SABAN launches to support early-stage startup investors in SA

On 11 November, several organisations within the SA startup community came together to launch the South African Business Angel Network (SABAN).

The aim of SABAN, according to Daniel Guasco, head of Silicon Cape, is to “create an environment where people can learn and feel safe”.

When addressing the audience, Guasco said: “We really need more people like yourselves who are eager, able, and willing to make a commitment to funding early-stage companies, specifically in the technology space, to put money down. It’s high-risk, but the opportunities around that and the benefit that one gets out of it is quite substantial.”

Other focuses of SABAN include research, networking, accreditation, and raising awareness of Angel investing activity in SA.

When speaking about Angel investors in SA, the non-executive director of the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum, Vuyisa Qabaka, said there is talent in SA, but there isn’t enough support. He stated that the country needs more risk-takers.

“I don’t want just another network. This is primarily about taking action to enable the potential that I have been very fortunate over the course of the past four years to see a number of these young startups go from nothing into world-class businesses. But we can do more. We can do a whole lot more.”

Qabaka also stated that young entrepreneurs require “money, mentorship, and enablement”.

Numerous angel investors and entrepreneurs attended the launch of SABAN this week

The MC for the event was Christopher Campbell, who is one of the driving forces behind SABAN. According to Qabaka, he had been pushing Campbell for a year to launch an initiative.

Other speakers at the event included serial entrepreneur, Anthony Record MBE, who shared stories about starting his first few businesses and how he got to where he is today, along with Roger Norton (Lean Iterator), Audrey Mothupi (SystemicLogic Group), Llew Classen (Newton Partners), Audrey Verhaeghe (SA Innovation Summit), and Baybars Altuntas (European Trade Association for Business Angels).

Altuntas spoke about international Angel investors and legislation, such as 75% tax break for Angels in Turkey, while Mothupi spoke about the heart of investing and its impact.

Verhaeghe pitched an idea to celebrate and recognise more Angels, and the startup system as a whole, in SA. Her proposal is to create a Hollywood Walk of Fame type of setup for business achievements, called The Entrepre-Heroes Wall of Fame.

A large portion of the audience was made up of Angel investors, though, according to a poll run towards the end of the event, 65% of the respondents had invested in a startup, while 18% hadn’t, and 12% were thinking about doing so.

SABAN is supported by partners African Business Angel Network, SiMODiSA, Newton Partners, Global Business Angels Network, Jozi Angels, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Entrepreneur Traction, Silicon Cape, and VC4A.

Feature image via creditL Je’nine May / @SABANnetwork.



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