Entrepreneurial advisory firm Intellecap, which has operations in Kenya and India, has launched the East African chapter of its angel network, which will see members invest amounts of between US$100,000 and US$1 million in promising startups in the region.
Intellecap has already launched the Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N) in India, where it has grown to become the largest network of its kind, and has now rolled out a chapter in East Africa with a number of prominent individual and institutional investors.
The company said Africa is finding its place on the global investment map, with East African successes such as M-Pesa and M-KOPA Solar serving as inspiration for small and medium enterprises (SME). Yet it said there remains a “huge gap” in the funding and advisory ecosystem for SMEs, with financing of between US$100,000 and US$1 million being the most difficult to access.
“We aim to plug exactly this SME financing gap with I3N’s East Africa chapter focusing on Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania,” said Atreya Rayaprolu, executive director of new initiatives at Intellecap.
“Our African SME database currently consists of comprehensive information about over 500 diverse enterprises. We are working to find and closely groom the most promising SMEs, and want to create a culture of trust and mentorship with local investors coming forward to invest their capital and expertise to help these SMEs grow.”
Founding members of I3N include PC World director Bobby Gadhia, Airtel Money Africa head Chidi Okpala, Chandaria Industries group chief executive officer (CEO) Darshan Chandaria, Investec PE founder Farouk Sheik, Craft Silicon CEO Kamal Budhabhatti, and former Nation Media Group CEO Linus Gitahi.
Institutional members include the Astarc Group, a leading manufacturing group with offices in Uganda and Tanzania, KFW-DEG, Doen Foundation, Khosla Impact Fund, and Omidyar Network.
Speaking on his involvement, Farouk Sheik said Kenyan entrepreneurs and investors need to start investing in young entrepreneurs, but lack the knowledge and expertise to do so.
“These individuals need to invest in each other, and this is very important. I3N is critical to make this happen because they provide the knowledge of early stage investing, and offer a vetted deal flow for investors,” he said.
To create awareness amongst enterprises and investors in the region, Intellecap has so far hosted two workshops with its network of partners in Rwanda and Kenya. No deals have been confirmed as yet, but Disrupt Africa has learnt that there are a number of possible investments currently undergoing due diligence.