Verod-Kepple closes first fund at $60 million to support 21 growth-stage startups in Africa

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April 10, 2024
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2 min read
Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures team

The news: 

  • Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), an Africa-focused venture capital firm, has announced the final close of its first fund at $60 million, with plans to support up to 21 growth-stage companies. 
  • The latest investment, which follows the fund’s first close in 2022 and second close in 2023, saw backing from several long-standing investment partners, including Japanese institutional investors like SBI Holdings, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Japan International Corporation Agency, and the Japan ICT Fund.
  • The pan-African VC achieved the close following fresh participation from new investors, such as Nigeria’s SCM Capital (formerly Sterling Capital Markets Limited), Taiyo Holdings, and C2C Global Education Japan.

In 2022, Okolloh, Ryosuke Yamawaki, and Satoshi Shinada established the VC company as a joint venture between Verod Capital Management, a West African private equity firm, and Kepple Africa, a Tokyo-based VC firm. 

While the investment downturn on the continent continues, Verod-Kepple is the latest African VC to receive capitalisation. The fund will allow the investment firm to support Series A and B companies in Africa with much-needed capital even as local funding for growth-stage startups runs low. 

Ory Okolloh, a VKAV partner, said that the investment firm had seen growth in pre-seed and seed funds in recent years but noted that there are not nearly enough funds at the growth stage of investing to help these startups move to the next level and scale, exit, or sustaining profitable businesses. 

“Our focus is Series A and B, but we can go earlier to pre-Series A if we think it is a good opportunity. We think there’s still a need for more growth-stage capital with locally based investors,” Okolloh explained.

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The VC firm will rely on collaboration to use the fund to provide hands-on support to portfolio companies in their scaling-up phase, such as implementing operational best practices, improving governance structures, and navigating Africa's complex macroeconomic environment.

The VKAV fund will focus on companies building infrastructure for the digital economy, solving business inefficiencies, and creating products for the emerging consumer population.

The fund, which has already deployed $17.5 million, aims to invest between $1 million and $3 million in selected startups, with the possibility of follow-on investment. So far, the VC fund has backed 12 startups with an average of $1.5 million across Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa. 

The portfolio companies, which span sectors such as mobility, finance, insurance, energy, and healthcare, include Moove Africa, KOKO Networks, Zone, Ceviant, Chari, Nawy, Shuttlers, NowPay, Cloudline, Julaya, mTek-Services, and Chefaa. 

The fund further aims to explore African markets, including Angola, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tunisia, in search of new investment opportunities and in line with its pan-African mission.

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