Nairobi venture capital fund Antler East Africa secures IFC backing in call for Sh 1.6 billion.


Antler East Africa, a Nairobi-based venture capital fund, is raising $15 million (Sh1.6 billion) from institutional investors such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to invest in local and regional start-ups.

Each selected company by the company’s investment committee receives $100,000 (Sh11.1 million) in exchange for a 20% stake.

Antler will secure a total of $2 million (Sh222 million) from the IFC, with the rest coming from other investors.

“The fund is seeking to raise $15 million (Sh1.6 billion) in capital commitments. IFC has proposed an equity investment of up to $1.5 million (Sh166 million) … through Catalyst and $0.5 million (Sh55 million) through We-Fi,” IFC said in its investment disclosures.

Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)  is designed to launch and grow female-owned companies.

“The blended finance co-investment will contribute to accelerate the fund manager’s support to early-stage women-owned/managed start-ups by setting up women entrepreneurship targets that ensure these start-ups are an ongoing and dedicated focus of the fund,” IFC said.

Marie Nielsen and Melalite Ayenew will run Antler, which will invest in young companies in East Africa.

“Antler East Africa is based in Nairobi and will be making investments across the Eastern Africa region and occasionally other countries when the ideas developed out of the programme in Nairobi are more fit for other markets,” IFC said.

Nairobi is among African cities with a vibrant start-ups ecosystem, bringing together entrepreneurs and investors in fields such as digital payments, entertainment and e-commerce.