Angel investors for African start-ups. Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative idea but with no access to adequate funds?
You are not alone. Lack of access to adequate capital is one of the main challenges businesses in Africa face in their start-up stage.
An African start-up is a business in its early stages founded in Africa or founded by Africans, with unique product or service to bring to a market. An African start-up is founded by one or more entrepreneurs.
An angel investor is typically a High Net Worth Individual (HNI).
That is, an angel investor is typically a high net worth individual (HNI) who invests time and money in start-ups.
Characteristics of an angel investor
Here are simple ways to identify an angel investor:
High net worth individual
An angel investor is a high net worth individual (HNI). A HNI is a rich person with a net worth of between $1 million and $30 million.
According to Forbes, Africa does not lack high net worth individuals (HNI). For example, there are over 40,000 millionaires in South Africa.
In addition, a research among emerging nations in Africa, Europe and Asia shows that Nigeria is the fastest growing high net worth country.
The country is set to see a compound annual rate increase in high net worth population between 2019-2023.
It simply means that a set of calculations is used to calculate and determine the returns for the assets and investments of individuals over a five year period.
The results show that Nigeria leads by 16.3%.
Apart from HNIs, African start-ups can also find capital through:
Angel investor groups
Angel investor groups are groups of individuals rather than an individual business angel.
Therefore, angel investor groups consist of individuals that collectively fund start-ups.
Coming together as a group of investors helps them pool more resources.
In addition, it helps to lower their investment risks. These type of angel investors tend to target particular geographical regions.
Diaspora angel investors
These are Africans and their networks abroad with the capacities and willingness to provide funds and mentorship support to African start-ups.
Diaspora angel investors also tend to target the home countries or regions where diasporans have knowledge of the market.
Increasingly, angel investors are becoming transnational, covering wider geographical regions.
Knowledge and experience
An angel investor tend to have a great deal of experience and is very knowledgeable. They are often individuals that have been captains of their industry.
They have held and excelled at executive positions. They know what it takes to get a business up and running.
It is believed that the best angel investors are those who in addition to money, provide wisdom, guidance and contacts based on their personal experience.
High tolerance for risk
An angel investor is likely to invest in start-ups because they have a high tolerance for risk.
This is because, business angels like to help entrepreneurs in fulfilling their mission of providing innovative solutions to local challenges.
High tolerance for failure
They know that it’s a risky investment and start-ups can fail. An angel investor is a risk taker like the entrepreneur they are investing in their business.
An angel investor loves brilliant ideas and is willing to learn. Business angels are interested in ideas that are unique.
They are always looking out for ideas that propose to solve real problems.
Trust is a critical factor for a business angel. Your business idea is like a bet to an angel investor.
Therefore, a business angel is always asking questions like, “do I trust him/her?”.
The angel investor is also interested in your answers to “why you” questions.
Loves diligent entrepreneurs
An angel investor loves diligent entrepreneurs. A business angel wants to see your carefully laid out plan and effort.
Business angels love entrepreneurs that know what the deal is.
Those who do not see business angels as only a source of cash.
A business angel wants to see your plan for your business and how they (business angel) fit into your business.
Time and flexibility
Angel investors are more flexible and patient because they invest their own money unlike venture capitalists with strict timelines.
As a result, angel investors are more suited for the emerging markets where business takes a longer time to grow.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go through ways you can find angel investors for your start-up.
How to find angel investors for African start-ups
Here are a few ways you can identify and connect with an angel investor:
Personal connections to find angel investors
You can make use of your personal connection such as family and friends to link you up with a HNI who might be interested in your idea.
Also, through personal connections you can reach diaspora investors who typically would want to invest based on trust.
In addition, a professional connection on LinkedIn could be the link that connects you to an angel investor.
Angel investor groups
You can look out for calls for submission by angel investor groups.
Accelerators and incubators to find angel investors
Accelerators and incubators can help you find and prepare for meeting angel investors for funding.
Pitch or business plan competitions
Universities and corporate organizations sometimes organize pitch or business plan competitions.
You can participate in any of these competitions. Winners are usually able to access funding from HNIs.
Meeting angel investors at conferences and events
Industry events and start-up conferences are also opportunities for start-ups. Get your elevator pitch ready. You might run into a HNI.
In such events you get to introduce your product or service and you can attract the right angel investor.
Online angel investor networks
The internet has made it possible for African start-ups to have wider access to potential angel investors.
In such websites, you see profiles of investors and the type of start-ups and the locations of interest.
Despite the growing numbers of high net worth individuals in Africans, many are not investing in start-ups.
It is believed that most rich Africans do not invest in start-ups because they do not understand the asset class.
Many of them did not make their fortune through technology, so may not understand the innovation terrain
For example, according to Forbes in 2018 whereas $133.5M venture capital was invested in Nigeria. Only $1.5M was invested by the Lagos Angel Network – the largest angel investment network in Africa.
With the increase in cross-border investments by angel investors in start-ups, there is hope for African start-ups.
Well prepared entrepreneurs with the right ideas will benefit from this trend.