Saddled with the functions of product development, customer base building and strong cashflow establishment, early stage African startups are usually posed with difficulty in gaining the funding eye of willing investors. Many a time, there’s always the need to produce the nearest MVPs or juicy market traction that will wet the appetite of investors.
Pacer Ventures Thursday announced a $3M fund for early-stage African startups, solving some of the most critical problems on the continent. The focus will be on verticals expedient to the African continent including healthcare, financial inclusion, education and agriculture.
The United Nations has projected that Africa will have a population of 1.68 billion people by 2030, while the GSMA Mobile Economy Report states that 84% of Africa’s population will have access to a sim connection by 2025. This high mobile penetration has and will continue to enable the continent to leapfrog technology consumption, as Africa is expected to account for up to 30% of global consumption of technology and technology-driven solutions within the same period.
“We see a huge opportunity to support early-stage founders making meaningful contributions to their local economies and communities,” said Gbemi Akande, Managing General Partner at Pacer Ventures. “We are providing much-needed funds to founders leveraging mobile penetration to solve problems at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ across the continent,” he concluded.
Pacer Ventures has already begun to support early-stage founders by participating in seed rounds, including VPD.Money and others.
With an average cheque size of $100k, Pacer VC is positioned to add substantial value to its portfolio companies. According to Antoinia Norman, Pacer General Partner in charge of Southern Africa, “we won’t just write a cheque, we will enable founders to work in and on their business, by supporting them every step of their journey, with technical and financial skills, team building, access to markets, resources, and our networks.”
The General Partners of Pacer VC have over 40 years of combined experience in consulting, marketing, entrepreneurship, deal flow sourcing and ecosystem development.
Pacer VC’s differentiator is the fund’s focus on sourcing high potential early-stage African startups, while leveraging its strategic partnership with Founder Institute chapters all over Africa to identify and recommend winning teams with solutions that meet market needs.
Founder Institute is known to enter strategic partnerships to boost its goal of supporting promising African tech businesses. Months ago, it partnered with Enye Inc to deepen tech support for its past and present cohort.
“Our partnership with Founder Institute gives us an undeniable edge particularly with quality deal-flow at an early stage, which we will leverage to strategically expand Pacer VC’s footprint across multiple African Markets,” said Chukwuemeka Agbata, Regional Director of Founder Institute in Africa, Co-founder, techbuild.africa
Speaking on the Pacer Ventures Investment thesis, Geoffrey Weli-Wosu, a General Partner at Pacer VC and Co-Founder at VoguePay and Domineum, stated, “We are leveraging our in-depth experience in startups, deal flow sourcing and ecosystem development to take advantage of the early-stage funding gap in Africa.
Our target is seed-stage founders and companies who are usually under the radar of a lot of investors. We know the markets, have access to the founders and our investment team is well qualified to execute this thesis.”
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