By Emeka Aginam
Participants at the just concluded second DEMO Africa Investor round table held in Lagos, last week rose up from the conference saying that good ideas, excellent execution, a growing market and good investment were the key factors that will move African start-ups to the next level.
Speaking at the event, Eghosa Olmugui , General Partner at EchoVC, told the the gathering that 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.
It would be recalled that the event was the second of a series of three investor roundtable workshops that DEMO Africa was 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.
However, the capacity building program 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 Kandora, who gave a clear picture of the opportunity in technology investment. The panel had a mix of investors and techprenuers 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, who 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 growth potential of the local tech landscape, having invested in Paga. Jobberman’s Ayodeji Adewunmi and Chika Nwobi ended the presentations by sharing their success stories from techpreneur and investor perspectives.
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 ever Pan African technology launch pad will be hosted by the African eDevelopment Resource Centre and CIO East Africa under the auspices of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication the at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, 24th to 26th October 2012.
It is expected to attract venture capitalists, angel investors, investment fund managers, tech buyers, entrepreneurs, innovation supporters & media.