Pan-African venture capital firm Norrsken22, which focuses on entrepreneurs developing fintech, edtech, medtech and market-enabling solutions, has closed its first African technology growth fund at $205mn, surpassing its target of $200mn.
Norrsken22 was formed last year by Niklas Adalberth (Founder of the Norrsken Foundation and paytech unicorn Klarna) and Hans Otterling, partner of technology investment firm Northzone, and an investing team that has decades of experience investing on the African continent.
At its inception, the fund was supported by over 30 unicorn founders, including Olugbenga Agboola (co-founder Flutterwave), Niklas Zennström (co-founder Skype), Jacob de Geer (co-founder iZettle), Niklas Östberg (co-founder Delivery Hero), Carl Manneh (co-founder Mojang), Sebastian Knutsson (co-founder King) and Willard Ahdritz (founder Kobalt Music). The fund was also backed by SEB Pension Foundation and family offices.
Its investment team is led by managing partner Natalie Kolbe, previously Global Head of Private Equity at Actis, as well as Actis colleague Ngetha Waithaka in Kenya, and Lexi Novitske, who previously founded Acuity Venture Partners in Nigeria. Norrsken22 is pan-African and has teams on the ground in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana.
Since the fund’s first close, several high-profile institutional investors have joined the investor base: British International Investment (BII), International Finance Corporation (IFC), US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Standard Bank and Norfund.
“Africa has the youngest population globally and its upcoming digital-first generation is the future of Africa – and the world. We’re delighted to announce this final close and with the support the fund has received. There are huge opportunities in Africa. We are excited to continue our mission of driving funding into African tech, and creating jobs and sustainable growth in the region" Adalberth said.
Kolbe said the timing of the fund ideally positions Norrsken22 to support a growing African tech tailwind.
“'The transformative power of technology can leapfrog traditional ways of doing business, and Africa has the opportunity to lead the World with its solutions. We are excited to be partnering with so many promising startups that can have a positive impact across Africa,” she said.
Norrsken22 has already made five investments. The portfolio includes South African challenger bank Tyme Bank, African business-to-business digital commerce platform Sabi, Africa’s leading identity verification solution, Smile ID and auto financing platform Autochek.
The fund is also supported by an advisory council of business leaders from across the continent, contributing local business knowledge as well as global perspectives: Nonkululeko Nyembezi, Chairman Standard Bank Group, Phuthuma Nhleko, ex-Chief Executive, MTN and Shingai Mutasa, Founder and CEO, Masawara Plc.
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