Enza Capital, a Nairobi-based venture capital firm, has successfully closed two funds totaling $58 million, signaling its commitment to supporting innovation and growth in African technology startups.
The firm, which initially concentrated on early-stage investments, has broadened its scope to provide ongoing support for startups as they progress through various funding rounds, including follow-on investments extending up to Series B.
"With this new capital, we reinforce our conviction in and commitment to these often underestimated markets, where exceptional talent continues to build category-defining businesses," said John Lazar, Enza Capital co-founder and General Partner.
Established in 2019, as an early-stage fund, Enza Capital's mission has been to identify and nurture pioneering startups across a range of sectors such as fintech, logistics, health, human capital, and climate technology. Over the years, it has made 48 investments in 31 companies operating in eight African markets, including Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Egypt, and South Africa.
Enza Capital differentiates itself by offering more than just capital to its portfolio companies. The firm provides additional value through its CTO-in-Residence program, where technical expertise is offered to assist startups with their engineering and tech teams, both before and after investment.
In a distinctive move away from conventional venture capital structures, Enza Capital has introduced its Founder Partner program. Under this initiative, founders and leadership teams of portfolio companies are granted ownership stakes in the venture capital firm, allowing them to share in its success. Enza Capital has committed to allocating 10% of its carry pool to founders, based on various factors including follow-on investments, size of the first check, and referrals to other businesses.
John Lazar in an interview with Techcrunch explained that the Founder Partner program aims to promote alignment and collaboration, ultimately enhancing the prospects of success for all parties within the venture capital ecosystem.
This strategy exemplifies Enza Capital's dedication to supporting African startups as they confront substantial challenges through technology, helping digitalize critical industries, and stimulate innovation across the continent. The firm's investment spectrum ranges from pre-seed to Series B, with the flexibility to provide follow-on investments through Enza Growth Capital, a later-stage investment platform.
Among Enza Capital's portfolio companies are SeamlessHR, Autochek, and Jumba. The firm's limited partners include a diverse array of investors, from private individuals and family offices to foundations, fund-of-funds, hedge funds, and venture capital entities.
Enza Capital also plans to expand its physical presence to Lagos and a Francophone African city, further solidifying its support for portfolio companies in these markets.
As Africa's tech ecosystem matures, the success of Enza Capital and its innovative venture capital approach may encourage greater participation from global endowments, foundations, pension funds, and other partners further propelling the growth of African startups and the broader tech ecosystem across the continent.