Stakeholders within Tunisia’s startup ecosystem are working towards building the country’s first angel investor network after launching a training programme for high net-worth individuals.
On August 8, Flat6Labs Tunis, in partnership with Attijari Sicar, B@Labs and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), held an investor academy programme with the aim of supporting the growth of a new wave of private business angel investors in Tunisia.
The programme was designed to teach high net-worth individuals on how to invest effectively in innovative tech startups, with Flat6Labs saying it hopes the programme stimulated the launch of a more formal business angel network in the near future.
“This initiative comes from the fact that in order to grow, startups need several rounds of funding to develop. At the moment, Tunisia is trying to improve the environment of entrepreneurs and investors, especially through regulatory improvements such as the Startup Act. It is for all these reasons that the Investor Academy comes just in time to generate more investment opportunities,” said Yehia Houry, managing director of Flat6Labs Tunis.
Tunisian is a pioneer in terms of government legislating for the growth of local startup ecosystems, with its approach being mirrored elsewhere on the continent. However, in terms of homegrown angel networks, it lags behind. Led by the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), the continent is seeing huge growth in early-stage investment.
The Lagos Angel Network, set up in 2012, was an early forerunner of a group of leading networks that also includes Cairo Angels in Egypt, Jozi Angels in South Africa and the Viktoria Business Angels Network in Kenya. Recent launches have also taken place in Mali, Benin, Senegal, and The Gambia, while there are also groups forming outside of traditional hubs, such as the SSE Angel Network, which backs startups in the South-South/South-East regions of Nigeria. All-women angel networks are also launching, like the Lagos-based Rising Tide Africa and Cape Town’s Dazzle Angels.
Flat6Labs Tunis and its partners hope to encourage similar developments inTunisia, with one of the partners, PE firm Attijari Sicar, announcing a new offer specifically for business angels. The company committed to matching any investment made by any angel present at the event in any startup that was worth more than TND100,000 (US$35,000).
“With this collaboration with business angels, we will create a trusting relationship between startups, business angels and the Sicar,” said Yasser Lourimi, general manager of Attijari Sicar.
The event also saw the launch of the Maghreb Angel Investor Network, a network of angels across the Maghreb region initiated by Noomane Fehri, ex-minister of ICT and current chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of B@Labs, which co-organised the event.
Georges Ghorra, the IFC’s resident representative in Tunisia, said Tunisian entrepreneurs could further grow with the help of a supportive ecosystem.
“Events such as the Investor Academy help strengthen the connections between entrepreneurs, creating space for further collaboration, learning and growth,” he said.