Technology and venture capital deals were a major theme in Africa's private capital markets last week.Throw in a couple of retail-related transactions and you pretty much have the week's activity in a nutshell.
African Rainbow Capital has agreed to take a 20% stake in Rain, formerly known as Wireless Business Solutions until June this year. The South African LTE-Advanced fixed and mobile network provider which is owned by Multisource Group has aggressive site and base station roll out goals and the new funding will help ensure it stays on that trajectory. How much they're paying for the stake was not disclosed.
At the smaller, venture-end of the scale, Flutterwave, a payments infrastructure provider for banks and businesses in Africa, has raised over $10 million for its Series A round from a group of investors led by Greycroft Partners and Green Visor Capital.It's a young company, only founded last year, but already it's processed over 10 million transactions worth $1.2 billion. The fresh funding will be used to recruit additional team members, further develop its operational capabilities and expand further across the continent.
MENA-focused venture capital investor Wamda Capital is making its first investment in East Africa and leading a $10.3 million debt/equity Series A round in Twiga Foods, a mobile-driven supply platform for retail outlets, kiosks and market stalls in Kenya. They join Twiga's roster of banner venture investors which include DOB Equity, AHL Ventures and Omidyar Network among their number. Wamda's Fadi Ghandour, who takes a seat on the company's board, shared that we should look to see more deals from them in the region, "...in which we plan on being increasingly more active."
In a more conventional retail distribution deal, Investec Asset Management and RMB Ventures seem to be planning to acquire the stakes in Kamoso Distribution owned by Standard Chartered Private Equity and Development Capital Partners. The deal would give the South African private equity investors a combined 72% holding in the company. The firm was bought by an investor consortium led by Standard Chartered Private Equity in 2015 in a deal reportedly valued at $45 million.
Aureos East Africa Fund, a 2003 vintage fund which joined The Abraaj Group's stable of funds following the acquisition of Aureos Capital in 2012, has agreed to sell its 5.53% stake in Nairobi Stock Exchange-listed retailer, Deacons East Africa, to Centum Investments in an undisclosed deal. The company sells a variety of own brand and franchised international fashion, home style and sports and clothing brands through stores across East Africa.
MHMK Infratech, a new infrastructure investment, development and advisory entity founded by Brainworks Capital founder George Manyere has raised $200 million in an initial round of financing. The firm, which is ultimately targeting $1 billion, is looking to invest in a wide range of infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe. plans to back the development of key infrastructure assets including roads, airports, bridges, transport, energy, border posts and water sectors, using Private Public Partnership structures in partnership with Zimbabwe's government.
Finally, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ray Washburne and David Bohigian to be, respectively, the President & CEO and the Executive Vice President of OPIC, the U.S. Government's development finance institution, a the end of last week. Both were nominated for the roles by President Trump in late June, a move that was interpreted by many that the future of the agency, which the Trump administration had indicated it wanted to be wound down, would now be safer. Let's hope that's the case.
As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s complete 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.