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Africa focused VC firm raises US$20m to spread investment

By , ITWeb
Africa , 04 May 2022
From left to right: Justin James, Investment Partner at Fireball Capital; Ian Lessem, Managing Partner at HAVAÍC; and Jonathan Sieff, Co-Managing Partner at Universum Wealth.
From left to right: Justin James, Investment Partner at Fireball Capital; Ian Lessem, Managing Partner at HAVAÍC; and Jonathan Sieff, Co-Managing Partner at Universum Wealth.

Cape Town-headquartered venture capital (VC) firm HAVAÍC has announced the third and final close of its second pan-African investment fund of US$20-million.

According to the company, the fund invests in start-ups born in Africa that use technology to solve real-world local, regional, and international challenges and make an impact in the markets they serve.

“The Fund invests in- and supports early-stage, post-revenue seed investments up to later-stage growth Series A investments,” the VC firm added.

Ian Lessem, Managing Partner at HAVAÍC, said, “The Fund’s institutional investors bring new international relationships and capital. Coupled with our experience in investing in Africa, this makes for a winning combination of local expertise, networks, and follow-on funding internationally. These are all necessary ingredients when scaling businesses.”

Since launching in 2020 under a joint venture with Universum Wealth, the Fund has invested in several South African, Kenyan, and Nigerian technology start-ups.

HAVAÍC stated that following its second close in 2021 and the inclusion of leading institutional partners such as South African-based Fireball Capital, the third and final close allows it to “execute on its exciting pipeline of investment opportunities and leverage off its partnerships with existing and new investors in both Africa and across the globe.”

Lessem added, “The escalating interest from local and international investors supports the growing prominence of African venture capital as an asset class. This is off the back of an influx of increased investment in recent years spurred on by growing awareness for these enticing African investment opportunities for local and international investors. And with the investment demand for African tech-enabled companies showing no signs of slowing down, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Fund is on track to complete up to 25 investments over the next three years. A third of the funds have already been deployed into early-stage African technology companies in the FinTech, HealthTech, and SafeTech industries, including Aura, Kuda, Crowdforce, Mobiz, Comparisure, Tanda, RecoMed, and HearX.

Justin James, Investment Partner at Fireball Capital, “We are drawn to HAVAÍC’s track record of supporting businesses that use technology-enabled solutions to solve real-world problems,” said Justin James, Investment Partner at Fireball Capital. The impact of our smart capital allocation will result in sustainable job creation in South Africa and on the rest of the continent. And we look forward to working with our partners to successfully internationalise these businesses onto the global stage.”

According to the VC firm’s 2021 results, its portfolio companies now serve a combined five million customers in over 180 countries. Last year, HAVAÍC‘s portfolio companies raised US$110-million in fresh capital and increased revenue by 160%. To date, HAVAÍC has achieved three international exits, delivering annualised returns to its investors of 155%.

Jonathan Sieff, Co-Managing Partner at Universum Wealth, added, “Investing in private markets has become an increasingly important consideration for private clients, and the continued success of our joint venture with HAVAÍC has ensured that we deliver the investment needs of our clients in this fast-growing asset class.”

HAVAÍC announced the latest addition to its diverse 15-strong portfolio of companies in February 2022, Crowdforce, which empowers Nigeria's underserved and unbanked population. In the coming weeks, the VC firm is set to finalise investments into leading pan-African communications platform Talk360 and Nigerian e-commerce player ShopEx.

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