Olumide Soyombo, one of Africa’s most prolific angel investors has announced the launch of Voltron Capital, a Pan-African venture capital firm he co-founded with Abe Choi, a U.S based entrepreneur and investor.
Voltron capital is a Pan-African pre-seed & seed firm for elite tech founders tackling critical problems in the continent’s largest markets. The new firm will deploy capital in up to 30 startups across a range of sectors in a bid to “address the severe lack of access to early-stage funding for African tech companies.” The ticket sizes will range from $20,000 to $100,000, focusing on startups in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and North Africa.
Voltron Capital is headed by a founding team with a robust investment track record. The team has over 10 years of experience of early stage investing, with a portfolio of 33 African tech startups including Mono, PiggyVest, Spleet, Migo, TeamApt and Paystack.
Soyombo is an experienced angel investor and founder. In 2008, he co-founded Bluechip Technologies — a company that provides data warehousing solutions and enterprise applications to banks, telcos and insurance firms — with a friend, Kazeem Ewogbade. He is also the cofounder of LeadPath Nigeria.
During his time as an investor, Soyombo’s portfolio has raised over $70 million, ranging from pre-seed to Series A, and he has also overseen two secondary and one primary exits. Soyombo was an early investor in Paystack, the fintech company that exited to Stripe in October 2020. The exit and subsequent liquidity event revealed a maturing in the African tech market, validating early investment decisions. His work in corporate Nigeria has also allowed him to access non-traditional capital for the tech VC ecosystem.
Voltron Capital’s Co-Founder, Abe Choi, has also invested in 15 tech startups – two of which have been exited and collectively, the founders’ existing portfolio spreads across a vast range of sectors including finance, energy, logistics, retail and education.
Despite total funding for African tech startups surpassing the $1 billion mark last year, according to Briter Bridges, more than half of these deals were attracted by a select group of late-stage startups, leaving numerous early-stage tech firms competing for a limited share of funds. According to the IFC, 82% of African tech startups face major problems in accessing capital with insufficient seed funding and a lack of angel investors.
With Africa’s internet economy projected to contribute over $180 billion by 2025, emerging tech companies are set to play a crucial role in unlocking this value across the continent’s key verticals. However, without early-stage funding, many of the startups primed to drive this growth are missing out on vital capital to support their early operations and generate revenue, which is a key requirement for securing later rounds of funding and larger scale. The end result of this could not only impact the immediate lifespans of these businesses, but also result in a major loss in value for Africa’s consumers, wider tech ecosystem and ultimately, Africa’s economy.
What they are saying
Olumide Soyombo, Co-founder at Voltron Capital, said, “Voltron Capital is the beginning of another incredibly exciting journey for Abe and I, but it is also a celebration of the road Africa’s entire tech space has travelled to-date. We hold a track record of identifying and supporting some of Africa’s most high-growth startups to-date with capital at pre-seed stage and also hold long-established relationships with corporates and regulators, which can make what can often be a difficult path for African startups much smoother.
We want the next wave of African tech success stories to not only make an impact on the continent, but to be truly global. Through Abe’s strategic connections to the USA, we’re confident we can provide our portfolio with the best possible opportunities to achieve this through our US and global network. ”