Early-stage investor Antler closes US$13m fund to invest in early-stage tech startups

KENYA – Antler East Africa, an early-stage investor, has closed a US$13.5 million fund to invest in early-stage tech startups.

Intending to raise US$10 million at the initial stage, Antler East Africa received an oversubscribed round with an additional US$3.5 million.

Investors in the round included Baillie Gifford, an independent investment manager and well-known Tesla backer; Canica, a privately owned investment company operating out of Norway and Switzerland; and institutional investors such as the IFC.

The new fund will enable Antler East Africa to accept idea and pre-seed stage founders building their startups from scratch and also provide capital for those that have already started.

Led by Selam Kebede, Melalite Ayenew, Marie Nielsen and Joana Borges, Antler East Africa would accept founders and teams on a rolling basis. Founders going for the venture building model to find a co-founder and launch an idea will stay within Antler’s community for up to six months.

For existing startups, Antler East Africa will work with the team for two to six weeks before the firm provides them with capital.

It will invest up to US$100,000 in these startups at a mutually agreed valuation and plans to make 35 new investments from pre-seed to Series A over the next three years. There’s also an arrangement for the global Antler fund to follow up on some rounds, to Series C and D.

Launched in 2019, Antler East Africa invests in founders from day one, provides access to a global network of advisors, and a clear path to raising capital.

The firm connects co-founders of like minds, validated ideas, and enables startup growth to a point that normally takes years to achieve.

The Venture Capitalist runs a full venture building model with two cohorts each year. Five cohorts with 153 founders have passed through the accelerator programmes so far, and the firm has made 14 investments in companies such as AIfluence, Marketforce-subsidiary Digiduka, Honeycoin, Uncover Skincare, Try Cooked and Vybe, to mention a few.

Antler East Africa’s focus includes startups solving problems in climate tech, agritech and fintech. The team has already made a few investments in this regard.

It is particular about investing more in startups founded and led by women in East Africa and seeks to improve the numbers from its venture building model, where 25% of the founders in its portfolio are women.

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