Category Archives: africa venture capital

Local Private Equity Funding For Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Not the first time, there was some discussion this week about  the lack of local capital, local private equity funding, and the disconnect between local entrepreneurs and venture capital.

This happened at the 3rd Annual East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) Private Equity Conference in East Africa in Nairobi this week.

The EAVCA conference had several panels such as on fintech and another on getting local pensions to fund private equity and on to entrepreneurs. Elsewhere, there have been separate citations that  whenever high numbers of African companies funded are mentioned, the list is topped by companies operating here but which have American or European founders

Some responses related to this from the summit:

  • Europe and North America continue to lead as sources of funds raised for P/E investing in East Africa – EAVCA Survey (PDF)
  • Kenyan pension funds investment into private equity grows from 0.02 to 0.15% following ‪@FanisiCapital‬ recent raise – EAVCA
  • US founders in Kenya have broader foreign networks and that makes it easier to more access to capital
  • Funders look for governance structures in local companies. Have that, and the chances of getting funding are better.
  • Local funding is better: foreign firms are very indecisive, and getting more local investors would help local companies grow faster. 
  • Kenyan entrepreneurs raise capital but are quiet about it. That’s why Lions Den has a  challenge finding entrepreneurs for their television show.
  • Global uncertainty sees capital movement to domestic markets in this case money will flow back to Europe and another America.
  • Kenya has published an amnesty for people to declare offshore wealth and repatriate this – and KRA expects $3 billion in the extra collections next year (It currently collects tax of about $14 billion) and this funding could be competition for local private equity funds
  • It takes a longer time to put together local P/E funds. Many approvals steps, talks to many potential partners and in the time they were raising capital, the laws changed. Also, it takes longer to raise a $10 million fund, and that will not really make a big impact, as the costs of running it are heavy. So there is an opportunity for umbrella funds.
  • Pension funds work by consensus – and one if one trustee decides he/she doesn’t like an asset class / or doesn’t understand risk, it’s a tough sell. That said, the Kenya Power Pension Fund has invested in private equity. 
  • Private equity sounds like a pyramid to some. Pension trustees are there for three-year terms and may not be able to assets P/E funds that have 10-year investment windows. 
  • Do fund managers talk badly about P/E funds, as they do not earn commissions from that asset class? The commissions go to P/E managers. 
  • There are East African high net worth individuals (HNWI) who can invest in P/E firms. But they want a controlling position, and, as they are focused on real/estate property, they want to see VC P/E returns that are comparable to real estate. Also, they may give you 5% of their investment, and they become the biggest problem.

EAVCA: East Africa Private Equity Snapshot

Ahead of the 3rd Annual Private Equity in East Africa Conference, (taking place on June 15 in Nairobi) the East Africa Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) and KPMG East Africa released their second private equity survey showing increased funding and activity, and with a lot more opportunity for deals to be done.

They estimated that of the $4.8 trillion raised between by P/E funds globally between 2007 and 2016, about $28 billion was raised by Africa-focused funds and $2.7 (including $1.1 billion in 2015-2016) had been earmarked for investment activity in East Africa.

This private equity had funded over 115 deals in the period that were included in the survey. Out of these  the 115 deals, 23 were agri-business, 20 were financial services, 13 manufacturing, and 12 FMGC representing 59% of deal volume. The average deal size had also grown to the $10-15 million range, while in the initial survey it was below $5 million.

East Africa Private Equity Survey

Of the 115 deals, Kenya had 72 deals (63% of the total), Tanzania 19, Ethiopia 8, Uganda 12, and Rwanda at 4. Some of the large deals in the survey, by country, include:

Rwanda: Cimerwa – PPC ($69M), Cogebanque ($41M), BPR-Atlas Mara ($20M), Pfunda Tea ($20M)
Uganda: topped by oil deals CNOOC and Total SA (both $1,467 million), Tullow $1,350M, Total $900M, CSquared-Mitsui $100M, Sadolin-Kansai $88M
Ethiopia: National Tobacco – Japan ($510M), Meta Abo-Johnnie Walker ($255M), Dashen-Duet ($90M), Bedele-Heineken ($85M) and Harar-Heineken ($78M), Tullow-Marathon ($50M)
Tanzania: Africa Barrick Gold ($4,781 million), Tanzania – Pavilion ($1,250M), Vodacom ($243M), Export Trading Co ($210M), Millicom-SREI ($86M), Zanzibar Telecom-Millicom ($74M)
Kenya: Safaricom-Vodacom ($2,600 million), Africa Oil-Maersk ($845M), I&M-City Trust ($335M), Ardan-Africa Oil ($329M), Kenya Breweries-EABL $224M, UAP-Old Mutual ($155M), ARM Cement-CDC ($140M), Wananchi ($130M), CMC-AlFuttaim ($127M), Essar ($120M)

P/E operations: There are about 72 funds operating/focused in East Africa (up from 36 in the first survey) with over 300 employees. 89% of the survey respondents have a local presence in East Africa.

