Yemi Keri and Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien are co-founders of Rising Tide Africa – a unique, and trans-border women-oriented investment program.
It is funded by private investors, who believe in bringing about positive change by investing in the continent’s exciting start-ups and next generation to create a New Africa.
Established in 2016, Rising Tide Africa (RTA) manages investment pool, primarily focuses on investments in digitally and technology-enabled companies.
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“This brings a quantitative as well as qualitative return to improving the lives and lifestyles on the African continent, by, for example, providing access to health, education, energy, water, agriculture, commerce, transport, and several communications services and infrastructure,” according to the organization’s website.
RTA is also actively involved in the promotion of investment literacy among women in Africa as well as pursues investment opportunities that have the potential to yield strong financial returns and significant social impact in Africa.
“Culturally you are not termed an angel investor, but every so often you assist a family member or a friend. You give them money to start up something or to grow their business. It’s really done informally,” said Keri.
When Keri realized that women were pitching ideas but they weren’t getting funded, she and Nnoli-Edozien decided to create a platform that would allow women to receive funding and expand their businesses.
“It was not because they didn’t have good businesses, but there’s a certain way that an investor would look at a business and want it to be pitched,” she said. “That’s how I knew I had something.”
According to Forbes, the network was an early investor in Migo (formerly Mines.io) which raised a $20m Series B round in December to expand from Nigeria to Brazil. The network has seen the value of their investment grow by 9x in a short time frame.
Last year Keri said the RTA Fund would be primarily focused on early-stage investments in digitally and tech-enabled small businesses and startups that have the potential to scale-up their activities as well as give financial returns and make a significant impact on the continent.
“The focus of RTA is to bring about a quantitative and qualitative return to improving the lives and lifestyles on the African continent,” she said.
As of last November, RTA had a total of 32 members.
RTA members are required to invest a minimum of 5M Naira (around $14,000) annually into the fund and that money will be distributed across all deals that the network makes.
Speaking to the Guardian on what made her to start RTA, Keri said: “…the women of Rising Tide Europe and Rising Tide US (known as the Next Wave) wanted to invest in Africa, so we decided to start Rising Tide Africa, a group of female angel investors harnessing their network, resources, passion, and capital to develop Africa.
“The Rising Tide network seeks to increase women’s participation in angel investing as an asset class by encompassing investment portfolio in startups, education on the investment process, mentoring female entrepreneurs and the development of successful female businesses across the continent.”
She said the organization is not only a female network but also a syndicate of the Lagos Angel Network.