Corporate venture builder Byld Ventures closes US$15m to fund African fintechs

AFRICA – Byld Ventures, an investment firm focusing on early-stage funding for fintechs in Africa, has made a new close of its US$15 million fund launched in May, with a focus to back fintechs in the African ecosystem.

Over a dozen athletes, in addition to the government of Dubai and a few institutional investors who have not been disclosed, have contributed to the fund.

“Over the last 12 months, founders in Africa were reaching out to me for advice and I was investing personally. So, I decided to institutionalize it and put a fund together,” said Youcef Oudjidane, the founding partner in a statement.

The fund reached its first close in June and the second in August this year, at US$10 million so far. It looks to have a final close by the year-end. The fund is supported by a number of athletes, the Dubai government, and a host of institutional investors.

With the fund, the VC has invested in startups like Ceviant, an API-enabled and fully integrated treasury solution powered by data, including liquidity management, payments, foreign exchange, and trade services, Apata, Thepeer, a platform to send money across businesses, and Anchor, a Nigeria-based fintech offering banking-as-a-service (BaaS).

Byld Ventures is specifically funding startups in the fintech segment with a focus on those building APIs and infrastructural plays. The fund will also deploy to startups solving the challenge of brain drain in Africa and repeat founders.

The investment firm backs early-stage startups, investing as early as the pre-pitch deck. It aims to invest in up to 15 to 20 startups with its first fund, at US$500,000 on average and 50% of the fund marked for follow-on investments.

It is looking to fund fintech startups in Nigeria and Egypt where it has market experiences and also targets Ethiopia and Algeria for investments, it claims.

One of Byld Ventures’ main themes is also investing in firms that are creating financial infrastructure (API), along with startups that are reversing Africa’s talent drain and repeat founders.

For the latter, three of the firm’s investments were made in founders who had profitable exits: Touchtech Payments, founded by Shekinah Adewumi, Idris Saliu’s VANSO, and Amplify, founded by Segun Adeyemi, was bought out by Stripe, Interswitch, and Carbon, respectively.

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