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Marieme Diop Launches DNA to invest in Tech Startups in French-Speaking African Countries

The Dakar Network Angels group will invest between $25,000 and $100,000 in early-stage technology ventures with high growth potential and wide reach.

DNA Co-Founder, Marieme Diop.

All available data suggests that the Sub-Saharan region of Africa has seen an uptick in foreign investment over the last ten to 15 years. Sizable industrialized nations like China and the U.S are among a vast network of deep-pocketed nations and and private investors as well as sovereign funds looking to pour mountains of cash into Africa's growing economies. Most investment capital going to the Tech, Real Estate, and Energy segment.

However many see a large disparity between the amount of outside investment capital going towards projects in Africa's English-speaking nations and Francophone countries on the continent.

According to funding data by Partech, 76 percent of investment to African startups goes to three English-speaking countries — Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Out of the $1.1 billion in equity funding to African tech startups in 2019, only $54 million went to Africa's French-speaking nations. Some view the current situation as unsustainable if there is a general wish for the overall development of the region in the next 10-20 years, as many governments hope. Especially since 29 out of Africa's 54 countries have French as their official language.

One such individual who has decided to take action in hopes to bridge the current investment gap is Senegalese-born VC investor, Marième Diop. Diop currently serves as a VC investor in early stage African start-ups at Orange Digital Ventures Africa - Orange Group’s 50m€ VC fund.

Her focus over 7 years has been technology and innovation and she has occupied different roles of responsibility with a team leadership role and an international exposure, solving strategic, operational, and financial issues for a variety of companies.

She recently joined forces with Ibrahima Niang to launch The Dakar Network Angels group ( DNA). The group will tap into the years of experience each member brings, along with pooled capital to focus on investing in tech Ventures in Africa's Francophone nations.

The group seeks to invest between $25,000 to $100,000 in early-stage startups with high growth potential and unique competitive advantages. These investment rounds will include entrepreneurial guidance provided by DNA members, who all have unique perspectives and experiences in various industries, not to mention connections to overseas investment entities.

DNA held its first meeting this month after registering in the country as a commercial nonprofit entity. The initial 31 members, besides Diop and Niang, are Facebook Network Investor Lead Ibrahim Ba, former AfriLabs head Tayo Akinyemi and Timbuktu Capital Management investor Ousmane Diagne.

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