When it comes to securing funding for their ventures, many founders are focused on one thing: money! While obtaining financial support is undoubtedly critical, it’s not the only consideration, and in fact, it’s just the beginning. When taking on investors, founders must consider various other factors, such as diversity, industry experience, regional connections, shared values and vision, and relationships with other investors. Unfortunately, many founders accept funding without conducting the same level of due diligence that investors conduct on them. This can lead to a mismatch between what the founder needs and what the investor can offer, which may ultimately jeopardize the entire venture.

Unique Challenges Faced by African Entrepreneurs

Founders in Africa face an even more daunting challenge when it comes to securing funding. Many investors are hesitant to invest in African startups due to perceived risks and challenges, such as political instability, lack of infrastructure, and limited access to supplemental capital.

Despite these challenges, African founders have unique opportunities, such as the growing demand for technology and innovation in Africa, the increasing availability of funding and support for startups, and the potential for high growth and impact. To succeed in this environment, founders must conduct meticulous due diligence in selecting investors who understand the unique complexities of the African market and can provide the right support and resources to help them succeed.

The Importance of Due Diligence

Due diligence is the process of researching and analyzing a potential investment opportunity to determine its viability and potential risks. It involves reviewing financial statements, legal documents, industry trends, and other relevant information to make an informed investment decision. While investors typically conduct due diligence on startups, it is equally important for founders to conduct due diligence on potential investors to ensure they are a good fit for their business.

Finding the Right Fit

In many instances, investors can be more than a source of financing; they can provide valuable insights, connections, and expertise to the founder and the growing business. It is crucial to find investors who share your vision and ideals and can provide value beyond the financial investment. Conducting due diligence on potential investors can help you identify investors who have experience in your industry, connections to other investors, and a track record of successful investments.

Mitigating Risks

Investing in a startup is inherently risky, and not all investors are created equal. Conducting due diligence on potential investors can help mitigate risks by identifying red flags, such as a history of litigation or a lack of financial stability. It can also help identify investors who have a history of supporting their portfolio companies through difficult times.

Building Relationships

Investing in a startup is a long-term commitment, and building a strong relationship with investors is crucial to the success of a new and growing business. Conducting due diligence on potential investors can help founders identify investors who align with their business objectives and values, leading to a more productive and fulfilling relationship.

Factors to Consider When Conducting Due Diligence on Potential Investors


Founders should consider diversity when evaluating potential investors. Diversity of thought and experience can bring new perspectives to the table and improve decision-making. Furthermore, studies have shown that diverse teams and organizations are more successful. For African founders, this is especially important given the historical lack of diversity in the investment community. By seeking out diverse investors, founders can ensure that they are building a strong and inclusive network.

Industry Experience and Connections

Investors with experience in the same industry as the startup can provide valuable insights and connections. These investors can help founders navigate the industry landscape, introduce them to potential customers and partners, and provide valuable mentorship. Additionally, investors with a strong network can help open doors and provide access to resources that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Vision and Values Alignment

While funding is essential, founders should also consider whether potential investors share their vision and values. This is especially important for social enterprises and impact-driven startups that prioritize their mission above all else. Investors who share the same values and vision can provide support beyond just financing and help ensure that the startup stays true to its mission.

Reputation and Track Record

Investors with a strong reputation and track record can add credibility to a startup. Founders should do their due diligence to ensure that potential investors have a history of successful investments, are ethical and transparent in their dealings, and have a good reputation in the industry. Additionally, founders should seek out references from other entrepreneurs who have worked with the investor in the past.

Exit Strategy and Time Frame

Founders should also consider an investor’s exit strategy and time frame. Different investors have different objectives, and founders should ensure that an investor’s objectives align with their own goals. For example, some investors may be looking for a quick exit, while others may be focused on long-term growth.


For founders, securing investment is the beginning of a long and challenging journey. To succeed, they need to select investors who can provide more than just funding–they need to find partners who can bring diverse perspectives, industry experience, regional connections, shared values and vision, and relationships with other investors. By conducting careful due diligence and selecting the right investors, founders can increase their chances of success and build strong, lasting partnerships to help them achieve their goals.