Chasing Outliers Why Context Matters for Early-Stage Investing in Africa

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Chasing Outliers


As Africa’s technology markets mature, early-stage investing on the continent has the potentially catalytic effect of fostering innovation, developing a vibrant ecosystem, building long-term value into the economy, and creating millions of jobs. Despite its increasing importance, though, it still suffers from mass misperceptions and unanswered questions. What factors impact the survival/success or failure of African startups? What structural challenges must operators contend with and overcome? What drives outcomes for the venture investors funding and enabling innovation on the continent? What assumptions are baked into the current funding model, and to what extent do they apply to these markets?

This research begins to answer these questions via one of the most robust qualitative studies done to date. 100+ in-depth interviews were conducted with entrepreneurs, investors, and LPs across 15 African nations. The resultant 900+ pages of notes were systematically coded, grouped into themes, and synthesized into the core findings of the report. (officially published Jan 18, 2021)


Press Coverage


Our team consists of a dynamic, diverse group of ecosystem thinkers and practitioners.

Tayo Akinyemi

Lead researcher and writer

Africa Tech Thought Leader with experience with World Bank, AfriLabs Foundation, International Trade Centre, and ALA

Tony Chen


20-year serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, 3 years living in Kenya, angel investor of 15 companies in Kenya.

Osarumen Osamuyi

Co-Publisher and editor

Founder, The Subtext. Industry analyst and researcher covering tech ecosystems in frontier markets. Ex-Expansion at Africa's Talking, Ex-Head of Investments, Ventures Platform Fund

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