VCs Raising Africa-focused Agriculture Fund

Golden Mean Capital, a San Francisco-based venture firm, is looking to raise $30 million for its inaugural fund focused on early stage agricultural startups in Africa.

The firm is pitching U.S.-based and Canadian large family offices to raise the fund. It has not yet held a first close and the co-founders of the firm declined to disclose details about its fund-raising effort.

Golden Mean, co-founded by former investment bankers William Silva and David Jeromin, looks to invest in startup agricultural opportunities in Africa that take advantage of native crops. Its first investment is $3 million in equity in Global Cheetah Palm Oil Ltd., a Ghana-based startup. Global Cheetah—which also raised $6 million in debt financing from the Overseas Private Investment Corp., a U.S. government agency that stimulates development abroad—produces palm oil, a commodity used in the production of shampoo, soap, cooking oil, processed food and other consumer products. The company works with small farmers to increase the efficiency of their farms, aggregates the farmers into growers associations, and buys palm fruits for processing.

“We can take Western capital, integrate that with philanthropic capital, to invest in some of this African agricultural capacity that engages the rural farmers as entrepreneurs and partners in the business,” Silva says. “We guarantee a market for the product, telling farmers that we’ll buy every single ounce of this stuff they produce. We’ll help them organize into cooperatives. We also will invest in a plant to process the material to sell it.”

Subscribers to PE Week can read the rest of the story here.

Alexander Haislip is a Sr. Writer for Thomson Reuters’ Venture Capital Journal and the author of “Essentials of Venture Capital,” out this November from John Wiley & Sons.