SeedStars Africa Ventures, a pan-African early-stage fund for startups, has appointed Bruce Nsereko-Lule as its new general partner to help deploy more capital and provide much-needed technical support to entrepreneurs across the continent.
SeedStars Africa Ventures – part of the SeedStars Group, an accelerator and VC active in over 30 emerging markets worldwide – will provide early-stage capital of up to $2 million in seed and Series A rounds. The fund counts French equity firm LBO France among its limited partners and has so far invested more than $5 million in five startups, including Kenya’s ISP Poa Internet and Nigeria’s Grid Management SaaS. In 2020
The fund, which plans to raise more capital in the next few months, will tap into Nsereko-Lule’s vast experience and the networks he has acquired over the years as an active venture capitalist in Africa.
Nsereko-Lule told Technology Flow that his vision for the fund is to help make great investments in the continent and provide initial and follow-on funding to cushion startups and help them build and scale businesses.
“We put up an initial check ($250k-$500k) and basically, we lead the round. And then we fund until the business reaches the right growth and maybe hits profitability and has opportunities to exit and scale up,” said Nsereko-Lule, who joined Tamim El Jean and Maxime Bouwan, the fund’s other general partner.
“By doing this, we’re providing more funding to local entrepreneurs and trying to stop this constant fundraising loop that entrepreneurs find themselves in. This support is meant to help them devote their full time to building a business.”
Prior to joining the fund, Nsereko-Lule was previously the founding investment principal of Chandaria Capital, a Kenya-based VC fund established in 2017 to serve as the investment vehicle for Chandaria Industries. He previously worked as an investment banker in the UK
Chandaria Capital has backed 38 startups
Nsereko-Lule said that during his time at Chandaria Capital, they invested millions of dollars in 38 startups, starting with Kenya before branching out into other African and emerging markets in South America and Asia.
By the end of his tenure, the sector-agnostic fund had completed 52 transactions (including follow-on investments) with startups including Tushop, Jumba, Wasoko, Kobo360, TradeDepot, Carry1st, Shara and Chari.
“I was in charge of operations, and it was an exciting journey – it was completely new, but I had my financial background. We decided to be a sector-agnostic fund from day one and looked at multiple investment opportunities across the continent,” he said.
At SeedStars Africa Ventures, Nsereko-Lule plans to continue supporting entrepreneurs on the continent on an even bigger scale, as he believes many great startups in Africa are struggling to get funding.
“Venture capital is very good in Africa. You see multiple businesses getting funding, building sustainable business models, growing and scaling. An interesting fact is that the startups we have invested in have managed to raise over $450 million from our investment. So, this really proves that Africa has been able to create an environment where companies can grow and successfully scale valuable businesses,” said Nsereko-Lule.
He said: “We are also in the fortunate position of having a very high success ratio. Startups really manage to scale and get more funding. And we are starting to see the development of exits.
SeedStars Africa Ventures Fund aims to raise $100 million to invest in startups in Africa – a region that continues to receive little VC funding compared to the rest of the world. Last year, the continent received nearly $5 billion in VC funding, and while this was nearly double the previous year, the funding paled in comparison to markets like the US ($311-$329.8 billion), and India ($42 billion).
However, Nsereko-Lule said the ecosystem will continue to thrive.
“There are so many opportunities to invest, provide good returns and at the same time make an impact on the continent.”