Some of the fund companies that responded to the survey include Acumen, Abraaj, AfricInvest, AHL, Ascent, , Catalyst, Centum, CrossBoundary, Grofin, Emerging Capital Partners, Kuramo, Metier, Mkoba, NorFund, Novastar, Phatisa, Pearl Proparco, Swedfund, and TBL Mirror

Returns:  Of  the deals done, survey responders had an average IRR target was 22% while the actual IRR achieved was 19%.  There were 34 exits between 2007 and 2016, with increased recent activity; 2014 (had 7), 2015 (7) and 2016 (6). The preferred mode of exit is sale to a strategic investors (preferred by 78% while this mode accounts for 38% of exits) followed by share buy backs (32%), then sales to another P/E (21%).

Many of the funds in the region are still in early stages, and 54% have made nil returns to their investors. They surveyors estimate there are more opportunities for Africa private equity in health, education, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

TEF Forum 2016 Part II

Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian businessman is considered one of the most influential business people in Africa. He’s been an advocate for seed financing and angel investing for entrepreneurship across the continent, something that he’s dubbed “Africapitalism” and advances this through the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship program that has seven pillars including mentorship, online resources, the annual forum, seed capital funding, and an alumni network.

Dr. Awele Elumelu and Tony ElumeluAt a Q&A session during the 2016 forum in Lagos, Elumelu spoke of his desire to expand the awareness of the program which currently has applicants skewed in Anglophone African countries (Nigeria had almost 1/3 of the applicants, followed by Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana). He said he’d been asked in France if this meant anglophone countries were more entrepreneurial but he said they were more aware of the program, and that he wanted to see more Francophone and North African participation in the program

He also spoke of his desire to grow the program even larger through partnerships with other organizations, one of which is the African Development Bank to match, and therefore double,  the number of fellows that the program is supporting.

Parminder Vir, the CEO of the Foundation also said that the 6-year-old organization would be  rebranding several aspects of the two-year fellowship program and that all initiatives will be realigned under the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). So there will be the TEF  entrepreneurship capital management , TEF entrepreneurship hub, and TEF research & advocacy etc.

 TEF Forum at the Nigeria Law SchoolVir said they had also built a platform to link partners and the diaspora with the entrepreneurs and which can be vital to the program (e.g. Nigeria get $62 billion from the USA in remittance). She asked entrepreneurs to engage on the unique social network (not facebook or snapchat) as the platform is unique for investors thought leaders, partners, funders –  VCs, PEs, Angels who want to come to Africa and now would now have access to 65,000 entrepreneurs in the  54 countries who were  pipeline of bankable investments, and 2,000 have who had already received advanced entrepreneurship training.

Already the entrepreneurs who are diverse sectors, use the platform to share their stories, engage each other, network, market to each other, pose and get solutions to problems they face. This platform also forms valuable data for research and trends and they will be producing more research reports to market to the diaspora and potential partners.

The largest sector of those supported in the 2006 cohort are in agriculture (27%) followed by fashion/clothing and ICT, and about 1/3 are women. Vir said they were committed to supporting 20-40% of agri-entrepreneurs every year and this was echoed by other participants including former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The next class admission class to the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship program will start in  January 2017.

TEF Forum 2016

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) staged its 2nd entrepreneurship forum on October 28-29 in Lagos, Nigeria. Billed as the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs, it featured 5,000 young attendees who were recipients  of funding and support from the Foundation through its TEF Entrepreneurship Program.

TEF Forum 2016

TEF Forum 2016

The meetup is one of the support structures under the TEF Entrepreneurship Program‘s 10-year, $100 million commitment, which aims to find, fund and support 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over ten years. In the first year, they had 26,000 applications, and for these second they got 45,000 from every African country and selected 1,000 who are eligible to receive up to $10,000 to implement their business plans.

The attendees got lessons in entrepreneurship from business, financial and international leaders and other mentors and partners in the program, on things like raising capital and getting started in their ideas, generating revenue and making their companies bankable through efficient financial processes, how to build structures so that companies can survive beyond their founders (“business in your head has to be decrypted so it can last 100 years”  – said the UBA CEO) and on how to live within their means.

They were also startled to see and hear from past recipients including one farmer from Uganda who’s won a  $70,000 NGO order, and a Gambian entrepreneur who’s gone from earning  $20,000 to $2 million in sales through exports of mangoes and groundnuts. Also, some of the suppliers at  the event such as the caterer were past recipients of funding and support from the program.

Farewell Easy Taxi?

 It’s been reported that Easy Taxi are on their way out of Africa as a market, following a similar retreat in Asia, to focus on Latin America. They have been here for about two years, signing up operators in Nairobi, and later in Nakuru and Mombasa, with some good traction.

They have done this without attracting the attention that rival Uber does or drawing battles with local taxi drivers. Flying under the Uber radar may have also meant that Uber caught all the funding attention in the taxi hailing world, so even where Easy had a lead, all that was forgotten after Uber arrived in new markets..

Easy had formed partnerships with many Nairobi corporations, events and concerts, and even banks to finance their growing fleet of taxi drivers. The taxi market remains vibrant and there are rumors that other companies may be planning to takeover their operation. Easy Taxi Africa is a part of AIG (Africa Internet Group) which encompasses other locally familiar brands including  Jovago, Lamudi, Hello Food and Jumia.