version of your product you already should be thinking about. Is this something that more than 10 friends and I will ever want to use or pay for or buy? And for us we started to think about scale when we had a replicable model. so I didn’t have a tech business. so it’s slightly different when you’re in tech and when you’re in a different kind of business. but I started thinking about it, there is a business model here that has a replicable pattern. For example, you could take this with retail. For example, I’ve got one store that knocks it out of the park. and it’s incredible. and we’re the only people who sell this. do this package, this or whatever. could we do that same thing in 500 other places? that’s thinking about scale for tech. when you’ve got a platform for example, you’re thinking about, could the offering that we offer today be used by a million people and could we put the building blocks in place to help us grow our customer base to acquire a lot of consumers, a lot of users and that really is all that scale is. it’s replicating what you’ve got in a larger fashion that more people can use and access your services and that replication to me sounds very much looking at how can I commercialize this business and how can I set it up so that if one day I’m x exit from this business that these building blocks are in place, that these components are really transactable. easy that anybody can implement from a licensing model all the way across to just being able to operate stores in many cities. so you’re really trying to replicate that single process that refined it, so much to make the fastest quickest conversion to allow you to make money. Is that a fair statement? Yeah, I think that pretty much nails it.
Jeffery: So in that time frame that you were doing, this obviously, you did it very well and you were able to continue to replicate and build this out when you started to get in front of investors. Now I’m going to take a guess and say that this was probably around 2010, around the time that you were looking at the capital or a bit later than that, a little bit later, it was 2015-16. so this was kind of the, I guess the world was just starting to open up a lot more on the capital side. It came after the 2007 financial crisis. Everybody was dumping money into everything. There were a lot of groups starting up everywhere. so the world was pretty heavy in cash flow for venture capital. That is so now you’re approaching these venture capitalists. you’re coming in from I guess a service model versus a pure tech play. so you are going against the wave of how everybody looks at scaling money. What was your experience as a female founder diving into the tech world and trying to build up capital for the model that you had started to replicate?
S; yeah, I didn’t hear a lot. No. and I became my best friend. and it used to. I mean it just made me cry. I mean quite frankly it was so depressing because I kept hearing you’re not tech. So we don’t invest in anything that’s not tech and it took me a long while to figure out that there are other types of investors. There’s not one type of investor and I certainly lumped all capital into one pot and thought that everybody was the same and that’s definitely not true. you’ve got investors that specialize in all sorts of different niches. I mean you can probably guarantee that if you’re thinking and doing it, there is an investor that specializes in your thing. because there are so many different types, niches, types of money, types of return. There’s long-term capital, there’s impact capital, there’s shorter term venture capital. I mean the spectrum is enormous. So for an entrepreneur, that’s super confusing right and really hard to navigate when you don’t know what’s up. so it’s certainly worthwhile getting some advice from someone who has connections to the investment world and asking how do I fit in? Do I have a business model that fits in anybody’s bucket or am I building something that I need to fund with debt and go to a traditional bank? Where do I fit? do I have something that’s investable in? and we’ve spent a lot of time over the last 18 months in particular helping people understand what an investable company looks like because that for me was really where I started from. Do I have something that’s investable? and whilst I heard a lot of no’s from tech investors, I eventually found folks who loved family businesses and my husband and I were in business together. They loved what they called multi-site businesses. so that’s anything that is location specific that has multiple replications of locations. and they loved doing deals where they could put some debt to work and some equity. so equity being owning shares in your company with you and that was a magic fit for me. but I must have gone through, I don’t know dozens and dozens of no’s to finally get a yes. And one of the secrets I learned along the way was that there are magic people in this world called brokers. and brokers do exactly this. They help people help entrepreneurs. brokers deal with investors and try to find you the right kind of capital for your right kind of business. and when you’re not super connected, i.e you’re not sat in Silicon Valley and you don’t have an Ivy League education and maybe you’re not friends with the last founder who built the last unicorn, having an inside insider help you connect with the right people can be really valuable.
