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  • What is crowdfunding?
    Crowdfunding is a method to raise funding for projects or organizations by pooling together many different funders. Crowdfunding allows good companies and organizations the opportunity to attract funds when they do not fit the typical needs for conventional financing, like African businesses. There are three types of crowdfunding: Rewards or donations-based crowdfunding, which are not investments Debt crowdfunding Equity Crowdfunding Nia uses equity crowdfunding for the investments offered on the platform.
  • What is equity crowdfunding?
    Equity security crowdfunding is the process whereby many individuals invest money in a business. The investors are issued with shares of the company in return for their investment (as happens with all investment opportunities listed on Nia). See the question below on deal structure to learn more about types of shares.
  • Is equity crowdfunding a regulated activity?
    Yes. Equity crowdfunding is a regulated activity in the UK. Each country has its own regulations for equity crowdfunding. NIA CF LTD is an Appointed Representative of Seedtribe (trading as CityDealmaker) who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Firm Reference Number is 695526. The FCA regulatory approach to crowdfunding over the internet can be found here.
  • What are the main risks associated with equity crowdfunding?
    Investing in shares of the companies that are offered on involves risk, including the loss of all or some of the monies you invested. It also involves the chance of illiquidity of your monies and credit risk. Investments made on Nia’s platform should be part of a diversified portfolio and you should seek investment advisement before investing.
  • How does Nia minimize these risks?
    Nia uses a three-tiered due diligence process, including audited financials and outside advisory, before allowing any business to raise funds on their platform. Through this due diligence process, Nia checks the organizational structure, history and the internal procedures. All businesses and founders also go through security and criminal checks. All of the due diligence is accessible to the investor and can be viewed before investing. Where there is uncertainty in exchange rate risks, Nia makes investments in USD and not local currency where possible. Nia also structures the deals in a way that provides different methods for exit, making liquidity of the investment easier. This is because more traditional exits are rare in Africa and this needs to be accounted for. These deal structures are discussed below in the next set of questions.
  • How do I invest?
    After you go through the onboarding process, you will have access to an investor portal. From here, you can access the active investments page, which will show you all investment campaigns that are running. Each campaign will provide you with a description of the business, information on the deal, a due diligence package, how much they are raising and how much they have raised so far. As an investor, you have the ability to transfer money in your “Nia wallet.” Once you have decided that you would like to invest, you can click on the invest button, and let us know how much you would like to invest. There will be a minimum investment you must commit to. The money from your wallet will then be used for that investment. Nia is also currently working on allowing an even easier method of investing through automation if this is desired. In this case, the investor tells Nia their financial and impact preferences, and the platform will invest money from your wallet that matches that criteria.
  • Who can invest?
    There are four categories of investors that can join Nia. Restricted Investors: You agree to invest no more than 10% of your net assets in investments that cannot be easily sold (like on Nia). Self-Certified Sophisticated Investors: You have made at least one private investment in an unlisted company in the past two years. High Net Worth Individual: You have an income of over £100,000 or you have net assets over £250,000 Institutional Investors: A company or organisation that invests money on behalf of others.
  • What is the minimum investment to join a deal?
    Each offering will have a different minimum investment requirement depending on the type and size of the deal. However, the lowest minimum investment that we offer is £100 per deal.
  • What is the onboarding process of an investor?
    Every investor is required to submit a short form to provide basic information on themselves. Then, they are then required to submit a proof of identity and proof of address, which will then be checked. Investors are then required to take a short “appropriateness test,” which is to ensure that each investor understands the products and risks associated with investing on Nia’s platform. Once all of this is completed and checked, you will be offered a login to start investing.
  • Could I lose more than the amount invested?
    No. You could lose all of the money you invested but no more.
  • How are the deals structured?
    Each deal with Nia is structured to optimize the use of finance for the business and our investor’s return. Investing in Africa is different, and it requires more innovative products in terms of finances in order to succeed. You will have access to the details of the deal structure for each business on the platform. We have two different types of businesses that raise with us. The first is startups in a seed round, where Nia often issues convertible debt. The second is for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that require venture debt, which is self-liquidating. This provides a lower risk in receiving returns than in pure equity. In these cases, Nia provides debt, asset-financing and revenue-financing. These are tailored depending on what is best for mitigating risk both the business and investor. This deal structure is all bundled into each investor’s shares for an individual company.
