Daba is opening up the African startup ecosystem to investors in Miami and beyond

Africa is a vast continent, home to a billion and a half people living in more than 50 countries – the biggest four of which alone have half a billion inhabitants. It is fertile ground for tech innovation, with a young and growing population increasingly keen to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges. 

The continent has so far avoided the global funding slowdown, while consistently beating global benchmarks for startup growth. You might not even be able to name any startups with African roots. But one Miami startup is looking to change that.

Miami-based Anthony Miclet and Atlanta-based Boum III Jr are the co-founders of Daba, a startup with aspirations to become the most trusted investment platform for African startups. The company has developed a Robinhood-style platform that makes it easy for consumers to learn about and invest in a thoroughly-vetted selection of African startups.

Miclet, who was born to French and Italian parents, spent 14 years of his life across the continent. He then landed in Miami to study his bachelor’s and MBA at the University of Miami, before stints as a product manager at 8base and Business Analyst for Ferragamo.

During the pandemic, Miclet reconnected with Africa. “I felt an urge to reconnect with Africa and learn about what was happening in the startup community where I grew up,” he told Refresh Miami. Miclet would come to discover the vibrant tech ecosystem that is active across Africa, and he began to help. 

Alongside Boum, Miclet launched Afrika Startup Lab, a non-profit aiming to provide African startups with the advice, training, and community they needed to accel. But the duo soon realized that this was not enough. “The biggest challenge for startups was funding,” Miclet explained. “That’s where they were getting stuck.”

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So Miclet and Boum set their sights on getting these founders unstuck, and Daba was born.

The platform, which has recently gone into private beta, gives users the ability to invest in African startups with as little as $500. That low barrier to entry stands in stark contrast to existing vehicles for investing into African companies, such as expensive syndicates.

Given Daba’s current legal structure, the platform is open to any accredited investor and a limited number of non-accredited investors. That is set to change, however, when the company sets up a crowdfunding portal.

Daba reports that 3,700 people are on the waitlist to join and have collectively pledged to invest $5 million on the platform by the end of the year. At the moment, there are 100 investors actively on the platform. According to Miclet, the main profiles for people interested in Daba are the African diaspora, first generation Americans who have African roots, and tech enthusiasts. 

Education is a key component to the platform. “Investing in startups requires a certain level of financial savvy,” said Miclet. Daba provides this knowledge by providing news and analysis about what’s happening on the continent on a daily basis. The 15-person Daba team, much of which is based in Africa, have their fingers on the pulse of regional tech opportunities – and make a point of sharing this with users.

To start, Daba will provide investment opportunities in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, with a view to soon expand to Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. But Miclet said that opportunities abound across the continent in sectors as diverse as Blockchain, EdTech, Agritech, and Logistics.

Source: Refresh Miami