Former Kaduna State Governor Launches $100 Million Venture Capital Fund for Nigerian Startups

By : Hikmatu Bilali

Date : vendredi, 08 décembre 2023 11:19

Funding startups is essential for boosting innovation and entrepreneurship. Although securing funding can be tough for African startups, there's growing interest from investors who recognize the potential of supporting promising ventures.

Ex-Kaduna State governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai (pictured) plans to establish a $100 million venture capital fund for Nigerian startups. He revealed this in a December 4 tweet.

The venture capital fund, named Afri-Venture Capital Company, is set to launch in January 2024, initially focusing on Nigeria and later on other African countries.

During a discussion with BusinessDay newspapers at the Africa Investment Forum held in November, in Marrakech, El-Rufai revealed his commitment to invest $2 million personally to kickstart the initiative. He aims to persuade like-minded investors to join, stating, "They trust our judgment, and they will come with us."

According to El-Rufai, the fund will welcome innovative ideas from various sectors, with a specific goal of bridging the gap for young Nigerians who lack mentorship and financial backing.

"I encountered students with exceptional ideas during my tenure as governor, but many lacked mentors and support," said El-Rufai. The fund aims to provide not just financial support but also networking opportunities and resources for young entrepreneurs.

Deviating from the conventional focus on Lagos, the fund will be strategically located in Abuja to foster innovation across different regions of the country.

Founding directors and initial shareholders include Jimi Lawal, Hafiz Bayero, Eyo Ekpo, and Kabir Yabo, with El-Rufai as the part-time Chairman. The fund will operate with a three to four-year investment horizon, engaging new startups and established companies facing management challenges.

The announcement has generated excitement within the Nigerian entrepreneurial community, with hopes that this venture capital fund will provide a crucial boost to the next generation of innovators and startups.

Hikmatu Bilali


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