An Angel Network That Invests Only In Ethiopian Ventures
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Matt Davis decided a while ago to make his life’s work boosting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa. To that end, three years ago, he started RENEW Strategies, an impact investment advisory firm that manages a network of wealthy families with a similar interest in African development. They’re part of the Impact Angel Network, founded by Davis, which currently invests entirely in Ethiopian ventures he scouts out.
Members of the network just made the group’s latest investment, in East Africa Emergency Services. It delivers procurement, administrative and other services to providers of emergency ambulance care in East Africa.
For Davis, it’s all about “trying to get capital to companies that are starved for funding in this part of the world,” he says. “There’s a massive gap between the women with sewing machines on the side of the road and huge companies.” In other words, big private equity funds go after the big stuff. ”If I were to raise a $50 million fund, I wouldn’t want to do 50 deals at $1 million,” he says. “I’d want five deals at $10 million–but that doesn’t produce the kind of impact we want to create.”
Davis lives in Addis Ababa, where he “does what a normal fund manager does,” he says, including sourcing deals and screening and vetting potential investments. ”We’re on the ground looking for deals,” he says.