Venture capital firm Partech Ventures has launched Partech Africa, a fund dedicated to raising capital for investment in African tech startups, and opened a new office in Dakar, Senegal.
Partech has set a target of US$120 million for the fund and says it has already raised more than $70 million.
The VC firm says it intends to focus the fund on "early stage growth funding, providing €0.5 to €5M [$614,000 to $6.14 million] initial tickets to talented African teams [that are] using tech to address large emerging market opportunities."
Target industries range from "Financial Inclusion (Fintech, InsurTech, new distribution models) to online and mobile consumer services (commerce, entertainment, education, digital services), as well as mobility, supply chain services and digitization of the informal economy," Partech stated in an announcement about the fund.
The VC firm believes this is a good time to ride the wave of an emerging and fast-growing tech-enabled market in Africa. "Tech VC investment in Africa, with ticket sizes from 200K to $40M, has grown almost 10x from $40M in 2012 to $367M in 2016… 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," stated Cyril Collon, General Partner of Partech Africa.
The Partech Africa effort will be supported by rest of the firm. "With a very hands-on operational team closing more than 70 transactions per year, Partech will bring great value to African founders," stated Tidjane Dème, General Partner for Partech Africa. "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."
The Africa fund launch is supported by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Averroès Finance III (a fund of funds managed by Bpifrance and co-sponsored with Proparco). "Technology can have a huge transformative impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has a vast untapped source of entrepreneurial energy," stated Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC. "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."
The effort is also backed by corporates such as network operator Orange, which has a number of operations across Africa and its own tech investor fund, and the likes of Edenred and JCDecaux Holding. (See Orange Launches €50M Fund for Startups Focused on Africa.)
"As a leading enabler of the African tech Industry, Orange is strongly pushing for next Pan-African digital champions to emerge and grow. Our commitment to Partech Africa is a critical component of our larger Orange Digital Ventures Africa initiative which aims to accelerate the growth and scalability of innovative tech-enabled businesses," noted Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Investment.
— The staff, Connecting Africa