The third edition of Angel Investor Bootcamps held by the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) has taken place in Cape Town, with the keynote focusing on the similar challenges between the South African and global entrepreneurial landscapes.
Disrupt Africa reported in July ABAN announced it would host Angel Investor Bootcamps in Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town, in partnership with VC4Africa, Intercontinental Trust and the LIONS Africa Partnership.
The first bootcamp took place during Lagos StartupWeek in July; the second was in Nairobi earlier this month, where the bootcamp considered the use of benchmarking as a successful valuation tool and the need to understand local environments.
The third bootcamp took place in Cape Town yesterday, where keynote speaker Selma Prodanovic – co-founder of the Austrian Angel Investors Association, board member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), and founder of Brainswork – spoke about the similarities between the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in South Africa and worldwide.
According to Prodanovic, the obstacles faced by South African entrepreneurs, such as the need for education and infrastructure, are familiar to entrepreneurs across the world.
Entrepreneurs are renowned for overcoming challenges, she said, but nonetheless investors and industry stakeholders should come together to support entrepreneurs.
“But then, what are entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs create what they want to create, against all odds and no matter what,” she said.
“At the end of the day, if it was easy, then everybody would do it.”
Prodanovic said most business angels in the current landscape belong to the management of big companies, but have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to support young entrepreneurs.
“The majority of business angels worldwide are in the fifty plus age group, management and CEOs of big companies who are influential, have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to be part of an entrepreneurial venture, but no longer want to do it on their own. So they’re investing in the next generation,” she said.
However, she urged investors not to limit their support to financial, but encouraged angels to offer up their skills and experience, as well as their contacts, to ventures they are involved with.
“A business angel means more than just cash in/cash out investing. They’re bringing much more to a start-up,” said Prodanovic.
According to Prodanovic, bringing skills to the table is linked to the need for angels to think about why they are involved in investing. Investing is about more than an exit, but rather about the business building process, she said.
“Being a business angel is a fantastic thing to do. You’re able to enable entrepreneurs to follow and build their dreams”, said Prodanovic.
“But it’s important to think about why you are a business angel. If for example you are in New York, you will say you’re in the exit business. It’s all about making money at the end of the day. But I totally disagree. The exit is a result, but not the main purpose. I think that business angels are in the business of creating great businesses.”
Prodanovic also spoke about the need to build strong relationships, diversity in investment landscapes, and the importance of seeking out good founding teams.
The event also featured panel discussions, with speakers including Daniel Guasco of Team Africa Ventures; Justin Stanford of 4Di Capital; Ernst Hertzog of Action Hero Ventures and Willem du Preez of Intercontinental Trust.