Partech Ventures Launches New VC Fund for Digital Champions

Partech Ventures Launches New VC Fund for Digital Champions Startup TechWire Editor Publisher Dave Menzies
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Partech Ventures announced the launch of its Partech Africa fund, which has secured above €57M (US$70M) commitments toward its target size of €100M ($120M), making it the first technology fund of such size from a top tier international VC to be exclusively dedicated to the fast-growing tech ecosystem in Africa. Partech Africa intends to focus on early stage growth funding, providing €0.5 to €5M initial tickets to talented African teams using tech to address large emerging market opportunities. Partech Africa is a generalist tech fund with target industries ranging from Financial Inclusion (Fintech, InsurTech, new distribution models) to online and mobile consumer services (commerce, entertainment, education, digital services), as well as mobility, supply chain services and digitization of the informal economy.

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The fund launches in the context of an emerging and fast-growing market. “Tech VC investment in Africa, with ticket sizes from 200K to $40M, has grown almost 10x from $40M in 2012 to $367M in 2016, and is already growing faster than projected $1B annually by 2020” explains Cyril Collon, General Partner of Partech Africa. “Most investment rounds so far have been led by US or EU based investors. The ecosystem is ready for local players, with African teams being able to finance the best African startups”.

As an integral part of the global Partech platform, Partech Africa will also benefit from the firm’s collective industry expertise and unique portfolio support and business development capability. “With a very hands-on operational team closing more than 70 transactions per year, Partech will bring great value to African founders”, adds Tidjane Dème, General Partner for Partech Africa. “Moreover, thanks to our global network of corporate partners, our dedicated business development team will expose African startups to European and US markets, enable commercial contracts and long-term strategic partnerships”.

Highly relevant investors rallied around Partech Africa to address this new digital opportunity

The launch of Partech Africa is supported by major financial institutions led by IFC, member of the World Bank Group, and including the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Averroès Finance III (fund of funds managed by Bpifrance and co-sponsored with Proparco).

“Technology can have a huge transformative impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has a vast untapped source of entrepreneurial energy,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC. “Africa’s population is overwhelmingly young—it has lots of people with strong tech skills and innovative ideas that could improve lives. But they lack the necessary funding. We think the Partech Africa fund will make an important contribution to closing this funding gap and driving entrepreneurship and growth.”

Partech Africa is also backed by corporate investors led by major global mobile player Orange and including leading emerging markets players such as Edenred and JCDecaux Holding.

“As a leading enabler of the African tech Industry, Orange is strongly pushing for next Pan-African digital champions to emerge and grow. Our commitment to Partech Africa is a critical component of our larger Orange Digital Ventures Africa initiative which aims to accelerate the growth and scalability of innovative tech-enabled businesses.” said Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Investment.

A new pioneering move from Partech Ventures

This initiative is the latest in a number of pioneering moves made by Partech over the recent years. The firm has been one of the first European VCs to open an office in Silicon Valley, and has since grown to become one of few transatlantic and pan-European players at scale, with teams based in San Francisco, Paris and Berlin.

“We are pleased to be now present on 3 continents as we open our African headquarters in Dakar, Senegal; not just for being global, but for a better and more comprehensive understanding of all tech trends and disruptions” says Philippe Collombel, co-Managing Partner of Partech Ventures. “In many domains we are seeing innovative investment projects led by outstanding African entrepreneurs. They are using digital tools and creative business models to solve major issues affecting large and untapped market segments, and this is only the beginning”.

To capture this unprecedented African opportunity, Partech has extended its partnership to welcome Cyril Collon and Tidjane Dème, the two General Partners dedicated to Partech Africa.

Founded in 1982 in Silicon Valley, Partech Ventures is a global investment firm with a team spread across offices in Paris, Berlin, San Francisco and Dakar. Most Partners have been entrepreneurs themselves or have held management positions within tech companies. The partnership acts and invests as a single team, helping entrepreneurs from Europe, the US and Africa build fast-growing tech and digital companies addressing large markets across multiple continents. Partech partners with entrepreneurs at the seed, venture and growth stages. Companies backed by Partech Ventures have completed 21 initial public offerings and more than 50 major M&A transactions with leading international companies. Since 2012, the team has built a pioneering business development platform fostering synergies and business relationships between entrepreneurs and strategic partners.