Business Start-up Capital – Making use of Angel Investors in South Africa

For most entrepreneurs when seeking business start-up capital , the first stop considered for business funding is to look at banks.  Angel investors in South Africa will normally be the next port of call. Despite this fact, few entrepreneurs really understand what Angel investors look for and expect from businesses in which they potentially may invest. The fund raising process is becoming ever more competitive and being able to meet investor requirements the first time around will increase your likelihood of raising the capital you need.Business Start-up capital

After a recent Bos Beraad, mostly attended by angel investors, the issue of what Angel Investors look for in companies that they fund and what the various processes they go through when assessing entrepreneurs was discussed.

Most of the investors present agreed that the recent economic down turn resulted in them re-assessing the way they both look for and asses the businesses they get involved with. This does not mean that they are not still very actively looking for investable businesses. As also discussed in a number of previous meetings it was obvious that most investors seem to have a clear goal of how much they wanted to invest each year and what the returns were that they expected from their investments. Caban Capital, which is the UK based arm of the Caban Group find the same there. Angel investors in South Africa and those in the UK have very similar requirements when conducting initial feasibility studies on the businesses they invest in.

Angel Investors typically invest anywhere from R200,000 to R2 million, preferably in a first or second round funding, for which they normally will acquire around 15-30% of the company depending on the structure of the deal. The Angel Investors are often successful entrepreneurs themselves who are able to offer significant strategic value to the company in addition to the financial capital that they are providing. All the panellists agreed strongly that the strategic value that they can provide is often times more important than just the financial capital.

Business Start-up Capital in South Africa – What Angels look for?

Few entrepreneurs win over angel investors by simply sending them a business plan. Most investors agree that face to face meeting are best, after all, wouldn’t you want to meet someone who may be taking a large amount of your personally earned cash? As an entrepreneur you won’t go into business with someone that you have not met and the same applies here. For this reason Angel Investors for startups are more likely to look at your idea once they have met you at a business networking event or personal introduction. Although you are unlikely to find a list of angel investors in South Africa, introductory event and introductions are now commonly held by organisations such as Caban investments.

Another issue discussed was; is it better to go after 5% of a R1 billion market or go after 50% of a R100 million market? The clear consensus on this question was it always is better to go after larger market share from smaller markets. A company with only 5% market share has no sustainable strategic advantage, and with out that advantage, they are an unattractive acquisition or IPO candidate.

As far as the size of investment is concerned, the Investors seemed to agree that they mostly get involved with investments of R500, 000 to R2.5 million, normally in exchange for around 15 – 30% of the equity in the company. A 5-10 times return on investment would require that they earn R5 – R10 million on every R1 million invested. If an Angel Investor were to provide R1 million in capital for 25% of the company’s equity, your company would need to be acquired or successfully file an IPO for R20 – R40 million.

The angel Investors in South Africa I spoke to know these numbers inside and out, so what they look for in your business plan, is the probability of your company being able to reach at least a R20 – R40 million valuations within 5 – 7 years. One way they evaluate this is based on market analysis, market size, and expected market share. Remember, most investors want companies that are going to dominate the market that they are entering, not simply obtain a 1-2% market share. If you are entering a R50 million market, your company would need to obtain nearly 50% or greater of that market to reach the required valuation. The market you are entering must be large enough for you to confidently obtain a large enough market share and valuation within a reasonable amount of time.

One thing that was very clear from most discussions and conversations during the 2 days we send there was that in South Africa Investors want entrepreneurs to have a clear plan for how they are going to spend the money that they raise. They want to know that you acknowledge the core gaps in your business, whether it is key personnel, technology, or other missing, but required component. Done say that the money will be paying you salary for the next year. The investment needs to contribute tot he building of an eventually value of the business. Spend the money on marketing or market research. Spend it on expansion or to technology, something that is likely to have a proven impact on where the business is going.  Angel Investors know the gaps in your business, but if you can acknowledge those gaps and assure them that the money you are raising will be used to fill those gaps, you stand to build strong credibility among the investors.

When evaluating your need to raise capital, ensure that your market and financial projections meet the minimum requirements that Angel Investors have (5-10x return on investment). Be certain that you’re projections include a solid, but realistic, market share penetration in the market that you are entering and analyze how the money raised will be used to fill key strategic gaps in your organisation.

Angel investors in South Africa – What is the process?

The angel investment process commonly takes around 3 – 6 months from the time that you first present your pitch to actually receiving the cash. This may sound like a long time but as an entrepreneur going through the process I can assure you that it will be well worth your while. Not only are you raising the cash need to take your business tot he next level but you will a) be going through all your business processes with a fine comb to ensure everything is on track, making improvements along the way and b) you’ll be working with someone who has been there, done it and got the building bank account to show for it.

It was clear from most conversations that the Investors assigned plenty of value to entrepreneurs being upfront, open, and honest about anything. Angel Investors do substantial background research on your business, your market and financial assumptions, your customers, and your personal history. This should be seen in a positive light rather than being protective about your business. Can you really ever have too much information on your market and business potential?

Investors conducting their due diligence will find the gaps, in your business, and will due extreme due diligence on you and the management team. It is critical to raise potential issues upfront and acknowledge them yourself with your potential investors. Entrepreneurial companies are not supposed to be perfect, but investors do want assurance that entrepreneurs are trustworthy and are able to acknowledge and bring forth potential issues and challenges before they are uncovered later.

