Anatomy of a top angel investor


Sean Obedih, who runs Europe-based The Founders Hive and investment club NewGenAngels, which last year made investments totalling US$200,000 in three African startups, takes us through the different types of angel investors in Africa and what makes them so important.

For anyone to be considered a successful angel investor you need to have results, and by looking at the veterans of this trade you begin to notice a trend. That trend is simply being helpful: investors need to provide more than money, it is a people’s business.

It turns out that people have already been asking what are the top qualities to look for in an angel investor, but it was surprising to see that we can summarise it into something I call “The Ronco Effect”, or “The Ronco Principle” as Paul Graham called it in his recent post profiling the legendary Ron Conway.

Another great example is Chris Sacca and his seed fund – now a behemoth called Lowercase Capital – that is due to return US$1 billion to its original investors, who had invested around US$8 million.

Other people who share this philosophy and are applying it every day are people like Pule Taukobong, who is doing wonderful work within the angel investing space in Africa, going as far as taking one of his portfolio companies to CES in Las Vegas.

I can’t forget to mention Eric Osiakwan, an ecosystem builder who has been very active for many years across Africa.

Other people like Shak Khan are what every ecosystem needs, people who are willing to go the extra mile for the companies that they invest in.

But what if things don’t go to plan? Ivan Mazour explained how he invests and why he invests in startups, but most importantly what happens to the founders of a company backed by angel investors if it fails.

The era of angel investing is certainly changing, as recently pointed out by Duncan Davidson. Angels are becoming more professional and I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years will bring.

No matter what happens, angel investing will remain a global business and a people’s business.

Another great post on this topic was written by Samil Shah as he covered the challenges facing the micro VC model.

I am keen to hear what your experience with angel investors has been, or if you are an angel investor why do you like it so much?


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Key players from Africa's startup and investment ecosystem post on issues close to their heart for Disrupt Africa.

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