Africa rises as a startup investment destination

On November 2nd, 3rd and 4th, VC4A and ABAN brought Africa’s investor community together for the 9th Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, an industry leading event which successfully hosted 3000+ attendees from all over the world.

  • 1000+ investors connected via the virtual summit, 3000+ attendees in total including Entrepreneur Support Organizations, incubators, accelerators and select high-impact startups
  • 30 cities unlocked for Investor Meetups in 25 countries worldwide
  • 12 organizations joined the partner list, boosting support for the theme Investing with a Gender Lens & Clean/Green Tech 
  • 14 women-led portfolio companies presented at the first 2022 VC4A Venture Showcase Africa: Women founder edition

Two key research reports were presented by Briter Bridges and Africa: The Big Deal, which highlighted record breaking angel and venture capital investments into African early stage businesses. With only $1 out of every $15 of this investment going to women founded and led startups, this year’s double theme highlighted trends in Gender Smart Investing and Greentech investing on the continent. 

As indicated by Jessica Espinoza in her Keynote Address on Gender Smart Investing, “Gender balanced leadership teams in private equity generate 20% higher net IRR, yet, we don’t find good gender balance in leadership in early stage investing”, adding that “This is a missed opportunity that can be resolved by adopting a gender smart lens.” 

AESIS2022 saw the launch of the first edition of the Ecosystem Side Event, with the aim to speak to the intersection between entrepreneurship development and early-stage investing. Industry leaders dug into different views around investment readiness and ESO sustainability.  Presenters included: 

  • Cindy Ai of Dream VC, 
  • Robert Haynie of FMO Ventures, 
  • Brenda Wangari of Village Capital, 
  • Katherine Abbot of UK South Africa Tech Hub and 
  • Tapiwa Nyandoro of Impact Hub Global among others. 

The segment was attended by more than 300 delegates, and was hosted thanks to the AESIS partnership with GIZ Make-IT in Africa who sponsored proceedings and FMO Ventures who powered the Hub Sustainability expert panel. 

With record breaking early stage investments and a need to sustainably grow the investing ecosystem, the subject of governance was a common thread throughout the summit, with a Masterclass on Governance for Angel Investors in the AESIS Academy, and a Fireside Chat on governance between Aly El Shalakany of Cairo Angel Fund, Rebecca Enonchong of ABAN and Raj Kulasingam of SM River Ventures. 

#AESIS2022 featured 14 women-led portfolio companies in the first VC4A Venture Showcase Africa: Women Founder Edition. These founders are all looking to raise their pre-seed to seed and Series A rounds of between USD 250K – 10M, as Venture Showcase alumni have raised USD 600M till date. For access to the dealbook, contact Jason Delorie on 

In a major milestone this edition, 1000+ investors attended the exclusive Investor Meetups in 30 cities worldwide, more than doubling from 13 cities in 2021. We witnessed many new bonds formed and celebrated the past year with one another as the community continues to grow. 

Cabo Verde held its first local investor meetup with #AESIS2022 and it was graced by the country’s Minister for Finance who spoke about Business Angels and Venture Capital, signalling that early stage investing is gaining the necessary recognition as a powerful economic development tool. 

Experience moments from the Investor Meetups in the Aftermovie and look through the gallery.

#AESIS2022 in highlights

  • 89 speakers (55% female)
  • 30 investor meetups hosted by partners in 25 different countries
  • 60 total sessions featuring
    • 8 fireside chats
    • 6 investor panels
    • 4 investor masterclasses as part of the AESIS Academy
    • 3 keynotes
    • 3 research presentations
    • 2 interactive workshops
    • 14 VC4A Venture Showcase companies pitching their Seed/Series A rounds and
    • 6 DFIs joining the Office Hours resulting in 30 1-on-1 meetings

None of this would have been possible without the support from our 2022 partner organizations. We would like to specially thank Strategic partners GIZ Make-IT in Africa and Work in Progress! Alliance, Knowledge partners FMO Ventures and the UNDP – Africa Sustainable Finance Hub (ASFH), and Friends of the SummitUK South Africa Tech Hub, Bestseller Foundation, Launch Africa Ventures, Dutch Good Growth Fund, AWS Activate, Flourish Ventures, Afrilabs and Next176 by Old Mutual.

Hope Ditlhakanyane of Founders Factory Africa, Abu Cassim of Jozi Angels and Yemi Keri of Rising Tide Africa brought the powerful gathering to a close, delivering the closing remarks with key insights summarizing the experience. Watch the full conversation.

When AESIS first started gathering the African early stage investing community, “there was approximately $120 mil in investment to around 30 early stage deals. Now in 2022 the ecosystem has crossed the $4 billion mark in investment in over 200 deals” said Hope Ditlhakanyane, who added that “AESIS2022 is a good moment for us to reflect on how far we have come as an industry to grow venture investing across the continent”. 

Looking ahead with great anticipation to the next edition. Join us again next year for the 10th anniversary of the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit at #AESIS2023. 

About VC4A:

VC4A is an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network and expertise for the programs that contribute to the startup movement in emerging markets. Since 2008, the organization designs, structures and implements successful entrepreneurship programs on the continent. VC4A runs an online platform featuring the world’s largest database of startups in Africa and Latin America and connecting local entrepreneurs to learning resources, mentors, investors and partner programs. Visit for more information.

About ABAN:

African Business Angel Network (ABAN) is the largest pan-African organization of Angel investors in Africa.  Established in 2015, ABAN represents the growing number of business angel groups in the African early stage ecosystems’ future, providing vital human and financial capital to African startup companies creating jobs across the continent. Today ABAN is a 60 member network with a presence in 35 African countries and the Diaspora representing over 1600 angel investors.