Meet The Three Founders Building Fast Forward Venture Studio to Help African Startups from Idea Level

Meet The Three Founders Building Fast Forward Venture Studio to Help African Startups from Idea Level

Opeyemi Awoyemi is a Nigerian serial tech founder having led several significant startups. Before exiting one of his well-known establishments, Jobberman, an online job site founded in 2009 — he was the co-founder. It was eventually acquired by Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) in 2016. After this, he went on to be employed till 2021 working as a Senior Technical Product Manager at Indeed, another company creating job employment listings for users.

Awoyemi is currently the founder of Whoghost Limited, a web hosting and domain registration company founded in 2006; and Moneymie established in 2021 as a cross-border digital payments platform for migrants. According to information obtained from the website of the payment as of the time of this report, the company announced it was closing its payment vertical in August 2022. He serves as the co-founder of TalentQL, a startup enabling hires, development and management of remote workers for global companies.

The above-listed startups are only part of the few Awoyemi has co-founded. He has been an angel investor and also serving as a venture investor — through his Venture Kinetics or Whoghost Venture arm — in various startups like Kippa, Remedial Health, Nguvu Health, Moni Africa, Apart, Buycoins, Rovedana and lots more.

Following his experience as an investor, he set out to establish Fast Forward Venture Studio, an early-stage fund and provider of up to $50,000 in syndicated funds. Awoyemi is the managing partner of the Venture Studio.

It may be quite easy to point out why the founder chooses to incorporate his massive years of experience into setting up a Venture studio.

Venture studios unlike Venture capital firms and Accelerators can provide the initial team, strategic direction and capital for startups; essentially being involved in the day-to-day operations of the startup. It doesn’t measure the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and is not interested in a well-built pitch but the idea. Venture capital firms on the other hand invest in genuine and tested MVPs.

Accelerators provide training programs for a fixed duration, typically 12 weeks as well as funding ranging from $25,000-$125,000 in capital in exchange for defined equity. Y Combinator, Techstars and 500 Startups are leading examples.

Pursuers of venture studios are notably serial tech entrepreneurs with successful exits. Many of these entrepreneurs are interested in building an idea and testing or establishing another.

“First, we’re more hands-on than funds and incubators or accelerators. We back expressed entrepreneurs and operators while working very closely with them on our ideas,” managing partner, Fast Forward Venture Studio, Awoyemi said to TechCrunch.

“The returns are also much higher in terms of liquidity. It’s better for backers, and also for us. With all the checks we’ve written so far, overall, we already have a 64x multiples on invested capital, which many small funds or seed funds cannot boast about,” he said, ascertaining the value of investing in venture studios.

As for Omolara Awoyemi, partner at Fast Forward Venture Studio, she has worked in several managerial positions in leading tech companies such as Jumia, and Facebook and currently serves as a founding executive of Bumpa, one of the startups in the venture studio’s portfolio. The startup is also a recipient of the company’s syndicated fund.

Part of the other 45 plus startups in the company’s portfolio include Dojah (YC W22), AltSchool Africa (parent company to TalentQL), Buzzline, Bonafide, CloudMall Africa, Coindock (Inferous), TalentQL (Techstars S21), Reliance Health, Convoy, Odiggo etc.

The company plans to work annually with startups in sectors such as B2B, Healthcare, Logistics, Fintech, eCommerce, Deep Tech, Future of Work, Edtech, and SaaS — collaborating with entrepreneurs to promote ideas that guarantee impact to at least 10 million people and achieve over $10 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) within 3-5 years.

Also, three to five startups among the ten ideas the venture studio plans to work with yearly will receive further funding from investors and gain acceptance into accelerators such as Y Combinator and Techstars.

An agreement must have been made upon which Fast Forward acts as the co-founder and receives 20% of the company in exchange for the provision of human capital and $100,000 given to the startup’s operator or founder.

Former TechCrunch Correspondent, Jake Bright also serves as a partner at the venture studio.