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In a statement last Friday (21 September), L’Oréal executive vice-president for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Alexandre Popoff said the company, in collaboration with Partech’s Africa Fund, wants to back “talented entrepreneurs” who invent new technological uses in all areas distribution and consumption.
“L’Oréal is very happy to contribute to the development of young companies in Africa and to seize what is starting,” said Popoff.
L’Oréal did not disclose the size of its investment into the $122-million Partech Africa fund which Partech launched with commitments of $70-million in January
L’Oréal added that through the investment, the company will now be able to partner with startups and entrepreneurs active in the development of innovative products and services that facilitate access to consumers located in remote areas or informal environments.
Partech , which has offices in San Francisco, Berlin as well as Dakar, launched the $122-million fund in January with commitments of $70-million. US publication VentureBeat reported that corporate investors Edenred, Orange and JCDecaux had backed the fund.
This while TechCrunch stated that the VC had also tapped Averroes Finance III, The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to finance the fund.
The fund — which aims to back startups developing solutions around the informal economy, mobility, financial inclusion, supply chain, as well as consumer services — is managed by Partech managing partners Cyril Collon and Tidjane Dème.
Responding to Ventureburn questions on how much L’Oréal had invested in the fund, Dème said: “L’Oreal investment in Partech Africa was worth it! More seriously, we cannot disclose the amount invested by L’Oreal.
Collon explained that Partech Africa has invested in two startups this year: TradeDepot, a Nigerian software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for fast moving consumer good distribution (FMCG) in Africa and South African point-of-sale payments provider Yoco.
Partech invested $3-million in the Nigerian startup in April and led Yoco’s $16-million Series B round with the participation of Orange Digital Ventures, FMO (The Dutch Development Bank) and existing Series A investors Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, managed by Quona Capital, and Velocity Capital. The deal was announced earlier this month.
In February, Dème said the fund will likely invest in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.