Following the unveiling of a €65 million ($76 million) African startup fund at VivaTech 2018 by French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled French Development Agency (AFD), the institution that will administer the fund has given a break down to better undertsand how it will work.
France News, Our last news |
The €65 million ($76 million) will be divided into three parts. As explained by AFD Digital Task Team Leader Christine Ha, €10 million [USD 11.7 million] will go to technical assistance to support the African ecosystem, €5 million will be available as interest-free loans to high-potential, pre-seed startups and €50 million [$58 million] will be for equity-based investments in series A to C startups.
The technical assistance will distribute in the form of grants to accelerators, hubs, incubators and coding programs. The pre-seed startup loans will issue in amounts up to $100,000 “as early, early funding to allow entrepreneurs to prototype, launch and experiment,” Ha stated.
The $58 million in VC startup funding will be administered through Proparco, a development finance institution — or DFI — partially owned by the AFD. The money will come from Proparco’s balance sheet and a portion will be invested in VC funds active on the continent.
Proparco already invests in Africa-focused funds such as TLcom Capital and Partech Ventures. “Proparco will take equity stakes, and will be a limited partner when investing in VC funds,” said Ha.
Startups from all African countries can apply for a piece of the $58 million by contacting any of Proparco’s Africa offices (including in Casablanca, Abidjan, Douala, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg).
And what will AFD (and Proparco) look for in African startup candidates? “We are targeting young and innovative companies able to solve problems in terms of job creation, access to financial services, energy, health, education and affordable goods and services…[and] able to scale up their venture on the continent,” Ha explained.
The $11.7 million technical assistance and $5.8 million loan portions of France’s new fund will be available starting in 2019. On implementation, AFD is still “reviewing several options…such as relying on local actors through [France’s] Digital Africa platform,” said Ha.
Digital Africa ¬— a broader French government initiative to support the African tech ecosystem — will launch a new online platform in November 2018 with resources for startup entrepreneurs.
So that’s the skinny on France’s new Africa fund. It adds to a load of VC announced for the continent in less than 15 months, including $70 for Partech Ventures, TPG Growth’s $2 billion Rise Fund and $40 million at TLcom Capital.
Though $75 million (and these other amounts) may pale compared to Silicon Valley VC values, it’s a lot for a startup scene that — at rough estimate — attracted only $400 million four years ago. African tech entrepreneurs, you now have a lot more global funding options, including from France.