Fresh off the announcement of opening a Kigali, Rwanda-based entrepreneurship hub, Stockholm's impact VC Norrsken has made the first close of a new fund that will be used specifically to support growth-stage startups hailing from Africa. With this announcement, the fund is more than half complete (55%) at $110 million, with $65 million arriving from a number of unicorn founders who are not only sharing their cash but perhaps more importantly, their know-how. The fund is looking to support startups operating in fintech, edtech, medtech, and ‘market-enabling solutions’.
Olugbenga Agboola, co-founder Flutterwave, Niklas Zennström, co-founder Skype, Jacob de Geer, co-founder iZettle, Niklas Östberg, co-founder Delivery Hero, Carl Manneh, co-founder Mojang, Sebastian Knutsson, co-founder King and Willard Ahdritz, founder Kobalt Music are all amongst the names of entrepreneur/founders that are backing the new Norrsken22 fund, with SEB Pension Foundation and various family offices also pledging their support.
The Norrsken Foundation, an initiative spearheaded by Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth has partnered with Northzone Partner Hans Otterling to drive the fund, and the investment team will be led by previous Global Head of Private Equity at Actis in South Africa, Natalie Kolbe, Actis’ Ngetha Waithaka in Kenya, and Lexi Novitske, prior founder of Acuity Venture Partners in Nigeria.
“Eyes are turning towards Africa as the next epicenter for digital disruption. Technology is enabling emerging enterprises to leapfrog legacy ways of doing business. Leaders are emerging but a lack of growth capital is holding them back”, said Hans Otterling, Norrsken22 founding partner.
And last, but certainly not least, Norrsken is ensuring that the fund reaches the right founders and the right time and has installed an advisory council comprised of Nonkululeko Nyembezi, Chairman Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Arnold Ekpe, ex-Group Chief Executive, Ecobank, Phuthuma Nhleko, ex-Chief Executive, MTN and Shingai Mutasa, Founder and CEO, Masawara Plc that will contribute both local business knowledge and global perspectives.
“Africa has a population of 1.2 billion, where 60% are below 25 years old. In the next decade, this young, digital-first generation will change not only the future of Africa but of the world,” concludes Adalberth.