Exploring viability of pre-establishment of design structures of Venture Capital Funds in Kenya
The purpose of this study was to explore the viability of pre-establishment design structures of venture capital funds in Kenya. It was guided by the following objectives: to identify the most effective fund design of a Venture Capital Fund (VCF) in Kenya; to identify the key variables that need to be considered at pre-establishment of a VCF, to identify the risks and opportunities considered by the venture capital funds in relation to their establishment in Kenya and to propose viable pre-establishment VCF designs and structures that can be replicated in Kenya. The study adopted a qualitative research design. A purposive sample of seven VCFs were surveyed. The main data collection instrument was an interview guide. Face to face in-depth interviews were conducted with the owners of the VCFs and their business partners. The data collected was content analyzed using NVIVO software to generate patterns and themes. The findings revealed that there are three types of fund structures that the VCFs used. One was the family fund where an individual or a family put their money for investment in a particular region. This means that the VCF does not spend a lot of time and energy in fundraising. There is a lot of flexibility with this type of fund structure and the decision making on investment is easy and fast. A board of governors heads this type of fund and the members of the board include a representative of the family that has put in the fund. An investment committee headed by a CEO manages the VCF. The second type of structure is the debt funded structure which is headed by a board of governors who are experts in various fields such as banking and financial markets, and managed by a CEO. The third type of structure is one funded by Limited Partners (LP) and this is the most complex and rigid type of structure. It has various investors with competing interests such as return on investment on the one hand and high social impact on the other. This means that for any investment decisions to be made they have to wait until the structured calendar meeting. The study proposes a structure based on preferred convertible equity structure for the VCFs as an optimal VCF design at the pre-establishment. The study recommends for the establishment of a proper legislation defined through partnership between the VCF and the government regulatory authorities.