PE fund manager Ascent closes $100m fund for East African SME investments

PE fund manager Ascent closes $100m fund for East African SME investments

African private equity fund has announced the first rolling close of its Ascent Rift Valley Fund II (ARVF II) at more than $100 million, investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in East Africa.

Investors in ARVF II include leading Africa investors such as Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, the UK’s development finance institution CDC Group, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Norwegian investment fund Norfund, and Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

The VC firm speaking on the funding said that ARVF II has significantly exceeded its initial target of $80 million with its latest funding and now has a target of $120 million, expected in December 2021.

The fund will be used to provide funding to scalable startups, and help drive wider business and industrial development, particularly targeting finance, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and services, education, healthcare, and agro-processing sectors. ARVF II has already made its first investment, into financial services, in January 2021.

David Owino, founding partner of Ascent speaking on the funding said that the startup is now better positioned to empower ambitious entrepreneurs.

“We are proud to have raised this additional capital from prominent investors to invest in Africa’s most promising companies.

“We are now well-positioned to become the leading SME fund manager in East Africa, empowering ambitious entrepreneurs with capital and knowledge from our local advisory teams”.