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The Pandemic through Startup Eyes

Over the last month we’ve been gathering data and stories from our fledglings on how the pandemic is playing out in their country/cities and within their businesses. The results are not good: The first 57 responses arrived from 25 countries. The fledglings are a very diverse portfolio of startups. The tiny numbers show where there are multiple responses from a single country or city...

One step ahead of the Pandemic

When the world gives you a pandemic, make lemonade??? Maybe, if what your city needs most of all is lemonade. Most likely it is something else. But what? Well… unless you live in China, the good news is that some country is ahead of yours in terms of dealing with the pandemic, and thus you can look to see how they dealt with their epidemic to better guess how your customers will deal with...

East Africa Fruits raises $2.05 million Series A

East Africa Fruits closed a $2.05 million round of capital led by Goodwell Investments with participation from FINCA Ventures and elea. Fledge is especially proud of this company, as it was our very first native-African fledgling. When we first invited the company to participate, it was less than 18 month old, it had earned only $100,000 in revenues in its first year, and had big...

Africa Eats

The coronavirus pandemic brings more than a healthcare crisis to Africa, it brings disruptions to the food supply chain that will likely cause widespread hunger and starvation. The food system is already far from ideal, with (at least) 40% of that food never being eaten due to post-harvest losses (Rockefeller Foundation studies). Adding to these issues are the friction of closed borders...

Fledge16 begins Online

With a coronavirus pandemic hotspot in Seattle and global travel on hold for a whole, we’ve started Fledge16 and its matching Angel Accelerator online. 9 companies based in 6 countries: From left to right on the map above: Bricolage Recycling glass into sand. South Carolina, USA. Tilaa Honey and cashews. Talame in Northern Ghana. Agromyx Powered fruit and grains. Accra, Ghana. Build...

Startup Trends and Patterns

An unprecedented 842 applications arrived to Fledge at the start of 2020. We unfortunately can’t provide our investment and training to everyone who applies, but we can at least provide some insights that we see from our view reviewing all these startup applications. Trend 1: Traction When Fledge began in 2012, applicants for accelerators were nearly all idea-stage companies. Maybe a rough...

An Unplayable Piano and a Business Accelerator

What do David Bowie, Jazz, and an unplayable piano have to do with the power of business accelerators? All get you out of your comfort zone, and that seems to be a secret to success. This episode of Tim Harford’s Cautionary Tales explains how. Listen to the episode first. Our analysis is that one of the powers of an in-residency, in-person business accelerator is that it gets entrepreneurs...

2020 Hindsight: Startup Success and Failures

As the 2020s begin, so do both the puns and the retrospection. Combining the two, let’s look back at the first seven years of fledglings, and learn from those 95 companies to find patterns that lead to success and which lead to failure. Failure There is a lot less to learn from success than failure, so let’s start with the bigger learnings. In no particular order: Timing really is the...

Fledge’s 2010s

The 2020’s are about to start, and with that, this is a good moment to look back at what has been accomplished at Fledge in its first decade of existence, the 2010s. September 2019 – Nairobi, Kenya 14 African entrepreneurs, all focused on restorative agriculture   met for an incredibly intense week of training. So useful that WRI is expanding this program beyond Africa in 2020...

We Suffer from Understanding Startups

We suffer from understanding startups. Perhaps “suffer” isn’t quite the right word, but if you understand anything about entrepreneurship, you know it comes with high highs and low lows, too often both in the same week, and even sometimes both on the same day. Or perhaps why this sentence resonates so well for Fledge is that we are not the type of program that provides just days...

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