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ABAN, AfriLabs initiative Catalyst aims to match funding by angels in startups

Featured image: AfriLabs board chair Rebecca Enochong (AfriLabs)

The African Business Angels Network (ABAN) and AfriLabs, a network for technology hubs and innovation centres, have launched Catalyst, a co-investment fund that will offer matching funding to investments made by qualifying angel investors in African growth-stage companies.

The two organisations said in a joint statement on Friday (6 September) that they are currently raising funds from various institutional partners to add to a pool which will serve as a matching fund to encourage investment in viable startups by verified angel investors.

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The initiative will also support the continent’s startup community — including hubs and angel networks — as well as increase the visibility of impact to institutional funders.

Funds from Catalyst will be released after startups have received investments from angel investors that are part of an angel network registered with ABAN.

Catalyst will operate a co-investment fund that will match investments from qualifying angel investors

To take advantage of the initiative, startups must register on the Catalyst platform through hubs that are members of the AfriLabs network.

After receiving investments, the performance of participating startups will be reported and monitored via the Catalyst platform.

The first Catalyst co-investment fund will be available towards the end of the year, with a funding partner which AfriLabs and ABAN said will be announced soon.

Ventureburn sought comment from Afrilabs on how much they expected to raise for the co-investment fund, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

‘Real game changer’

Commenting in the same statement ABAN president Tomi Davies said the organisation had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with AfriLabs at the hub network’s annual gathering in Dar es Salaam last year.

“Catalyst will facilitate the development of those relationships as the first initiative of what we expect to be a highly valuable and long-lasting collaboration between AfriLabs and ABAN,” said Davies.

AfriLabs board chair Rebecca Enochong (pictured above) pointed in the same statement that the two organisations have all recognised the need to increase early-stage funding for African founders.

“Catalyst not only does that, but it helps to structure the ecosystem, supports collaboration, and provides actionable insights into the early-stage funding landscape, all the while strengthening our hubs and our angel networks.

“As the first Pan-African programme of this type, developed by Africans, for Africans, I believe that Catalyst will be a real game changer,” added Enochong.

Featured image: AfriLabs board chair Rebecca Enochong (AfriLabs)

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