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Seedstars, Fondation Botnar launch $20m African investment fund

By , ITWeb
Africa , 19 Jun 2023
Stefan Germann, CEO of Fondation Botnar.
Stefan Germann, CEO of Fondation Botnar.

Switzerland-based Seedstars Capital and Fondation Botnar have launched a $20 million investment fund for early-stage African companies.

The fund – Seedstars Youth Well-being Ventures – intends to invest the $20 million in early-stage start-ups, aiming to improve the welfare of young people in low- and middle-income countries across the continent.

Seedstars Capital is an alternative investment platform, focused on emerging fund managers and invests in technology companies in emerging and frontier markets.

Fondation Botnar, led by Stefan Germann as CEO, is a Swiss philanthropic foundation, dedicated to improving the health and welfare of young people living in urban areas worldwide.

The partnership, the two entities say, reflects their shared commitment to advancing positive impact through strategic investment.

The fund for Africa will target pre-seed to Series A companies in sectors such as health services, environmental sustainability, local food security, water and sanitation, waste management, digital technologies, quality education, access to employment, financial services, safe transportation, and affordable housing.

In a joint statement, the two parties say Seedstars Youth Wellbeing Ventures will be additional capital into Africa and will co-invest alongside like-minded investors.

Investments will be made across Africa, with a strong focus on companies active in or expanding to Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, and Egypt.

Benjamin Langer, partner at Seedstars Capital said: "Together and with the added strength of our co-investor network, we will identify, invest and scale innovative companies with the potential to transform the lives of young people across our key markets."

For Antoine Veyrassat, venture philanthropy lead at Fondation Botnar, the foundation is excited about supporting companies that are making a difference.

“Our shared commitment to improving the health and well-being of young people aligns strongly with our investment strategy that takes a market-based approach to philanthropy in addition to our other philanthropic funding, especially as rapid urbanisation and the increasing number of young people living in cities presents both unique challenges and opportunities," said Veyrassat.

According to the two organisations, the partnership between Seedstars and Fondation Botnar has already begun making strides in Africa, with one of their first joint investments being Chargel, a Senegal-based logistics technology company.

“The venture, which uses technology to streamline operations in the fragmented logistics sector, has successfully raised $2.5 million in seed funding. This move exemplifies the partners' commitment to backing companies that contribute to youth well-being by improving the working conditions of young Senegalese truck drivers," reads the statement.

To support the fund, Cyrine Ben Fadhel is joining Seedstars as an investment manager.

The statement says: “Bringing years of hands-on experience in venture capital, with past roles at Lateral Frontiers Capital and Global Ventures, Cyrine will act as the main point of contact for the mandate, and her knowledge will be instrumental in identifying and scaling innovative companies across the African continent.”

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