Silicon Valley-Based Firm Partech Raises R1.9 Billion For Its African Tech Fund

"We are really proud to see major global investors rally around our vision and ambition to support extraordinary entrepreneurs building digital champions for Africa and emerging markets"

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Tidjane Dème, General Partner at Partech.

Partech, a venture capital (VC) firm based in Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa, has raised R1.9 billion ($143 million) from financial institutions for its Partech Africa Fund.

The fund is the first technology fund of such size from a top tier international VC to be exclusively dedicated to the tech ecosystem in Africa.

Partech Africa has gained support from more than 40 different investors across the spectrum and from all over the globe.

All the major financial institutions driving investment in Africa back the fund: joining the European Investment Bank, IFC, member of the World Bank and Averroès Finance III (fund of funds managed by Bpifrance and co-sponsored with Proparco).

Partech Africa now also counts on KfW, the German Development Bank (on behalf of BMZ, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), FMO, the Dutch Development Bank and the African Development Bank Group as funders.

Last January, Partech secured over €57-million (R874 million) commitments for the fund.

At the time the company said it aims to raise €100-million (R1.5 billion) to invest in early-stage African startups, with the average deal sized expected to range between €500 000 and €5-million.

The fund operate out of Partech Ventures’s new offices in Dakar.

It wants to invest in startups that focus on financial inclusion, as well as mobility, supply-chain services and digitisation of the informal economy.

On Thursday, Partech announced that the Africa Fund achieved a final closing at €125 million, more than double the size of its first closing a year ago at €57 million ($70 million).

With this final closing, Partech Africa confirms its position as a major go-to platform for tech financing on the continent, with a strong capability to leverage much more capital thanks to its partners.

Cyril Collon, partner at Partech
Cyril Collon, partner at Partech

The fund is positioned for series A and B financing rounds in startups which are changing the way technology is used in education, mobility, finance, delivery, energy, etc.

It has already made two investments in 2018: TradeDepot, in Nigeria, and Yoco, in South Africa, and is expected to close even more deals in 2019.

Last April, TradeDepot, the innovative SaaS platform for FMCG distribution in Africa, announced today $3 million in funding from Partech. Since its founding in 2016, TradeDepot has successfully developed a 360°solution integrating all participants in the trade value chain: manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The solution quickly convinced first rank FMCG companies and has been deployed all over the country in distributors’ warehouses.

“We are really proud to see major global investors rally around our vision and ambition to support extraordinary entrepreneurs building digital champions for Africa and emerging markets,” said Cyril Collon, general partner at Partech.

“Our first investments in Yoco and TradeDepot provide strong showcases of how these champions can transform whole sectors such as retail and payments in this region”.

Last September, South African payments company Yoco has secured $16 million (R230 million) from various investors led by Partech. The FinTech firm plans to use the cash injection to grow its network of small business merchants, invest in product development, operational scalability and attracting top-tier fintech talent.

Expansion in East Africa

Partech also announced its presence in East Africa with Ceasar Nyagah joining the team in January 2019 as Investment Officer based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ceasar-Niagah
Ceasar Niagah

Nyagah will help boost the activity of the fund in East Africa.

Partech Africa has also expanded its team with two investment officers joining General Partners Cyril Collon and Tidjane Dème,General Partner at Partech.

Matthieu Marchand, previously working for the Partech Growth Fund joined the African team as Investment Officer in 2018.

The team will also be reinforced by a business development officer, to boost the exposition of African startups to European and US markets and enable commercial contracts and long-term strategic partnerships.

“This is a pioneering work in Africa and we are very excited to onboard key talents such as Matthieu and Ceasar and work hard with them to set the standards for a new generation of Africa-based investors,” said Deme.

“After launching the Dakar office last year, it is also key for us to set now a base in East Africa with a Nairobi office.”

Partech Africa was backed from the start by major global mobile operator Orange and leading emerging market actors such as Edenred and JCDecaux Holding. These pioneering investors have been joined by top tier global players such as Bertelsmann and L’Oréal as well as successful African champions such as Axian Group, TEXAF.

 

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