Norrsken Foundation has teamed up with 30 unicorn founders and a couple of seasoned venture capital as well as private equity investors to launch a $200,000,000 fund targeted at African startups.
The fund is the latest fund launched by Norrsken after closing €125,000,000 ($139,400,000) impact fund for European startups last March and has reached its first close of $110,000,000.
Hans Otterling, a partner at Northzone, a U.K.-based early VC firm that led the investment in Adalberth’s previous company Klarna, is Norrsken’s founding partner alongside the Klarna co-founder.
Making up the firm’s investment are the general partners Natalie Kolbe, the ex-global head of private equity at Actis, a private equity fund investing in emerging markets; her colleague, Ngetha Waithaka; and Lexi Novitske, the ex-managing partner at Acuity Ventures Platform.
Before Acuity, Novitske was principal at Singularity Investments. Portfolio companies across both firms include API fintechs such as Mono and OnePipe; and exited companies like Flutterwave, Paystack and mPharma.
Norrsken22 intends to be that growth-stage local-based firm that will enable startups to unlock significant partnerships to grow revenue, find the best talent and facilitate expansion plans across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
The firm is the latest big-sized Africa-focused VC fund that includes the likes of TLcom Capital which recently closed nearly half of its new $150,000,000 fund; Novastar Ventures, a $200,000,000 fund; and Partech Ventures, a $143,000,000 fund.
While the others seldomly invest above Series B rounds, Norrsken22 is willing to go beyond that stage.
Norrsken22 plans to invest 40% of its capital, about $80,000,000 in Series A and B companies and the rest in follow-on rounds from Series C up until exit.
The firm will make 20 investments at an average ticket size of $10,000,000 and may go as high as $16,000,000, including follow-on rounds in some portfolio companies, he continued.
Per sectors, Norrsken22 will rely on its general partners’ years of experience and investment philosophies to back startups in fintech, medtech, edtech and market-enabling solutions such as B2B marketplaces and inventory management businesses.
Of the $110,000,000 first close reached by Norrsken22, $65,000,000 comes from a group of unicorn founders globally. Some of them include Flutterwave co-founder Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola; Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström; iZettle co-founder, Jacob de Geer; Delivery Hero co-founder Niklas Östberg. Others include Carl Manneh, co-founder Mojang; Sebastian Knutsson, co-founder King; and Willard Ahdritz, founder of Kobalt Music.
Asides from the capital, the unicorn founders will help founders understand what it takes to bring their companies from series A to billion-dollar companies, said the founding partners. The Norrsken22 African Tech Growth Fund is also supported by a local advisory council board, which according to the partners, will help portfolio startups navigate business challenges across the continent.
Nonkululeko Nyembezi, the chairman of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), is a member of this board. Arnold Ekpe, the ex-group chief executive at pan-African bank Ecobank; Phuthuma Nhleko, an ex-chief executive at telecoms giant MTN; and Shingai Mutasa, founder and chief executive at Harare-based investment firm Masawara are the others.
As an anchor shareholder, the Norrsken Foundation intends to re-invest into projects across the continent, including the Kigali House.