Antler East Africa, the Nairobi workplace of VC agency and enterprise builder Antler, has closed a $13.5 million fund to spend money on early-stage tech startups within the area.
The oversubscribed spherical — Antler supposed to boost $10 million however ended up with an additional $3.5 million — has LPs that embrace Baillie Gifford, a well known Tesla backer; household places of work corresponding to Canica; and institutional traders just like the IFC.
Antler East Africa was launched in August 2019. It runs a full enterprise constructing mannequin with two cohorts annually.
5 cohorts with 153 founders have handed by way of the accelerator packages up to now, and the agency has made 14 investments. A number of of them embrace AIfluence, Marketforce-subsidiary Digiduka, Honeycoin, Uncover Skincare, Attempt Cooked and Vybe.
Nevertheless, its mum or dad firm, Antler, based two years earlier by Magnus Grimeland, employs a combined mannequin the place it acts as a enterprise builder and VC agency.
The agency, which invests from pre-seed to Sequence C, has reduce checks in additional than 250 firms from its $300 million fund.
Antler East Africa’s new fund permits it to embrace an analogous strategy: accepting founders who wish to construct their startups from scratch and investing in already shaped groups that want capital to scale.
“We nonetheless do the enterprise constructing. That’s nonetheless the core of what we do. Simply that now that the fund is closed, we manage to pay for to spend in present companies which can be coming in,” Selam Kebede, the agency’s director, advised TechCrunch over a name. “And we will spend money on stuff that’s already been constructed with a pure type of VCs kind setup funding.”
Antler stated it will settle for founders and groups on a rolling foundation. Founders going for the enterprise constructing mannequin to discover a co-founder and launch an thought will keep inside Antler’s group for as much as six months.
For present startups, two to 6 weeks is all that’s wanted for Antler East Africa to work with the staff earlier than the agency cuts a examine. Antler East Africa says it’s going to make investments as much as $100,000 in these startups at a “mutually agreed valuation.” It plans to make 35 new investments from pre-seed to Sequence A over the subsequent three years. There’s additionally an association for the worldwide Antler fund to observe up on some rounds all the way in which to Sequence C.
“What modified now’s, prior to now, we have been going solely from zero to love the primary $100,000 ticket. However now we’re saying we will additionally soak up present groups and concepts that shaped exterior of Antler, however they will come to us after which we will make investments simply like every other VC would,” Kebede famous.
“In order that modified a bit from what we sometimes used to do prior to now three years. Now, we will begin from actually day zero to help you and provide the first institutional ticket following as much as Sequence C and D.”
Kebede advised TechCrunch that Antler East Africa is sector agnostic. Nonetheless, the agency is eager on investing in startups fixing issues in local weather tech, agritech and fintech. She additionally stated the staff has already made just a few investments with this new format however declined to reveal their names.
Being a female-led VC staff, Antler East Africa is specific about investing extra in startups based and led by girls within the area, Kebede stated. It is going to attempt to enhance the numbers from its enterprise constructing mannequin, the place 25% of the founders in its portfolio are girls.
In the meantime, female-run VC companies are impressively taking over their place in a male-dominated tech house as they attempt to deal with the funding hole that has plagued the trade for years. The Antler East Africa staff, led by Ayenew and Nielsen, joins that listing of such companies, together with these specifically devoted to female-founded and led groups like Alitheia Capital and FirstCheck Africa.
“There are few or no female-run VC 100% that I do know of, no less than in Kenya. However our companions [Ayenew and Nielsen] and I, we’re all girls,” expressed Kebede.
“And so it’s been tremendous thrilling to have the ability to do that, particularly as first-time fund managers. It hasn’t been simple although as a result of, you recognize, there’s the added type of scrutiny and concern from different folks after they see solely girls working it, however it has been thrilling too.”