Last week in brief... We start this week with news of a close for a first-time mezzanine fund. Ashburton Investments has raised R507.5 million, or approximately $40 million, for its inaugural mezzanine from a group of as yet unnamed investors. Ultimately, Ashburton is looking to hit R1 billion or almost $80 million by final close, which will be invested in deal opportunities in established mid and larger cap companies in Southern Africa.

The other fundraising news item of the week concerned a possible commitment by the IFC to Apis Partners' second fund. The DFI's mulling a $25 million commitment to the planned $400 million fund which will target equity and quasi-equity investment opportunities in Asia and Africa's financial sector and related market infrastructure businesses. It's thought that some 60% of the fund will be allocated to Africa.

In deal news, Àrgentil Capital Partners is backing a Nigerian housing developer for its second fund's third deal. The debt and equity transaction is earning Àrgentil a 20% stake in Tempo Housing Nigeria, a developer that uses modern prefabricated technology to develop affordable residential and work spaces. Tempo will use the capital to support its plans to add develop more residential and work spaces to add to its portfolio of properties.

Letshego Holdings, a pan African micro finance lending group which counts Africa-focused private equity firm DPI among its backers, has raised $25.6 million of fresh funding from a group of European specialist and impact investors.The company is looking to pursue its growth agenda, primarily by expanding its loan book in its markets of operation, but also by developing new and existing strategic partnerships to broaden its customer base.

The larger of the two venture deals of the week that we covered was a $1.1 million seed round. Piggybank.ng, an online and mobile savings platform, raised the capital from a number of investors including Olumide Soyomboas well as Village Capital and Venture Platform. Piggybank.ng, which is reportedly growing between 20% - 35% every month, plans to use the money for license acquisition and to support the firm's ongoing product development efforts.

Cape Town-based HAVAIC has led the first external equity investment round in AURA, a cloud-based security and safety startup. The company provides an on-demand, geographically variable. security response from the aggregation of a substantial number of the best independent armed reaction companies in South Africa. AURA has received the first tranche of funding, some R6 million or almost $475,000. Additional funds for future tranches will be raised from other equity funds and private investors in the next few months.

That's it for this week. As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week's edition of the newsletter.

Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham

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.

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