Norrsken22, an Africa-focused venture capital firm, received the backing of more than 30 unicorn founders and institutions to raise US$205-million (R3.8-billion) for new tech investments on the continent.
The fund — which counts the likes of Skype’s Niklas Zennström, Delivery Hero’s Niklas Östberg and Flutterwave’s Olugbenga Agboola among its investors — is seeking the next generation of “tech giants” on the continent in sectors such as fintech, edtech and meditech, said Norrsken22 managing partner Natalie Kolbe in an interview.
Investments will largely be focused on start-ups in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Egypt, she said.
“We have made five investments to date, including in TymeBank in South Africa,” said Kolbe. “We would like to build out a portfolio of about 20 investments in the beacon economies of Africa.”
Africa is home to the fastest-growing and most youthful population in the world, with tech-savvy youngsters increasingly tapping their smartphones for services from entertainment to banking.
Norrsken22 said it’s seeking to invest in the growth in tech businesses expected in Africa, that is fuelled by investment in digital infrastructure and smartphone adoption on the continent, said Kolbe. In addition, urbanisation and the growing need for financial and health services bring an opportunity for tech start-ups to scale, she said.
Other investors in the fund include Standard Bank Group, Norfund, British International Investment, the International Finance Corporation and the US International Development Finance Corporation.
Funding for start-ups in Africa has dwindled this year, in line with a slowdown globally. The continent attracted about $2.5-billion during the first half of the year, according to Briter Bridges. Another venture capital fund, Partech, raised more than $260-million to deploy on the continent.