Pan-African “Gender Equal Investor” Janngo Capital Reaches First Close of €60 Million Fund


After a stint at Jumia as a former director of the Nigerian office and founder of the Ivorian office, Fatoumata Bâ, a veteran of the African technology space, announced that her company Janngo Capital raised a €60 million (~$63 million) fund. . in 2019. The company, who wanted to invest “50% of its proceeds in companies founded, co-founded or benefiting women”, received €15 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) as an anchor investor and planned to close the fund the following year .

While things didn’t go as planned, the fund’s just-announced first close is noteworthy: it’s received €10.5 million last December from other anchor investors, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and Boost Africa. Subsequently, other limited partners such as Proparco, Burda Principal Investments (BPI), Muller Medien and an ex-KKR partner came on board, reducing total capital commitments of €34 million.

The company said in a statement that its “Janngo Capital Startup Fund plans to invest in startups that will enable Africans to improve their access to essential goods and services and African small and medium-sized businesses to improve their access to market and capital – and create sustainable jobs on a large scale, with a focus on women and young people.”

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According to reports, women are better entrepreneurs than men – about 58% of the self-employed in Africa are women and they contribute about 13% to the GDP of the continent). However, they face a significant funding shortfall of about $42 billion and last year founders received only for women less than 1% of the nearly $5 billion raised by African startups.

Janngo Capital is one of the few female-founded, owned and run venture capital and private equity firms that see a clear investment opportunity to address the gender financing gap in Africa by making long-term commitments to female-founded and female-led startups to support. Other funds with identical amounts are FirstCheck Africa and Alitheia Capital; AfDB and the EIB are limited partners in the latter.

However, the four-year-old venture capital firm doesn’t just invest in female-founded and female-led teams. While it plans to invest up to 50% of our new fund in startups that are founded, co-founded or benefit women, it is committed to a “gender-equal” approach, said Bâ, the founder and executive chairman of the company, to TBEN, its current portfolio is 56% founded and led by women. According to her, being a female-founded, female-run, and female-led fund manager means “gender equality is both a moral issue and a business case, as the $42 billion funding gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa generates a $300 billion missed opportunity.” . wise.”

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The fund’s stance is evident in some of the fund-backed startups. So far, Janngo Capital has invested in 11 startups across Africa, including Sabi, a growth stage B2B e-commerce platform Sabi with a female CEO. Other startups, including fintech Expensya and the Ivorian online freight marketplace Jexport, have male founders.

Bâ explained that targeting 15-30% ownership, the fund is designed to support 25 companies over its term. “The sooner we invest, the bigger our property will be, as we generally plan to follow,” she said. Janngo Capital invests from angelfunding to late stage VC/PE. From idea to pre-seed phase, it offers between €50,000 and €150,000; for seed or pre-Series A, the women-founded company cuts checks between $150,000 and $1.5 million. Meanwhile, growth-stage startups seeking Series A to Series B investments can receive €1.5 million to €5 million from the company.

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Like most funds of this size that shrink ticket sizes into this range, Janngo Capital is sector agnostic. But it is especially interesting for innovation in French and Anglophone Africa, which takes place in sectors such as healthcare, logistics, fintech services, retail, food and agriculture, and mobility. Pan-African companies of similar size that have reached the first close of their various funds in recent months include Launch Africa, Oui Capital, Ventures Platform, Microtraction and Google’s Africa Investment Fund.

Asked when Janngo hopes to reach the final, Bâ stressed: “It is not a market standard to announce final closing dates, so we do not intend to make this public; however, it is realistic to aim for 2023.”