VC firm HAVAIC raises US$20 million to invest in African tech startups

SOUTH AFRICA – HAVAÍC, an investment and advisory firm, has announced the third and final close of the HAVAÍC Universum Core African Fund, a US$20 million fund that will invest in early-stage technology companies in South, East, and West Africa

The Cape Town-headquartered HAVAÍC is an investment and advisory firm that invests in and supports early-stage, high-growth African technology businesses with proven concepts and global prospects, offering high return and impactful investment opportunities to sophisticated private and institutional investors.

The HAVAÍC Universum Core African Fund is its second pan-African investment fund, and its third and final close at US$20 million comes in partnership with international investment management firm Universum Wealth, and institutional investors from South Africa and the United States that include Fireball Capital.

It will invest in startups born in Africa that use technology to solve real-world local, regional, and international challenges, and make an impact in the markets they serve.

The fund invests in and supports early-stage, post-revenue seed investments up to later-stage growth Series A investments.

“The fund’s institutional investors bring new international relationships and capital,” said Ian Lessem, managing partner at HAVAÍC.

“Coupled with our experience in investing in Africa, this makes for a winning combination of local expertise, networks, and follow-on funding internationally. These are all necessary ingredients when scaling businesses.”

Since launching in 2020 under a joint venture with Universum Wealth, the fund has invested in several South African, Kenyan, and Nigerian technology startups.

Following its second close in 2021 and the inclusion of leading institutional partners such as South Africa-based Fireball Capital, the third and final close allows HAVAÍC to execute on its exciting pipeline of investment opportunities and leverage off its partnerships with existing and new investors in both Africa and across the globe. 

“The escalating interest from local and international investors supports the growing prominence of African venture capital as an asset class,” said Lessem.

“This is off the back of an influx of increased investment in recent years spurred on by growing awareness for these enticing African investment opportunities for local and international investors.

“And with the investment demand for African tech-enabled companies showing no signs of slowing down, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The fund is on track to complete up to 25 investments over the next three years. A third of the funds have already been deployed into early-stage African technology companies in the fintech, e-health, and safe-tech industries, including AURA, Kuda, Crowdforce, Mobiz, CompariSure, Tanda, RecoMed, and hearX.

In the coming weeks, the VC firm is set to finalise investments into leading pan-African communications platform Talk360 and Nigerian e-commerce player ShopEx.

“We are drawn to HAVAÍC’s track record of supporting businesses that use technology-enabled solutions to solve real-world problems,” said Justin James, Investment Partner at Fireball Capital.

“The impact of our smart capital allocation will result in sustainable job creation in South Africa and on the rest of the continent. And we look forward to working with our partners to successfully internationalise these businesses onto the global stage.”

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