14 global VC firms investing in African startups

Out of several global venture capital firms investing in African startups, we curated a list of the 11 ones that are active.

14 global VC firms investing in African startups

African startups have attracted an impressive amount of funding in the last few years. Rather than wait, African entrepreneurs are using technology to digitise traditional industries in Africa.

In 2021 for the disclosed deals, African startups raised more than $4 billion in funding, which was significantly higher than the amount raised in 2020 ($1.3 billion).

But it's still day one for the continent. To harness the tremendous opportunities of the world's fastest-growing population, there need to be an intersection of technology, talent and capital.

Foreign investments have played a huge part in the funding African startups have raised since 2015. And it’s not slowing down soon as more foreign investors consider the continent the next hot spot for technology advancement.

According to Techpoint's Nigerian Startup Funding Report, foreign investments in Nigerian startups were $156,502,623, $357822,450, $85840526 and $935,400,000 in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Here are 11 global venture capital firms that are investing in African startups. Some of these venture capital firms are sector focused, while others are not.

The venture capital firms are Tiger Global, Y Combinator, Flourish Ventures, Owl Ventures, Quona Capital, Polychain Capital, Bamboo Capital Partners, Century Oak Capital, Lightrock, Accenture Ventures and Target Global.

Meet the notable Global VC firms investing in Africa

Tiger Global

Tiger Global is an investment firm focused on public and private companies in the global Internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries. The New York-based investment firm invests in high-quality companies that benefit from high growth trends and is led by excellent management teams.

Tiger Global was founded in 2011 by Chase Coleman III. Some African startups in its portfolio include; Flutterwave, IRokotv, Float, Cassava, Thndr, Wasoko, Union54 and Jabu.

Y Combinator

Y Combinator is an American technology startup accelerator launched in March 2005. The Silicon Valley-based company has invested in more than 95 African startups since 2015 when it invested in its first African startup.

Startups that get admitted into the accelerator program receive an investment of $500,000 on standard terms. However, YC Continuity is the investment fund of the company dedicated to helping founders (both YC alumni and occasionally non-YC companies) scale their companies in subsequent funding rounds. African startups in YC’s portfolio are Paystack, 54Gene, Aella, Anchor, Bamboo, and Chowdeck.

Flourish Ventures

Flourish Ventures invests in entrepreneurs whose innovations help people achieve financial health and prosperity. The investment firm targets startups whose solution is built around consumer and SME lending, Data & Analytics, Debt Management/Personal Finance, Challenger banks, Digitising Money, Regtech and Infrastructure, Insurtech and Ecosystem building.

Flourish Ventures was founded and funded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay in 2019. Some African startups in the investment company’s portfolio include FairMoney, Flutterwave, Paga, and Lidya. Flourish is currently running an Africa-focused pre-seed investment program.

Owl Ventures

Founded in 2014, Owl Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on the education technology market with over $2 billion in assets under management. The Silicon Valley-based firm invest in companies at all stages from seed, early, growth, and later stages and across all geographies around the world.

Owl Ventures was founded by Tory Peterson. The African startup in its portfolio is uLesson.

Quona Capital

Quona Capital invests in fintech innovators who are advancing inclusion in emerging markets. Ganesh Rengaswamy, Jonathan Whittle, Miguel Herrera, and Monica Brand Engel founded the investment firm in 2015.

The DC-based firm, which has a total fund size of $203 million, has African startups in its portfolio. Notable among them are Cowrywise, Sokowatch, Capiter, Wasoko and Luleland.

Polychain Capital

Polychain is an investment firm committed to investing in blockchain technologies and the new digital asset classes. The American investment firm based in San Francisco, California was founded by Olaf Carlson-Wee in 2016.

Polychain Capital participated in the Series B $40M funding round of Pan-African Crypto Exchange, Yellow Card.

Bamboo Capital Partners

Bamboo Capital Partners is an impact investing platform which focuses on startups in emerging markets that are serving the needs of low and middle-income populations, thus catalysing lasting impact. The Luxembourg-based firm targets startups in four sectors – financial inclusion, access to clean energy, access to healthcare and agribusiness.

African startups in the investment platform founded in 2007 by Jean-Philippe de Schrevel include Lidya, Accion Microfinance bank, Kopo Kopo and Pan-African Savings & Loans.

Century Oak Capital

Century Oak Capital is a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage investments in Europe and Emerging Markets. The private investment company based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein focuses on investing in the following verticals: ride-hailing/transportation, fintech, insurtech, AI-based travel tech, food delivery, Q-commerce, healthcare, circular economy, Edtech and others.

Century Oak Capital was founded in 2020 by Andrey Lobanov. African startups in its portfolio includes Alpha Direct, Charger, Finaccess, Kuda, MVX, Payhippo, Trove Finance, and TruID.

Lightrock

Lightrock is a private equity platform that backs purpose-driven entrepreneurs tackling the world's biggest challenges. The firm invests in startups solving problems in food and agriculture, healthcare, financial services, education, mobility, logistics, renewable energy, and technology sectors.

Lightrock, founded in 2007 by Prince Max von Liechtenstein, is based in London, United Kingdom. Some African startups in its portfolio include M-Kopa, TeamApt, Max, and Ascent.

Accenture Ventures

Accenture Ventures is a venture capital firm that delivers innovative solutions with strategic partnerships and investments. The platform is the corporate venture capital arm of Accenture, based in San Francisco, California.

Founded in 2015, Accenture Venture launched the Black Founders Development Program. The program helps black entrepreneurs grow their enterprise technology businesses through greater access to venture capital, corporate mentorship, and strategic connections with Accenture’s business partners, clients, and people. Okra is an African startup in its portfolio.

Target Global

Target Global is a technology investment firm that nurtures innovative companies into global success stories. The company provides investment, strategic advice, and practical support from concept through to exit.

Target global was founded in 2012, by Alex Frolov, Mike Lobanov, Yaron Valler, and Shmuel Chafets. The Berlin-based firm focuses on startups in the fintech, healthtech, consumer-enabled SaaS, mobility, and edtech sectors. African startups in its portfolio include Edukoya, Kuda, Kippa, Mono, and Migo.

Insight Partners

Insight Partners is an American venture capital and private equity firm that invests in growth-stage technology, software and internet businesses. The company provides the capital, operating guidance, and expansive network startups need to propel growth.

Insight partners was founded in 1995 by Jeff Horing and Jerry Murdock. Some African startups the New York based venture capital firm has invested in are Dash and Flutterwave.

QED Investors

QED Investors is a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in early-stage, disruptive financial services companies. QED was a fintech operator turned fintech investors that invest in pragmatic disruptors who are the future of finance.

Founded by Nigel Morris and Frank Rotman in 2007, QED Investors is based in Alexandria, Virginia. The only African startup QED investors have invested in so far is TeamApt.

Harlem Capital

Harlem Capital is a venture capital firm that seeks to invest in 1,000 diverse founders over 20 years. The firm targets startup in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies operating in the business products, business services, healthcare, software, media, robotics, wellness, prop-tech, fintech, and hr-tech sectors.

Founded in 2015 by Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle. The startup claims reserves capital for investments in minority and women founders. An example of African startup in Harlem Capital's portfolio is Lami.


Related Article: 10 Nigerian venture firms and their portfolio companies