Early-stage accelerator The Baobab Network (TBN) has joined AI Media Group’s free investment matchmaking service The Deal Room.

TBN is the latest investor to join the service which aims to connect African AI-focused startups to interested investors and venture capitalists (VCs). The Deal Room was soft launched in November 2020 and counts Cirrus AICape AI VenturesKnife CapitalE4E AfricaBritegaze and Intelligent Impact among its members.

Since launching their bespoke accelerator in 2019, TBN has already invested in 12 companies across seven geographies. The early-stage accelerator has also built a proven track-record in scaling startups and helping them raise significant rounds of funding. TBN has also already realised its first exit.

While TBN has adopted a technology, geography, and sector-agnostic approach to investing in pre-seed startups in Africa, the accelerator shares the same outlook as AI Media Group — that is the significant role artificial intelligence (AI) and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) have in contributing to some of the huge market opportunities and challenges across the continent.

In fact, TBN recently invested in South African agritech startup 3DIMO which was among some of the companies that showcased their technologies at the 2020 edition of AI Media Group’s AI Expo Africa online conference.

TBN’s belief in AI and 4IR technologies is also informed by the accelerator’s data and insights platform Baobab Insights. The Baobab Insights platform has tracked a notable increase in investment into African AI startups, increasing from $8.307 million USD in 2017 and reaching a height of $217.067 million USD in 2019. Even in the face of COVID-19 in 2020, TBN has seen investors continued commitment and belief in AI companies, investing a further $52.973 million USD.

The accelerator believes this is a technology type that will continue to disrupt established industries and has a lot of potential both commercially, and for addressing large societal challenges.

One recurring theme AI Media Group hears from startup founders is around the lack of early-stage investors for companies that have not yet reached the necessary size or scale to raise larger investment rounds from traditional VC’s.

AI Media Group recognises the important role that TBN has to play within the technology ecosystem in Africa, being among the few active investors in the pre-seed space that are helping startups to unlock international angel and VC capital through their network.

Dr Nick Bradshaw, CEO and founder of AI Media Group stated, “It’s great to welcome The Baobab Network Team to The Deal Room and wider community.  Its proof positive that the AI Expo Africa community and wider AI startup scene is growing and investment interest is growing at pace. We aim to ramp up promotion of The Deal Room from February onwards and welcome submissions from the African 4IR tech landscape.”

Startups and scale-ups looking to submit their requests for funding can access The Deal Room here.

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