Last week in brief...Value-wise, it was fundraising activity that delivered the larger deals in Africa last week. One of the biggest Africa-related funds of the year leads our stories this week. Apis Partners announced the final close for the firm's second private equity fund, having experienced strong demand from a range of LPs and beating both its original target and hard-cap handily.
While the fund focuses on financial service sector opportunities in Asia as well as Africa, according to reports up to 60% of the $550 million fund will be dedicated to African opportunities, making it one of the bigger pools of private investment capital available on the continent. The fund has already made two investments and seems sure to announce a third in the not too distant future.
Another 9-figure fund made its first appearance last week. The Shell Foundation and FMO have teamed up to launch a $120 million off-grid energy fund. The Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund already has $45 million in hand for investments. Triple Jump will manage the fund which will primarily make mezzanine investments in off-grid energy companies in the sub-Saharan region.
DPI continues to win commitments for its latest fund. The London-based private equity fund manager has landed $15 million from Swedfund for African Development Partners III, helping it move further towards its $800 million goal. Once it starts investing, the fund will make equity investments in growing, cash-flow positive businesses that sell their products and services to Africa's growing ranks of middle-class consumers.
FMO is mulling an investment in a fund sponsored by a private equity fund management firm founded by two of the development institution's former employees. The fund is the third private equity investment vehicle launched by XSML Capital, a firm founded by Jarl Heitsjee and Marcel Posthuma after they left FMO in 2008.
FMO had previously backed the fund's immediate predecessor with $10 million and is mulling an investment of the same amount of capital in the latest fund, African Rivers Fund III.
Digital technology companies attracted the most investor interest on the continent last week. Copia, an online shopping service that serves base-of-the-pyramid consumers, secured a healthy round of capital from a group of investors led by impact investor LGT Lightstone. The capital will be used to bolster the firm's position in Kenya as well as expand into other markets in the region.
Meanwhile, Migo, a financial technology company with significant presence and operations in Nigeria, has secured $20 million from a banner group of existing and new investors. As well as using some of the capital to continue growing its operations in Nigeria, the firm, which is headquartered in San Francisco, plans to use a large part of the round to support its hiring plans and its launch into the Brazilian market.
Deals in solar companies also featured largely in Africa last week. Gridworks, an electricity investment platform capitalized by Britain's CDC Group, announced it had achieved financial close for its first deal last week. The London-based organization is backing Mettle Solar Investments in exchange for an, as yet, undisclosed stake. Mettle will use the fresh capital to expand its services into additional countries on the continent.
Norfund has agreed to make an investment in We Light, a mini-grid company in Madagascar. The Norwegian development finance institution is investing an undisclosed amount of capital in the firm which builds mini-grids in unelectrified villages in Africa. We Light was founded by Sagemcom and Axian Group, a Malagasy conglomerate.
That's it for this week. As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week's preview edition of the newsletter.
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.