Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund to invest tickets of €3m-€15m in African startups

Featured image, left to right: Cathay innovation co-founder and chairman Mingpo Cai and AfricInvest co-founder and managing partner Aziz Mebarek (CathayCapital via Twitter)

The recently launched Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund will invest tickets of between €3m and €15m or the equivalent in local currency, Cathay Innovation co-founder Denis Barrier has said.

The fund, which was launched earlier this month, is managed by Tunis-based investment and financial services company AfricInvest and Cathay Innovation, the venture capital (VC) fund of Paris-based French-Chinese private equity firm Cathay Capital.

In a joint statement last Wednesday (10 April), the two firms said the fund — which is projected to be €150-million — will contribute to the development and scaling up of innovative companies that demonstrate strong growth in Africa, while being open to international markets.

The Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund expects to invest in 15 to 20 companies within the next three years

In addition, the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund team will provide selected companies with high value-added support by mobilising its multidisciplinary expertise and networks within the various ecosystems in order to facilitate partnerships and accelerate their geographical expansion, with the aim of building up leaders in their respective sectors of activity.

Barrier told Ventureburn in an email on Monday (15 April) that the fund will be accessible to successful startups from any sector, but will have a specific focus on fintech, logistics, artificial intelligence, agritech and edtech startups.

“We anticipate to invest tickets between three and 15 million euros, or the equivalent in local currency,” Barrier said.

The fund’s first investment, he pointed out, is likely to take place some time this year, along with a first closing of the fund. “We expect to invest in 15 to 20 companies within the next three years,” he said.

Barrier explained that the fund will be able to invest in any country on the continent, as it will specifically rely on AfricInvest’s strong networks and offices in Tunis, Lagos, Abidjan, Nairobi, Casablanca, Algiers, Cairo, Port Louis, Dubai, and soon Johannesburg.

Startups looking to tap the fund, Barrier said, can apply for investment, while the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund will also rely on AfricInvest’s extended network to source deals across the continent.

Commenting in an earlier statement, AfricInvest co-founder and managing partner Aziz Mebarek (pictured above, right) said his firm is excited about the combination of experience, expertise and networks that will be delivered through the partnership.

“Our combined objective is to provide support to a new generation of African companies in cutting-edge fields, with the ambition to grow them regionally and globally,” said Mebarek.

Cathay Innovation co-founder and chairman Mingpo Cai (pictured above, left), commenting in the same statement, said the partnership is based on shared vision and values, as well as what he described as ambitious objective in terms of impact and return on investment.

“This Fund will also provide Cathay Innovation’s portfolio companies with access to fast-growing African markets. We are convinced that this partnership will contribute to changing the financing and development of innovation in Africa,” added Cai.

Featured image, left to right: Cathay innovation co-founder and chairman Mingpo Cai and AfricInvest co-founder and managing partner Aziz Mebarek (CathayCapital via Twitter)

Daniel Mpala
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