Ventures Platform Secures First Close of US$40mn Pan-African Fund

Kola Aina

One of Africa’s most active early-stage tech investor closes new fund to expand portfolio and double down on winners.

Lagos, Nigeria 16 December 2021. Ventures Platform, the early-stage “discovery” venture capital fund championing the next generation of African entrepreneurs, has announced the first close of its new US$40m Pan-African, early-stage fund to invest in market-creating innovations. With this close led by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the new fund features participation from existing investors and some new leading names across Africa’s corporate and tech ecosystems, including UAC Nigeria, VFD Group, Gbenga Oyebode, Shola Akinlade (Paystack), and global investors like; Michael Seibel (Y Combinator) and Adam Draper. A second close of the fund is due to take place in early 2022 and will feature investment from select global Institutional Investors and DFI’s.

Building upon its stellar reputation as one of the most active early-stage investors in African tech, Ventures Platform will significantly deepen its long-standing presence in Nigeria and West Africa while also investing in select opportunities in East, North & Francophone Africa – that have the potential to expand into West Africa’s key markets. The fund’s latest capital injection also firmly positions it to double down on existing investments in its category-leading portfolio via subsequent rounds.

Since its launch in 2016, Ventures Platform has acted as a key partner and conduit for international funds and stakeholders seeking a reliable and experienced partner to do business in Africa. With on the ground presence on the continent and its experience with corporate partnerships, talent, growth, regulation and operations – this new fund introduces the benefit of strong local LP participation and strengthens Ventures Platform’s ability to institutionalise its track record of collaborating with LPs and investors from North America, Europe and Asia, who need a reliable partner to work alongside when investing in the African technology space.

As part of a move to further deepen its expertise, Ventures Platform has also onboarded leading figures across African tech as Venture Partners, including; Seni Sulyman (ex-VP at Andela, ex-COO at Bellhop, Founder at Black Ops.)

Kola Aina, Founder and General Partner at Ventures Platform, says, “Over the last six years, we’ve backed close to 70 of Africa’s most compelling tech companies, building a robust portfolio which has featured one of the largest exits our sector witnessed to date through Paystack last year. As the incredible momentum in African tech continues to build, it’s attracting unprecedented attention globally amongst traditional and institutional investors, and we’re delighted to welcome aboard some world-class, strategic stakeholders to our fund.”

“As operators ourselves, we know what it takes to build a successful business on the continent, and we’ve spent years partnering with visionary founders effectively tackling some of Africa’s hardest problems – now is the time to go even further. We’re fully maximising our deep expertise navigating the nuances of the African market, and as we move ahead, we’re developing a global network of LPs in more established markets like Europe, the USA and Asia, many of whom partner with us due to our track record of backing winners, and they appreciate our on-the-ground experience and access to opportunities, which is vital for generating returns.”

With a ticket size up to $1m+ Ventures Platform is now positioned to fund follow-on rounds of successful startups building market-creating innovations across pre-seed, seed and Series A stages in sectors including Fintech, healthtech, enterprise SAAS, digital infrastructure and more. Amassing a total of 28 investments to date in 2021 alone, the platform’s portfolio of 69 startups is one of the most elite in African tech with high-profile names including Seamless HR, Piggy Vest, Mono and Paystack – which Stripe acquired in October 2020 for $200m+.

Speaking about the fund, Mr. Uche Orji, MD & CEO, NSIA, said “Participation in this fund hits at the very core of the Authority’s objectives: stimulating growth by enabling new and innovative intramural technology to empower the continent. To harness and unleash Nigeria and Africa’s potential, we are of the opinion that investment in ventures in the innovation and technology space is essential. In this regard, the Authority is proud to play a role in facilitating what it expects will lead to the rise of Africa”.

To date, Ventures Platform’s portfolio has raised over $500mn in follow-on rounds, and as the investor moves to consolidate its leading market position, this marks its first official institutional fund with previous capital resulting from syndicate and proprietary capital funds.

About Ventures Platform

Ventures Platform is an early stage “discovery” fund that invests in mission-driven founders building capital-efficient platforms that democratise prosperity, plug infrastructural gaps, connect underrepresented communities, solve for non-consumption and improve livelihoods in Africa. Ventures Platform back companies that are envisioning the future of Africa and building products and services that drive us closer to that future.

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