Co-investment fund launched by ABAN, AfriLabs to proceed after successful pilot

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The co-investment fund Catalytic Africa, established in 2019 by the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) and AfriLabs, has concluded a successful pilot and will now launch full operations.

The partnership between AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation centres, and ABAN aims to increase the pool of capital available to promising African growth-stage entrepreneurs, support the startup ecosystem, and increase the visibility of impact to institutional funders.

It created Catalytic, a co-investment fund that will match investments made by registered angel investors with institutional funds. The initiative is supported by Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and the Digital  Africa fund, who have been critical partners in Catalytic Africa’s first round of startups.

“Since May 2021 our teams have been working tirelessly to create a Catalytic Africa platform that will allow stakeholders such as African startups, innovation hubs and angel investors and angel networks to register, get a matching fund for their application, undergo due diligence and finally have the funds disbursed,” the organisers said. 

“This platform has undergone rigorous testing over months. Throughout the entire process – from registration to matching grant application to due diligence to disbursement – we had the opportunity to test-run our workflows, find new efficiencies, and recognise avoidable obstacles in the process.”

This process was designed to ensure that African startups, innovation hubs and angel investors and networks had a smooth experience, and by ensuring that all startups benefiting from the matching funds are within the AfriLabs ecosystem, angel investors are assured of a high level of quality for their investments. The pilot was deemed a success, with two startups funded, and a full launch can now occur.

The Francophone Africa nominee for the pilot phase was the Cameroon Angel Network (CAN), an ABAN-registered network, which selected logistics startup Bee Sarl for the matching fund. Bee Sarl is registered under ActivSpaces, an AfriLabs-affiliated innovation hub in Cameroon. Bee Sarl was able to receive an additional EUR49,500 in equity-free funding in addition to the EUR20,000 investment from CAN.  

The Anglophone Africa nominee, meanwhile, was South South-East Angel Network (SSEAN), an ABAN-registered network from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. SSEAN selected cloud-based business phone system provider Kasookoo for the matching fund. Kasookoo is registered under TechnoVision Communications (TVC) Labs, an AfriLabs-affiliated innovation hub in Nigeria. 

The Catalytic Africa platform will now go live at the AfriLabs Annual Gathering tomorrow (October 28).

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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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