Ventures Platform launches a $40m fund for African Startups

Ventures Platform launches a $40m fund for African Startups

Ventures Platform announced a $40m fund for African tech startups. The new fund which has reached the first close is being led by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

The round also saw participation from other experienced investors and some new leading names including UAC Nigeria, VFD Group, Gbenga Oyebode, Paystack CEO Shola Akinlade, as well as global investors like Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel, and Adam Draper.

Kola Aina launched Ventures Platform, an early-stage pan-African VC firm, in 2016. He had since maintained the vision of investing in startups having backed almost 70 startups including Seamless HR, PiggyVest, Mono, and Paystack—which Stripe acquired in October 2020 for over $200m.

Kola Aina, founder and General Partner at Ventures Platform speaking on the funding said that it will help the firm support startups even more.

“Before this fund, we could only write one cheque, then introduce the entrepreneur to our network of investors for a follow-on round. Now we’re not only able to write their first cheque but also write follow-on rounds for our companies,” said Aina.

In 2009, Aina moved back from the US to Nigeria and co-founded Emerging Platforms, a software company. Even then, he knew what he wanted to do was invest in companies, the difficulties he faced while trying to raise needed funds for Emerging Platforms could only ignite the desire to drive his vision.

“Everyone told us acceleration is too difficult to do in Africa, but we told them we’ll make new mistakes.

“With people living together on campus, you’re not just investing and helping people scale their businesses, you’re also dealing with personalities. It was almost like the Big Brother House but for investing.”

“We did over a million dollars in investments in the early days. But, in retrospect, that was a smart decision because it helped us show a track record.“

By late 2017, Ventures Platform started raising external capital after several rejections, un-replied messages, and bootstrapping his first business. This was possible because people who were impressed with the performance of the firm’s portfolio companies wanted to invest in Ventures Platform.

Kola Aina also added that “There was a period when a company raising $500,000 was huge. Five years ago, you could count the number of local funds in the market. I think it’s day one for this fund. We must not get ahead of ourselves. We want to stay disciplined. We’re very clear about our thesis and are staying grounded to it.”

This new capital injection will enable Ventures Platform to double down on existing investments in its category-leading portfolio via subsequent rounds. Aina believes that being able to double down on existing investments means they can assure startups that they have a long-term capital partner.