Lagos, Nigeria – Good ideas, excellent execution, a growing market and good investment are the key factors that will move African startups to the next level. These were the sentiments of the more than forty participants at the second DEMO Africa Investor Round Table in Lagos, Nigeria last week.
According to Eghosa Olmugui, General Partner at EchoVC, Africa presents a real opportunity for technology investors and it’s a matter of time before this comes to fore. “The growth potential in Africa is too big to ignore, if we don’t do it, someone will come and get it,” He said.
This is the second of a series of three investor roundtable workshops that DEMO Africa is hosting to engage local investors in trying to identify best ways to address the need for credible, robust and efficient investment structures that can be tapped into by local and global investors to promote and connect tech start-ups to global ecosystems. The Rountable was sponsored by USAID and hosted at the Microsoft office in Lagos.
The impressive panel and participants passionately vocalised their efforts and ambitions with regards to securing tech investments. Participants included fund managers from pension funds such as Stanbic, Total, Shell, Private Equity and Venture Capital firms, incubators, the Tony Elumelu foundation and successful techpreneurs such as Jobberman, TwinePine, Cheki and Kamdora which gave a clear picture of the potential in technology investment. The panel had a mix of investors and technprenuers including Barbara James, former director of AVCA and current CEO of Hernshaw Capital Partners, who presented the tech investment lifecycle and ecosystem, Tokunboh Ishmael of Ailitheia Capital, shared her insights on the challenges and opportunities in tech investment as an early investor in Paga. Folabi Esan, Partner at Adlevo Capital gave his views on the tech investment landscape and the growth potential having invested in Paga. Jobberman’s Ayodeji Adewunmi and Chika Nwobi ended the presentations by sharing their success stories from techpreneur and investor perspectives highlighting the potential in tech startups.
DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations in Africa (LIONS@frica) consortium whose partners include DEMO, Microsoft, InfoDEV, Nokia and US Department of State. The first everPan African technology launch pad and will be hosted by African eDevelopment Resource Centre and CIO East Africa under the auspices of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication. The DEMO Africa event will be at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, 24th to 26th October 2012 and will attract venture capitalists, angel Investors, investment fund managers tech buyers, entrepreneurs, innovation supporters & media.
Next DEMO AFRICA Investor Round tables will be in Cape Town on the 27th September 2012.