Understanding the mind of An Angel Investor
This week, we talked to Anthony Kalinde on the importance of early stage investment from an entrepreneur´s perspective. Anthony is one of those great minds, carrying out amazing projects in the diaspora. He is an entrepreneur and Cloud Migration & Imp Delivery Senior Analyst at Accenture in Oslo. Anthony is from Malawi, but grew up in Ethiopia, England, Switzerland and Kenya. He holds a Bachelor degree in Information Technology from Geneva Institute of Information Technology and Master degree in Information Systems, Management and Innovation from the Norwegian School of Information Technology (NITH).
The Pangea Investor Program does not only “make sense” from a diaspora perspective, but it also brings value to me as a tech startup entrepreneur. It has helped me understand the holistic aspect of an early stage investment, as well as the relationship between an early stage entrepeneur and an angel investor. To all the diaspora entrepreneurs out there: The Pangea Investor Program can add value to your entrepreneurial journey, both in country of residence and country of origin.
Understanding Angel Investment as An Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur of a startup, it´s vital for me to understand the “mindset of an angel investor”, so that I can prepare myself when I am approaching one. I believe The Pangea Investor Program has done that for me.
As a co-founder of a startup, I am looking for an investor that does not only opens his or her pocket to fund my company, but also invests his or her personal capital of network, competence and time in pushing me and the company to the right direction. This is what angel investment is all about, and The Pangea Investor Program had made me understood the value of angel investment, especially in Africa.
I joined the program for three reasons. First, I wanted to understand early stage investment from a startup and entrepreneur perspective. This is beacause, I have both worked and co-founded startups. I have worked in a startup called DharmicData, which had exit few years ago. I have now co-founded a tech startup called IPower.Me, which connects airlines and travellers directly. In doing so, customers get rewarded for who they are and their demands, while airlines benefit from real-time data-driven marketing mix.
My role in IPower.Me includes providing expertise and leadership in Solutions Architecture in the infrastructure and applications space. And as co-founder of IPower.Me, I need to understand what angel investors looks for, both from the technologic and the management aspects of the company.
Simply put, I am learning how to spot a winner and perhaps be a winner myself.
I have learnt that the risk associated with angel investment is not only about capital risk. Angel investors also risk damaging their reputation, as they expose their invested start-ups to their network and personal capital. This is exactly why most angel investors invest with passion, impact and drive. Through The Pangea Investor Program, I have learnt start-up valuation in terms of stage of the start-up as well as, getting competence of how to value a company at growth stage.
Turning “The Diaspora Guilt” into Impact
I sent thousands of dollars last year back to Malawi to help friends and families, but that money is being used from hand to mouth.
The second reason is related to “my diaspora guilt”, which is embedded in the fact that I am one of the many Africans in the diaspora who “has made it”. This means that I have a good job with a good monthly salary. As a part of this guilt, I send money back home to Malawi to help families and friends.
Globally the diaspora send $160 million dollars each year to the continent. Malawi is a country with 18 millions people, and many are in the diaspora. I would rather encouraged the global Malawian in the diaspora to use their money and ressources to connect and invest in Malawi. 97% of the Malawian population has access to mobile, and only 11% have access to electricity. As much as the country has enormous infrastructural challenges, it also has great business opportunities in the tourism, commodity, agriculture, fishery energy and medical industries. This offers great opportunities for both diaspora and foreign investors and entrepreneurs to make an impact.
It is also worth noting that, these are all sectors, where Norwegian companies have great expertise, and could also make an impact by expanding and exporting Norwegian expertise and activities to countries such as Malawi. A great example is Lakeview Fisheries in The Pangea Accelerator Program. The startup is changing the way the traditional fish farming has been practiced in Kenya. In doing so, they are also creating jobs.
The more we can do these types of investments, and connect them to the Norwegian competence in fish farming technology in terms of partnerships, the faster we can push people through middle class in Africa.
It´s all about strengthening the ecosystem
I realised that, due to lack of early stage investment, many startups in Africa come far before getting angel investment. I want to contribute in changing that.
Although, I applaud Norwegian Governments for changing Norway´s aid model towards trade, a lot needs to be done in order to create impact that leads to job creation at a larger scale. I do not think governments can create that type of impact, as any governmental initiatives will take longer time than initiatives from the private sector. This is why I think The Norwegian Governments should look at the private sectors and entrepreneurs both in Norway and Malawi for the solutions. This brings me to the third reason why I joined the program.
The African early stage investment ecosystem is underserved, and there are many reasons for that. The overall infrastructure is imature in terms of financial regulations and corruption. However, the startups are vibrant and alive with the right solutions. Many lack organisational and competence knowledge in building and managing a scalable company. So, I want to support African entrepreneurs with my competence, skills and network through impact investment.
By impacting startups and supporting them in building local but scalable solutions, we can hold both African and Norwegian governments accountable for better policies that are conducive for early stage startups.
As an entrepreneur, I want to build a great network, while making money in the process. I am a part of creating a positive impact, while learning about early stage investment with other groups of investors. For me, The Pangea Investor Program “makes sense” from a diaspora perspective. I think many of my friends outside of Norway would love to join the program as soon as the program goes online.
The Investment Program enlightens investors on investing in Africa and provides access to a larger community of investors. Investors gain first hand experience by direct interaction with startups in the accelerator. The investment program encourages interaction and cooperation between investors in evaluating startups and learning practical skills to making smart investments. The program comprises of 6 sessions that runs simultaneous to the accelerator program. At the end of the program money is awarded to one or more companies and angel investors become limited partners in a venture fund. Click here to learn more.
Are you African in the diaspora? Join our next batch of investor program. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.