Collins Onuegbu, member of Lagos Angel Network (LAN), who attended the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) conference in Eindhoven, Holland alongside Tomi Davies, president of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), said EBAN is committed to the support of the development of the African angel community.
“Our attendance was to deepen the ties and encourage the relationship between the two continental networks,” he said.
At the Eindhoven programme, LAN requested EBAN to support Demo Africa and many investors from EBAN have committed to attend Demo in September in Nigeria to seek alliances and opportunities for investment in African start-ups.
“We will continue to draw on the experience and support of EBAN as we build the angel community across Africa to support the start-up community that is growing in the continent”, Onuegbu said.
At the 2015 Demo Africa, 40 of the most innovative startups in Africa would be offered a platform to showcase their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.
Demo Africa brings together Africa technology eco-system to share ideas and witness new innovations by technology start-ups from across Africa.
“Demo Africa 2014 was a huge success. We hope to build on this. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the local start-up scene to the rest of Africa and the world. It is a great opportunity to showcase African start-ups and help to deepen the investment ecosystem that Africa needs to grow. The investment summit that precedes DEMO is a great forum that brings investors from across the continent. This year, EBAN will attend”, he explained.
While reiterating what EBAN would bring to Demo Africa, Onuegbu listed as some of the support EBAN would offer to include setting professional standards, training and certification, benchmarking, research and networking with peers, lobbying, raising awareness and capacity building as well as cross-border syndication and co-investment support.
“This is far better than when all Africa wanted from Europeans was aid. The big opportunity for African start-ups will come when fellow Africans and Diaspora Africans start to invest heavily in indigenous ventures. I believe that investments from non-African investors will be a catalyst to this”, he enthused, adding that Angel investing is growing worldwide as an asset class.
Angel investors help to provide seed funding to start-ups before they mature to receive investments from venture capital companies. According to him, this is a critical component of the ecosystem that supports start-ups, which is in its nascent in Nigeria. “Nigeria is seen as one of the countries building an exciting start-up community and the Angel Network will definitely be part of this success story”.
Aimed at fostering cross-border co-investment, EBAN’s mission is to pay particular attention to drive additional funds to emerging markets instead of concentrating funds into more competing entrepreneurial communities to which funds are naturally attracted to. Cross-border co-investment facilities work on the principle that capital needs to be available where companies are located so “they don’t need to follow the money around and lead to potential relocation of startups”