Africa Under The Venture Capital Spotlight

Guest article by Mike Lebus, co-founder of Angel Investment Network. Part of The NextWomen Africa Theme.

Africa has received a lot of interest from VC’s in the last few years as it continues to develop. The ever growing number of accelerators, tech hubs and angel networks appearing across Africa are further proof that entrepreneurship is flourishing in the region. The tech, web, mobile and telecommunications sectors in particular are showing tremendous growth and are attracting a lot of interest from venture capitalists. 

Here is a list of 15 venture capital firms (some home-grown and some foreign) looking to take advantage of the opportunities Africa has to offer.

1. Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm EchoVC (http://www.echovc.com/), which has invested in companies such as LinkedIn, Betaworks, Facebook, Pandora and Bit.ly, has apparently committed around US$30 million to tech start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on Consumer Internet & Services, Mobile, Digital Media, Content & Advertising, Software, Services & Infrastructure.

2, San Francisco-based I/O Ventures (http://www.ventures.io/) has launched a US$10 million fund in Africa.  The Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in US$25,000 - US$500,000 investments in early stage high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the early stage/angel and venture capital investment gap that currently exists in Africa.

3. Invenfin (http://www.invenfin.co.za/) is a South African seed and early stage venture capital fund. They are interested in all types of innovation in all sectors, so their funding requirements are flexible, but all investments must have unique intellectual property.

4. Sawari Ventures (http://www.sawariventures.com/) is a global venture capital firm focused on the Middle East & North Africa region. It is focused on early and growth-stage investing within tech media, telecoms, eCommerce and financial services. 

5. Fanisi Venture Capital Fund (http://www.fanisi.com/) is a venture capital fund established in Luxembourg to work with competitive and sustainable businesses across East Africa. Fanisi makes equity investments in high growth businesses across diverse industry sectors, focusing principally on companies with an established record but also reaching out to start ups and early stage companies. Fanisi has a preference for investing in agribusiness, ICT, retail, financial services, education,  and health.

6. Adlevo Capital (http://www.adlevocapital.com/) is a Mauritius-based private equity fund established to capitalize on the growing demand for infrastructure and services in sub-Saharan Africa.  They target investments into technology-enabled infrastructure and services companies in sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on the Nigerian and South African markets.

7. 88pmh (http://www.88mph.ac/) makes investments in early stage mobile-web companies targeting the African market; focusing purely on ideas with potential to scale across Africa.  They invest up to US$100k per startup and make investments simultaneously in 10-12 startups.

8. East Africa Capital Partners (http://www.eacp.co.ke) is a technology, media and telecommunications sector-focused Venture Capital Fund Manager, investing in the greater Eastern Africa region. It specializes in carefully selected investments in technology, media & telecoms growth equities. EACP is currently actively investing funds from the $100m ATMT Fund 1, in the East African region.

9. eVentures Africa Fund (http://www.eva-fund.com/) is the first venture capital firm investing in African SME’s active in digital media. Their focus is on internet and/or mobile applications, platforms, e-commerce and solution-providers.

10. Intel Capital (http://www.intelcapital.com/) has also entered the sub-Saharan Africa market. Marcin Hejka, managing director, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa for Intel Capital explained "Intel Capital is investing in the broad spectrum of technology opportunities including content, software and applications, consumer internet, e-commerce, data center and services; we are able to invest in technology companies at all stages of development, though majority of our investments happens at expansion stage".

11. Africa Media Venture Fund (http://www.amvf.nl/) mobilizes capital and experience in the Netherlands to invest in entrepreneurs in the media sector and small and medium sized African media companies.

12. KnifeCap (formerly PoweredbyVC) (http://www.knifecap.com/) is a Southern African growth equity fund manager focusing on technology-enabled ventures  It investment focus is on high growth, high impact technology-enabled businesses from South Africa and other frontier economies across Sub-Saharan Africa.

13. Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (http://www.hp-ventures.co.za/) is an investment company based in South Africa. They invest in innovative technology companies with a proven track record of growth and a business model that is substantiated by the generation of historical revenue. 

14. 4Di Capital (http://www.4dicapital.com/) is an independent early-stage technology venture capital firm based in South Africa’s "Silicon Cape". They target startup investment opportunities with high growth potential at the seed- and early-stages in the mobile, enterprise software and web sectors.

15. Jacana Partners (http://www.jacanapartners.com/) is a pan-African private equity company that invests in entrepreneurs, builds successful small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and delivers sustainable financial and social returns. Their investment teams currently cover three countries in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) and three countries in West Africa (Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone). They invest in many different sectors but are particularly interested in markets like financial services, property, healthcare, technology, business services, insurance, education, manufacturing and agro-processing.

This is only a snapshot of some of the venture funds focusing on Africa.  Which other VC’s do you know that are offering funding to African companies?

This guest article was written by Mike Lebus, co-founder of Angel Investment Network, which has a network in South Africa (http://www.investmentnetwork.co.za/).

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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