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European VC Firm Announces Huge Africa Fund

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

Breega, one of the fastest-growing early-stage funds in Europe, announced the launch of its first African fund, “Breega Africa Seed I” which aims to become the leading early-stage investor in African start-ups.

Since closing its first fund in 2015, Breega has grown rapidly, amassing $700 million in assets under management within nine years. The firm has invested in over 100 startups across 15 countries and established five offices in the EMEA region. By adopting a continental approach spanning Europe and Africa, Breega aims to embed itself in local ecosystems through the formation of regional teams.


Footprint expansion in Africa

Building on its successful European strategy in Paris, London, and Barcelona, Breega has expanded its footprint with new offices in Lagos, Nigeria, and Cape Town, South Africa. These additions support the management of “Breega Africa Seed I,” a $75 million fund designed with a pan-African strategy. The fund targets regions varying in technological maturity and startup ecosystem strength, including Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, as well as Francophone African nations like Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several of the continent’s leading startups have already received initial investments and support from Breega’s in-house Scaling team, including Numida, Socium, Klasha, Kwara, Coachbit, and Sava.

CEO & co-founder of Sava, based in South Africa, Kolawole Olajide says, “Breega invested when we didn’t have a product yet, so their early trust was key. With the invaluable support of the Scaling Team, not only have we now reached the commercialisation phase, but we’ve also defined our internal culture and processes, and established our brand. We never thought we’d receive so much help and support from a venture capital fund.”

By founders for founders

Leading this new fund are two prominent figures in African entrepreneurship: Melvyn Lubega, an award-winning entrepreneur, business angel, and co-founder of Africa’s first digital education unicorn (Go1), and Tosin Faniro-Dada, former CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria and founding executive of Lagos Innovates. Lubega will oversee Breega’s initiatives in Eastern and Southern Africa from the Cape Town office, leveraging his expertise in business development and scaling to support a cadre of promising founders.

Lubega says “Today, Africa receives 1% of global funding for a region which is home to 18% of the population of the planet. This is a large funding gap to close across a continent at the dawn of its technological potential. Breega, an international fund for founders built by founders, has a unique role to play in bridging this gap.”

Tosin Faniro-Dada, a cornerstone and driving force in the Nigerian ecosystem, serves as the Partner overseeing West and North Africa. She brings her abundant passion and extensive experience, including her role as a board member of the African fintech unicorn Flutterwave, to mentor and support African entrepreneurs through various stages of their growth. Together with the Scaling team, which offers strategic and operational support to the fund’s investments, her expertise ensures the cultivation of future innovation leaders across the continent.

Partner in the Lagos office, Tosin Faniro-Dada, says, “Africa is experiencing a boom in entrepreneurship, reflecting a surge of innovation and ambition across the continent. Our entrepreneurs are driven by the ambition to find solutions to the continent’s challenges. It is truly inspiring, and I’m thrilled to be able to support them thanks to the unique model we’ve developed at Breega.”

Boosting investment in high-impact technologies on the continent

Despite rapid growth in technological innovation, with funding increasing tenfold over the past seven years to reach $6.4 billion by 2022, early-stage funding remains inadequate. In more mature ecosystems such as Europe, early-stage financing approaches 0.1% of GDP. In Africa, however, it only represents 0.01%, underscoring a significant “investment gap” of $2 billion for early-stage African startups.

CEO & co-founder of Breega, Ben Marrel, comments, “Start-up ecosystems work like pyramids: they are only sustainable if the base, i.e. the early stage, is well financed. It is with this impact-driven mindset that Breega is positioning itself as the first investor to back and support entrepreneurs from idea to impact.”

With this fund, Breega plans to invest in amounts ranging from $100k to $2M, positioning itself as the lead investor. Leveraging its international experience and renowned expertise, Breega aims to dedicate this fund to high-impact and sustainable innovations aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Key sectors of focus include agrotech, edtech, healthtech, fintech, insurtech, proptech, and logistics.

This proven investment strategy has garnered support from prominent institutions such as Bpifrance, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, and others, along with a diverse group of tech entrepreneurs. They are united in their belief that African technology can drive substantial change. To date, Breega has backed over 100 promising companies across Europe and Africa.

 

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