Jeffery: I totally agree with that. and that’s some great knowledge to share to founders is that people always say, make sure your audience when you’re pitching them. and I think a lot of the times we just pitch and then we realize that. and I think it’s great that you got those many no’s because most people don’t get any no’s because they don’t get any response. so you’re lucky that you got the no’s. at least you knew you were in the wrong spot and you could eventually pivot to the right investor side. but from that, I think it’s very knowledgeable to share that even though you’re reaching out to everybody. do your homework on the investor to find out. do they invest in this stage because stage or vertical? because if you’re going to pitch them and they’re not going to give you any valuable insight, I think the other side of that. Yeah. and it’s not just knowing what you’re looking for. but they might start giving you feedback and their feedback could really damage your outlook on your business because they’re giving you feedback for a category or vertical that you’re not even in because they feel guilty not helping you. so I think there’s a lot of mismatch that can occur. and I love that your secret tool. There were brokers. I think that that is super valuable. and I think the other side too is when you start to look at statistics, the number of companies that are funded every year from venture capital from angels is so minimal. family and friends are the number one. 78% of investments are done through them. Before, eight percent of angels and three percent of venture capital. so you really have a really small community and you really do need to do some homework to make sure that you’re really hyper focused. If your business is focused, I think your investment thesis of who you’re going after should be just equally as focused now, taking the obvious, building this out and going after the capital and finding the support. and I love the fact you found a group that supported the family side and businesses that were scalable through the type of model you created.
Sarah: I remember years ago, a not-for-profit came to me and she said I want to build a not-for-profit. I’ve got this. it’s doing this. I want all this money. Well, there is a group that will invest that way. but you’re also in a very tough space because non-profits don’t typically sell and they don’t work that way. so you’re going to have to find a way to manage that model. so as you guys who are reaching out and continuing to grow and finding ways to build revenue models and build up what you’re doing, did you find that at some point tech investors were coming back? because now, you did use tech to start to Expose. your first investor was really in the meat of things of what you’re doing. but the next investors started to unfold more and say, wait a second, this is a bigger tech play. we’re more interested today. well that’s the interesting thing about venture capitalists too which I’ll tell you all the others. My other secret is that once someone is invested in you for the first time, a whole lot of other people will now be really interested because investors really aren’t that smart right. [Laughter] I’m not sure what I’m going to say there. we’re going to have to edit this part out. tell everyone. but making an investment is a risk right. because you’re basically making a bet on someone and a business. those two things maybe the founding team and the business itself. so when someone else has made a bet on a business and has someone else has validated, this is really a thing. it is easier for other investors to want to even look at an idea when they might have been hesitant previously because someone else has already thought, oh no, this is valid. this is a thing. and has put some money in already. so that they say money begets money. and it is true. but a lot of it is about proving yourself and finding ways in which other people can get sort of proof points into your business and for yourself that allow people to feel more confident. is it is really helpful? and you don’t. There are lots of ways to do that other than just by having someone invest. but even as you’re talking about friends and family, even the amount of money you and your friends and family have backed your own idea is significant right. I know. When I get pitched all the time, founders have not sacrificed a single thing. they’ve put no money. they’ve not taken any risks. It’s like, why on earth would I take a risk on you when you haven’t even given up your day job, haven’t mortgaged your house, you haven’t sold a car, your third child is not mortgaged. I’m joking. but have you taken any risks yourself? and that’s valid. That’s a proof point right. I’m willing to put everything I’ve got on the table and make this happen because I really believe in it that much and that’s really what investors are looking for. Are you believable? Is your business believable? and have other people believed in you? and does that help create some validity for getting people confident to believe you too?
Jeffery: I love it. and there’s also, I guess in that stream of people accepting and jumping in and the first investor and all of these little pieces that help de-risk your business. there’s also the side of and you mentioned that one investor that really took a liking to what you did because they were already in that space. is it possible, and even at early stage that you start to look for advisors or coaches that have that 30-year experience and get them on the board, get them on that pitch so that people can resonate with that experience? Do you think that carries a lot of weight for where entrepreneurs should be going?
