Savannah Fund launches $25M fund to invest in African startups

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    • AvatarEbigide Jude

      Savannah Fund, a pan-African venture capital firm, today announced a $25 million fund as it looks to back more early-stage startups on the continent.

      Since launching in 2012, Savannah Fund led by Mbwana Alliy and Paul Bragiel has backed more than 30 startups. Some of its well-known investments include South African car subscription company, FlexClub; Kenyan on-demand logistics company, Sendy; and Nigerian fintech company, Lidya.

      Before becoming a venture capital firm, Savannah Fund started as an accelerator program in Kenya. Startups that got accepted participated in cohorts for three months and received up to $30,000 in funding.

      This is the second fund for the nine-year-old Mauritius-headquartered investment firm. It has secured a first close led by International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participation from the Women’s Finance Initiative (WeFi).

      The firm has a presence in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania, but its core markets remain Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. The managing partner says Savannah is big on startups that can scale across regions in Africa — Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda in East Africa; Ivory Coast and Ghana in West Africa; and globally.
      They’ve doubled the ticket size from their first fund of $50,000 to $1 million. The fund plans to invest as low as $50,000 at the pre-seed, but typical first check sizes will be between $150,000 to 250,000. Follow-up rounds that will likely involve larger amounts will depend on the firm’s position as a lead investor or not.

      In 2020, Savannah Fund’s portfolio raised $118 million across Series A, B, and C, with some operating in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. With this new fund, the firm is looking to perform better this year and increase its portfolio from 30 to 50 in the foreseeable future.


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