How Jessica Long from Maad Leveraged Visible to Raise a Seed Round

Belle Raab

Jessica is the co-founder and president of Maad, francophone Africa’s fastest-growing B2B e-commerce player. Jessica and her team adopted Visible in December 2021 to start sending out investor updates for the first time after closing a pre-seed round. Since then the team at Maad has continued to leverage Visible’s suite of fundraising tools such as data rooms and pitch decks. Maad successfully closed its seed round led by Ventures Platform in late 2023. Read more about their recent coverage in TechCrunch here.

This case study details why Maad chose Visible and the specific solutions they leveraged to support the successful raise of their seed round.

Jessica's Founder Journey—From Airbnb to Empowering Retail Owners in Africa

Maad was co-founded by Jessica Long in 2021. Jessica has a demonstrated passion for creating software that adds value operationally. She fostered this passion in her previous work as a software engineer at Airbnb, building systems to support novel machine learning and crowdsourcing technology at Idibon in San Francisco, and leading the development of national digital health platforms in West Africa as the Director of Global Services at Dimagi.

Jessica started Maad because she believed that better data tools could transform the business landscape of Senegal and other developing West African countries. After spending two years building out a generalizable tech platform to track field operations of all kinds, she and her cofounders zeroed in on the informal retail market. With 100,000s of small shops sourcing the same products from a patchwork supply network, Jessica saw a big opportunity to connect small shops directly to the agribusinesses supplying them.

Maad is now Francophone Africa's fastest-growing B2B e-commerce player. Maad supplies food, beverages, and everyday household products to thousands of small shops. The company is dedicated to empowering traditional retailers in Francophone West Africa. Their product offerings provide traditional retailers with a mobile app that’s a one-stop shop for all their supply needs and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands with a complete picture of the fragmented consumer market.

The Need to Professionalize Investor Communications After Raising a Pre-seed Round

Maad closed a pre-seed round in 2021 led by Launch Africa, Oui Capital, and Alumni Ventures. This was the first time Jessica and her cofounders had ever sent out monthly investor updates. Their first attempt included a few bullet points in an email to which her investors gave her feedback: “You could be doing this more professionally.”

Jessica’s early investors explained that monthly updates are often the first thing that new investors will look at to understand the trajectory of a company.

“Writing crisp, effective updates was one of the best ways to showcase our company’s growth and development,” - Jessica Long, Co-Founder and President of Maad

The team at Maad took this feedback to heart and evaluated several tools for the job. In response to why Jessica chose Visible she shared, “Visible struck us as the best choice, with its emphasis on high-quality email reports.”

Jessica highlighted specific features that made Visible stand out:

  • Filterable contact lists that make it easy to manage the email’s audience
  • The ability to add charts and graphs inline
  • The optional live data integration
  • The ability to add photos and GIFs
  • Recipient engagement tracking

Maad’s Growing Need for Visible’s Fundraising Solutions

Originally Maad’s primary use case for Visible was sending out monthly updates to investors. When Maad started its second fundraise, Visible became its centralized fundraising solution where they also hosted their pitch decks and data rooms as well.

“It truly became a home for sharing information with investors about our company.” - Jessica Long, Co-Founder and President of Maad

Since first leveraging Visible in December 2021 to update current investors, Maad utilized Visible’s more advanced fundraising solutions and successfully closed their Seed round of $2.3M (in equity) in late 2023. The round was led by Ventures Platform. Read more about the announcement of Maad’s recent financing in TechCrunch here.

Visible Impact on Maad’s Investor Engagements

Visible has equipped Maad to send high-quality investor updates every month since December 2021.

Visible's update engagement tracking allowed Jessica to see how closely prospective investors were following her company, which helped their team prioritize their timespend during the seed stage fundraise.

Increasingly, the team at Maad kept all investor-related information assets on the Visible platform including monthly investor updates, pitch decks, and data rooms. This created a clean and consistent place for sharing information and tracking engagement.

“Every month we get compliments on the quality of the investor updates we are able to generate with Visible’s platform.”

Maad’s Top Four Visible Solutions

Jessica shared the key advantages of using the Visible platform are:

  • The beautiful and polished investor updates
  • Thoughtful collaboration and versioning features
  • Engagement tracking
  • Consolidation of all major sources of investor information onto a single platform

Below are some examples of some of Maad’s favorite solutions in Visible.

1) The ability to store investor updates all in one place. This makes it easy to review previous updates, track engagement rates, and resend the updates if needed.

2) Fun features like directly embedded GIFs in newsletters allow us to connect with Maad’s supporters with more immediacy.

3) Uploading different pitch decks to the same link is an incredible feature for us. We love the versioning and collaboration this allows us internally, while presenting a unified experience to external collaborators

4) Beautiful graphs, directly configurable on the platform, are one of the most popular features of our monthly updates:

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