Sarah: I do think it carries weight. I think recognizing that you need experienced advisors on your team is another really great sort of flag in your camp because you recognize, I don’t know it all and I need people around me who have expertise that I don’t have. so the faster that you can do that, because investors are often looking at your team’s level of experience, do you have in your team? and when you’re starting out, maybe you’re tiny. I mean maybe there’s just three of you or four of you. So the more expertise you can put in the pot, the better. and I used to say that all the time to people. I say when I interacted with someone who I liked and had given me really great pieces of advice, I said, could I list you as one of my advisors? and they said, well what does that require? and I said well nothing really other than saying you’ll pick up the phone to me when I call you or answer my email or text message if I’m asking a question. but it creates validity for me saying I have these people who know things about things that I don’t necessarily know and have experience that I necessarily have that are in my camp and that’s definitely really valid. for sure it sounds like doing that type of approach with the companies you work with today or even with yourself. When you are starting your business, I’m going to guess that that first investor you still talk to that they’re still part of your network. you still communicate with them because that’s what relationships are right. they’re building a relationship. so that first person that really got you, I’m sure that they’re still held high in priority because they understood you. So is that really the start of how communication or how relationships are really built and how they can help you in the rest of your life. and that’s how you build great networks.
Jeffery: absolutely.
Sarah: And why? There was an early debt investor prior to us raising any really large-scale institutional capital. and he gave us a loan when no one else would loan us anything. I mean he really took a big hit on us and really took a liking to the idea that we had and made us alone and took a warrant for some stock in our company. so if we’d have been, nothing would have happened. then he would have got nothing. but I’m still friends with him to this day and when I was raising capital for Enigma Ventures, I reached out to him and said okay, I’m going to go again. what do you think you are? and he’s like, yeah of course, I’m in. and that’s amazing right.
Jeffery: so building that group of people that believed in you once. and you proved yourself and want to go on another journey with. It’s great. It’s really great. Amazing. and you do you want to follow the people that are winning? and they’re doing a great job. and even if they have a down round, you’re still excited to be part of that journey because now you’ve built a relationship with that person and you want to support them as best as you can. and I think that all of those parts really do drive into that. and even from the coaching and the pitch things that you guys do, all of those things build out a community. they build out relations. they build out an interest. how important is the idea being pushed across to investors versus the relationships you see that they’ve built on their deck. like a lot of investors will say that I’ll invest in an A team and a B product. Is that something that you would agree to? and why?
Sarah: yeah. if you’d have asked me maybe 18 months ago, I would have said 18 at two years into being an investor, I would say yes, definitely. because what I have learned the hard way which is so obvious but great, businesses as brilliant as a business idea requires execution. so businesses don’t grow. businesses don’t scale. Nothing happens in a business without somebody or somebody executing on the idea and actually making it happen. and the reality is that ideas and talk are pretty cheap. People who can actually execute are the minority one and the struggle is finding those gems and groups of people who really can make things happen. and absolutely it would be better to have an average idea that was executed flawlessly that develops and becomes more over time than it would be to have the next incredible new idea that no one’s ever thought of before. and nobody will be able to actually make that happen.
Jeffery: So yeah, 100%, a lot of great ideas get invested and fail because they don’t have the proper execution. so I think that you’re bang on with that businesses require execution and if you can’t execute, there’s not much there to a business. No, unfortunately. well scared welfare. That’s brilliant. I think it makes a huge difference to founders. I think everybody goes in looking at their business thinking they’ve got to be perfect. this has got to be the best. and they sometimes avoid having that great team to support what they’re doing. and then their idea just takes forever to build. so I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head with that. and I think people should focus a lot more on the execution and that goes from follow-up to making sure that investors have what they need. Everything is about being timely and making sure that everybody can get behind what you’re doing.
