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One Year In…

As we celebrate another Women’s Day, I wanted to share a little bit about what it means to me.

First anniversaries of startups are always deeply meaningful.

To arrive at the end of the first year of Enygma Ventures and out the other side of 2020 feels especially incredible. For many of us 2020 was all about survival and learning to adjust to a rising tide that at times felt overwhelming, choppy, disconcerting and unnerving. So much changed this year, so many unexpected circumstances to have to navigate through, new lenses with which to view the world and new decisions to be made. It was easy to think in 2020 do we press pause on everything whilst we are in the midst of such challenging economic times or do we find a path through, by adjusting, pivoting, learning and adapting to our new world? We knew this year would present all sorts of challenges, learnings and new opportunities. The businesses we funded this year pressed on, pivoted, accelerated and showed enormous grit in the midst of difficult times. We are incredibly proud of the 4 companies we have made investments in this year and with a further 3 further companies currently closing their legal work it’s going to be a busy end of year.

It’s been a tough year for female founders globally. With the added pressure of having everyone at home, having to manage households differently and children to educate, the pressure of this year has been immense. Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic both at home and in their businesses. Global funding for women this year also hit a 3-year low with investments in female founders dropping 48%. Many have argued that women have become more invisible than ever before because of the disproportionate amount of challenges women have faced. More than ever it is critical that women have access to networks, resources, support, the education and funding they need to succeed. We are more committed than ever to ensuring that women are not overlooked.

In 2020 we realized that huge gaps existed between having an incredible idea or being an early stage business and being investor ready. So we launched Startup Circles, a platform to prepare, coach, equip, educate and accelerate the growth of early stage companies. In 2020 Startup Circles has had more than 5000 people go through their programs and Engyma Ventures committed a further R20m to fresh new ideas that will help shape and form the continent in a post-Covid 19 world.

Our times maybe uncertain but never has there been a more cataclysmic opportunity for shaping our collective futures and capitalizing on once in a lifetime wave. This new decade ahead will see advances and revolutions in education, health care, and the digitization of services. The way we shop, the way we eat, the way we interact, have meetings, where we work will all be changed forever. We are excited to be part of building our collective futures and enabling the leaders of the future to rise up.

Cheers to year one on the journey!

Sarah Dusek

Managing Partner


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