Partech Ventures Announces $120M Fund for African Startups and Tech Ecosystem

Partech Ventures recently launched the Partech Africa fund, which, according to a recent press release, has secured above US $70M commitments toward its target size of $120M, making it the first technology fund of such size from a top tier international VC to be exclusively dedicated to the fast-growing tech ecosystem in Africa and African startups.

The fund will focus on early-stage growth startups, providing tickets to talented African teams using tech to address large emerging market opportunities. They do not have a specific vertical and will be investing in companies across the board as long as they meet that specific criterion. Some of the industries that they’d like to target range from 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.

“Tech VC investment in Africa, with ticket sizes from $200K to $40M, has grown almost 10x from $40M in 2012 to $367M in 2016, and is already growing faster than projected $1B annually by 2020” explains Cyril Collon, general partner of Partech Africa in a statement. “Most investment rounds so far have been led by U.S. or EU based investors. The ecosystem is ready for local players, with African teams being able to finance the best African startups.”

The largest benefit that the companies will have access to comes from the firm’s collective industry expertise, unique portfolio support, and business development capability. “With a very hands-on operational team closing more than 70 transactions per year, Partech will bring great value to African founders”, adds Tidjane Dème, general partner for Partech Africa in the release. “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.”

Major financial institutions are backing the fund including IFC, member of the World Bank Group; the European Investment Bank (EIB); and Averroès Finance III (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,” said Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of IFC in a statement. “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.”

Additionally, Partech Africa is also backed by corporate investors led by major global mobile player Orange and leading emerging markets players Edenred and JCDecaux Holding.