  • How much return should I expect on my investment?
    At Nia, we focus on finding innovative and exceptional African businesses that we predict have the potential for strong growth. We do not put up a business on Nia's platform unless we project that they are able to offer competitive financial returns. Although there are risks associated with investing in Africa (see details on risk), the continent does offer a unique environment for providing strong returns. This is because, Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world with an expanding middle class. It is predicted that by 2030, household consumption in Africa will be over $2.5 trillion. In addition, 6 out of 10 of the fastest growing countries in 2020 and 2019 are in Africa. Yet, there is still a $140 billion dollar financing gap for small and medium sized businesses in Africa, meaning that the demand for capital is extremely high. In addition, capital within the continent is high, with the average lending interest rate in Sub-Saharan Africa at 22 percent in 2018/2019. This means that there are thousands of high-quality businesses across the continent that are searching for the capital that Nia provides. Due to the high-demand and growth within the continent, there is excellent opportunity for earning competitive financial returns across the continent. Since Nia works on a deal by deal basis, returns will vary depending on the deal. However, your capital is at risk when using Nia's platform and these returns are not guaranteed. If you would like additional information on projected returns, please email
  • What are the fees for investing with Nia?
    There is an investment performance fee that is charged to you (the investor) as you receive your returns. Nia receives 15 percent, depending on the deal (this information is provided to you before you invest), of your investment profits for each deal. Profits means the returns that you made in addition to receiving your original investment amount back. This fee is competitive with private equity funds. We do not charge any sort of management fee.
  • Can I cancel an investment order?
    Yes. You have a 14-day period after you have invested to decide to cancel your order. If you do decide to cancel your order, your monies will be refunded to you. After this time period, you are unable to cancel your order.
  • When and how do I get returns?
    Each deal will provide an estimation of when you will receive your returns, although this timeline is not guaranteed. There are a number of deals that are more short-term, where you may receive returns within 1 to 3 years and others that require more time, like 5 to 7 years. You will receive your returns in your Nia Wallet, where you can either transfer them to your bank account or you can re-invest them.
  • What about taxes?
    You are liable to pay taxes on your returns that is based on your country’s requirements. Nia does not offer tax advice and recommends that you speak to a tax professional before investing.
  • I’m not a UK resident, can I still invest?"
    Individuals outside of the UK can register with Nia but before you invest, you should be aware that certain countries may impose restrictions on the ability of their nationals to invest overseas and there may be differences to this process. Nia does not know these different restrictions, which means that if you decide to invest, you must understand them. Thus, it is your responsibility to be fully aware of any restrictions your country of residence may impose, and that Nia cannot be held liable.
  • How do I make a complaint?
    Nia’s team always wants to help you to the absolute best of our abilities, but we do know that sometimes there can be mistakes or problems. We want to help solve problems as quickly as possible, so please do contact us at +44 (0) 7908 150897 or If you would like to submit a formal complaint, please do so at our Principal SeedTribe Ltd. at +44 (0) 3456 121211 or
  • Why should I invest in African businesses instead of donating to charity?
  • Why is there such a large funding gap for SMEs in Africa?
    In African markets, there is a mismatch between funding providers and investable Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) opportunities, causing a $140 billion funding gap and a “Missing Middle” (World Bank). The reasons for this mismatch are: SMEs are too small and risky for banks, private equity firms, venture capitalists and institutional investors. African markets are fragmented and underdeveloped, increasing the costs for investors, especially if they are located outside of the continent. There is a limited local investor ecosystem due to the lack of capital and experience. The businesses that Nia works with are looking for growth investment that is not quite big enough for the institutional investors but is much too big for family/friends and microfinance to cover. This gap is between $100,000 and $1,000,000 USD, which is what Nia provides.
  • What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
    The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals are a group of 17 goals that are designed to be “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” (United Nations). These goals include actions like ending poverty everywhere, fighting climate change, gender equality and inclusive and equitable education for all. You can find the list and explanation of the 17 goals here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. 

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