Sarah: So yeah, I was just going to conclude by saying execution really is the rub of where it’s at in terms of. you can’t raise money without having executed right. So every stage of the journey of scaling really depends on the team’s ability to execute on the vision that they had in the first place, keeping that motivation going and driving that business forward.
Jeffery: Absolutely. So now that you’ve jumped into this, it sounds like you’ve had some great learnings over the years of running a venture firm which is awesome and I’m excited because I think you said this in one of your interviews that there needs to be more women. and you were yourself saying that you wanted to go into a space that just didn’t have a lot of women invested. and being able to see yourself on the other side of the table which brings a lot of value not only to the founder but to the room of investors. seeing that there’s more ideas and there’s more people at the table creates a nice equal balance. So now that you’ve kind of taken that ship and run it forward and started to look for female-based founders and groups, how are you finding that is working out? Are you finding that you’re getting a lot of female founders and male founders coming to you saying, hey man, why can’t you invest in me? you’re a great investor, why can’t I get a piece of this? So is there kind of a lot of that going on? I would suspect it is because there’s not a lot of investors in the African continent and it’s amazing that you are doing this. but how are you kind of balancing your way through and ensuring that everybody’s getting equal opportunity at Sarah and the team to invest in them.
Sarah: yeah, well one of the things that frustrated me when I went out to raise capital and really my own venture capital journey has been formed by my frustrations of being an entrepreneur dealing with venture capitalists. so trying to fix what was frustrating and broken on my end and one of the things was so few women. I mean, I think maybe I encountered one maybe two female VCs in my whole sort of trying to raise capital, so it was very male dominated, which really is the crux of the problem of why more women are not getting funded right. there’s an unequal balance and it’s true. We like to invest in what we can understand. We like to invest in people like us and we like to feel like we’ve got a connection because at the end of the day, this is a marriage. you invest in a company. you become a partner with that founder, quite literally become a partner with that founder. so you do need to have something in common or be connected or like them and often we can’t understand ideas or problems that don’t resonate with us. so that’s why diversity is really good for the investors in particular. It is because if we don’t have people of color or women at the table, we’re going to have a very small subset of people getting capital to build a future of the world that we all live in. and that’s how I think about investing. investing is building for the future. It’s building technology. It’s building our systems. It’s building our world. It’s building our culture by what gets built through the ideas of entrepreneurs. so my own journey was like, well, if I sell my company, we’ve got some capital. I really think it’s really important that more women get in the ring and more women start holding a hand out to help other women arise too because it’s really important that we all sit at the table and sit at the table together. so that was my primary reasoning. and then my sort of second bug bear was a bit like we talked about earlier. it’s really hard if you are not well connected to even get a meeting. you said I was privileged to have pitched. I definitely was privileged to have got meetings right. So if you are not connected, you are not in the bubble of getting a meeting. Getting in front of people is really hard. so one of the things and a lot of women are not even thinking about raising capital to grow and scale their businesses. they just, like I was not even aware that this whole industry existed and that I needed it. So one of the things we have done is hold open applications three times a year. So you can go on our website right now, April coming to the end of the month when we’re recording and you can go on my website and fill out our application form, a two-minute form not overly complicated, not only difficult and apply for funding and see if you’re eligible. If you’ve got a business that’s eligible, make an application. and we have seen over the last year, maybe 8000 applications for funding in one year. so people also told me that there are no women building businesses and there will be no women to invest in which is absolutely not true. So it’s a case of how do we raise awareness for women and help women understand what it takes to think big and why they should think big in the first place, why both, why they should build big businesses. because it’s hard. So why should anyone do that, why does it matter that women do that and two, how do we make it accessible so that more women can easily do that without it being a network game or who knows who. and do I know the right things? Can we help the right things and can we help you get in front of people who might give you some money?
