After months of anticipation, preparation and adjudication across the continent, Africa’s biggest startup event DEMO Africa is holding today with a rather unique development – there are more investors than startups this year Paul Adepoju.
Over the years, DEMO Africa has become the launch pad for the continent’s best start-ups – 30 of them annually, it is also the meeting point for stakeholders in Africa’s startup ecosystem – venture capitalists, angel investors, business development executives, CIOs, marketers, media and startups.
This year’s event is crawling with investors that outnumber the startups as shown by the impressive attendance of yesterday’s ABAN Investor Summit and LIONS Summit. Both sessions were packed with investors from across the world who are eyeing Africa’s emerging tech space and are seeking to own a portion of the continent’s Big Apple.
With just 30 startups pitching before the more than a hundred investors, it seems like that the startups are the kings (and queens) this year – this is totally not the familiar scenario in Africa’s tech ecosystem where the startups regularly complain of the non-existence of investors and venture capitalists.
This ‘influx’ of investors isn’t surprising though.
Organizers screened applicants from across the continent and selected 30 such as Flippy that will pitch their ideas within 6 minutes each. It’s a time-saving exercise in which the investors can meet Africa’s best startups within 3 hours. Investors can then easily and quickly determine which startup can give them more financial reward.
“That’s because we give investors a front row seat to more innovation from more places in the world. More than 30 companies will launch at DEMO Africa from the across the continent, giving them the chance to spot more global trends and evaluate more disruptive and innovative technology. And participate in more international deal flow. Their VC peers will be here, too. They’ll take part in panel discussions, provide launch feedback and guide them with investment insight on the products that hold the most potential for profit now—and the ones poised for profit in the future,” organizers said.
Too much money
At last year’s DEMO Africa, a panelist observed that African startups are reluctant to ask for large sums of money. “How many of you can ask for $1 million or $10 million?” she challenged the startup founders at the event.
I agree with her since the startups were online asking for $50,000 to $300,000. But this year could be different as the quality of the startups had considerably increased with some of them making profits and large sales already. Which means we could see startups asking for $1 million this year. Looking at the caliber of investors in attendance, raising $1 million will not be a big deal as long as the product is potentially profitable and there are impressive exit options for the investors.