Founded in 2017, V8 Capital Partners is a VC firm that has invested in some exciting businesses in Africa.
With a focus on growth-stage startups and expertise in both private equity and venture capital, the team decided to build an arm focused on early-stage startups last week.
Asides funding, V8 Capital will help these startups with resources, mentoring, network, among other things.
Named V8 Growth Labs, five startups were selected for a Pitch Day on August 27. The panel included Maya Horgan Famodu, Founding Partner at Ingressive Capital; Bukola Bankole, Partner at TNP, a law firm; Rapelang Rabana, Founder of Rekindle Learning; Ugo Okoye, Founding Partner at V8 Capital Partners and MD of iConcepts; and Tobi Oke, Managing Partner at V8 Capital Partners.
As two startups made it into the programme, Techpoint Africa caught up with Tobi Oke who told us all about V8 Capital and the new Growth Labs programme.
How did you start V8 Capital Partners?
After leaving Intel Capital, I amassed significant experience in venture capital. With my experience in private equity and technology consulting, it made sense to start V8 Capital Partners focused on B2B2C automation and enterprise software.
What does VC investment mean to V8 Capital?
VC investment for V8 Capital is funding focused on accelerating automation across key industry verticals. Business automation is a global theme but we believe automation is even more essential in Africa given the disparity in the provision of goods and services.
Who founded or runs V8 Capital?
I lead the operations at V8 Capital Partners, which is the investing arm of V8 Ventures Group which I co-founded with Ugo Okoye.
How did V8 Capital begin investing in startups?
We founded V8 Ventures Group in 2017 with the principle of investing in bold visionary entrepreneurs. However, to do this, we needed to first invest in the ecosystem; our first investment was in V8 Valley, a coworking space.
Shortly after taking some time to assess the ecosystem, we decided to concentrate on IP-rich entrepreneurs focused on automating businesses across the continent.
Every VC has an eye or eyes in certain markets; kindly tell us what market V8 Capital is interested in and why?
We are focused on automating businesses and have developed expertise across five key industries where we see significant automation in the continent: financial services, health, education, transportation, and agriculture.
How do you determine if a startup is investible?
First, we look for businesses that add value through automation. By automation, we mean using innovation to deliver significant efficiencies that not only improve operations but also create new market opportunities for African businesses.
Secondly, we look to back strong management teams with the vision and ambition to change the way business is done across the continent.
At what stage of growth do you usually invest in startups and what’s your average ticket size?
We invest at the Pre-Series A and Series A stage of businesses and tend to invest between $500k to $5m.
What startups and businesses are currently in your portfolio?
We are currently invested in AppZone, 54gene, Kobo360, Invest Bamboo, Bambooks, and of course, V8 Valley and V8 Growth Labs.
Tell us about your Growth Labs programme?
We launched V8 Growth Labs to help young technology companies build and grow their businesses. Given our reach and involvement in the ecosystem, we decided to provide a select cohort of young businesses access to mentorship, deep business consulting, rapid business development, and improved access to capital.
We launched our first cohort in August 2020 and will be looking to grow this every six months.
Why did you decide to start this when you already invest with the V8 Capital arm?
With our coworking space (V8 Valley) and interactions with entrepreneurs in the tech ecosystem we spent a fair bit of time mentoring, teaching, and encouraging early-stage entrepreneurs.
This was something we found was needed, and we had already spent some time doing. Starting the Growth Labs programme was simply putting some formal structure around it to help increase the impact for entrepreneurs.
What startups are in the Growth Labs programme?
Our first batch includes Agriple, an agri-commerce platform that connects farmers with buyers; they mostly target restaurants and hotels.
And TruQ, a logistics startup that helps with moving large items within Lagos State.
What industries are of most interest to you for V8 Capital and V8 Growth Lab?
We look at the same industries as our Growth Fund where we have expertise. So, financial services, healthcare, education, transportation, and agriculture.
However, given the early stage of the businesses, we have included emerging industries like artificial intelligence, robotics, and clean energy.
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