Riding High on Rising Tides

Now my feet have finally touched the floor (almost) after last week’s travels over in Lagos, I wanted to put pen to paper (or rather finger to keyboard) and share a few things I learned while over there. While I was primarily exploring various investments with my Business Angel hat on, I took the opportunity to attend a masterclass on early stage angel investing hosted by ‘Rising Tide Africa’.

Now, on the face of it this might seem surprising… and for a couple reasons:

  1. I’ve already completed a lot of early stage angel investments – why do I need to attend a masterclass?
  2. Rising Tides is a global movement to increase women’s participation in angel investing – and I am a man (stating the obvious).

Well, for starters I’m a great believer in never resting on your laurels and never assume that you ‘know it all’. It doesn’t matter how experienced we are, there’s always the opportunity to learn more or reinforce what we already know.

Secondly, don’t discount something on face value. You can often find some real gems of knowledge in unexpected places. Would I have flown over to Lagos just to attend the event? No. But I was there, I had the time – so I took the opportunity. And because of that I had some quality one-to-one time with some really inspirational people – and I’ve come back with a couple of major takeaways that will definitely help shape the way I do things in future.

Takeaway #1

I’ve been wanting to hear Candace Johnson speak for a long while – and this was an ideal opportunity. As President of the European Business Angel Network, there’s probably few people who have more experience in this area but it was her wise words and perseverance over the years which left me with lasting admiration and equal inspiration. Using her time at Astra as an example, her session is testament to the importance of staying true to yourself and sticking to what you believe in. Obviously there needs to be an element of realism and flexibility when it comes to investments, but it did reinforce my own values that if something doesn’t feel right – it usually isn’t.


Takeaway #2

I took away more of a practical lesson from Brigitte Baumann – Founder & CEO GoBeyond Early Stage Investing – which focused on a methodical and systematic process for approaching how much you invest and when. Reflecting on her advice, I found myself thinking that I was already using the methodology she was suggesting, but possibly not as rigid and more in an intuitive way. So on the one hand it was good to know I was doing it ‘right’ and on the other, it served as a reminder to adopt it as a formal process.

Tomi Davies, President African Business Angel Network and Dr Ndidi Nnoli, President Rising Tide Africa also provided some solid insights that I’ll be able to take forward and share with my own investments – as with any event like this, you always leave with your mind bubbling with ideas!

If you’re a start-up or have a new business idea and are looking for a Business Angel, I’d be happy to have a chat through some of the valuable advice the experienced speakers shared at the event – or feel free to connect with me socially to pick up on tips that I might share in the moment.


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