4 Tips on How to have a Successful African ICO, according to Emmanuel Darko, Co-Founder, ICO Watchlist

Emmanuel Darko is the co-founder and VP, icowatchlist.com

ICOs are all the rage when it comes to raising money. So far, in 2018 alone, ICOs have already raised over $15 billion. In 2017, this figure stood at $7 billion.

African ICOs however are still lacking and only a fraction of this money has been raised in the African market.

We sat down with Emmanuel Darko, the co-founder and VP of ICO Watchlist, one of the largest ICO listing platforms in the world, to discuss how African startups and projects can be successful when it comes to raising ICO money.


African ICOs are Lacking


The first quarter of 2018 saw 59 percent as many ICOs as in all of 2017 receive capital.

“I don’t think African ICOs have raised up to $50 million,” says Darko.

Part of the reason why there is a huge gap between non-African and African ICOs is a lack of proper understanding, structure, and knowledge of what it takes to raise money successfully.

As the space gets crowded, it becomes more challenging and difficult to raise money. African startups need to learn how to navigate this increasingly complicated space in raising money.


4 Tips on How to Raise


Kora is one of the most successful African ICOs so far with $12 million raised

According to Darko, a lot of education is needed for middle and upper class Africans on the opportunities that lie in the blockchain space and investment in ICOs.

We can learn a lot from the more successful African ICOs such as SureRemit and Kora, both of which have successfully raised in 2018.

Here are some of the tips he offered for African ICOs:

  • A Solid Multinational Team

“I believe you should have a solid team with experience in the field you intend to pursue,” says Darko.

Having experience and a solid team to back you up is essential to being able to raise money internationally. When your team is from different parts of the world, they will also be able to build enthusiasm in those parts of the world, and help you reach a more global audience.


  • A Marketing Budget

“Ideally, ten percent of the money you intend to raise should be your marketing budget,” says Darko.

As the space gets increasingly crowded, people now have more options to invest. You need to have a marketing budget as an ICO to reach the global audience.

Showing how scalable your project is and how you intend to do that is vital. The blockchain space is global and investors expect your project will be a global initiative. The only way you can do this is telling the world how you intend to go global, and marketing is key to achieving this objective.


  • A Prototype

“Usually we’re meant to support ideas in the ICO space, but how things are going, you’d need atleast to have a protype, an MVP, that people can see and say, ‘OK, this is a workable product and that you need the money to improve the product you have.'” Advises Darko.

It is a fact that the ICO space is filled with a lot of scams. This has resulted in many being wary of where to invest their money.

Having a minimum viable product (MVP) enables potential investors to trust in you since you already have proven that the idea can be turned into a reality.


  • A Professional Whitepaper

“Have a good narrative, a professionally written white paper,” says Darko.

A whitepaper describes your project in detail and helps investors understand the problem you’re trying to solve and the solution you offer.

Having a clearly and professionally written whitepaper is a prerequisite to being successful in the space.

A whitepaper will also help potential investors see if your project meets the basic requirements for ICOs. Having terms and conditions that meet basic ICO regulations is key to avoid getting labelled as a scam.