Last Thursday, October 29th, the Lagos Angel network(LAN) brought together the ecosystem that supports angel investment in Nigeria to a round table to discuss ways of deepening seed investment in Nigerian startups. And grow the pool of startups that can attract investment from private equity and venture capital companies. The evening event took place at Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island.
There has been a worry in LAN and the investment community of our inability to make more investment. In the past one year, LAN has made only a single investment in a Nigerian startup.
Among those who turned up? Omobola Johnson, the former ICT minister. She was one of the first to show up. Rasheed Olaoluwa, CEO of Bank of Industry was there. The incubation ecosystem was represented. Helen from IDEA, Wennovation, LEAP, Fate foundation, EDC/PAU. We had VCs in attendance, including Afolabi of Adlevo and someone from Alethia.
Yele Okeremi represented LOC DEMO Africa.
TechCabal’s Seyi Taylor represented the media
And of course LAN members including board members like David Richard, Dotun Sulaiman(chairman) , Segun Olukoya and myself. Tomi Davies our president attended remotely from London.
The conversation was great. From those who castigated LAN for being too careful and keeping the bar too high for startups to cross. To those who advised patience as LAN and the entire ecosystem was in itself an startup and everyone was learning. Some felt that the Nigerian education system was not preparing graduates enough to venture into meaningful entrepreneurship. The reason it seemed that most successful local startups seem to be returnees from diaspora.
There were also those who felt that LAN was not telling its story. That we needed to let the world know we are there. Perhaps the reason I am telling this story.
In the end , we all agreed that the ecosystem that supports startup investment is important. So LAN has its work cut out for it. We agreed that LAN needs to improve its processes for due diligence to ensure that it can quickly screen startups and make up its mind whether to invest or not. We agreed that LAN needs to broaden its membership including bringing in other categories of members.
We agreed that LAN needs a better partnership with incubators, accelerators and VCs . This is necessary to deepen the system.
And finally, we agreed that the conversation needs to continue. Its good for the ecosystem. And for the startups? We can’t wait for the next great pitch.
Written by: Collins Onuegbu
Executive Vice Chairman