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Venture capitalists plot pan-African disruption with Launch Africa Ventures

By , ITWeb
Africa , Mauritius , 15 Jun 2022
From left to right: Co-founder Janade du Plessis, Margaret O’Connor (Chairperson of the Launch Africa Board) and co-founder Zach George.
From left to right: Co-founder Janade du Plessis, Margaret O’Connor (Chairperson of the Launch Africa Board) and co-founder Zach George.

Venture capitalists Zachariah George and Janade du Plessis believe their pan-African Mauritius-based venture capital fund Launch Africa Ventures, introduced into the market in July 2020, has achieved enough to earn the accolade of ‘pan-Africa’s most active early-stage VC Fund.’

While only operational for close on two years, Launch Africa Ventures claims that in March this year, it closed its inaugural fund (Fund 1) at US$36.3-million and secured investment from 238 retail and institutional investors in 40 countries.

The company added that following successful closure, Fund 1 announced its 100th investment at the end of May 2022, with US$24-million invested in 108 early-stage tech and tech-enabled companies across 20 African countries.

“The pandemic created a landscape that encouraged innovation and technological adoption at a speed once thought impossible, triggering business opportunities for African start-ups across technology industry verticals,” the companies stated, listing the verticals to include digital financial services, open banking, telemedicine, remote learning, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), digital identity management, and e-commerce.

The two partners are joined on the Launch Africa Board by chairperson Margaret O’Connor - formerly a successful tech entrepreneur with a Silicon Valley exit, who later helped launch MasterCard across several key geographies in Asia.

According to Launch Africa, its 14-member team is actively supported by more than 30 global advisors.

George says, “We assist the African founders of early-stage tech and tech-enabled companies to focus on what the continent needs right now - the rapid growth of businesses solving real-world problems combined with the creation of high-value jobs in sustainable ventures. We are proud to have helped many founders close their Seed funding rounds in 4-6 weeks, notably faster than the 4-6 months it typically takes for early-stage founders to close rounds in Africa.”

Du Plessis adds, “The Launch Africa team works with founders and expert advisors to fast-track exit opportunities for investors. Providing our exit strategy during these challenging times instills investor confidence and brings significant benefits to the African tech ecosystem.”

German fintech-focused Venture Capital firm CommerzVentures, is one of the lead institutional investors in Launch Africa Ventures Fund 1.

“We are pleased to partner with Launch Africa Ventures to invest in some of the most exciting Fintech investment opportunities in Africa,” says CommerzVentures Managing Partner, Patrick Meisberger. “Launch Africa provides a diversification of risk, returns, and impact by offering access to early-stage, post-revenue companies across multiple market verticals and geographic regions.”

Launch Africa Fund 1’s portfolio currently includes 38% Fintech, 16% e-Commerce and Marketplaces, 13% Health-Tech, 12% Logistics and Mobility, 11% Data Analytics/A.I. and 7% Ed-Tech.

Launch Africa is domiciled in Mauritius and administered by the Apex Group. 

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