Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures is a JV between a Japanese VC firm and an African growth capital private equity firm.
Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV) has raised USD 43 million for a pan-African venture fund. VKAV was formed in 2021 as a JV between Kepple Africa Ventures (KAV), a Japanese venture capital firm, and Verod Holdings (Verod), an African growth capital private equity firm. The fund will invest in scalable, tech-enabled, post-revenue startups addressing pressing challenges on the continent and is led by partners Satoshi Shinada, Ryosuke Yamawaki, and Ory Okolloh.
Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures Fund
The VKAV Fund is the new company’s first investment vehicle, and will leverage the accumulated knowledge and skills of the two companies to invest in startups across Africa, focusing on early-stage companies that are working to solve social challenges in the region.
Areas of investment
The Fund will invest in three main areas, infrastructure, inefficiency solvers and home-grown innovation. In terms of infrastructure, the Fund will target companies that aim to fill gaps in traditional infrastructure, such as banking and logistics, and the provision of what should be public goods, including education and elements of the healthcare system.
Inefficiency solvers include businesses that reduce the inefficiencies of existing industries, including supply chains, marketplaces and those that bridge gaps in the informal economy.
Finally, home-grown innovation refers to companies that are addressing the demand for local content, growing new business from underserved markets or needs and that are creating opportunities through import substitution, or domestic production.
The USD 43 million first close was raised from backers including SBI Holdings, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB), and individual investors such as Osamu Kaneda. VKAV’s current investments include the likes of Moove Africa, Koko Networks, Ceviant, Chari, Shuttlers, and Julaya, according to the company.
A statement from JICA said the following, “JICA has been supporting seed-stage start-ups in Africa through Project NINJA and Home Grown Solutions (HGS) via the African Union Development Agency. This investment, however, will expand JICA’s support to include financial assistance for early-stage startups, and is expected to enhance the collaboration between Japanese companies and startups in Africa. JICA will continue to support startup companies and funds that are working to solve social challenges in developing regions, not just in Africa, but throughout the entire world.”
Earlier this month, Flat6Labs, a MENA-region focused investment firm, launched its USD 95 million Africa-focused tech fund and Nigerian firm EchoVC launched a USD 8 million blockchain-focused fund.