AfricInvest and Cathay Innovation Complete Final Close of €110M Pan-African Venture Fund

A joint Pan-African venture capital fund between AfricInvest and Cathay Innovation announced the completion of its final closing of €110M.

A joint Pan-African venture capital fund between AfricInvest and Cathay Innovation announced the completion of its final closing of €110M.

Cathay Innovation, a worldwide venture capital firm, and AfricInvest, a top multi-asset investment platform in Africa, have achieved the final closure of their combined Pan-African Venture Fund, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund [CAIF], at €110M.

  • Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund [CAIF] is a joint Pan-African Venture Capital Fund between AfricInvest and Cathay Innovation, investing in Africa’s most promising early to growth-stage startups.
  • The €110M fund is backed by a diversified pool of renowned investors.
  • The fund invests in disruptive, innovative and scalable post-revenue ventures based in, or with a focus on, Africa.
  • Since its inception in October 2019, CAIF has backed ten prominent companies operating across the continent in multiple sectors.

The fund is supported by LPs like the EIB, AfricaGrow, FMO, Bpifrance, Triodos Investment Management, Proparco, SIFEM, BIO, and others, as well as a diverse group of well-known investors from around the world, including high-net-worth individuals from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and development finance institutions.

With the close of the fund, the CAIF team will significantly deepen their focus on investing in the most promising early to growth-stage startups improving African lives with disruptive tech-enabled products and services. With initial check sizes ranging from €1-10M for growth-stage and up to €1M for select seed-stage tickets, the fund invests in startups across multiple sectors, including Fintech, Mobility, HealthTech, EdTech, AI, Digital Content and AgTech.

Since its inception in October 2019, CAIF has backed ten prominent companies operating across the continent, including 54gene, OZÉ, Migo, PalmPay, Heetch, KaiOS, Boomplay, Aerobotics, and WhereIsMyTransport. Most recently, the fund co-led Tunisia-based EdTech startup GoMyCode’s $8M Series A round.

AfricInvest’s partnership with Cathay Innovation brings to Africa global expertise in the innovation space combined with a robust network in Europe, the US and Asia, all helping to build bridges between Africa and the rest of the world, allowing the fund’s investees to grow into regional and global champions,” said Yassine Oussaifi, Partner at AfricInvest and co-head of CAIF.

As technology scales and brings massive upgrades to global populations, startups are critical in building the new digital infrastructure needed for emerging regions like Africa to redefine industries and society in the 21st century. We’re proud to partner with the AfricInvest team — connecting the entire African continent with tech hubs around the world — in a shared mission of accelerating the transition to a more digital, sustainable and inclusive economy for Africa and beyond,” added Mingpo Cai, Founder and Chairman of Cathay Capital and Cathay Innovation.

The multi-strategy platform of AfricInvest has actively strengthened the African ecosystem for private equity and venture finance since its founding in 1994. With offices in Abidjan, Algier, Cairo, Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi, and Tunis, AfricInvest has a physical presence in 11 different locations and a wealth of investment expertise that CAIF depends on to offer local hands-on support, develop portfolio synergies, and aid in geographic expansion.

AfricInvest, which has over 200 portfolio businesses spread across 25 African countries in a range of high-growth industries, and of which 106 have left, has generated over $2 billion AUM to date across 21 funds and enjoys the solid, long-term backing of both African and foreign investors.

Cathay Innovation, a top venture capital business that was established in 2015, offers entrepreneurs help from a worldwide ecosystem spanning North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. With access to new markets, priceless industry expertise, and early introductions to possible partners, the global platform unites technology investment across continents, investors, entrepreneurs, and top businesses.

With offices on three continents and more than €2 billion in assets under management, Cathay Innovation has a proven track record of investing in startups that are accelerating the sustainable and digital transformation of business and society through more than 120 global investments, including 19 unicorns.

CAIF enables promising ventures to build and scale innovative technologies that drive inclusive socio-economic growth in Africa. To date, the fund has proved tremendous traction and scalability, with portfolio companies expanding their global footprint to over 21 markets across the continent. The Fund’s portfolio companies have also aggregated significant impact at scale in recent years with over 136m Africans reached with inclusive and digital solutions–meaning $1 spent reaches more than one user on the continent.

With its current portfolio, the Fund has created and sustained over 1,400 direct jobs, with women representing an average of 35% of the workforce. Deployed by a team of investment professionals located in the centers of VC innovation across Africa, the fund will continue to support African entrepreneurs to scale their innovative technologies across the continent and beyond, as well as support global entrepreneurs in their expansion into Africa.

The Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund was born out of the idea that innovative and tech-enabled startups in Africa are solving important problems and socio-economic gaps. We see this funding opportunity as a means to deliver strategic support to the outstanding startups looking to innovate and improve lives in Africa. Already, CAIF has reached over a hundred million people through job creation and inclusion, but there are still millions across the continent with limited economic resources on our radar,” said Khaled Ben Jilani, Senior Partner at AfricInvest and co-head of CAIF.

The venture capital market in Africa has seen exponential growth over the last decade with the acceleration in digital transformation across all sectors. As a result, the industry is becoming the fastest-growing innovation ecosystem globally. In 2021, the ecosystem reached a new milestone of c.$5 billion in venture capital, more than the preceding two years combined and close to three times more than in 2020.

As one of the largest early- to growth-stage Pan-African innovation funds, the final round places CAIF in a solid position to double down its efforts to focus on innovative and scalable post-revenue ventures based in, or with a focus on, Africa. As a result, CAIF will continue to stand firmly at the forefront of the continent’s rapidly evolving VC scene.

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