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10 global VCs with largest investments in African startups as of 2021

December 13, 2021

So far in 2021, more than 8, 300 African startups have raised over $1 billion from leading global investment companies.A report by Briter Bridges noted that at least 60 investment firms have portfolios in Africa.Africa has remained a leading investment destination for VCs and PEs looking to invest in promising startups.

We often report about fundraising events by leading African startups. But hardly do we talk about the investment firms behind these deals. Well, we will be doing that today, thanks to a recent report by London-based think-tank Briter Bridges Ltd.

The report, which was titled Africa Investor Catalogue 2021, revealed that nearly 60 global investment companies (including VC and PE firms) have invested as much as $1 billion in some 8, 344 startups across Africa since January this year. We shall now take a closer look at some of these investment firms, highlighting the top ten most notable ones among them.

READ: New forecast shows Africa’s startup investment inflows could reach highest record of $5 billion in 2021

The criteria used in selecting these leading investment firms is basically their total fund size and their investment portfolio on the continent. That said, we shall be focusing on when these companies were established, where they are based and the African startups they have invested in this year. But before we go ahead with the list, it’s important to note that “the catalogue was built in direct conversation with dozens of investors operating in Africa,” according to Briter Bridges.

Partech Partners Tidjane Deme and Cyril Collon

Leading VCs and PEs dominating Africa’s startup ecosystem in 2021

Partech Partners: Founded in 1982, Partech Partners is a venture capital firm that is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. The firm has a total fund size of €1.5 billion which it invests mainly in African startups in the forms of equity, early stage and Series A. Some of the notable startups the company has invested in include – Kudi, RelianceHMO, Terrapay, MoneyFellows, etc.AfricInvest (Cathay AfricInvest Innovation): AfricInvest is a private equity, venture capital and private credit firm with a total fund size of $1.9 billion. The company was established in 1994 and is headquartered in Port Louise, Mauritius. AfricInvest has invested in Boomplay, Palmpay, InstaDeep, Aerobotics and many others.Ceniarth: This impact investor has invested in as many as 23 startups, many of whom are in Africa. Notable among them are Farmerline, iProcure, One Acre Fund, etc. Geniarth was established in 2013 and has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. It has a total fund size of $400 million. And as an impact investor, it uses the following impact metrics to determine which startup to invest in – female founders, local co-founders, women focused, rural focused, etc.Novastar Ventures: With a total fund size of $208 million, this venture capital firm has invested in a total of 20 startups. Notable among these startups are –, mPharma, iProcure, etc. Novastar Ventures was established in 2014 and is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.Quona Capital: Cowrywise, Sokowatch, and Lulalend are among the seven African startups that have received funding from this venture capital firm. The DC-based investment company was established in 2015 and has a total fund size of $203 million.Goodwell Investments: This is an impact investor with nineteen portfolios in Africa including Paga,, Good Nature Agro, Tomato Jos, etc. The company was established in 2004 and has a total fund size of $145 million. It has its headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Alitheia IDF: This investment firm is headquartered in Lagos Nigeria and was established in 2014. It has a total fund size of $100 million and has so far invested in three African startups.Lendable: This company is a debt investor. Little wonder its portfolio is comprised mostly of startups specialising in credits and loans. Examples include Carbon, Fairmoney, Terrapay, and three others. Established in 2015, Lendable has a total fund size of $100 million and is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.Naspers Foundry: With a total fund size of $100 million, Naspers Foundry (which is a corporate venture) has invested in six startups including SweepSouth and Aerobotics. It was established in 2018 and is based in Cape Town, South Africa.Norrsken Foundation: This investment company is both a VC and an accelerator. It was established in 2017 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. The company has a total fund size of $100 million and has so far invested in eighteen African startups including Bamboo, Complete Farmer, Floatpays, etc.

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