Top Six Venture Capital that Nigerian Businesses can partner with

One of the major challenges of start-ups is sourcing of capital. Almost every start-up across the globe shares the same lyrics. A number of potential businesses ventures have been flushed down the drain essentially because of lack of access to capital.
When sourcing for funds to start grow or increase a business, entrepreneurs have perpetually learnt over time to first look at the family as a source. Some though succeed but not more than 2%. A good number source among friends and colleagues; not too many have succeeded in pulling in sufficient funds needed offset the business. Very few succeed at getting bank loans for obvious reasons. A source many businesses have not explored is venture capital. Quite a few explore this option. This is basically because of fear of losing stake in the business, but amazingly, venture capital is one of the proven sources of financing for small business especially and one of the very best options if well informed.  
Before diving deeper, venture capital is simply a financial capital provided to early stage, high potential, growth start-up companies. Venture capitalists earn money by owning equity in the companies it invests in.  It is particularly attractive for new companies with limited operating history and that are too small to raise capital in the public markets and have not reached the point where they can secure bank loan or complete a debt offering.
Venture capitalists are not jack of all trade. Some are interested in solely agro based ventures, while some are strictly interested in the manufacturing sector, although a large number of them invest in technology related ventures. The first level of success finding the right venture capitalist that will invest in your business is defining your business and then identifying the venture capitalists for your business. Firms like Interswitch, Dealdey, Iroko TV, Jobberman, Paga, etc which are some of fastest growing firms in Nigeria are all beneficiary of venture capitalists.
Here are top six venture capitalists to direct your search on;
1.      Adlevo Capital
Adlevo Capital is the first private equity firm focused on investments into technology-enabled companies across sub-Saharan Africa. It is a Mauritius-based private firm. They actively seek to invest in ambitious companies. Adlevo Capital is committed to sub-Saharan Africa and believes that market intelligence is developed through a local presence and an understanding of the dynamics of the local market. In line with this philosophy, Adlevo Capital maintains active local presence through its base in Lagos, Nigeria.
They invest primarily in technology driven firms. Some of the firms in Nigeria that they have invested in are; InterSwitch limited, Rancards, paga, SOLO etc.
2.      Sahel Capital
Start-ups in agro related industries will find Sahel Capital Interesting. Sahel Capital is a leading fund manager and advisory firm focused on West Africa with deep roots in private equity, financial advisory, management consulting, and agribusiness. It offers partners quality financial and operational experience, broad industry knowledge, and a powerful network of global relationships.
In Nigeria, their major Sahel Capital’s principals investments include: AACE Foods, a Greenfield agro-processing company in Ogun State.
It recently raised $33m for agribusinesses in Nigeria. Business Day on Feb. 12th 2014, reports has it that Sahel Capital raised $33 million to invest in agribusiness SMEs across Nigeria, and will be seeking to raise additional capital during the course of the year to reach our $100 million target.” The reports further states that “The fund which has a ten-year lifespan will target SMEs across the agriculture value chain in Nigeria. It will also partner with intermediaries for on-lending to agricultural SMEs and smallholder farmers”.
3.      Actis Capital

Actis Capital is another venture capital entrepreneurs should look at as a viable source of fund. It is a private equity firm focused on emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It has over $5 billion in funds under management. It invests in businesses in six industries: Consumer Goods, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Energy and Real Estate. In Nigeria, the firms they have invested in are, Starcomms, UAC, Diamond Bank, Mouka Foam and Seven Energy. Actis is a a good source to look at if you are a start-up in any of these related industries
4.      Ashish J. Thakkar (Mara Group)
He is Africa’s youngest billionaire and the founder of Mara groups.  Thakkar is a Uganda born business clout and also a venture capitalist. He is the founder of Mara groups a pan-African conglomerate with interest in real estate, tourism, financial services, technology, renewable energy, and manufacturing.  
5.      Echo Venture Capital
Echo Venture Capital is a seed and early stage venture capital firm focused on financing and cross pollinating lead gtechnologies, teams, business models and knowledge across North America, Africa and SE Asia.
They are interested in finding and funding amazing team to build, deliver and scale services and products that matter to local and eventually global audiences. Their segments of interests include consumer internet and services, smartgraph and smartdata, mobile, digital media, content and advertising, E/M-commerce, software, Tech-enabld services and enterprise.
6.      African Capital Alliance (ACA)
ACA is an independent investment firm focused on Nigeria and West Africa; it was formed in 1997 and has aggregated capital commitments of over $750 million so far. ACA invests in companies with high growth and return potentials and an experienced management team, ACA has invested in Cornerstone Insurance, eTranzact, BevPak Nigeria Limited and Swift Networks among others. ACA invests in primarily businesses looking to expand and grow.

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Written by
Ryta Moemeke.