- Goodwell and Oxfam Novib have set up Pepea, a $21.7 million fund for East African startups.
- The fund will be deployed in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.
- It will target businesses in sectors representing a large portion of household spending in low-income communities.
Dutch foundation and Oxfam International affiliate, Oxfam Novib, has launched Pepea, a €20 million ($21.7 million) fund that Goodwell Investments will manage.
The fund will target startups in East African countries — Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. It will focus on small businesses that are already generating revenue, and have been around for one to five years, but are yet to raise capital.
The businesses will be in the sustainable agriculture, energy, clean mobility, logistics, and waste management sectors.
Els Boerhof, Managing Partner at Goodwell Investments, told TechCrunch that they're focusing on startups from these sectors because "the combination of tech and brick-and-mortar works best in these environments. Tech enables access and affordability, and both are elementary for the end-users we aim to reach, the lower income groups on the continent."
The initial investment from the fund will be between $100,000 and $500,000, and there will be a follow-on investment of up to $1 million from Goodwell's funds.
The investments will be mezzanine finance, a form of financing hybrid of debt and equity funding. According to Investopedia, this form of financing gives the lender the right to turn their debt finance into equity in case of a default.
Oxfam Novib has financed SMEs through its Impact SME Development (iSME) programme since 2015. It plans to continue this with the Pepea fund.
Goodwell Investments launched its first fund in 2007 and has since invested in 20 companies in Africa, including Paga, MFS Africa, and Max.