Venture Capital looks at the technology sector in East Africa


We read about entrepreneurs and their projects every day. Only last week we had a list of inspiring winners from the Apps4Africa competition. See iCow takes first place at the ‘Apps 4 Africa’ contest. But only a lucky few walked away with a cash prize. What happens to the rest of these entrepreneurs and their ideas? Without some financial support, mentorship and guidence we risk wasting this potential.

One example of a project I would like to see take shape is Fogs Funeral Announcements developed by Alex Gitonga. This is an application for generating death and funeral announcements via text message. Radio and newspaper are costly in the region. Fog will allow users to cheaply and easily draft, edit and send these types of messages to ensure they reach friends, family, former schoolmates and colleagues – an important Kenyan custom. Funerals can be a heavy financial burden on a small family and using a tool like this frees up disposable income for school fees or other costs. To me this is a powerful application that potentially serves millions of customers. And I can imagine there are some regional expansion opportunities too.

It’s only a matter of time before investors recognize the opportunities and step forward to show their support. In this interview, Richard Bell, CEO at East Africa Capital Partners, takes a look at the rise of Venture Capital in the East African ICT sector. Early days in a process that will hopefully see many individuals like Alex Gitonga realize their ideas.

See an overview of some of the VC firms now active in this space:

1. Fanisi Venture Capital Fund
Fanisi Venture Capital Fund is a venture capital fund established in Luxembourg to work with competitive and sustainable East African businesses, whose ambitions are to grow and run their operations to global best practice standards. They invest in high growth businesses, including start ups and early stage companies, and are committed to working with East African entrepreneurs to build world class businesses with significant development impact on the economies in the region.

Investment range: USD 0.5 million – USD 3 million
Investor stake : equity
Fee : n/a
Web : http://www.fanisi.com

2. Africa Media Venture Fund
Africa Media Ventures Fund mobilizes capital and experience in the Netherlands to invest in entrepreneurs in the media sector and small and medium sized African media companies. They offer a combination of venture capital and business development support, involving knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts/applications and network.

Investment range: EUR 15,000 – EUR 100,000
Investor stake: minor equity, seat on board

Fee: n/a
Web : http://www.amvf.nl

3. eVA Fund
eVA Fund is dedicated to mobilize capital and experience in the Netherlands/Europe to invest in small and medium sized African internet related companies. eVA Fund focuses on development in terms of capital and business development support, i.e. knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts/applications, and network.

Investment range: EUR 25,000 – EUR 250,000
Investor stake :
Fee : n/a
Web : http://www.eva-fund.com

4. Open Capital Fund
Open Capital Advisors is a financial intermediary focused on increasing investment in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa. They provide advisory and brokerage services required by SMEs and investors, thereby enabling SMEs to access capital and achieve growth, innovation and social impact

Investment range: USD 200,000 – USD 2,000,000
Investor stake : equity, quasi-equity (i.e. straight debt with revenue participation), or debt financing from a non-bank investor(s)
Fee : generally based on success and charged as a percentage of capital raised and only payable when clients receive financing
Web : http://www.opencapitaladvisors.com

5. Aureos Capital
Aureos is a specialist emerging market private equity firm, providing growth capital and expertise to help build the next generation of sustainable businesses. Returns are maximized and risk mitigated by focusing on earnings growth and operational efficiency..

Investment range:
Investor stake: equity
Fee: n/a
Web : http://www.aureos.com

6. Grofin
GroFin is a multi-national specialist SME finance and development company offering an innovative combination of risk capital and business development assistance to viable enterprises. GroFin is committed to assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) achieve sustainable profitability, believing that growth in this sector is vital for socio-economic development in emerging markets. They invest in viable businesses across Africa with a unique combination of money and mentoring assisting entrepreneurs maximise profitability and encourages sustainability and success.

Investment range: USD 50,000 – USD 1,000,000
Investor stake: equity
Fee:
Web: http://www.grofin.com

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About zia505

The world is changing right before my eyes. Sometimes I don't know how I will ever keep up. There are so many ideas floating around on this internet. If only I had the means to collect them....

One response to “Venture Capital looks at the technology sector in East Africa”

  1. Rev. Kiyimba Joseph says :

    Dear Friends,

    ABA Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization registered under the laws of Uganda. The objectives of ABA Foundation are to helping people live better life and to promote the Socio-Economic Welfare of our vulnerable community especially the disaster affected people, destitute children, Orphans, widows, widowers, elderly, refugees, disabled, people in war torn Northern Uganda staying in Internally Displaced Camps and poor families affected by HIV / AIDS.

    We provide them with disaster relief, material support in form of clothing, mattresses, blankets, food aid, clean water, medication, toilets, shelter among others. We offer scholastic materials to school going children such as books, pens, pencils, tuition fees, sanitary pads, shoes,school bags etc. We are also a voice to the voiceless poor and vulnerable groups in a bid to seeking justice and promotion of human rights.

    We run Technical and Vocational Training Centers to equip refugees and other vulnerable groups with life development skills to enable them earn a living. Recent research indicated that 89% of refugees and people in internally displaced camps engage in prostitution which has led to an increase in HIV / AIDS scourge. These Technical and Vocational Training Centers are meant to empower them, fight poverty and combat the spread of HIV / AIDS.

    We operate Mobile Clinics, Home Care Bay and Rehabilitation Homes. We also do training and counseling. We raise awareness in the communities against HIV / AIDS, we also promote awareness among communities by running development programs to fight house hold poverty and promotion of income generation projects.

    We are looking forward to continue working with you to fulfill the objectives of ABA Foundation.

    Yours faithfully,

    Rev. Kiyimba Joseph
    Executive Director
    ABA Foundation
    http://www.AbaAfrica.Org/
    Tel: +256772949076
    Fax:+256414234474

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