Aya is known for empowering African talent with resources support and growth opportunities. In this Interview, Eric the founder of Aya discusses how Raise has helped the company remain organized.
Please give a brief overview of yourself and your company.
My name is Eric Annan, the founder and CEO of Aya. Our vision is to empower African talents to be global builders through technology. We train and certify talents through Aya Labs, we connect talents with startups building MVPs and help hire these talents to build for startups. In summary, Aya is an all-in-one talent infrastructure network.
How did you hear about Raise?
I went through a program sometimes last year and Raise was recommended by one of the mentors at the event. Before Raise, we were using Carta and we were aware of Carta’s investment in Raise so we transitioned to Raise.
What do you use Raise for?
We use Raise to manage our cap tables and we were interested in getting our 409A Valuation* done, however we realized that it wasn’t a service that was being provided at that time. So far, using Raise for managing our cap tables and also the Raise Equity Clinic service has also been very helpful.
What major challenge did you have before using Raise and how has Raise helped you solve those challenges?
We really didn’t have any major challenge aside high cost of some services that we needed which Raise provided us with a better leverage in terms of cost.
What unique features on Raise have been helpful?
We’ve not really explored most of the features that Raise offers, the valuation calculator and so on. We’ve not really explored them in the way that we should. But the Equity Clinic service was a great exercise for us.
What’s a major advantage of using Raise?
The truth is that building a startup in the continent is hard. The hardness comes from raising capital to operations and so on. We mentioned a few months ago that we don’t mind paying extra for Raise to manage all our compliance gaps. For example, for us, we don’t need to know the compliance needs for Kenya or all 54 African countries. All we need to know is that there’s a platform that provides that regulatory needs in one place. If Raise looks into that, that will be helpful.
What major advice will you give other startups based on your experience with Raise so far?
One of the major challenges you want to avoid as a founder is not being structurally-ready or organized. Being investable means that you know your cap table terms, where you stand and your equity structure is clear. I’d advice that you sort that first before approaching an investor, your corporate governance is key and for me I’ve been intentional about that from day one. Raise has been really helpful for us from day one. If you are a founder in Africa especially where fundraising is difficult, documentation is key. if you are not well-structured in terms of your corporate governance, fundraising will be a lot more difficult for you. You don’t need to know everything, get a partner like Raise that can help you navigate that process.
*Raise now offers 409A Valuation services for African startups here.
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