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Early-stage investors for startups in Africa

You get to a point as an entrepreneur, where you need to scale your idea. You not only need funding but also someone specialized in handling businesses at a level similar to yours. Which are these early-stage investors who will take your startup to greater heights?

eVA Fund

Also known as the eVentures Africa fund, invests in companies in sub-Saharan countries.

The ultimate goal of eVA Fund is investing capital and knowledge to strengthen small and medium-sized internet related enterprises thus securing and creating jobs and income for large African communities and with that, generating attractive financial returns for investors.


Existing business with a track record of 2 to 5 years
Funding requirements of $100.000 to $1.000.000
Businesses in sub-Saharan Africa
Business focus: internet and/or mobile applications, platforms, e-commerce and solution-providers (i.e. not in infrastructure and hardware)
Sound strategy and business model
Profitable, now or within a limited period of time

African Media Ventures Fund

AMVF is an early-stage investor from the Netherlands invested in the media sector and small and medium sized African media companies. They offer venture capital and business development support, involving knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts and network.

The capital investment ranges from $ 20,000 to $ 200,000 .Its target sectors include: Travel & Leisure, Automobile, Real Estate, Food and Shopping, Entertainment, Jobs and Parenting.

Their focus on sub-Saharan Africa and they are currently most active in Kenya and Ghana.


Required equity or quasi-equity Capital to be used to finance substantial growth opportunities,
Required funding range between $ 50,000 – 300,000,
Entrepreneur (CEO) is experienced in managing businesses and has a proven track record,
The company makes use of a financial administration and reporting system,
The company has been trading for at least 1 – 2 years,
The company can produce a comprehensive business plan to demonstrate its potential.

Acumen Fund

Acumen raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. It was founded with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists.

Acumen is always looking for entrepreneurs who have new and innovative models for tackling poverty and who also meet their investment criteria.
To qualify for investment, entrepreneurs must be located in, or have significant operation or impact in East Africa, West Africa, India, Pakistan or Latin America.


Be located in or have significant operation or impact in East Africa, West Africa, India, Pakistan or Latin America.
Operate in one of our investment sectors of Agriculture, Energy, Education, Health, Housing, or Water
Be seeking investment capital in the range of $0.25M-$3M, structured as either debt or equity.
Be an early-mid stage company that is in the process of scaling. We rarely invest in pure start-up companies.
Make a product or deliver a service that addresses a critical need for the poor in our sectors and geographic focus.
Have a clear business model that demonstrates the potential for financial sustainability within a five to seven year period; including the ability to cover operating expenses with operating revenues.

African Enterprise Challenge Fund

The AECF stimulates entrepreneurs in Africa to innovate and find profitable ways of improving access to markets and the way markets function for the poor, particularly in rural areas.

The Fund awards grants and repayable grants to private sector companies to support innovative business ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to information and financial services.

Its purpose is to improve incomes of smallholder farmers and the rural poor. The best ideas are
awarded up to US$1.5m in grants and interest free loans.


business performance
incomes and jobs for poor people
wider impact on market systems
environmental impact in the case of renewable energy

Bamboo Finance

Bamboo Finance is a commercial private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in emerging markets. It has offices in Luxembourg, Geneva, Bogota, Nairobi and Singapore.
Launched in 2007, the firm seeks to demonstrate that private capital can be profitably deployed as a tool for effective change around the world. To date, Bamboo Finance manages about $250 million; representing two global funds and a combined portfolio of 46 investments operating in 30 emerging market


The business must provide essential goods and/or services affordable to low income communities or under-served by existing businesses
The usage of its products/services should result in improvements in quality of life and/or inefficiencies that translate into increased income or reduced expenses?

Fanisi Venture Capital

Fanisi Venture Capital Fund is a US50M fund which makes direct investments (private equity and venture capital) in businesses with potential for substantial growth. Fanisi Capital was founded in 2009 by the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) and Amani Capital Limited.

The Fund focuses on a segment of the market that has to date been outside the ambit of most venture capital funds in the East African market (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda).

Fanisi makes direct investments in high growth businesses across diverse industry sectors with emphasis on: Agri-Business, Healthcare ,Energy & Natural Resources Services,Retail & Consumer ,Education


They invest in well run companies,
Ambitious founders and managers who understand their product and market.
Ability of a business to scale, along with good governance and management practice – guide our investment approach.
Companies that are post revenue with profits or clear path towards profits.

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