Dakar: Partech Ventures announces VC fund for Africa
Berlin/Dakar — Partech Ventures announces the launch of the Partech Africa Fund: The fund has a target volume of 100 million euros — more than 57 million euros of which have already been secured. This makes the Partech Africa fund the first fund from a top VC dedicated exclusively to Africa’s rapidly growing tech ecosystem.
Partech Africa focuses on early-stage growth financing and aims to help talented African teams and their technologies take advantage of growth opportunities in emerging markets with financing between €0.5 and €5 million. Partech Africa is designed as a generalist technology fund whose target sectors range from the financial scene (FinTech, InsurTech, new distribution models) to online and mobile services (commerce, entertainment, learning, digital services) to mobility, supply chain services and the digitization of the informal economy.
The fund starts against the backdrop of an emerging and fast-growing market. “Tech VC investments in Africa, with ticket sizes ranging from $200,000 to $40 million, have increased almost tenfold in recent years, from $40 million in 2012 to $367 million in 2016. Already, the sector is growing much faster than the projected $1 billion annually by 2020,” explains Cyril Collon (photo right), General Partner at Partech Africa. “Most investment rounds in Africa have been led by investors based in the US or EU. The ecosystem is ready for local players, with African teams funding the best African startups.”
As a key component of Partech’s global platform, Partech Africa will primarily benefit from the transatlantic VC’s vast industry expertise, unique portfolio support and business development skills. “Partech’s highly hands-on team with its hands-on mentality, which closes more than 70 investments per year, will also greatly benefit African founders,” adds Tidjane Dème (photo left), General Partner of Partech Africa. “Thanks to our global partner network, our dedicated business development teams will help African startups establish and deepen contacts with the European as well as the U.S. market to make long-term strategic partnerships and trade agreements possible.”
High-profile investors come together at Partech Africa
The launch of Partech Africa is also supported by key financial institutions, including the IFC (member of the World Bank Group), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Averroès Finance III (the fund of funds managed by Bpifrance and co-supported by Proparco).
“Technological progress can have a huge transformative impact in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. There is huge untapped potential for entrepreneurial energy here,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC. “Africa’s population is very young — there are many people here with strong technical skills and innovative ideas that can improve the lives of many. What they still lack is the necessary financial support. We believe the Partech Africa fund will make an important contribution to closing this financing gap and driving entrepreneurship and growth.”
Partech Africa is also supported by the giant mobile network operator Orange, as well as leading players in emerging markets such as Edenred and JCDecaux Holding.
“As one of the leading trailblazers in the African technology industry, Orange is strongly pushing for the next pan-African digital champions to emerge and grow. Our commitment to Partech Africa is an important part of our Orange Digital Ventures Africa initiative, which aims to accelerate the growth and scalability of innovative technology-driven companies,” said Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Investment.
Partech Ventures once again as a trailblazer
In recent years, Partech Ventures has repeatedly been a pioneer in the further development of the international venture capital market: The company was one of the first European VCs to open an office in Silicon Valley and has since developed into one of the few successful transatlantic as well as pan-European players with teams in San Francisco, Paris and Berlin.
“We are excited to now be present on three continents with the opening of our headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. Not only does this make us even more global, but it also gives us an even better and more comprehensive understanding of emerging innovations and global tech trends,” says Philippe Collombel, Co-Managing Partner of Partech Ventures. “In many areas, we see African entrepreneurs leading the way with their innovations in a wide variety of emerging markets. They’re using digital tools and creative business models to solve pressing problems, tapping into huge, previously untapped market segments — and that’s just the beginning.”
About Partech Ventures
Founded in Silicon Valley in 1982, Partech Ventures is a globally active investment company with offices in Paris, Berlin, San Francisco and Dakar. A large number of the partners are themselves entrepreneurs or have held management positions in technology companies. The company operates and invests as a team, helping entrepreneurs from Europe, the U.S. and Africa build fast-growing technology and digital companies that address large markets on multiple continents. To this end, Partech Ventures invests in seed‑, venture- and growth-stage entrepreneurs. Since its inception, Partech has successfully completed 21 IPOs and assisted in more than 50 major M&A transactions. Since 2012, the Partech Ventures team has built a pioneering business development platform that fosters business relationships and synergies between entrepreneurs and strategic partners.
About Partech Africa partners
Cyril Collon has held various management positions at mobile and Internet companies, always with a consistent focus on Africa and the Middle East. Most recently, he spent four years as VP Sales for Europe and Africa at Verscom Solutions, a leading systems integrator pioneering cloud/SaaS packet voice solutions for emerging markets. He has also gained network transformation experience at Genband, worked at UTStarcom to deploy the first IP-based mobile networks in Africa, and worked at Ascend Communications, a global leader in infrastructure for Internet service providers. Cyril grew up on the African continent until the age of 18.
Tidjane Dème led Google offices in Africa for over seven years, was responsible for YouTube strategy in the region, drove major broadband infrastructure investments, and worked to develop the African tech ecosystem. Prior to joining Google, Tidjane was founder and CEO of CommonSys, an IT consulting firm in West Africa. He also worked with Silicon Valley startup Cosine Communications as well as CapGemini to develop large-scale ISP-focused IT solutions. Tidjane grew up in Dakar (Senegal) until the age of 19.