Top 5 VCs to watch in 2015

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Venture capital is increasingly arriving on Africa’s shores, though a funding gap undoubtedly remains for many of the continent’s startups. 2014 saw a marked increase in investment, and 2015 looks set to be even better, with a number of new entrants to the VC market in Africa and existing players upping their games.

1. Startupbootcamp

Disrupt Africa reported earlier this month Europe’s largest accelerator Startupbootcamp was fundraising in order to launch programmes in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town next year.

Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2010, Startupbootcamp has expanded to become Europe’s largest accelerator and one of the three largest in the world, typically investing US$19,000 in each startup taking part in its programmes.

Startupbootcamp is currently looking for ways to organise sisters programmes to its e-commerce and Smart City & Living accelerators in South Africa.

2. Silvertree Capital

Very active following its launch in 2013, South African VC firm Silvertree Capital had a relatively quiet 2014 as it focused on its existing portfolio. However, this looks set to change in 2015, with the company planning more investments and targeting expansion to Kenya. Founding partner Paul Cook told Disrupt Africa Silvertree was looking to raise more funding and make one or two investments in the first quarter of 2015, with Nairobi-based startups particularly attractive.

3. Safaricom

OK, so Safaricom isn’t a VC exactly. But it did in November launch a VC fund, aimed at supporting mobile ICT startups in Kenya. The Safaricom Spark Venture Fund will offer equity investments and other debt instruments for values of between US$75,000 and US$250,000, and has been launched for an initial two year period. It will make its first investments in 2015, giving a much-needed boost to VC in the East African country.

4. Sw7

Formed earlier this year, South African startup accelerator programme Sw7 is a nine-week, part-time mentor-led programme for technology businesses which has run programmes in both Johannesburg and Cape Town with the support of the Microsoft BizSpark initiative. Thus far Sw7 has not invested in any of its startups nor taken any equity in return for its services, but co-founder Keith Jones told Disrupt Africa Sw7 was looking to add more key sponsors next year and raise a fund.

5. 88mph

More of a “will they, won’t they?” inclusion than a VC definitely looking to invest in African startups next year. 88mph has run a total of four accelerators in Nairobi and Cape Town since 2012, but has since the middle of this year been focused on Lagos, having partnered L5Lab to launch the 440.ng accelerator programme. It is unlikely 88mph is in a rush to invest in Kenyan startups again, but the word is managing director (MD) Kresten Buch will return to Cape Town early in 2015 to run a smaller programme than usual. It is yet to be officially announced what one of the major players from the last two years has planned next year.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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  1. E-commerce is buzzing now a days and even proxy sectors like logistic are doing good but unfortunate(seeing current valuation like 68000 crores for Flikart, may be fortunately) Flipkart and SnapDeal are not listed yet. If your are looking for E-commerce company in listed space then you can consider Intrasoft technologies which has Online shopping portal 123stores dot com in USA . After making good money in Gati and Allcargo Logistics . I was searching for another e-commerce or it’s proxy company . Initially, I thought no other company like FlipKart and Snapdeal is present in listed space or I was not aware of that . Then one of my friends suggested about Intrasoft technologies . I thought it is just 123Greetings dot com and rejected the idea but he send me more info and a blog link.Then I got some conviction in it . Now, Intrasoft technologies is not just 123Greetings but it has Online shopping portal 123stores dot com in USA which is growing it’s topline quite rapidly but bottomline(profit) is still in red for shopping portal division that is quite common for all these online shoping portals like Amazon , Flikart and SnapDeal. I believe only few players like Alibaba are making money .BSE and NSE listed Intrasoft technologies is so far unknown to masses look interesting .It is good only for long term and patience investor even if time horizon is 2 years then avoid it . It is play for more than 2-3 years .Venture Capitalist Intel Capital is investor in Snapdeal . They have also invested (around 12% holding) in Intrasoft technologies and sees good future of their fast growing online retail shopping portal 123stores dot com in USA . As per expansion plan ,it is likely to launch first in Canada then after that in India. 123Stores reported record sales over the long holiday weekend in USA from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday of over $2 million, a 243% percent increase over last year . If It maintains this growth then we believe very soon like Intel some of the other Venture Capitalist investors of FlipKart and Snapdeal like Yuri Milner’s DST Global , Tiger Global, Naspers , Iconiq Capital , Accel Partners, Morgan Stanley Investment Management ,Singapore sovereign-wealth , Nexus Venture Partners , Indo-US Venture Partners ,Bessemer Venture Partners , Kalaari Capita and Qatar Investment Authority will have eye on Intrasoft technologies.

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