Africa’s startup ecosystem is on the brink of massive growth and there is growing number of startups securing major financial commitments from world-class investors according to the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit held by VC4Africa and ABAN.

The sixth edition of the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit #AESIS2019 was held from 13-15 November in Cape Town, South Africa.

According to the panelists, there is growing interest from foreign investors – including an increasing number of Chinese investors – , startup valuations becoming too high, entrepreneurs increasingly looking to international markets and the question if local entrepreneurs are really benefiting from the influx of funding.

Industry leaders at the Summit included Pieter de Villiers, Eghosa Omoigui, Keet van Zyl, Rebecca Enonchong, Ido Sum, Lauren Cochran, Tomi Davies, Marième Diop, Johann Choux, Paul Cook, Yassine Oussaifi, Llew Claasen, Abu Bakr Cassim, Olivier Furdelle, Khaled Ismail, Ben White, David van Dijk and many others.

Key takeaways from the Summit include:The number of women (co-)founders are on the rise at 18% in 2019Africa’s startup ecosystem, as of 2018, is on par with Southeast Asia’s of 2014, with major increase in early-stage investing expected ecosystem actors need to stop looking to Silicon Valley and create own ecosystem model and path for growth African startups create social impact but investing for profit remains leading driver for investor participation fund managers and investors need to play the long game to reap any returns while there is a need for more fund managers to enter the industry creating pipeline through VC4A’s Venture Showcase – Series A.


At the Summit, 12 startups from Egypt and Algeria to Nigeria and South Africa were vetted as Series A-ready and were working on solutions from VR therapy to more efficient transport to an easy cashback app, and more. Several past Showcase ventures currently appear on the list of companies that raised more than USD 1 million in 2019, with FlexClub from the 2019 Showcase making an appearance as well. Altogether, VC4A’s Venture Showcase companies have raised more than USD 36 million to date.

To-date in 2019, over USD 1 billion has been raised with 83 deals alone exceeding USD1M and with 18% of those companies co-founded by women.

Rebecca Enonchong, female founder and treasurer of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) announced the Catalyst initiative to summit attendees. The initiative, in partnership with Afrilabs and funded by the AFD will stimulate angel investing across the continent by matching investments up to EUR 60K. She adds: “This mechanism helps build layers in the ecosystem and creates more pipeline for investors since angels will be able to invest in more businesses.”