Ventures Platform, an African early-stage investment fund that supports innovative companies solving problems in Africa has announced the first close of its $40 million pan-African fund.
The limited partners (LPs) participating are headquartered in Nigeria and Africa, which demonstrates the growing magnitude of local investors’ checks in backing the region’s most creative companies.
One of these LPs is Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade. The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); UAC Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s oldest companies; VFD Group; and international investors including Y Combinator CEO, Michael Seibel and Adam Draper are among the others.
What you should know about Ventures Platform
Founded in June 2016 by one of Nigeria’s most active early-stage investors, Kola Aina, Ventures platform has made 69 investments since its launch.
Paystack, Tizeti, PiggyVest, Thrive Agric, Printivo, Accounteer, ThankU Cash, Reliance HMO, Kudi, Trove Finance, and Seamless HR are just a few of the notable startups that have received funding from the Ventures Platform Fund.
30 percent of the firm’s 69 startups have gone through Y Combinator. While having YC as a partner contributed to the company’s success, Aina feels his company has a flair for identifying outstanding companies, according to TechCrunch.
Paystack’s $200 million+ exit to Stripe saw Ventures Platform become one of the local investors that profited. With a couple of additional secondary exits under its belt, Aina believes now is the right moment for the company to “go to the market and raise its first institutional fund.”
With an average check size of $50,000, Ventures Platform focuses on pre-seed and seed investments, but this new funding will also offer the opportunity to participate in Series A deals. Over the course of a company’s life cycle, the company will now be able to write more than $1 million in checks to it (including follow-on rounds).
The Ventures Platform considers itself to be a thesis-driven fund. The fund’s thesis, according to Aina, is to invest in market-creating innovations that address non-consumption and develop innovative new ways to offer products and services to low-income markets. Fintech, edtech, agritech and food science, healthtech and bioscience, enterprise SaaS, and digital infrastructure are the company’s six primary verticals.
Outside of Nigeria, the Abuja-based venture capital firm is focusing on Kenya’s MarketForce and Tambua Health, Zambia’s Union54, and Egypt’s MoneyHash. It intends to increase its investment in these regions, as well as Francophone Africa.
As part of a drive to broaden its expertise, Ventures Platform announced that it will bring on board well-known names in African tech as venture partners. Seni Sulyman, the former vice president of global operations at Andela and the CEO of BlackOps, a talent marketplace for African venture builders and operators, is the first and only disclosed partner for the time being.