The Angel investors in South Africa you are likely to meet and surely those who I have com across both at the Bos Beraad itself and the may other networking meetings provide start ups the capital they need to scale their venture, but more importantly they will help and guide you strategically to help ensure that you meet the financial milestones that you and they believe your company can achieve. Be sure that you come prepared, have accurate and ready answers tot he questions I mentioned above and be honest and open about your business and where it’s going.

7 tips when raising business start-up capital in South Africa from angel investors

  1. Craft a Compelling Business Plan: Begin by developing a robust and compelling business plan that clearly articulates your business model, market potential, and revenue projections. Angel investors in South Africa, like elsewhere, are more likely to invest in ventures with a well-defined strategy and a thorough understanding of market dynamics.
  2. Identify the Right Angels: Research and identify angel investors who have a track record of investing in businesses similar to yours. Tailor your pitch to align with their investment preferences, whether it’s specific industries, growth stages, or geographical focus. Personalize your approach to increase your chances of securing their interest.
  3. Build a Strong Network: Networking is key when raising startup capital. Attend industry events, join entrepreneurial communities, and engage with potential investors. Building relationships not only enhances your visibility but also provides opportunities for introductions to potential angel investors who may be interested in your venture.
  4. Showcase Traction and Milestones: Angels look for startups that have achieved key milestones or demonstrated traction in the market. Highlight your accomplishments, customer acquisition, or any significant partnerships to instill confidence in potential investors. Concrete evidence of progress can significantly sway angel investment decisions.
  5. Transparent Financials and Valuation: Be transparent about your financials and clearly communicate your valuation. Angels appreciate honesty and openness, and providing a clear understanding of your current financial position and future projections is crucial for building trust.
  6. Prepare a Convincing Pitch: Craft a compelling and concise pitch that captures the essence of your business, its unique value proposition, and the investment opportunity. Clearly articulate how the funds will be utilized and the potential return on investment for the angel. Practice your pitch to deliver it confidently and convincingly.
  7. Be Open to Mentorship: Angel investors often bring more than just capital; they offer valuable experience and insights. Demonstrate your willingness to collaborate and be open to mentorship. Angels may be more inclined to invest in ventures where their guidance can contribute to the overall success of the startup.

Raising business start-up capital from angel investors in South Africa requires a strategic and well-prepared approach. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of attracting the right investors who share your vision and are eager to contribute to the success of your business.

Get Your Free

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew is an entrepreneur and business Advisor with a passion for change management and social empowerment. With a background in business accounting and advisory, as well clinical research project management, he strives to find strategic and sustainable solutions to business problems.



Mark Van Hoff comes from background of technical & production planning, budgeting & scheduling of major live events. As the first production co-ordinator at M-NET for Outside Broadcasts, Mark has managed major local and international productions including Miss South Africa, Miss World, multiple music events and major sports events, including the PnP Cycling Tour.Mark co-founded Van-Man Productions in 1994, Page to Picture in 2000 and Move Media Networks in 2007. All three companies have achieved domestic success and have been well-regarded in the South African production industry.



Oluwaseun Adewuyi who is the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Caban, is a Certified Chartered Accountant, with Fellowship status at both the ACCA as well as the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a UK Based industry body with a specific focus on the management of charities, not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.. Oluwaseun comes with strong business acumen and 20+ years of progressive experience in finance and operations management within well-reputed and high growth organisations Including Next Plc and Royal Mail. He has been heavily involved in impact investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in the creation of a series of community schools in West Africa. Throughout his career, he oversaw a broad range of operations, including Business Strategy and Business Reorganisation, summarising the organisation’s financial status, and coordinating the preparation of tactical plans, financial forecasts, and budgets. Adept at developing and implementing effective internal control framework to maintain sound financial accountability.

tim scholtz


Tim Scholtz, who's is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caban Investments, is experienced in implementing corporate governance guidelines, formulating risk management structures, process and cost optimization. Tim has a strong corporate background, having worked as COO at the South African Tourism board, was COO at the Nelson Mandela foundation and as a internal audit manager at Arthur Anderson earlier in his career.

Ben Botes


Ben Botes is Entrepreneur, VC, co-Founder, Author and Academic with a strong social conscience. Ben Involved with early stage and growth firms for the past 20 years and has been Co-founder of 9 separate businesses across Africa. Ben has directly and indirectly been involved in impact investment and the support of charities and non profits for the last 30 years. Ben is a regular speaker at the African Investment Conference in London and has been featured in Wall Street for Europe, The Guardian Small Business, BBC, the Mail and Guardian in the UK and BizCommunity, Channel 3 TV, Investors Weekly, The Cape Times, Radio 702 with John Robbie and Good Hope FM in South Africa

Dave Romero


Dave Romero is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with a passion for making an impact. A qualified Professional Accountant, Dave has been a director in multiple financial institutions and was once the youngest Chairman on the JSE, in addition to being listed as one of Business Times’ Top 100 companies and the 40th fastest-growing company in South Africa. Dave is a core founder of the Caban Group, which aims to provide a comprehensive service offering to small businesses in return for equity. With a passion for nurturing entrepreneurs, Dave can often be found outside of the boardroom – offering advice, creating innovative funding solutions and building communities through sustainable practices.



Dr Ruben Richards is a truly inspirational South African leader. Through his peace-building seminars for criminal gangs, Dr Ruben has facilitated the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. In addition to being Chairman & Founder of the non-profit Ruben Richards Foundation, Dr Ruben is an ordained cleric, company director, non-executive Chairman of Visual International Limited and was once the Deputy Director-General of the now-disbanded Scorpions.