TechInAfrica – Meet Jason Musyoka, Viktoria Ventures Angel Network Manager – Since 2011, the ViKtoria team has been actively supporting the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems in various sectors in East Africa. ViKtoria Ventures is the manager of the recently launched Viktoria Business Angels Network (VBAN) which is focused on investments into the tech sector in East Africa.
Can you introduce yourself and your background?
I’m the Angel Network Manager at ViKtoria Ventures, which syndicates local and international investor capital into seed stage investments in tech startups in East Africa.
Before this is was working at Farm Capital Africa managing the finance and administration part of the company.
I’ve also done a bit of fundraising at Strathmore University as part of the capital campaign team.
Academically, I’m a University of Nairobi graduate with a degree in Economics.
Can you tell us more about your fund?
Structurally, ViKtoria Business Angels Network, referred to as VBAN, is an angel network and not a fund. It’s a gathering of angel and potential angel investors exploring the early stage space
These are individuals from East Africa or are looking make investments within the EA region in a syndicated manner into early stage companies. We also consider formal and semi-formal groups that are already investing in East Africa. VBAN was launched in 2017 and membership has since grown to include over 25 individual investors.
How many African companies have you invested in already?
I have invested in two.
Can you name a few and why you invested in them?
Buymore & Livestock Trade Services. Both deals had visible commercial potential and capable entrepreneurs behind them.
Why did you decide to invest in these countries rather than others?
We view angel investing as a local sport. It only makes sense to invest in an environment you are more familiar with economically, politically, socially and can easily add value to the investment from an advisory standpoint.
We understand the local scene owing to our experience consulting for early stage startups and working with incubators and accelerators acting as their ‘entrepreneurship activation team’.
What are your eligibility criteria for investment (activities, territoriality of investments, maturity of the project, amount of fundraising, majority / minority investment, leader or follower, alone or in co-investment)?
We look at various aspect of the company but could summarize them as follows
- Deal economics – we look for well-priced deals where we can get a good size of the pie.
- Corporate governance – our capital is value driven and we look for opportunities where we can be able to achieve this from the inside an are aligned with other investors already in the board.
- Scalability – is the product/service innovative to drive scalability into different markets.
- Team – does the founding team have what it takes to make this a great company and take it to the next level.
Do you think there are more interesting geographical areas in Africa to invest? How can you explain it?
For the past few years there have been 4 main investment hubs in Africa; Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa & Egypt. However, recently we have seen investment activity blossom in countries like Senegal with the launch of Dakar Angels Network; Ethiopia & Rwanda which are the fastest growing economies in the region; Ghana etc
I guess it all depends on where the opportunity is and if the local environment supports your investment ethos/ strategy.
What do you see as attractive new industries in startups in Africa? What are your investment perspectives? Do you target a particular sector?
There’s plenty of interest in the build and mobility sectors given the global push to establish smart cities. At VBAN, we are sector agnostic but keen on how a company uses innovation as a plank to scale.
Finally, I would like you to give us name of companies in Africa you find very interesting but which one you have not invested in yet?
Tovuti, which is automating the forecourt operations at retail level in the oil and gas industry.
Bluewave, which providing access to micro insurance by making it affordable and segment customized.
Node Africa, one of the latest entrants in the cloud and infrastructure space in whose expertise lies in building highly secure systems to safeguard from any types of breeches, both within and without the organization.
Savannah Brands which is in the food and beverage industry and aims to develop products that embody Africa’s restlessly independent spirit.