Savannah Fund launches $25M fund to invest in African startups at seed and Series A
Savannah Fund, a pan-African venture capital firm, today announced a $25 million fund as it looks to back more early-stage startups on the continent.
Since launching in 2012, Savannah Fund — led by Mbwana Alliy and Paul Bragiel — has backed more than 30 startups. Some of its well-known investments include South African car subscription company, FlexClub; Kenyan on-demand logistics company, Sendy; and Nigerian fintech company, Lidya.
Before becoming a VC firm, Savannah Fund started as an accelerator program in Kenya. Startups that got accepted participated in cohorts for three months and received up to $30,000 in funding. However, in 2016, Savannah transitioned into venture capital investing, focusing on seed and Series A stages with $25,000 to $500,000 checks.
This is the second fund for the nine-year-old Mauritius-headquartered investment firm. It has secured a first close led by International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participation from the Women’s Finance Initiative (WeFi). U.S. investor Tim Draper via his VC fund, Draper Associates and Visa Forsten, co-founder of Tencent-owned Supercell, are other notable investors.
Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), especially female founders, are a key part of our investment strategy as we have seen with the success of Moringa School, Safigen and Sendy – all 3 of which have women founders/CEOs who previously worked with Savannah as EIRs, Associates & Interns. We’re proud to partner with WeFi to further expand and encourage female founders on the continent. Even during a pandemic, we held 3 internships in 2020, some virtual and some in-person in Kenya and Tanzania,” the statement read.
Early-stage funding is vital to enable more of Africa’s emerging and growing tech founders to grow their business 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 regional director for Southern Africa and Nigeria.