Read time: 3 minutes

Serena Williams renews investment in Africa’s tech start-up ecosystem

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Africa , 03 Feb 2022

World tennis champion Serena Williams has invested further into Africa’s tech start-up ecosystem, sinking an undisclosed amount into Nigerian crypto venture, Nestcoin as part of its US$6.5-million capital raise announced this week.

Williams’ investment is through Serena Ventures capital. In 2019, Serena Ventures participated in an investment round for Andela – a tech talent recruitment and placement venture – which attained unicorn status after surpassing US$1-billion valuation in 2021.

Netscoin, a crypto company that is pivoting on web 3 capabilities to build crypto payments and other platforms, has caught the eye of Serena Ventures.

The venture financier has written a cheque for an undisclosed amount to help fast-track Nestcoin’s operations and ambitions under co-founder, Yele Bademosi.

“We’ve raised $6.45 million in pre-seed capital to build the future of Web3 in frontier markets. It’s a proud and exciting moment,” Bademosi announced via Twitter this week.

According to Williams, Serena Ventures “focuses on early-stage companies, and giving them the opportunity” to spring up.

With this financing, Nestcoin intends to “grow” its diverse team, which already spans nine countries, expand its product offerings, and “invest in more ventures” aligned to its pursuit of crypto and web 3 visions.

“While the promises of Web 2.0 - economic prosperity and access to opportunities have primarily been concentrated in developed markets, at Nestcoin we believe that frontier markets like Africa will benefit more from crypto adoption and the other innovations that Web 3 brings,” explained Bademosi.

Venture financing flows into Africa’s tech start-up scene have favoured Fintech in the past year, with data from Africa: The Big Deal showing Fintech taking up US$2.3-billion in start-up funding for 2021.

According to Bloomberg, the bulk of the US$30-billion venture capital invested into crypto projects last year was targeted at Web 3 ventures.

This came as the cryptocurrency market on the African continent grew by over 1000% to US$105-billion in the one-year period to July 2021, Bloomberg said, quoting data from research firm Chainanalysis.

Daily newsletter