Demi Obayomi, Sapphire Ventures & Africa's Tech Ecosystem

Demi is a VP with Sapphire Ventures. He provides a brief history of Africa's technology ecosystem, his perspectives on vertical SaaS, and how he has navigated his role as a VC

This interview was sponsored by TrinetAnchin, and First Republic Bank. For support on HR Services and Payroll, please reach out to raeellen.zekas@trinet.com. For accounting, tax and advisory services including R&D Tax Credits, please reach out to chris.noble@anchin.com. For banking for startups and venture funds of all stages, please reach out to kgross@firstrepublic.com. For more about our sponsors and the reduced rates they are offering as part of this series, please read more about them at the bottom of this post.

Demi Obayomi, a current VP with Sapphire Ventures, grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the United States to attend Johns Hopkins. Despite it being an exclusive industry dominated by white males, Demi broke into Venture Capital as an associate with FirstMark Capital, a fund that has invested in companies including Pinterest, Draft Kings, and Airbnb, and has continued to navigate the industry successfully.

Demi has remained close with the Nigerian tech ecosystem and shares his perspective and the history of the explosion of technology startups across Africa. He delves into the opportunities and shifts that led to the rise of Edtech (Andela) and fintech startups (Flutterwave, PayStack, M-Pesa). In our conversation, Demi talks about opportunities to invest and build in Africa, his breakdown of Vertical SaaS opportunities in the United States, and navigating his career as a venture capitalist on both the east and west coast.

Anchin: Anchin is recognized as a top-tier accounting firm nationwide providing traditional and advisory services to entrepreneurial, venture capital and private equity-backed businesses ranging from start-ups to growing and established technology companies. Anchin’s extensive portfolio of services includes accounting and financial statements compliance; tax planning, structuring and compliance; tax credits and incentives, including the R&D tax credit; transaction advisory and M&A services; valuation services; and many more. Please reach out to Chris Noble (chris.noble@anchin.com) to learn more. 

Trinet works with some of the most exciting small businesses in the country by providing exceptional medical benefits and world-class technology – web-based, mobile, and internal systems/processes, that positively impacts clients and their employees. Please reach out to RaeEllen Zekas (raeellen.zekas@trinet.com) to learn more

First Republic has extensive experience working with PE and VC firms. We understand the complex nature of this business and the sense of urgency that accompanies it. Through our skilled team of industry experts and a suite of specialized products, we can quickly meet your firm’s goals. Please reach out to Kyle Gross (kgross@firstrepublic.com) to learn more