Early-stage VC fund Seedstars Africa Ventures secures commitment from PE firm LBO France

SOUTH AFRICA – Early-stage venture capital fund Seedstars Africa Ventures has received a commitment from French private equity firm LBO France towards its US$100 million fund for early-stage African tech start-ups.

In 2019, Disrupt Africa reported that Seedstars, a Switzerland-based company focused on entrepreneurial development in emerging markets had partnered with the Paris-based VC firm First Growth Ventures to launch the fund.

The fund focuses on financing innovative companies operating in Sub-Saharan Africa in seed and Series A rounds and is just closing its third investment, in an agri-tech company after previous deals in education and connectivity, invests up to US$2 million, and has the capacity to reinvest.

Seedstars say it acts as the missing link between accelerators and later-stage funds.  

It has now partnered another French investment firm, LBO France, which has provided US$7.5 million for the fund.

Maxime Bouan, managing partner of Seedstars Africa Ventures, said bringing on board LBO France was a major milestone for African entrepreneurship.

“It shows the attractivity of the venture capital segment and the increasing comfort international investors have in investing in early-stage African innovation,” he said.

Robert Daussun, chief executive officer (CEO) of LBO France, said Africa was the firm’s “new frontier” with venture capital one of the strategies it was implementing on the continent as part of an overall programme valued at US$7.5 million.

“Innovation is buoyant there, the mood is incredibly positive, and demography and economy are powerful drivers. Partnering with Seedstars is a terrific opportunity to address this new market,” he said.

In June 2021, Five African start-ups received a US$5,000 funding grant from Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS) and Seedstars.

“It shows the attractivity of the venture capital segment and the increasing comfort international investors have in investing in early-stage African innovation”

Maxime Bouan – Mnaging Partner, Seedstars Africa Venture

The start-ups had been selected from the 2019/2020  Investment Readiness Programme (IRP), a startup education initiative that helps participants convert their ideas into sustainable tech solutions.

The five startups were Zambian mobile money startup, Mangwee, Tanzanian logistics app SUMET, UBI a smart city communication platform from Mozambique, Luma Law (South Africa), and Astech-Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) are the five start-ups chosen from the 15 in the IRP.

The Investor Roadshow was held after the readiness programme, where startups could meet with potential investors interested in their business and the five startups were awarded their respective grants.

The goals of the programme are to increase funding received by early-stage startups in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to improve the quality of entrepreneurs in the region and save time for investors and founders during the fundraising process.

Seedstars has chosen to focus on ten African countries, namely Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mauritius, and Mozambique.

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