Last week in brief...Fundraising news led the way last week. Online retailing and services behemoth Amazon announced the launch of a significant venture fund targeting startups around the world whose products and services help consumers and businesses lower their carbon impact and operate more sustainably. The Climate Pledge Fund, which is being capitalized initially with $2 billion, forms part of The Climate Pledge, an initiative co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, seeking commitments from other leading organizations to reach the goals set by the Paris Agreement ten years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040.
Of a different scale, the addition of several new LPs has helped venture capital investor Ingressive Capital double the size of its seed fund, lifting the amount raised for investments in tech-enabled startups to $10 million. Among the new investors backing the Lagos-based fund are the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Plexo Capital, and Platform Capital. According to Ingressive, 80% of the fund's LPs are later stage investment find managers - the fund targets pre-seed and seed-stage companies for its investments, writing checks of between $200,000 and $400,000 for each investment in exchange for stakes in excess of 10% in size.
AfricInvest's latest fund has landed another DFI commitment. Having invested in 15 of the 19 funds sponsored by the Tunis-headquartered private equity firm over the past 23 years, Proparco is back again, this time committing $30 million to the new fund, AfricInvest IV. The fund will back growth capital investment opportunities in midcap companies across Africa, in particular those businesses which have the potential to become regional champions.
Djibouti has become the latest African country to outline plans to establish a sovereign wealth fund. The move was announced last week as part of the government's Vision 2035 Policy which laid out the government's plans to develop the country as an international, commercial and logistics hub in the Horn of Africa region.
In deal news, the biggest news was about a deal that has been called off. Equity Group and Atlas Mara have mutually agreed to discontinue discussions on Equity's proposed deal to acquire Atlas Mara's interests in banks in Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique. The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic slowdown have focused Equity Bank on the need to conserve cash and liquidity in support of its current customers and to "survive and thrive" the down cycle.
The IFC has signed off on an equity investment in Globaltronics, a supplier and manufacturer of electricity smart grid solutions to the Egyptian market. The institution is investing $10 million in a preferred share deal, but no other terms of the deal have yet been released. Globaltronics will use the capital for a few of its current initiatives. The firm is setting up a new manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia, wants to increase its investment in research and development to support product development and export plans and will expand the installation of digital prepaid and smart electricity meters in Egyptian homes.
Inside Capital Partners are making the fifth investment for their maiden private equity fund, Inside Equity, backing Alpha, a collector, and aggregator of used plastic bottles in Zambia which are then recycled into PET strapping. The fund, Inside Equity, is investing $2.75 million in the 5-year old business which will use the capital to double its waste collection and processing capacity.
Gaia Impact Fund is investing in a mini-grid project being developed by Nuru in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside Energy Access Ventures. The deal, the terms of which have not been disclosed, is the first investment in the mini-grid sector for the Pairs-based impact fund and finances the development of a 1.3MW solar hybrid project.
Partech and Sawari Ventures have teamed up to invest the Series A round for MoneyFellows, an Egyptian fintech based in Cairo. Between them, the two venture firms are investing $4 million in the startup, which MoneyFellows will use to support its expansion plans in Egypt as well as penetrate new regional markets on the continent.
Stonechair Capital has struck an operational agreement with CPCS Transcom, a specialist infrastructure management consulting firm, which will expand the management and operations of the energy projects backed by #EnergyAfrica, Stonechair's planned $300 million private equity fund which was launched early last year. Ottawa-headquartered CPCS, which has several offices in several cities on the continent, will manage the fund's energy investments.
In people moves news, Abdalla ElEbiary has joined The Sovereign Fund of Egypt from Qalaa Holdings where he'd served as a Managing Director for the past 14 years. As the Egyptian sovereign wealth fund's new Chief Investment Officer, he'll oversee and direct the institution's investment strategy and activity, leading and developing a team dedicated to making investments in targeted sectors, create fresh investment opportunities and build relationships with other investment entities focused on Egypt.
Ontario Teachers Pension Planhas announced the appointment of a new head for its equities unit, which, as well as having significant listed equity holdings, has interests in more than 60 private companies and investment relationships with over 30 private equity funds. Karen Frank is stepping into the role of Senior Managing Director in October this year, leaving Barclays after an 8-year career, the last 4 of which she has served as CEO of the banking group private banking business.
And finally, we ran a piece from Ocorian on the evolution of the family office on the continent. With wealth protection and transmission increasingly topical in Africa, tow directors at the firm, John Félicité and Kenny Curpen, highlight how the next generation of the continent's entrepreneurs could lead to the maturing of Africa's family office sector.
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