Angel investment in Africa is still nascent, but there are some milestones

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A 2012 report by Omidyar Network called for initiating, expansion and formalization of local Angel Investment in Africa. This was “ to ensure the availability of the most appropriate type of funding for startups.” Six years later, the continent seems to have heeded the advice.

Currently, according to Africa Business Angel Networks, ABAN, there are over 60 Angel Networks in Africa. In fact, there are some other Africa-focused Angel Networks beyond the continent’s borders.

Recently, Tanzania also launched its own Angel Investment Network, TAIN. While Kampala, Uganda’s capital also saw KAIN become the latest addition to the growing number of Angel Networks last year. (See also: Why we are Building an Angel investment Network in Uganda)

But, while as ABAN's team believes that angel investing in the continent is still nascent, it sure is a time to look back at some of the key milestones.

Because Africa has reached a stage where launching shouldn’t be the news. Rather, what impact a particular network is having. Attention should be fixated on the ultimate aim of the Angel Network and what it is doing to get there. There are those that have so far, already, proved that it's possible.

Founded in 2012, Cairo Angels has become one of the leading investors in Egypt. As well as the MENA region. Just behind 500 Startups Middle East.

Last year, they participated in four different rounds of funding. Here, here, and here. Playing the lead role in two of them. To date, according to its website, the network has invested over US $2.2 Million in 21 startups across 6 cities.

In January, this year, Cairo Angels joined forces with EG Bank to the Mint Incubator. A “highly competitive” three-month incubation programme with no equity.

In Nigeria, Lagos Angel Network, LAN, one of the pioneer Networks on the continent, was founded in 2012. Since then, according to the Network’s CrunchBase profile, it has gone on to make at least four deals.

It made its very first investments in Autobox and Hutbay in 2014. Followed by a $250,000 investment in both Big Cabal Media and Cafe Neo.

From then, the Network has continued to hold Masterclasses as well as DealDays. Through this, the network, Tomi Davies, its founder, believes that it exposes the Angels to individual entrepreneurs and ventures. According to Disrupt Africa, “companies have so far raised over NGN200 million (US$555,000) via the events.”

On an individual level, Nigeria has had some few individuals, especially former and current founders, come out to invest as Angels. And, go ahead to make such deals public. Something still rare amongst African Angel Investors.

Tomi Davies, long before he founded the Lagos Angel Network, was investing as an individual. "He’s invested around US$1.2 million into startups including Sproxil, Pass.ng, SimplePay, PushCV and Pledge 51, generally putting between US$25,000 and US$50,000 into each startup per round," according to Disrupt Africa.

Others that have followed in Tomi’s footsteps are Paga’s Tayo Oviosu. He has invested in ChopUp. Konga’s founder, Sim Shagaya, with his investment in Go My Way and Jovago (now Jumia Travel) founder, Marek Zmyslowki also join the list.

In East Africa, there are a couple of networks. According to ABAN, the number ranges between 5 - 10. However, there hasn't’ been much activity from them, until recently, beyond meetups and investor master classes.

According to ABAN's David van Dijk, “Kenyan angel network ‘Viktoria’ celebrated its first investment” last year. Viktoria Ventures was also among the three investors that invested in the three winners at the 4th Angels Fair Africa event in Nairobi.

While Uganda’s Kampala Angel Investment Network, KAIN, held its first Investor Meetup early this year and a DealDay in April. (See also: KAIN partners with Investment Clubs to invest between $10k – $100k in Uganda’s early-stage startups)

Though, Tomi commented on the issue of angel networks not being active yet. He said, in reference to LAN, that;

“It’s very early days for LAN to talk about exits in the classical western sense and there is a view that the western form of exits will not be what happens here on the African continent as infrastructure, commercial culture and expected outcomes differ from that of the West we are trying to emulate.”

There are a couple of startups that have raised angel investment from individual Angel Investors. But, few - if any - make such information public.

For example, Xente, a fintech startup in Uganda has raised some “significant” amount of funding from Angel Investors. Kenneth Legesi, one of the founders of Kampala Angel Investment Network has also made some bets in startups in Uganda.

Towards the end of last year, Africa Entrepreneurship Angels also held a closed-door Angel Investor pitching session in Kampala. But, no further details of deals made were communicated. (See also: Why BMCE’s AEAwards launched an Angel Investors Network, African Entrepreneurship Angels)

While, Angel Africa List, founded in 2013 as “an early stage Pan African investment platform”, has also held Angels Fair Africa since 2013.

The event, according to its website, has “resulted in $23M worth of investments in the KINGS countries of Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.”

Beyond the borders of the continent, Sean Obedih founded NewGenAngels. A “members-only investment Club for high liquid professionals and sophisticated angels, Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, venture capital firms, family offices and angel networks with an interest in Africa.”

The network, as of 2014, had made syndicated investments into 3 African startups totaling US $200,000. This was into “music startup Orin, US$25,000 into online marketplace Kitaal and US$150,000 into a stealth financial technology company." According to Disrupt Africa.

Before being acquired by a UK-based advisory firm, CAMSCORP, for an undisclosed fee, in February last year.

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