Catalysing African Early Stage Investment

Tomi Davies (TD)
6 min readAug 24, 2018

As DEMO Africa gears up for the final stage of this year’s competition, Africa will once again come on the radar of many early stage investors’. Taking place in Casablanca, Morocco this October, the launchpad event will as in previous years select five winning ventures from the 30 shortlisted to join the Lions@frica Innovation Tour of Silicon Valley as DEMO Ambassadors early in 2019.

Africa has a vibrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem with potential!

Considering Africa is already the 3rd biggest market worldwide, I often ponder why some still question its potential as an investment destination. Not only is Africa home to a budding market of 1.2 Billion people, more than 50% of the population is under 20 years old. The communications infrastructure is quickly coming together as over 150 million smartphones are in use across the continent which growing by 20% in 2018 has the world’s fastest rise in internet penetration. Add to this picture an inherently huge appetite for entrepreneurship that only needs the right type of capital investment to get off the ground and you start to understand why I am bullish on the continents chances of economic prosperity.

So, while I agree that given our continents colonial and recent history some of the doubts about the African potential are well founded, in my opinion, the growing early stage investment community combined with an increasing innovation hub infrastructure serving a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem will give Africa a winning combination that can significantly contribute to its economic development in the years to come.

There are real Challenges with Entrepreneurship in Africa!

I like the way my friend and colleague tech entrepreneur angel investor and co-founder of ABAN Rebecca Enonchong puts the challenges with African entrepreneurship. She says “I think that the primary challenge is the environment. It’s not an environment that’s conducive to supporting entrepreneurs. It’s a very risk averse environment. It’s highly bureaucratic and hierarchical, all the things that are opposed to the success of an entrepreneur.”

This is particularly visible with non-traditional startups that focus on new, disruptive…

Tomi Davies (TD)

Speaker, Author, Advisor, Angel and Advocate of Technology-led Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa