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Breega launches $75M African VC fund

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Anglo-French VC firm Breega has launched its first African fund, Breega Africa Seed I, endowed with $75 million, with the aim to become the leading early-stage investor in African startups.

Since closing its first fund in 2015, Breega has reached $700 million in assets under management, and it has invested in over 100 startups across 15 countries and opened five offices in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

The success of its operations in Europe has prompted Breega to open two new offices – one in Lagos, Nigeria, and another in Cape Town, South Africa – to manage the fund with a pan-African strategy.

Breega's African fund will cover several regions, based on their level of technological maturity and start-up ecosystem, including Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, as well as several French-speaking African countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Breega has already invested in nine African startups at the pre-seed and seed stage across different sectors, including Numida, Socium, Klasha, Kwara, Coachbit and Sava.

Breega's investment strategy includes intentional investing in untapped markets across Africa, not just focusing on the big four – Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria – as a way to grow ecosystems and create value in regions that may not traditionally receive venture capital attention.

Investment in high-impact technologies

Through the fund, Breega plans on investing checks ranging from $100,000 to $2 million, entering as the initial investor.

Drawing on its international experience, Breega's aim is to fund high-impact and sustainable innovations that meet the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, by investing in pivotal sectors such as agritech, edtech, healthtech, fintech, insurtech, proptech and logistics.

The VC firm said that although technological innovation is growing rapidly, with a tenfold increase in funding over the past seven years reaching $6.4 billion by 2022, early-stage funding is still insufficient.

In more mature ecosystems, like Europe, early-stage financing is approaching 0.1% of GDP. In Africa, however, it still only represents 0.01%, highlighting a crucial "investment gap" of $2 billion in early-stage African startups, it said.

"Start-up ecosystems work like pyramids: they are only sustainable if the base, i.e. the early stage, is well financed. It is with this impact-driven mindset that Breega is positioning itself as the first investor to back and support entrepreneurs from idea to impact," commented Ben Marrel, CEO and co-founder of Breega.

Breega wants to fund high-impact and sustainable innovations in sectors like agritech, edtech, healthtech, fintech, insurtech, proptech and logistics.   (Source: freepik)
Breega wants to fund high-impact and sustainable innovations in sectors like agritech, edtech, healthtech, fintech, insurtech, proptech and logistics.
(Source: freepik)

Breega has a large community of limited partners comprising entrepreneurs and industry leaders, family offices, large financial institutions such as public and private banks, and development banks.

For the African Fund, it received funding from institutions including Bpifrance, Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO and a range of entrepreneurs.

African fund leadership

The group's African fund is being headed up by Melvyn Lubega, an award-winning entrepreneur, business angel and co-founder of the first African digital education unicorn, Go1; and Tosin Faniro-Dada, former CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria, former founding executive of Lagos Innovates and board member of fintech unicorn Flutterwave.

Lubega will lead Breega's activities in Eastern and Southern Africa from the Cape Town office, and Faniro-Dada is the partner in charge of West and North Africa from the Lagos office.

"Today, Africa receives 1% of global funding for a region which is home to 18% of the population of the planet. This is a large funding gap to close across a continent at the dawn of its technological potential. Breega, an international fund for founders built by founders, has a unique role to play in bridging this gap," said Lubega.

Faniro-Dada said Breega was built to bridge the equity and experience gap, and what makes it a unique VC is the mentorship offered.

"Breega is made up nearly entirely of ex-founders and startup operators, who have been in the same position as the startups they're investing in. I love connecting founders with resources. I believe that beyond capital, founders need access to the right networks and resources to help them scale. The African entrepreneurs we back benefit from the exact same support from our in-house scaling team, that helps them build the foundations for sustainable growth," she said.

"Africa is experiencing a boom in entrepreneurship, reflecting a surge of innovation and ambition across the continent. Our entrepreneurs are driven by the ambition to find solutions to the continent's challenges," added Faniro-Dada.

Despite a 2023 decline in venture capital funding for African startups, the continent continues to be an attractive market for many investors and global players.

Last month, Orange Ventures and Digital Africa announced a collaboration to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuzé program.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

In April 2024, pre-seed investment program Madica invested $200,000 each into startups Kola Market, GoBEBA and NewForm Foods, while Google also opened applications for its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program's eighth cohort.

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*Top image source: peoplecreations on Freepik.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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