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EIB Global makes $30m investment in Seedstars Africa VC fund for innovative entrepreneurs

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EIB Global has made a US$30 million equity investment in Seedstars Africa Ventures I, a venture capital fund aimed at providing risk capital to innovative businesses and startups across Africa.

Seedstars Africa Ventures I was created by Maxime Bouan, Tamim El Zein and Bruce Nsereko Lule, in partnership with Seedstars, a global organisation that invests and supports entrepreneurs from emerging markets, and LBO France, a multi-country multi-specialist investment platform that seeded the initiative.

It has now secured a US$30 million commitment from EIB Global, a specialised arm of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s long-term lending institution. EIB Global is devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships  and development finance.

The US$30 million investment is backed by the EU, through US$20 million from the ACP Trust Fund and US$10 million from the Boost Africa programme. With this investment, the EIB has now fully deployed Boost Africa, a programme launched in 2016 with the aim of boosting sustainable jobs and prosperity through venture capital for African entrepreneurs.

“Encouraging and promoting innovation and digitalisation is crucial to developing strong and sustainable economies,” said EIB vice president Ambroise Fayolle. “African entrepreneurs hold the key to the continent’s future, creating jobs, reducing inequality and improving quality of life. The EIB, as part of Team  Europe, is committed to supporting African businesses, and we are proud of the success of Boost Africa and the ACP Trust Fund.” 

Seedstars Africa Ventures I, which is based in Nairobi and Paris, said “the anchoring ticket provided by the European Investment Bank is a testament to our investment thesis and the work we do across Africa. 

“It signals the relevance of our positioning as well as the effectiveness of our support to portfolio companies. This recognition will further help us onboard both African and foreign investors in the fund to reach our US$80 million to US$100 million target size,” it said.

The fund expects to reach a first close early this year but has already completed four transactions, in Beacon Power Services, Poa! Internet, Shamba Pride and Bizao.

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