Thursday and Friday, October 24 and 25, the DEMO Africa conference will take place in Nairobi, Kenya: a must-attend event for both investors, entrepreneurs, tech media & others looking for Africa’s “next big thing”. On Wednesday, October 23, VC4Africa hosts an investor reception (invitation only), in collaboration with our partners D8A and Appfrica. On Wednesday afternoon LIONS will also host its summit, a partnership network event that brings together industry stakeholders from both public and private sectors.
This year DEMO Africa will again launch 40 of the most innovative startups in Africa and highlight some of the best new technology innovations emerging from across the continent. Some tickets for the main event are still available, but going fast.
Part of this year’s activities will include special networking events for investors. This is in the continued effort to foster a culture of investing in innovative early stage companies that have the potential to become Pan African if not global success stories. In addition to well known firms like Intel Capital, Jacana Partners, eVentures Africa, Fanisi Capital and The Blue Mirror Fund, there will be a growing number of ‘new breed’ angel investors mixing in the crowd. Take for example Jerome Kisting, the backer of Kenyan based m-Kazi, or Pule Taukobong, an investor in 7 companies including Wabona and Enzi. These individuals represent an emerging class of investor now coming up across the continent. They provide a critical link for entrepreneurs looking to break rank and they offer entrepreneurs much more than their cash, often sharing critical insights and a rolodex of valuable contacts entrepreneurs would struggle to gain access to otherwise.
Angels investors meet
Key to this year’s events is a critical analysis of where the ecosystem stands today and to better understand where we need to invest our time and energy moving forward. Increasingly, the investment community comes to recognize the continent’s potential and the quality of its entrepreneurs, but experience is limited and track records are short. Pule Taukobong, the founder of the Africa Angels Network, explains, “I’m keen to meet other Angels that have made investments in different African markets so we can share our experiences and discuss strategies on how to get more investors on board.” Its important to understand the different investing strategies that are being applied and to get a sense of what is working and where we still fall short. Its also a chance to discuss ways that entrepreneurs and their investors are able to get around key challenges successfully, whether its building and maintaining a qualified team or securing follow on funding.
When asked about the upcoming events part of DEMO Africa, Pule adds, “I’m hoping to see and learn more about what startups are doing across the continent and to potentially find companies to invest in.” The DEMO Africa organizers estimate that about USD 8 million has been invested in the companies that participated in last year’s event.
In the background, key partners in building the ecosystem will come together for a LIONS@FRICA partnership meeting. This multi stakeholder initiative brings together government, corporate sector players and industry champions all working to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Africa. The meeting is being convened by the Secretariat for the LIONS@FRICA partnership, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).