Africa Early Stage Investor Summit 2018 to Kick Off Global Entrepreneurship Week in Cape Town
Photo Credit: #AESIS2018
van Halen
26 Oct 2018

Africa’s early stage investor community will convene on November 11 and 12, 2018 for the fifth Africa Early Stage Investor Summit (#AESIS2018). This exclusive investor-only event unites key ecosystem stakeholders from across the continent and beyond to exchange best practices, learn from peers and recent transactions and do deals. For the second consecutive year, the Summit will be hosted at Workshop17 at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.

This year, the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit is set to kick off Cape Town’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, encompassing a number of leading industry events and numerous networking opportunities. The Summit organizers Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) have partnered with AfricaCom and AfricArena to offer a full-week VIP Investor Pass giving access to all three events as well as Investor Cocktail, Industry Leaders Dinner and an Innovation Tour.

The South African Startup Ecosystem
South Africa has the most mature startup ecosystem in Africa, with a small but established venture capital industry, government investing in innovation for the past two decades, the oldest incubator in Africa (the Bandwidth Barn operated by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CITI) since 2000), and a growing pool of entrepreneurs and success stories.

Despite this, the ecosystem might be considered underdeveloped when compared to more established startup hubs e.g. Silicon Valley, Israel, UK and Singapore, but has its own unique set of characteristics specific to an African context and presents its own opportunities.

This growth has been driven by a number of factors, including: i) a strong effort from the private sector to organize through associations, e.g. Silicon Cape (established in 2009), SiMODiSA (2014) and SAVCA (1998) to engage with the government around policies and legislative changes to assist and stimulate the industry; ii) the growing realization from both the public and the private sector that entrepreneurship is needed to solve the dual challenges of sluggish economic growth and very high rates of under- and unemployment; iii) investment from corporate South Africa in accelerators, incubators and innovation programs; iv) a shift in Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation, which has made more funds available for skill development, enterprise development and supplier development of SMEs (specifically >51% South African are black-owned); v) increased investment from the government (local and international) in innovation funding and support; vi) and  an increase in the number and diversity of successful investors, entrepreneurs, and exits.

The results of these efforts have been seen across the country, although most of the activity is still concentrated in the two major economic hubs of Johannesburg and Cape Town. These efforts have resulted in: i) a vibrant and growing startup ecosystem led by the private sector; ii) growth in the number and size of funds (both local and international) available for early-stage investment, particularly at the VC stage due to changes in policy; iii) numerous startup support and acceleration programs; iv) more seed funding options available from the government; and v) more startups in a variety of tech sub-sectors such as Fintech, Traveltech and Edtech using innovative technologies e.g. the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain technologies.

Join Industry Leaders From All Over the World
The Summit’s speakers and guests represent the leading angel networks, VC funds, impact investors, accelerators, corporate venture divisions, industry associations, and public sector agencies. Headlining the Summit are renown international and local investors from Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, France, US, UK and The Netherlands, amongst many other countries. The 5th anniversary event promises to further raise the bar, featuring renown investors from overseas and stellar entrepreneurial talent from the continent. Industry leaders explain the reasons they participate in this annual conference:

“The Africa Early Stage Investor Summit brings together a diverse network of people with a common interest of starting and building sustainable companies that solve real problems on the continent. The status of the partners on board and profiles of the speakers ensure that the event is thought provoking, educational and fun!” said Keet van Zyl, Partner at Knife Capital.

“I found the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit to be a great opportunity to network and learn form other investors from around the continent. The sessions were useful and provided great pan-African perspective of the investment landscape. I will highly recommend it,” said Kola Aina, CEO and Founder of Ventures Platform.

Ido Sum, Partner at TLCom Capital, comments further: “Being a regular participant in many such conferences, it was a unique collection of very high quality companies as well as the early stage tech focused African investors community. This intersection of top notch investors and founders led to a few great relationships and investment opportunities we looked in more depth into. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the space to take part in the 2018 summit.”

Not only the pool of entrepreneurial talent across the continent is growing, but also the quality of ventures is improving. The pipeline of African innovative businesses has never been so investible. And where talent leads the way, money closely follows. More than 60 angel networks have been set up across the continent and a growing class of Africa-focused VC investors are backing and scaling the best of these high-growth startups. VC4A and ABAN co-host the Summit, specifically to create an annual meeting point for this growing investor community.

As in the previous years, the participants can expect a highly focused yet varied program consisting of workshops and master classes for investors by investors, rich networking experience, exclusive co-investment opportunities, as well as the latest trends, insights and industry research.

For more information and tickets please visit For partnership and sponsorship opportunities, please contact the organizers at team [at]


About VC4A:
VC4A is an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. Since 2008, the organization designs, structures and implements successful entrepreneurship programs on the continent. VC4A runs an online platform, VC4A.COM, featuring the world’s largest database of African startups and connecting local entrepreneurs to learning resources, mentors, investors and partner programs.

About ABAN:
The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) is a Pan-African non-profit association. ABAN was founded in early 2015 to support the development of early stage investor networks across the continent and to grow the cohort of early stage investors excited about the opportunities in Africa.

Thomas van Halen

Investor Relations and Research Lead | VC4Africa

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