Silicon Valley VC Firm Said To Be Investing $30 Million Into Sub-Saharan Africa Start-ups

Former Intel Capital director, Eghosa Omoigui, early-stage technology investor, Shadi Mehraein and former VC Finance at Founders Fund, Amber Fowler, all Partners at Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, EchoVC are currently in Lagos, Nigeria in search of investment opportunities.

In case you don’t know, EchoVC has invested into companies such as LinkedIn, Betaworks, Facebook, Pandora and Sourced, and are said to be committing about $30 million into tech start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa with focus on Consumer Internet & Services, Mobile, Digital Media, Content & Advertising, Software, Services & Infrastructure.

So on the evening of Tuesday, July 24, the trio were special guests at the first-ever investor-entrepreneur drinkup and networking session organised by TechCircle Nigeria, a tech-focused events start-up and held at The Office, the high-class, open-air, rooftop bar at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.

Dressed simply and neatly in a blue and brown checkered long-sleeved untucked shirt and grey trousers and seated on a single armrest wood furniture chair in-between guests, Omoigui shared his background and experience while investing into Internet companies and gave valuable insights and advice as to what VCs like him look for in ideas and teams before funding them to a gathering of about 45 entrepreneurs.

One of the key highlights of Omoigui’s tale was that: “You have to learn how to tell a story”, when approaching a VC for funding for your start-up. He gave several examples of entrepreneurs they’ve invested in, one of which his idea had to be tweaked during the course of discussing the deal, way before the deal was closed.

Later, I asked Omoigui whether he prefers investing into an idea or a team, and he said that as much as the idea is important, a great team is the key to executing a product idea and succeeding at a start-up. When asked whether he found interesting ideas at the event that are worth considering, he said no, but rather he met some interesting entrepreneurs.

I’m guessing that this means that even though these ‘interesting’ entrepreneurs may not have had the most interesting ideas worth investing into, their ideas could be tweaked or the entrepreneurs themselves could be made to re-channel their energies into other viable and more ambitious ideas which EchoVC could eventually invest into.

Whatever the case, we’re excitedly looking forward to EchoVC’s presence and can’t wait to hear details about its first deal in Nigeria. But more importantly is how this move would impact on the entrepreneurial culture within the Nigerian Internet start-up ecosystem.

It’s showtime, folks!


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