IFC invests in Savannah Fund to support Africa’s tech startups funding growth
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced an investment in the Savannah Fund, a technology seed fund in Africa, to increase lending to startups across sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and disruptive companies in high-growth sectors.
IFC led the fund's first close investing $3 million in the $25 million fundraising. The Women's Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, invested $500,000. This is Savannah Fund's second seed fund.
The fund will provide early-stage funding to startups in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with an eye on expansion to Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda in East Africa, as well as Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa. The fund will invest in companies that support development at the bottom of the pyramid in sectors including fintech, education, logistics and e-commerce, healthcare, and agtech.
Mbwana Alliy, Managing Partner, Savannah Fund: "Savannah Fund II will continue its long-term mission to partner with ambitious founders building start-ups that will scale across Africa. We're especially bullish on startups that have the potential to scale beyond the continent and that can expand into Silicon Valley and emerging markets like South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Entrepreneurs in Residence, especially female founders, are a key part of our investment strategy. We're proud to partner with We-Fi to further expand and encourage female founders on the continent."
Kevin Njiraini, Regional Director, Southern Africa and Nigeria, IFC: "Early-stage funding is vital to enable more of Africa's emerging and growing tech founders to grow their businesses and fuel the transformation of Africa's Internet economy. By partnering with Savannah Fund, we can help more entrepreneurs to access funding."
Africa's digital economy could be worth $180 billion by 2025, and startups are a critical piece of this growth. Venture capital investments in startups in Africa in 2020 totaled around $1.4 billion.