Modus, a venture platform operating in the Middle East and North Africa region comprising venture capital funds, venture builders, and a corporate innovation arm, has floated Modus Africa – a $75 million SDG-focused VC fund that will invest in African startups powered by AI and blockchain technologies.
The new fund will be led by Vianney Mathonnet and Andre Jr. Ayotte, as General Partners.
The new fund expects to make a final close by March 2023 and will invest in 45 startups at the seed+ stage with a follow-on investment allocation, catalyzing foreign investment into the continent.
The launch of Modus Africa comes as venture investments in the continent have been on the rise even as most other geographies have witnessed VCs tightening their purse strings.
Modus said Africa has one of the strongest blockchain adoption rates worldwide, and has the potential of over 200 million new blockchain users in the next four years fuelled by necessity and a fast-growing tech-savvy population. Modus said it believes startups utilizing AI and blockchain technologies will not only accelerate the African industrial revolution, but also deliver strong financial returns coupled with immense impact on sustainable development.
Modus has expanded rapidly in the past 18 months with branches in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and most recently, Riyadh, supported by backers such as Mubadala’s Hub71, USAID, and several other leading institutions.
IFC has launched a new $225 million platform to strengthen venture capital ecosystems and invest in early-stage companies in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan, addressing development challenges through technology in climate, health care, education, agriculture, e-commerce and other sectors.
In 2021, these regions collectively received less than 2% of $643 billion of global venture capital funding. Access to capital has been exacerbated by a slowdown in global venture capital investment, the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise in food and supply chain costs, higher interest rates, and currency depreciation.
In addition, tech ecosystems are nascent or even non-existent outside of more established markets such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, and South Africa.
Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said: “IFC’s Venture Capital Platform will help tech companies and entrepreneurs expand during a time of capital shortage, creating scalable investment opportunities and backing countries’ efforts to build transformative tech ecosystems. We want to help develop homegrown innovative solutions that are not only relevant to emerging countries but can also be exported to the rest of the world.”
IFC will make equity or equity-like investments in tech startups and help them grow into scalable ventures that can attract mainstream equity and debt financing. IFC will also use the platform to collaborate with other teams in the World Bank Group to create and bolster venture capital ecosystems through regulatory reforms, sector analyses, and other tools.
The platform will build on IFC’s investments and efforts to build tech ecosystems in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan through initiatives such as the IFC Startup Catalyst Program. IFC has invested in companies like Twiga Foods, a Kenyan-based technology food distribution platform; TradeDepot, an e-commerce startup connecting international brands with African retailers; and Toters, a leading on-demand delivery platform in Lebanon and Iraq.
The platform will be backed by an additional $50 million from the Blended Finance Facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which helps de-risk investments in low-income countries. In addition, IFC will mobilize capital from other development institutions and the private sector to support entrepreneurs and tech companies in those countries.
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© The Capital Quest, 2021
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