Savannah Fund, an African technology seed fund has raised $25m to increase lending to start-ups across sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and disruptive companies in high-growth sectors.
IFC led the fund’s first close investing $3 million in the $25 million fundraising. The Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, invested $500,000. This is Savannah Fund’s second seed fund.
“Savannah Fund II will continue its long-term mission to partner with ambitious founders building start-ups that will scale across Africa. We’re especially bullish on start-ups that have the potential to scale beyond the continent and that can expand into Silicon Valley and emerging markets like South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America,” said Mbwana Alliy, Savannah Fund’s Managing Partner. “Entrepreneurs in Residence, especially female founders, are a key part of our investment strategy. We’re proud to partner with We-Fi to further expand and encourage female founders on the continent.”
The fund will provide early-stage funding to start-ups in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with an eye on expansion to Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda in East Africa, as well as Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa. The fund will invest in companies that support development at the bottom of the pyramid in sectors including fintech, education, logistics and e-commerce, healthcare, and agtech.
“Early-stage funding is vital to enable more of Africa’s emerging and growing tech founders to grow their businesses and fuel the transformation of Africa’s Internet economy. By partnering with Savannah Fund, we can help more entrepreneurs to access funding,” said Kevin Njiraini, IFC’s Regional Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria.
Africa’s digital economy could be worth $180 billion by 2025, and start-ups are a critical piece of this growth. Venture capital investments in start-ups in Africa in 2020 totaled around $1.4 billion.