E4E is backed by a founding investment from the SA SME Fund, is unique as a venture capital fund in that it is run entirely by experienced entrepreneurs. E4E’s six founding partners have had extensive success in the local and international startup ecosystem, both as entrepreneurs and investors.
This means the E4E team has first-hand experience of the kinds of challenges likely to face the startups in which it invests, speaks the same language as the entrepreneurs, and can actively help accelerate the growth of their businesses.
E4E will support business models that bring innovative solutions to critical sectors of the South African economy as well as those with the capacity to scale inside and outside of South Africa.
The team will pay particular attention to supporting black and female participation in early stage ventures, either as founders or as key players joining the scaling phase of the investee companies.
“We’re hitting the ground running. We are starting our fund with a R135-million (US$8.1m) first close and aspire to raise significantly more funds,” said Philani Sangweni, Managing Partner at E4E Africa.
“We’re also making significant progress on our first investments. As a result, we have approved two investments and expect to be able to close several other investments in the coming months. We have been really impressed with the quality of the entrepreneurs and business that we are seeing.”
Besides the founding team of six, the fund draws on a larger circle of experienced entrepreneurs to act as mentors to selected ventures.
“We’re up and running, but still welcome experienced entrepreneurs and aligned institutional investors, locally and internationally, into our structure. Entrepreneurial expertise, deep sector experience and relevant contacts are critical to the success of our entrepreneurs. Investors that bring this help build a healthy startup ecosystem and drive good returns on their own investments,” said E4E partner Bas Hochstenbach.