Investor networks to work towards pan-African Business Angel Network
By Tom Jackson, South Africa
Investor networks from across Africa attending last week’s DEMO Africa event in Lagos, Nigeria agreed to investigate how to form a pan-African Business Angel Network focused on early stage SME investing on the continent.
The agreement was made during the Investor Summit hosted by venture capital community VC4Africa at the event, with local and international investors present including angel investors, impact investors, venture capital funds and corporate venture capital actors.
“Going into the third year of DEMO Africa, we introduce a new exclusive investor-only event as part of the DEMO Africa 2014 event,” VC4Africa chief executive officer (CEO) Ben White. “This is the next step in making sure the leading innovators from across the continent are going to get the backing they need to achieve scale. At the same time, we see angel networks emerging across the continent. Now is the time to bring them together in a shared conversation about how best to move forward.”
Angel investors have already organised themselves into groups in the likes of Europe, the United States and Asia, and Baybars Altuntas, vice president of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), said he attended DEMO Africa to represent 20,000 angel investors across Europe.
“The majority of EBAN members want to learn more about African startups and the ecosystem here,” he said. “For us, this is a new source of investment pipeline. But to fully engage European angel investors we seek our counterparts across Africa. This is key for co-investing into opportunities on the ground. The European Business Angel Network could support an African Business Angel Network with incubation.”
VC4Africa, EBAN and the Lagos Angel Network will now jointly invite a delegation of angel investors from African countries to join EBAN’s next event, to be held in Helsinki, Finland in November, for a first meeting to develop a roadmap for the way forward for such an African network.
“DEMO has shown that Africa has serious entrepreneurs who can contribute value globally,” said Tomi Davies of the Lagos Angel Network. “As the Lagos Angel Network here in Nigeria we now have an opportunity to engage with our colleagues across Africa and in Europe. This is an open invitation to those interested to get involved.”