Starting Strong: Angel Investors’ Activities in Africa This Year

By  |  May 8, 2019

Asides personal financial commitments or that from friends and family, angel investment has always been an alternative to VC funding in Africa and the rest of the world. These high net worth individuals or groups of businessmen continue to see business opportunities in Nigeria, prominent of which is Jumia’s Initial Public Offering.

And, perhaps for the same reason venture capitalists see more potential in West Africa, angel activity has become somewhat proliferation in the region in the past few months. Q2 having begun, here are the most recent angel activities that happened you should be aware of.

Jozi Angels Announce New Co-Investment Fund

Per a piece of information disclosed by ABAN Angels, South Africa’s Jozi Angels has concluded a deal with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to co-invest alongside members of the Johannesburg-based investor network. The agreement is aimed to pilot and develop stronger ties between the public and private sector.

According to a statement from Jonzi Angels Lead, Abu Casim the angel group hopes that the relationship will catalyze growth in its investment space. On the high-level terms of the agreement, co-investments will be on 1:1 basis and focus will be given to women-founded firms as well as in-house developed, cutting-edge tech startups. The co-investment from TIA is limited to R 500 K per startup, according to the information.

Mali Business Angels Emerges

Reported to have been facilitated by the brains behind the first-ever Francophone Africa Investor Summit, Mali Business Angels Network has been launched to bolster Malian startups. Malian early-stage companies have been somewhat quiet, stirring debate as to whether the Southern African country’s startup scene is existent to start with.

Well, an answer has come, all thanks Suguba who joined forces with Le Réseau de l’Entreprise en Afrique de l’Ouest to gather a 40-member network of Mali’s most influential private sector CEOs. Technical assistance to the Mali Angels is being provided by the World Bank Group.

Benin Angel Investment Group Launched

According to a Disrupt Africa publication and following reports, the Benin Business Angel Network (BBAN) began operations in April after it was launched to convene entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals to financially bolster startups in the West African country.

The group which launched with 15 founding members aims to invest no less than USD 4,300 annually. Looking to be an instrument to business development in Benin and providing seed money to promising startups, the angel ground hopes to make its first investment by the end of May 2019. This launch marked a new and significant development for Benin-based startups.

Noru Capital Unveiled

Coinciding with the launch of the Benin Business Angel Network was the unveiling of Noru Capital. At the inaugural Early-Stage Startups Investment Conference Conference (ESSIC), the EtriLabs-championed impact fund was introduced with a clear focus on early-stage startups.

While the investment size was kept a secret, the initiative will reportedly provide significant finance in the form of equity and quasi-equity in an initial phase. The fund will invest in promising startups with great teams operation in Benin Republic, who have also reached product-market fit and have rapid expansion-based business models.

Dakar Angels Make Their Mark

In what was indeed a strong start for yet another West African angel group, Dakar Network Angels launched in April and made its first Francophone Africa investment in cleantech venture Coliba.

The waste management and collection startup from Ivory Coast, which uses a smartphone app to coordinate waste recycling was reported to receive USD 25 K alongside mentorship from the angel group.

Dakar Network Angels which comprises 31 members from continents made the Coliba deal as part of its mission to convene experts and capital to connect the dots in resources for startups in Francophone Africa.

Southern Nigeria’s Angel Group’s First Investment

Last month, Nigeria’s South/South East Angel Network (SSEAN), after a year of inception, made its first investments in two agri-based startups in the West African country. According to a WeeTracker report, the team of angels invested USD 5,555 in Alphotazi Farms – a Nsukka-based modular cassava processing company currently operating out of a village in Benue State – and USD 20 K in Greenage Technologies – an inverter and solar panel original equipment manufacturer based in Enugu.

SSEAN which was set up in 2018 by a group of professionals to invest, mentor and support Startups in the South-East/South-South of Nigeria, joined Lagos Angel Network as an active investment group in the country.

Angel Team Invests USD 30 K In S. A Edtech Zelda

According to an information disclosed to WeeTracker by South Africa-based edtech startup Zelda, they had received USD 30 K from a league of angel investors to help it double down on its marketing scaling and user acquisition. The funding which brought Zelda’s financial reception to USD 100 K marked Zelda’s second angel raise.

The participants in the development were  Bas Hochstenbach – co-founder at Asilia Africa and an angel investor for Skill-Up Tutor – Frederik Gerner – co-founder of Ampelmann Operations and Forward One VC group – and Justin Drennan – ParcelNinja co-founder and investor for Superbalist. The 2017-founded firm secured its first angel raise of R500 K from three angel investor, thanks to an introduction from Knife Capital’s Andrea Bohmert.

Unidentified Angel Pumps USD 445 K Into Kenya’s AfrickaSokoni

Reports informed that an angel activity had taken place in Kenya, and, according to a confirmation sent to WeeTracker, Kenya-based e-commerce startup AfrikaSokoni raised an angel round to champion its ambitions. While the startup remained quiet about the identity of the angel, the funding was reported to be USD 445 K.

Speaking to WeeTracker, AfricaSokoni CEO, Ebrima Fatty said the angel investor is from Europe and the money will be used to “consolidate the gains the startup has made since it launched in 2017. The funding development is an extension of AfricaSokoni’s initial seed round of USD 300 K which was preceded by a USD 250 K raise in October 2017. It’s possible that all rounds could have been from the same angel investor.

While it can be confirmed here that Togo Angels Network launched last year, there is little reason to believe that others such as the Gambian Angel Investors Network and Accra Angel Network were similarly unveiled. There are hardly any reports to confirm this, but ABAN Angels told WeeTracker that both are new angel groups, who probably surfaced within the past year.

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