Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV) has announced the first close of a $43 million pan-African venture fund. According to the firm, the fund will invest in tech-powered startups that have raised revenue and are addressing some of the continent’s pressing challenges with scalable solutions.

The joint venture was formed in 2021 via a partnership between Kepple Africa Ventures (KAV), a Japanese VC firm, and Verod Holdings, an African private equity firm. Since then, VKAV had raised funds in stealth mode and is now launching its first investment vehicle: a $43 million specialised fund.

Led by partners Satoshi Shinada, Ory Okolloh, and Ryosuke Yamawaki, VKAV will draw from the extensive experience of its parent companies to fund tech-enabled upstarts across Africa. The fund will focus on companies in their early stages that are solving social challenges in key African markets. The $43 million fund is backed by SBI Holdings, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and individual investors including Osamu Kaneda. VKAV’s portfolio companies include fast-growing upstarts across Africa such as Moove Africa, Chari, Shuttlers,  Koko Networks, Ceviant, and Julaya.

One of the fund’s backers, JICA, maintained in a press release that the funds raised will focus on solving social challenges, even as it enhances collaboration between companies in Africa and Japan.

“JICA has been supporting seed-stage start-ups in Africa through Project NINJA and Home Grown Solutions (HGS) via the African Union Development Agency. This investment, however, will expand JICA’s support to include financial assistance for early-stage startups and is expected to enhance the collaboration between Japanese companies and startups in Africa. JICA will continue to support startup companies and funds that are working to solve social challenges in developing regions, not just in Africa, but throughout the entire world,” JICA said.

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