How to find the startups in which to invest?

Eric Ky

Wanting to invest in an African start-up can be complicated and be an obstacle course. Indeed, how do you find the ideal start-up that perfectly matches the criteria you have set for yourself? In recent years, new initiatives aimed at facilitating the connection of investors with the founders of start-ups have emerged, such as the MyAfricanStartup.com or AfrikaTech sites. Despite everything, these are still few in number. Here are some ideas that will help you find start-ups in which to invest.

Business Angels

Unlike English-speaking Africa, the market for individual investment is almost non-existent in West Africa. The use of Business Angels is still embryonic there. This trend can be explained by the tax legislation in force in OHADA (Organization for the Harmonization in Africa of Business Law) countries, which does not provide significant tax incentives for investors.

However, platforms such as Africangels Network or Cameroon Angels Network, whose objective is to offer foreign or local investors a selection of start-ups according to the criteria determined by them, are gradually developing. However, the trend remains timid.

Crowdfunding

These social networks are specialized in crowdfunding. They operate according to two types of models. It is either a social network between Business Angels and investors or a network whose goal is to pre-order projects developed by start-ups in search of financing and then present them to potential investors.

The Ulule or Smartangels platforms have already carried out numerous operations both in Europe and in Africa. This network model is particularly suited to start-ups specializing in B2C.

Competitions

Start-up competitions, sponsored by large groups, incubators or universities, are avenues to explore. Indeed, many talented young entrepreneurs participate in these competitions, such as the Orange Prize for Social Entrepreneur in Africa or the Startupper of the Year organized by the Total group.

These events allow young entrepreneurs, often in search of funding, to benefit from visibility.

Certain competitions, in particular that set up by Seedstars in Nigeria, operate on the model of “venture capital funds” in the projects. Investors wishing to invest funds in one of the projects presented during the competition can propose an equity investment of up to 500,000 euros.

Finding promising start-ups in Africa in which to invest tends to become more and more simple thanks to the creation of many platforms. Unfortunately, some of them are little known to the general public. Having greater visibility would also allow them to attract more start-ups.

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