Jeffery: I love it. No, that’s a great journey to be on and I think at this point too. It’s really a lot of people coming to the table to help these founders better understand how to isolate what the real problem is and then understand how to scale a business. and I know we chatted about what scaling was but I think it’s guiding them to help build those building blocks so that they can look at their business and see that this is something that can be a hundred times bigger than where it is today. and I think sometimes we all lack the vision of where something can go and that an outside party or investor can help businesses see that and that’s again by helping them shape the problem. and I think that makes a big difference when a lot of female founders tend to just enjoy the process of building it and look at probably the scaling of it being a more of a difficult thing with more hands making less work and that there’s a really good opportunity to drive something successful and amazing. and having someone like yourself being a leader in the space, doing it once yourself and now helping many do it, it’s a pretty exciting journey.
Sarah: yeah. It’s hugely exciting. and I think women don’t necessarily even imagine that they can build something bigger than they’ve got because they’re super heads down in the business utilizing the resources they’ve got, plotting on building something great without stepping back and realizing actually if I put some fuel in the tank and really that’s what venture capital is. It’s just fuel. could I grow 10 times bigger than I am today? because they often imagine that’s just ten times more work than you’re already doing. and I’m already doing way too much work and that’s not how scaling works right. but that’s often the mindset is I can’t take on any more than I’m already doing because what I’m already doing is too much and scaling and putting capital to work is about thinking about building great teams people around you to make things happen and removing yourself and removing yourself from the day-to-day making it happen piece to actually execute on a much bigger vision.
Sarah: I love it. I love it. and I think you should kind of just post that right there and have that shared across all of the sites that you run and operate because that is really defining how women but people in general should also look at their business because I think there’s the fear. and Everybody wants capital. but capital for status quo isn’t really going to cut a venture capitals check. it really has to be well planned out on how you’re going to take this from a million to 100 million. so I think that’s amazing. I appreciate it. I love it. we’re going to kind of transition a little bit more now into one of those heartfelt moments. a story that you can share about maybe one of your founders and what it took or what she or he went through to become a rock star in the process of building a company. If you have a story that you could share, I think that’d be great.
Sarah: I would love to share a story about one of my female founders and she’s in Zambia and she is building a bank for the unbanked. so she is servicing customers who live on less than five dollars a day and creating access to capital for them, creating financial services products for them such as payments, insurance, savings products. She’s really becoming an incredible bank and a huge percentage of people in Africa have no access to financial services are not banked. so I don’t have a bank account which really excludes them from operating in any other world than in a cash society. and we all know, most of us know we all rely on some form of credit in one way or another right. whether we’ve got a mortgage or a car loan or some insurance or we all need credit of some kind and the people at the bottom of the socioeconomic tier literally have virtually no options. so she’s building an incredible bank for them. and when she started, she made enormous sacrifices. She had been working with a previous company and decided she was going to go out and launch this thing that she had a vision for in her own mind. and sold her car, moved her house, moved into a smaller house so she could get herself some startup capital to actually start moving in this space and testing out her ideas and using her own money. and within 18 months, she has done over two and a half million dollars of revenue. in 18 months and this is servicing clients who live off less than five dollars a day of income. so she is doing extraordinarily well. I mean she’s not only creating a very viable, very amazing profitable business but she’s also tackling really hard problems of solving systemic poverty and connecting to a problem that if we don’t solve, it’s more of the same for millions and millions and millions of people. and she’s trying to tackle that one person at a time, one financial service product at a time. and I’m creating a whole new economy that has never existed before amongst that people group. so that’s super exciting to be involved with. She’s empowering women in business and trading. and it’s super exciting. At the moment, she’s like a race. She’s literally like a racehorse, just going for it every single day. and I am so proud of her because she’s extraordinary in every way.
Jeffery: Amazing. and that is a great story. and I think all of the African continent countries could use a rockstar like her that knows what it takes to do. and continent-wise, agreed. No, that’s brilliant. I love it. great story. Okay. we’re going to jump into rapid-fire questions. and thank you for sharing that. so pick one or the other obviously. coming in from a business perspective for an investor, founder or co-founder?
Sarah: okay. I’ve got to clarify the question. I’ll try to be faster than the others. have I got to be one or if you’re an investor, are you choosing a founder or a co-founder? I’m choosing the founder.
Jeffery: okay. unicorn or four year 10x exit?
Sarah: unicorn.
Jeffery: okay. Tech or CPG?
Sarah: tech.
Jeffery: NFT or Web 3.0?
Sarah: Web.
Jeffery: Ai or blockchain?
Sarah: Ai.
Jeffery: first time founder or second third time founder?
Sarah: first time.
Jeffery: first money in or series A?
Sarah: first money in.
Jeffery: angel or VC?
Sarah: VC.
Jeffery: board seat or observer?
Sarah: board.
Jeffery: safe or convertible note?
Sarah: convertible.
Jeffery: lead or follow?
Sarah: lead.
Jeffery: equity or interest payments?
Sarah: I like both. I’ll take equity, but I like both.
Jeffery: okay. favorite part of investing?
Sarah: My favorite part of investing is people.
Jeffery: number of companies invested per year?
Sarah: The most we’ve done in one year is eight.
Jeffery: preferred terms?
Sarah: I don’t know that I’ve got preferred terms. Still, my big thing that I’m trying to solve is can I beat bench capital statistics? so this is the competitor in me. Venture capital statistics are that. Maybe one or two are unicorns and everyone else fails or is very mediocre. I don’t like that. So I want to see more women succeed and I want to think about how we create alternative versions of capital into businesses that allow more businesses to become unicorns. however we define a unicorn, I like to define it in impact and return. but how do we make capital work better for more people so that more people can succeed.
Jeffery: I love it. The same reason I got into it was to change the stats that felt the same thing. how can that invest in a category? That’s one out of ten.
Sarah: Yeah, this isn’t an investable category. This is the last category you’ll try to prove it wrong but it’s very tough. It’s very tough. It is hard. and it’s hard and we’ve got to fail along the way to find the solutions and that’s part of the journey of being an entrepreneur. Can you fail enough in order to succeed? and we’ve got to get good at failing in order to find great solutions.
Jeffery: I totally agree with that. verticals of focus?
Sarah: I am sector agnostic.
Jeffery: I love it. two qualities a startup needs to stand out for you to take a look at them.
Sarah: really great extraction of some kind. So whether that’s users or monetary or they’ve just made a lot of progress, they’ve made progress with a little that they’ve made, a little go a long way and that they’re really all in like that they are really hungry, that they’re driven and obsessed by what they’re trying to do.
Jeffery: I love it. All right. personal side. book or movie?
Sarah: book.
Jeffery: Superman or batman?
Sarah: superman.
Jeffery: restaurant or picnic?
Sarah: I like both but the restaurant. I like saving it right.
Jeffery: five minutes with Bezos or Oprah?
Sarah: Oprah. hands down.
Jeffery: I love it. mountain or beach?
Sarah: beach.
Jeffery: bike or run?
Sarah: bike with some power, with electric power.
Jeffery: oh, I like that.
Sarah: yeah. Those are good. We have a portfolio company that makes electric bikes.
Jeffery: yes. Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets?
Sarah: Big Mac. I don’t like either actually. What’s the next one?
Jeffery: trophy or money?
Sarah: money, because then you can go buy a trophy in logic.\
Jeffery: beer or wine?
Sarah: wine.
Jeffery: camera or mobile phone?
Sarah: mobile phone because they’ve got a camera in them.
Jeffery: king or rich?
Sarah: kings don’t have a lot of power as with the rich. Many people will be asking questions when you’re a king.
Jeffery: concert amusement park?
Sarah: Yeah, the latter.
Jeffery: fortune cookie or birthday cake?
Sarah: birthday cake.
Jeffery: Ted Talk or book reading?
Sarah: book reading.
Jeffery: most famous person that pops into your mind?
Sarah: Obama.
Jeffery: The last podcast I just did said the same.
