The African Business Angels Network (ABAN) has hosted its annual Investor Summit in Lagos, Nigeria, focusing on the theme of “the African Opportunity: Angel Investing in Africa”.
This year’s event brought together early stage investors, fund managers and opinion leaders from across the African continent, as well as Europe and the US, to discuss opportunities for investors in Africa, and in particular how to encourage more angel investing on the continent.
In his keynote talk, ABAN president Tomi Davies spoke about the need to promote a culture of angel investing in Africa, and ABAN’s work in this regard.
According to Davies, innovative early stage ventures requiring less than US$1 million in capital are the most difficult segment of the SME pipeline to reach, and yet often stand to benefit the most from working with an angel investor.
Davies said often these startups have limited access to financial services, due to the fact they have a minimal track record and lack the collateral needed to secure debt capital from a local bank. Further, local banks and traditional financiers often do not appreciate the dynamics of the entrepreneur’s specific business and therefore cannot add necessary value beyond capital.
As such, Davies highlighted the important role of ABAN members with regard to these startups, and said it is exactly through direct equity participation that entrepreneurs can best learn from more experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors with domain specific expertise.
The Summit featured a number of other presentations by ABAN members, as well as three roundtable discussions bringing together “local investors”, “overseas investors” and “ecosystem enablers”.
Disrupt Africa reported in December ABAN was officially launched at the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) conference; the idea to form the network of African investors having been raised at the September African Investor Summit.
ABAN brings together African investor groups such as Lagos Angels Network (LAN), Cameroon Angel Network (CAN), Cairo Angels and the Ghana Angel Network (GAIN), with the aim of connecting the network, knowledge and capital needed to support the continued growth of Africa’s innovation sectors and to help maximize the continents entrepreneurial potential.