Seedstars has partnered the Paris-based VC firm First Growth Ventures to launch a US$100 million venture fund for Sub-Saharan African tech startups.
The sixth annual Seedstars World event took place in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week, with more than 65 finalists – 21 of them from Africa – from across the world competing for funding and a host of prizes.
Seedstars announced at the event it had partnered First Growth Ventures founders Tamim El Zein and Maxime Bouan to launch a US$100 million fund for African startups, which will focus on early-stage investments of between US$250,000 and US$5 million in the most promising innovative ventures across a variety of sectors and countries.
The fund is by all accounts the first of a series of regional funds Seedstars will launch in the coming years to continue its mission of accelerating and supporting entrepreneurs at all stages, though there are as yet no details of how much investment has been secured by the fund and when it will start backing startups.
Three African startups made it to the final stages of the Seedstars event, though the overall winner, ed-tech platform Blended, was from Argentina.
African startups did walk away with other prizes, however. Schoolap, from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), won the Transforming Education Prize by TRECC and the School of Management Fribourg, winning access to the Seedstars Growth Programme worth US$50,000. The online platform provides tools to improve the education system with school administration management modules.
South African startup Iyeza won the Seedstars Vaccine Delivery Challenge, awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The startup secured US$10,000 to improve its web platform for the delivery of Human PapillomaVirus (HPV) vaccine to young women. The Gates Foundation also awarded the Seedstars Malaria Challenge to Nigeria’s Medsaf, which startup connects pharmacies and hospitals with safe and cost-effective medication.
Meanwhile, Egyptian startup 7keema, an on-demand home nursing services platform, won the Rising Tide Foundation Empowerment Prize. Securing access to the Seedstars Growth Programme as well as an equity investment.
“We are very proud to be supporting all these entrepreneurs and we’ll continue to expand our activities with the launch of new acceleration and training programmes across the world. We’ll also be announcing more funding to these unbelievable entrepreneurs that we have seen on stage all week,” said Pierre-Alain Masson, co-founder at Seedstars.