US duo launch R100m VC fund to invest in women-led startups in Southern Africa

Featured image: Africa Trust Group principal and Enygma Ventures operating partner Lelemba Phiri (Supplied)

A US business duo has launched Enygma Ventures, a R100-million venture capital (VC) fund which will invest up R2-million in women led startups from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The fund, which was launched yesterday, was founded by husband and wife duo Sarah and Jacob Dusek who are the founders of US adventure-hospitality firm Under Canvas.

The US-based fund will be run locally by operating partners and husband and wife team Lelemba and Sandras Phiri of the Africa Trust Group.

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Lelemba Phiri (pictured above), who is the Africa Trust Group principal, told Ventureburn today that the sector agnostic fund will hold a three to six-month investor readiness programme which will kick off at the end of January next year.

Applications are open to women-founded or led ventures and will close on 1 December.

To be considered for the programme, applicants must have scalable SADC-based businesses with a proven revenue model and business concept.

In addition, the ventures must have demonstrated growth and be looking for early-stage or growth capital.

First cohort to have 10 women entrepreneurs

Phiri pointed out that Enygma Ventures is the first VC fund that is focused on investing in women entrepreneurs in the SADC region.

“We’re taking 10 women entrepreneurs in this first cohort and depending on how ready they are at entrance we will look to invest within that six months,” she said.

Sarah Dusek, commenting in an earlier statement, said she is understands the unique struggles and challenges of building a big business, being a founder and CEO herself.

Added Dusek: “We want to help women think big. We will create flexible financial solutions for them with efficient and strategic deployment of capital whilst also providing helpful tailored support.”

Featured image: Africa Trust Group principal and Enygma Ventures operating partner Lelemba Phiri (Supplied)

Daniel Mpala
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