US-Based Renewable Energy, Data Tech Firms Attract Angolan Investors

US-Based Renewable Energy, Data Tech Firms Attract Angolan Investors

The CEO of an Angola-based investment firm announced today that his company has made investments in two U.S. firms that will help bring emerging technologies — one in renewable energy and one in data — to Africa.

For Angola-based ABO Capital — formerly Angola Capital Investments — the investments are a first in the U.S. market.

“Both companies have the ability to help rapidly advance the countries in Africa, helping to ensure we enter the smart tech age,” said Zandre Campos, CEO Of ABO Capital Investment in a press release.

The Angolan investment firm also has plans to open a New York City office. An announcement is imminent, AFKInsider has learned.

ABO Capital has invested an undisclosed amount in Uncharted Play, a Harlem, New York City-based renewable energy company that puts customizable micro-generators into products. The proprietary technology uses kinetic energy to create an off-grid power source for mobile and other connected devices.

ABO also invested in San Francisco-based AtlaSense, whose artificial intelligence platform integrates organizations’ disparate data sources into a central platform, and uses a self-learning neural network to provide organizations and users with new insights. The platform has applications that help solve compliance and legal issues, and companies are encouraged to use AtlaSense’s tools to build their own applications.

“We are constantly exploring new ways to bring excellence to Africa and are thrilled to make our first two investments into the U.S. market, where emerging technologies and disruptive business are continuously on the rise,” Campos said.

Uncharted Play

Uncharted Play was founded by Jessica O. Matthews, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the U.S.


Jessica Mathews, CEO and founder, Uncharted Play. Photo: Unchartedplay.com
Jessica Mathews, CEO and founder, Uncharted Play. Photo: Unchartedplay.com


With a degree in psychology and economics from Harvard University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Matthews’ work centers around the intersection of disruptive technology, human behavior, and the psychology of self actualization, according to the Uncharted Play website.

At age 19, Matthews invented the SOCCKET ball, an energy generating soccer ball that provides off-grid power for the developing world. At age 22, she founded Uncharted Play, a renewable energy company specializing in motion-based, miniaturized power systems.

Her list of accolades include Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 under 30 list, Black Enterprise’s Innovator of the Year, and Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation.

“With motion-based, off-grid, renewable energy, Uncharted Play has the ability to harness the most under-utilized energy source in the world – kinetic energy – by placing customized micro generators within products that we use every day,” Matthews said in a prepared statement. “The micro generators can be placed into products ranging from floor panels to baby strollers, creating new sources of clean renewable energy that can power mobile technology and the internet of things.”


Salim Elkhou, founder and CEO of AtlaSense, spent nearly a decade helping large companies organize and search through their data before he developed AtlaSense. The software company focuses on bringing the right information where organizations need it. As an expert in the field of e-discovery and specialized internal search engines, he said he saw the changing face of technology in the legal industry and has a vision on the impact yet to be made by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

On the AtlaSense website’s “about us” page, the company has these welcome words: “We’re hiring.”


Photo: AtlaSense.com
Salim Elkhou, founder and CEO, AtlaSense. Photo: AtlaSense.com


ABO Capital invests in companies in the healthcare, technology, energy, transportation, hospitality and real estate sectors throughout Africa. Before investing in the U.S., Angola Capital had investments and interests worth around $100 million US in six or seven companies including in Spain, Angola and Tanzania, Campos told AFKInsider in a February, 2016 interview.

The company’s mission is to create global value for developing African countries while contributing to their economic development.

Campos was named one of the Top 25 African business influencers and received the Distinguished Business Excellence Award by African Leadership Magazine.


Zandre Campos, CEO of Angola Capital Investments. Photo provided
Zandre Campos, CEO of Angola Capital Investments. Photo provided


An attorney and Angola native, Campos quit his job with Sonangol, Angola’s giant state-run oil company, to start a private international investment firm.

Educated on three continents, Campos’s early years helped give him the perspective he needed to run an international company.

His mother was an accountant for Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI. Her work took the family all over the world. ENI has been in Angola since the 1970s.

Campos started first grade in Cuba, spent six years in the U.S. — including high school — and attended college in Portugal.

During Angola’s 28-year civil war, young kids were dropped on the front lines without military preparation, Campos said. The war ended in 2002. “I was a little luckier than the others,” he said.

Now that Angola can no longer count on oil as much as it did in the past, “our mission is more important,” Campos said. “My company was built with the idea of bringing the excellence of the world to Africa. What we want to do is participate in the future of this continent. We’re talking about international standards.”

Campos said investors increase their chance of success when they work with a local partner, put some skin in the game beyond capital, and invest in projects that meet the growing local needs of local populations.

How does someone put skin in the game when they invest in his firm?

Here’s what Campos told AFKInsider:

“It doesn’t need only to be us with whom they’re investing,” Campos said. “There are several important players in the market.

“We don’t really need only money. We don’t only need investments on paper that would cross the Atlantic. We need the emotion, we need the goals, we need the compromise, we need the souls. That has to be there to make the difference.

“Most of our investors are local Angolans — young guys like us,” Campos said. “Our partners are all Angolans who worked together and struggled together for a long time. Some were in college at the same time. We say we’re a group of friends with common interests. We aren’t a startup. We have some operations, but we’re still at the beginning of a long trip. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in this country.”