Last week in brief... Agribusiness and Tech led the way in Africa's private capital deal world last week. EXEO Capital, the partnership established by Agri-Vie and Sanlam, is investing in the Marginpar Flower Group in tandem with Norfund, the Norwegian DFI. Between them, the investors are investing $17 million in the the flower marketer, which markets and sells summer flowers from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. The investment supports Marginpar's acquisition of Kenya's Carzan Flowers and Marginpar Ethiopiawhich will be added to the group's existing investments in Kariki Ltd., a Kenyan summer flower producer.
The other agribusiness deal last week represented a first for its investor. DOB Equity is making its debut investment in Rwanda. The Dutch family-backed impact investor is investing in Sarura Commodities, a grain trading company which was founded in 2012 that links the country's smallholding farmers to reliable grain input and service providers. The fresh capital will be used by the company to improve its storage infrastructure and sourcing platform so it can scale its Rwandan operations.
In the tech sector, TLcom Capital is making its second investment of the last couple weeks. Having backed Terragon Group at the end of March, the venture capital firm led the $3.5 million Series B round in mSurvey, the Nairobi-headquartered mobile research platform. mSurvey, which uses SMS and mobile messaging technology to simplify access to on-demand data, will use the fresh capital to expand its services to South Africa and Nigeria.
LUN Global, an investment firm became the first Chinese firm to back a FinTech business in Africa. In partnership with Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investmentsand a number of angels, the China-based investor is backing MFS Africa's latest investment round with $4.5 million. It's expected that LUN Partners will work with MFS Africa to help Chinese and other Asian enterprises, especially FinTech and ecommerce firms, drive financial inclusion and trade more easily in Africa.
Edge Growth, managers of The Vumela Fund, has led an investment round in South African startup, Giraffe. Other members of the investment consortium backing the automated, high-volume recruitment business include the Omidyar Network as well as local investors Forever Young Capital and Catapult Trust. The South African startup has plans to aggressively scale its operatons having already built a database of over half a million CVs, and invited more than 150,000 candidates to interviews since its launch in 2015.
In fundraising news, Apis Partners' second private equity fund looks to be in line for a capital commitment from the European Investment Bank. The DFI is mulling a $35 million commitment to the London-based private equity firm's planned $400 million fund. If it goes ahead, the commitment would be a re-up for EIB which already backed Apis's first fund which closed, oversubscribed, in March last year. The second fund will target equity and quasi-equity investment opportunities in Asia and Africa's financial sector and related market infrastructure businesses including payment gateways, switches and payment platforms.
Finally this week, two DFIs are taking equity stakes in a new DFI. Between them, the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank have agreed to invest $70 million of equity in the new Development Bank of Nigeria. Nigeria's Federal Government have set up the new development bank to strengthen lending for business and agriculture investment in the West African country. It's expected to play an important and catalytic role in providing funding and risk sharing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises as well as small private sector corporations.
As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s preview issue of Africa Capital Digest.
Allan Cunningham is a senior media executive who has spent the last 15 years of his career working for some of the world’s most respected M&A and Private Equity media companies including Dow Jones’s publications Private Equity Analyst and VentureWire and most recently, The Deal. He has built a number of successful digital and event content businesses, both subscription and sponsor-supported, delivering information and content-marketing services to clients in the M&A and broader deal ecosystem. He recently struck out on his own and launched Rowayton Press, a multi-platform media company focused on the private capital opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. Mr. Cunningham holds a Bachelors degree from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.