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Latest Africa-focused VC fund dangles US$6m carrot

Latest Africa-focused VC fund dangles USm carrot

Global venture capital firm Partech Ventures has announced the launch of its new Dakar-based Partech Africa fund which it says will be exclusively dedicated to the fast-growing tech ecosystem in Africa.

The fund has already secured above US$70m in commitment towards its target size of US$120m. It intends to focus on early stage tech-focused ventures that require funding of between US$600 000 and US$6m in order to exploit emerging market opportunities.

Cyril Collon, General Partner of Partech Africa, who was raised on the continent, says the African ecosystem is ripe for home-grown investment.

"Tech VC investment in Africa, with ticket sizes from US$200K to US$40m, has grown almost ten times from US$40m in 2012 to US$367m in 2016, and is already growing faster than projected US$1b annually by 2020. Most investment rounds so far have been led by US or EU based investors. The ecosystem is ready for local players, with African teams being able to finance the best African startups."

Partech Africa is a generalist tech fund targeting industries like financial inclusion (Fintech, InsurTech, new distribution models) and online and mobile consumer services (commerce, entertainment, education, digital services), as well as mobility, supply chain services and digitisation of the informal economy.

Tidjane Dème, General Partner for Partech Africa and former executive at Google, says Partech Africa will benefit from the global reach and expertise provided by its parent company Partech Ventures.

"With a very hands-on operational team closing more than 70 transactions per year, Partech will bring great value to African founders. Moreover, thanks to our global network of corporate partners, our dedicated business development team will expose African startups to European and US markets, enable commercial contracts and long-term strategic partnerships."

Partech Africa also enjoys the support of major financial institutions including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a member of the World Bank Group, as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Averroès Finance III.

Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of IFC says technology can have a huge transformative impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, which the IFC believes has a vast untapped source of entrepreneurial energy.

"Africa's population is overwhelmingly young - it has lots of people with strong tech skills and innovative ideas that could improve lives. But they lack the necessary funding. We think the Partech Africa fund will make an important contribution to closing this funding gap and driving entrepreneurship and growth."

Partech Africa is also backed by corporate investors including Orange, Edenred and JCDecaux Holding.

Philippe Collombel, co-Managing Partner of Partech Ventures says, "In many domains we are seeing innovative investment projects led by outstanding African entrepreneurs. They are using digital tools and creative business models to solve major issues affecting large and untapped market segments, and this is only the beginning."

Partech Ventures has teams in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Paris and Berlin in addition to the newest one in Dakar.

At the end of 2017 Partech Ventures revealed that its portfolio of startups globally had raised nearly US$500m.

Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network, described the launch of the fund as "great news especially for Francophone Africa start-up scene."

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