Hummingbird Impact, a for-profit and impact-driven tech venture fund launched recently by the Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB Canada) at its Global xChange 2020 Conference, is raising $24m for startups in Africa.
Hummingbird Impact, banking on EWB Canada’s nearly a decade experience delivering talent and seed capital to early-stage, for-profit social ventures in Africa with a track record of 11 investments, will operate autonomously though it’s supported by and affiliated with EWB Canada.
The fund is $20M blended-finance impact fund to invest in scalable, tech-enabled social ventures at the pre-Seed, Seed and Series A stages. The $4M will be a technical assistance facility to accelerate the growth and impact performance of its portfolio.
According to Boris Martin, CEO of EWB Canada, “Spinning off a business unit has precedence at EWB. We do it when it allows us to reach sustainable impact at scale. In this case, Hummingbird will allow us to catalyse both philanthropic and commercial capital towards a shared mission.”
Hummingbird, a gender-lens investor, will focus on bringing a holistic approach to business practices that promotes women’s economic participation, leadership and entrepreneurship. The fund will contribute to the sustainable development of the continent by leapfrogging growth obstacles. By proving the financial and impact potential of investing in diverse teams, Hummingbird will be working both private and public investors to address inequality and promote empowerment by dedicating capital towards women-led and locally founded African startups.
“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to reducing global poverty. Research also shows that gender and ethnically diverse teams are positively correlated with higher impact and profitability than their peers. Hummingbird will therefore commit 100% of its proceeds towards these underserved, undervalued and undercapitalised ventures,” says Muthoni Wachira, Founding Partner for Hummingbird. “It is my personal ambition to even out the funding landscape and see more gender and ethnic representation at the investor and investee levels. It is not only our moral imperative, it is smart economics,” she concludes.