Pacer Ventures launches early-stage fund for African startups

Healthcare equipment

Sub-Sahara African-based Pacer Ventures has launched a USD3 million fund for early-stage startups, with a focus on healthcare, financial inclusion, education and agriculture on the African continent.

With offices in Lagos and Johannesburg, the firm has begun to support early stage founders by participating in seed rounds, including in financial services app VPD.Money. 

The GSMA Mobile Economy Report states that 84 per cent of Africa's population – or one billion people – will have access to a SIM connection by 2025.

Gbemi Akande, general partner at Pacer Ventures, said: "We see a huge opportunity to support early stage founders who are making meaningful contributions to their local economies and communities by leveraging the high mobile penetration on the continent."

Antoinia Norman, general partner at Pacer Ventures in charge of Southern Africa, adds that the firm doesn't just contribute equity. "We won't just write a cheque, we will enable founders to work in and on their business, by supporting them along every step of their journey, with resources and access to markets."

The main differentiator, according to Pacer Ventures, is the fund's focus on sourcing high potential African startups, as well as being able to leverage its strategic partnership with Founder Institute in Africa.

"This collaboration with Founder Institute gives us an undeniable edge particularly with quality deal-flow at an early stage and we will leverage this to spread our footprint quickly," Chukwuemeka Agbata, regional director of Founder Institute in Africa and Co-founder of techbuild.africa, commented on the partnership.

The General Partners of Pacer Ventures, whose portfolio includes VPD.Money, Analytics Intelligence, FARM365, and LearnPower, have extensive experience in deal flow sourcing.

Geoffrey Weli-Wosu, general partner at Pacer Ventures and co-founder of VoguePay and Domineum, commented: "We are leveraging our in-depth experience in startups and ecosystem development to take advantage of the early-stage funding gap in Africa.”