In brief: Launch Africa Ventures closes debut fund at $36.3m

Launch Africa typically backs companies in their seed and pre-series A stages.

Launch Africa
L-R: Janade du Plessis, Margaret O’Connor, Zachariah George of Launch Africa
  • Launch Africa’s first fund primarily invests in B2B and B2B2C start-ups across Africa
  • LPs in the fund include German fintech-focused CommerzVentures
  • Managing partner Zachariah George launched Fund 1 in July 2020

Launch Africa Ventures, an early-stage investor focused on pan-African companies, announced the final close of its first fund at $36.3 million, beating its target of $25 million.

The fund, which initially launched in July 2020, typically targets seed and pre-Series A start-ups with ticket sizes ranging from $250,000 to $300,000.

The Mauritius-based firm aims to expand its investment activities geographically.

“We’re doing deals in the DRC, Madagascar, Sudan, Botswana, Benin, Togo,” managing partner Zachariah George in a press release. “People use the word pan-African loosely, but when we say pan-African, we truly mean what we do.”

So far, Launch Africa has invested more than $24 million in its portfolio companies, mostly as one-time checks. The VC fund rarely takes part in subsequent rounds, due to its limited capacity.

“If we were to reserve a significant portion of our fund for follow-ons like many other funds do, we wouldn’t be able to cover the whole continent and multiple regions and products,” George explained, adding, “Any of our portfolio companies that need significant capital at the next round of funding, we provide an opportunity for our LPs to back them.”

Fintech is a significant part of Launch Africa’s portfolio, with 38 percent of its companies representing the sector. The remainder of the firm’s portfolio consists of e-commerce and marketplaces, health technology, logistics and mobility, data analytics, and education technology.