Sarah: Oh, it’s pretty funny why that is though. Not only is he famous, he also just released a new Netflix show about national parks. so he’s like in our Netflix stream. So when you’re in our network, what are you going to do?
Jeffery: That is true. Okay, favorite book?
Sarah: the bible. I am a lover of the wisdom of ancient biblical literature.
Jeffery: I like it. great answer. favorite movie and what character would you play.
Sarah: ah. I love Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner. because if you build it, they will come. so I would play the little child who believes you can see the posts. I can see them moving in and out of the cornfield.
Jeffery: yeah. favorite sports team?
Sarah: not a big sports lover but my family would kill me if I didn’t say Man United.
Jeffery: You mean Arsenal? I think they were trying to tell you to say Arsenal.
Sarah: definitely not.
Jeffery: awesome. the first brand that pops into your mind?
Sarah: Spanx. Ah, nice. It’s a good company. Hmm, an incredible female entrepreneur, did amazing things.
Jeffery: agreed.
Sarah: I read lots of stuff about her. She’s done a great job and now continues to support and do a lot of great things, so very empowering.
Jeffery: Yeah, she does. favorite app you’re using on your mobile phone today.
Sarah: not a big app user but I have used Noom recently, a relatively new app for managing and understanding how you eat and being mindful about how you eat and exercise and be healthy.
Jeffery: I quite like that. Noom. I’m going to check that out. Cool. What is the meaning of success to you?
Sarah: ah, that’s easy. Success is making a difference, leaving a lasting impact.
Jeffery: Yeah, doing something meaningful that will last. I like it. All right, the last question. What is your superpower?
Sarah: What is my superpower? I think I got two. Can I have two?
Jeffery: yes, hundred percent.
Sarah: I might be the first one to have two. That’s my superpower. having more than you asked for, more than you’re allowed. No, I’m a dreamer. I think I can see and connect with that I think. I’m an inspirer, so I like to inspire people to see what I can see. so I think those two go together.
Jeffery: I love it. I think with your background and all the great things that you’ve done, I believe that a lot of people would see the future that you see in them and I think that it’s empowering people to be better people and be better at business and being able to see where they can go. and I love it. so I would say that it’s awesome. more people need more people like you supporting them so they can see where they need to go and you’re going to help them take them there. Thank you. In saying that, thank you very much for all your time today, Sarah. It was brilliant to get to chat with you and learn more about everything about yourself and all the great things that you guys are up to and the way we like to enter shows is we like to give you the last word. so anything that you can share to investors or to founders I turn it over to you. but thank you again for all your time today.
Sarah: ah, it’s been my absolute pleasure being here. It’s been so much fun. I haven’t had this much fun on a podcast in ages. It was great. My last thing, my last word I guess, both as an investor and entrepreneur, is to make it count. make what you do count for building a better world.
Jeffery: I love it. I can’t even write that fast but make it count. a great way to end it. I love it. Thank you very much Sarah. have a fantastic day. Thank you, YouTube. Bye. Okay, that was awesome. I really enjoyed the journey that Sarah went on because again it’s a little bit different being in the NGO space than jumping into building her own company, doing it with her husband really building up a strong business going for venture capital and then exiting from that company and then turning another page and jumping into the venture capital space and being out there helping women across the African continent building companies and helping them expand learn and being able to take their business somewhere where they probably didn’t envision. I think that’s amazing on all the great things that Sarah’s been able to build up and how she’s been able to help a lot of founders. so really great insights. and I think as she mentioned, being able to utilize that background from her legal side and the NGO side really has helped her. and I think a lot of the stuff around motivation impact and just getting things done execution is the best way to prove to people that you’re ready for capital and for scaling. In saying that, thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this conversation, please feel free to share with your friends or subscribe to our YouTube channel. follow us on Spotify, Apple and or Stitcher. Your support and comments are truly appreciated. You can also check us out at supportersfund.com or for startup events visit opn.ninja. Thank you and have a fantastic day.

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