Africa’s tech space has continued to enjoy massive funding from venture capitalists and angel investors as well. Olumide Soyombo is one of the angel investors who have been investing in startups behind the scenes since 2014. Today, he revealed that he is launching an Africa-focused venture capital (VC) fund for startups.
The VC vehicle is named Voltron Capital and is co-founded by Soyombo and Abe Choi, an entrepreneur and investor based in the United States.
The fund will create a defined framework for pooling money together from multiple investors. The money will be invested in startups that have been vetted and are considered viable.
Soyombo told Techcrunch that he is not interested in managing a full fund. He said, “People, including high net worth individuals, tell me to carry them along anytime I’m investing, and then I have startups looking for capital as well. But then again, I’m not trying to get a full job by managing a full fund which is why we’ve structured it this way.”
Investing as an angel brought Mr Soyombo close to many startup founders and not many deals happen in the tech space that he is not aware of. Whether it is a pre-seed or seed round, Soyombo finds people who are able to invest alongside himself in the startup.
There are lots of individual venture capital funds like Voltron Capital on the African continent. They include Dotun Olowoporoku’s Novastar Ventures etc. These VC firms are very vital to the space because one of the major challenges that startups in Nigeria and other parts of Africa face is funding.
Olumide Soyombo’s antecedents in tech funding
Back in 2014, Soyombo co-founded Leadpath as an accelerator for tech startups. Participating startups go through a three-month program before pitching their businesses to investors at a demo day. However, he found out in a hurry that there were not many investors who were willing to take on the risk of funding startups in Africa’s ecosystem. Thus began his journey into the world of venture capitalism.
So far, Soyombo has invested in 33 startups across Africa. They include Paystack, Lemonade Finance, Gbedu, Koa, Fantastic.ng, Engage, Powercube, Accounteer, Leadspace, Send.ng, Trove Finance and Brass.
At least 13 of the startups are in the fintech space while the others are distributed among Entertainment, Gambling and Casino, Clean energy, Co-working, Logistics and other sectors. If the array of the startups in his existing portfolio is any indicator, Voltron Capital will also invest in a lot more fintech startups than in startups from other sectors.
With VC firms like Microtraction and Future Africa, the challenge of funding on the continent is steadily being surmounted. Within the first 6 months of 2021, African startups have raised a record $1.19 billion. When compared to the $1.1 billion that was raised by these startups in all of 2018, it is clear that there has been an improvement in the area of making funds accessible to startups.
However, there has been slow improvement in the area of having more African VC’s investing in African technologies and this is where individual venture capitalists like Olumide Soyombo and Voltron Capitals would play major roles.
The presence of another VC firm that is focused on African startups is a good development and will serve in fast-tracking their growth from the seed and early stages.
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