trucks_in_nigeria

Multiple funding opportunities are opening up for African startups from various sources, the latest being from Savannah Fund. 

The venture capital firm has raised $25 million to invest in early-stage startups across sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on “supporting women entrepreneurs and disruptive companies in high-growth sectors.” 

This $25 million fund is the firm’s second close and has been aptly named “Savannah Fund II”. Investment into the new fund was led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Women’s Finance Initiative (WeFi). 

Savannah will invest in Kenyan, Nigerian and South African startups that are at the seed to Series A stage. They define the three countries as their “core markets” but plan to expand their portfolio to include startups in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

In each country, Savannah’s focus spans multiple sectors including fintech, education, logistics, e-commerce, software-as-a-service and healthtech startups. Agrictech, a sector that has been hot recently, is also on their radar. 

Founded by Mbwana Ailly and Paul Bragiel, Savannah Fund launched investment activities in Africa in 2012 with an accelerator program in Kenya. They transitioned fully to making seed and series A investments in 2016 and have invested in 31 companies across 7 African countries since.

Some of those companies include Aerobotics from South Africa, IoT startup Safigen and Moringa School (both founded in Kenya) and Flex.club, a mobility startup operating in South Africa and Mexico. 

More recently, Savannah has invested in pre-seed rounds of Orbit Health in Ethiopia and Ando Foods, a cloud kitchen company in Kenya. The firm says their portfolio companies raised $118 million across Series A, B, and C, a record for the firm so far.

mbwana_vineet_khan_ando_foods
Right to Left: Mbwana Ailly with Vineet N.R and Asif Khan, founders of Kenya-based Ando Foods. Image credit: Savannah Fund

Other backers of the fund include Tim Draper of Draper Associates, Visa Forsten, co-founder of Supercell (now part of Tencent) and UMA, a venture studio based in Senegal. 

Bragiel said one of Savannah’s motivations is to back African companies that “have the potential to scale beyond the continent that can expand into Silicon Valley and emerging markets like South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.”

Savannah has an Entrepreneur in Residence programme which prioritises the funding of female founders. Ailly, the firm’s managing partner, says their partnership with WeFi will “further expand and encourage female founders on the continent.”

mbwana_bragiel_savannah_fund_founders
Mbwana Ailly and Paul Bragiel, Savannah’s founding partners. Image credit: Savannah Fund

To bolster Savannah’s investment approach, Ailly has tapped his connection to Stanford where he did his MBA and teaches; Steve Ciesinski, a former president of the Stanford Research Institute, will join Savannah’s Investment Committee. 

Ciesinski will be joined by Tommy Chia, a Hong-Kong based investor who has invested in Paga and OneFinance out of his family office. Erik Hersman, who founded iHub (now owned by Co-creation Hub), co-founded Kenyan civic-tech platform Ushahidi, and presently runs the internet infrastructure company BRCK, will become a senior advisor at Savannah.

Read this next
iyin_aboyeji

Last April, Future Africa put out a call for aspiring investors to pool funds into a co-investment community funding African innovation. By December, the firm had 160 members, reviewed over 600 funding proposals, and invested more than $1million in 16 startups.  It’s an encouraging output for the Nigeria-based firm that invests between $25k and $250k […]

More From TC

Kemitt, an e-commerce startup headquartered in Egypt, has secured an undisclosed six-figure amount in funding from a group of Saudi Angel investors. Founded in 2018, Kemitt is a marketplace that enables product and furniture designers to connect with their end customers.  Kemitt provides an online platform to product designers and gives them the tools they […]

In 2019, when Opera introduced OList it was with a rather silent launch. Compared to other product lines like Opay or Oride, there was no press release announcing the launch of OList, just a mention in its financial statement.  OList is a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers to opportunities. It’s part of Opera’s strategy […]

samurai_incubate

As success stories from Africa’s startup scene spread across the world, more diverse sources of funding are opening up to the continent. While investors from Western economies lead the flock of international interest parties, money bags in Asia are building momentum to invest in high-impact businesses in Africa. Japanese firms have been notably active in […]


TechCabal is a Big Cabal Media brand



Copyright © 2013 - 2021
All rights reserved

Privacy & Terms
X