ABAN and AfriLabs Partner to Launch Catalyst, an African Matching Fund

The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) has partnered with Afrilabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation centres to launch Catalyst, a cross-stakeholder initiative aimed at increasing the pool of capital available to promising African growth-stage entrepreneurs, and also support the startup ecosystem including hubs and angel network.

AfriLabs is a network organization of 158 innovation centers across 45 African countries. It supports hubs to raise successful entrepreneurs that will create jobs and develop innovative solutions to African problems. The objectives of this organization are to encourage technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in all forms, and to promote the creation of African-made technology, among others.

ABAN is the largest network of Angel investors in Africa with a goal of dramatically growing the number of investors who support and fund promising African entrepreneurs. Founded in early 2015,  ABAN is a Pan-African non-profit association that supports the development of early-stage invest networks across the continent.

This partnership is in line with the objectives of both organisations, as Catalyst is a co-investment fund that will match investments made by registered angel investors with institutional funds.

Funds are being raised from various institutional partners to add to the pool, which aims to encourage investment in viable startups by verified angel investors.

The first Catalyst co-investment fund will be available towards the end of 2019. Funds from Catalyst will be released after startups have received investments from angel investors that are part of an angel network registered with ABAN. To be eligible, startups are required to register on the Catalyst platform through hubs that are members of the AfriLabs network.

Speaking on this, Tomi Davies, the President of ABAN said, “When we signed the MOU with AfriLabs at their Annual Gathering in Dar es Salam in 2018, we were excited about the opportunity for partnership between angels and hubs on the continent. 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.

Catalyst is the first pan-African programme of its type, and commenting on this, AfriLabs board chair Rebecca Enonchong said, it is a “real gamechanger” for Africans.

We have all recognised the need to increase early stage funding for our 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,” she further said.