$1m fund to back African entrepreneurs with post-pandemic solutions

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VC firm Enygma Ventures has launched a ZAR20 million (US$1 million) fund to support African startups, entrepreneurs and innovators that are building solutions for the post-pandemic world.

Enygma Ventures, the US-based VC firm founded by award winning entrepreneurs Sarah and Jacob Dusek, last year launched a fund with a focus on investing in women entrepreneurs in the SADC region, making its first investment last week.

The company has now partnered Startup Circles, an online platform that helps entrepreneurs move from ideation to being investor-ready, to launch a ZAR20 million (US$1 million) that will provide seed funding and scholarships to startups, run by both men and women, that are creating innovative solutions to address problems that may remain in a post COVID-19 world. 

“We have decided to launch our new Shift Fund as the current crisis has given a rare opportunity for large scale changes in the world. Suddenly, we have a period in which we can influence change for good” said Jacob Dusek. “It’s time to redefine normal and in the process, create a better normal.” 

Enygma Ventures is expecting to provide seed capital for 20-40 startups and provide mentoring, training and business validation scholarships through Startup Circles. 

Sandras Phiri, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Startup Circles, said previously entrepreneurs needed to be based in a startup hotspot like Cape Town or Nairobi to gain access to the right circles of mentors and investors. 

“But now with Startup Circles, entrepreneurs have the same access to opportunities, mentorship and investment whether they are in Lilongwe or Luanda, male or female. Anybody with access to the internet can apply to access startup support and funding,” he said.

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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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