Meet the Woman Hoping To Change the Tech Landscape for Women in Africa
Six years ago, Africa didn’t have any unicorns. Today, there are seven.
The arrival of these new creatures — ”unicorns” is a term for private tech companies with a value of over $1 billion — is due in part to the efforts of founders like Gabriella Uwadiegwu.
Uwadiegwu is an investor and co-founding partner at Archangel Fund. She’s made it her life’s mission to fund and support women in the tech space in Africa. Archangel Fund writes check of between $25,000 to $100,000 to early-stage startups created by women.
On Wednesday, Uwadiegwu discussed Archangel Fund’s mission at L.A. Tech Week and offer her thoughts on the evolving tech landscape in Africa.
“Right now, Africa is tracking about five years behind South East Asia in venture funding,” Uwadiegwu said. Last year alone, African tech companies raised over $4 billion.
Uwadiegwu believes now is the most “exciting time” to invest in African startups because of the “potential” and the continent’s emerging dominance in the global tech market.
However, the continent’s tech industry is almost completely dominated by men: Only 3% of all the investments made into African startups between 2013 and 2021 went to startups led by women. Archangel Fund is trying to reduce that inequality, starting at the pre-seed phase.
Because the startup scene in Africa is so male-dominated, Archangel has been able to find a nice niche for itself. Uwadiegwu thinks the lack of competition is because other investors don’t know where to look to find women-led startups, but as a Nigerian woman with a background in software engineering, she feels uniquely qualified in this space.
“We know where to look,” she said.
Archangel Fund invests in everything from logistics to fintech, and everything in between. Jetstream, one of their portfolio companies, is a supply chain platform that helps African businesses to trade for supplies. Uwadiegwu said it’s companies like this that are helping to introduce African startups into global commerce and trade.
Although most of Archangel’s investments range in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, Uwadiegwu said they are currently expanding, working to raise $5 million for funding purposes. In her view, it’s money well spent. Her analysis indicates that women often perform better than their male counterparts despite having less access to funding. She hopes that her work with Archangel will help to reshape the tech landscape in Africa.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Archangel Fund is a nonprofit.
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