While there has been much interest in African VC, the ecosystem is still nascent, and significantly more investment is required to support the establishment of this market. SIFEM’s investment assists Novastar Ventures, a leading player, to entrench itself in the market. Novastar Ventures accompanies the entrepreneurs and progress of the business against agreed milestones, with the benefit of frequent decision and intervention points to add value. Novastar Ventures is an independent VC firm that was founded eight years ago and is today one of the most experienced VC investors in Africa.
The Fund will focus on helping to develop profitable businesses led by entrepreneurs with the ability and ambition to transform low-income markets. Typical sectors to be targeted include health care, education, housing, transportation, fintech, energy. Many of the investments of the Fund will make use of mobile technology as a solution. In sub-Saharan Africa, about one-third of people had access to a smartphone in 2018, more than double the number four years earlier. And that figure is expected to double again by 2025. Governments and health experts see mobile technology and innovation as a fast and efficient way to help a large number of people stay healthy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the Fund’s first investments, mPharma, is seeking to provide better access to healthcare by driving down the costs of drugs and eliminating counterfeits for consumers through the innovative use of technology. The company currently serves close to 40,000 patients per month across a network of over 340 hospitals and clinics.
Access to smartphones in Africa