Why African businessmen don’t invest in tech firms

THE proponent of African startups and Executive Producer of Demo Africa, who have travelled the continent to identify innovative local companies at their earliest stages, have identified reasons African investors do not invest in technology companies.

Chief Executive Officer, African eDevelopment Resource Centre, franchise owner of Demo Africa, a technology launch pad for startups in Africa, Harry Hare, averred that in the past few years of Demo Africa’s existence “we have noticed that Africa-based investors are yet to come to the table when it comes to investing in technology start-ups”.

According to him most local venture capitalists were used to investing in brick and mortar businesses which they “understand and find technology start-ups high risk and therefore shy away”, he added, however, that the situation is changing with the advent of angel networks forming across the continent.

Since the angel investor network emerged, Hare informed, Demo Africa has witnessed encouraging feedback with the recent activities of $1.7 million acquisition of Weza Tele, a Kenyan-based DEMO Africa alumnus and the investment of over a million dollars in three start-ups just months after launching at the DEMO Africa stage.

“Investors, whether in Africa or Europe, are still investors. So we really don’t choose. We try to reach out to any investor who is interested in investing in our start-ups. Investment funds are used for different purposes depending on the maturity of the start-ups and its products. Some start-ups will use these funds for expansion; others will use the funds for a go-to-market strategy”, he said.

Others, according to him, would apply the funds to refine their products and services further before releasing the products to the markets. Besides, the investment is fundamental to the startups because “it takes the entrepreneurs from where they are to where they want to be”.

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