IFC announced that it has invested in the Antler East Africa fund. Antler is a venture capital fund that invests in the early stages of development and is focused on tech leaders.
IFC’s $1.5 million investment in Antler East Africa, along with $500,000 from the Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, will support the company’s new incubator program that launches in March and includes a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs. The oversubscribed fund raised $13.5 million.
Antler had hoped to raise $10m, but instead raised $3.5 million. The East Africa arm was launched in August 2019. Up to now, the accelerator has produced 14 investments and five cohorts with 153 founders. A few of them include AIfluence, Marketforce-subsidiary Digiduka, Honeycoin, Uncover Skincare, Try Cooked and Vybe.
Antler will provide support to all startup founders, including personal coaching, workspace, training, and workspace. This program supports teams with an idea that they want to make a business out of it. It also helps early-stage startups looking to grow and raise capital. Antler intends to invest 35 times in early-stage startups via the incubator program.
“We know what it takes to get a startup off the ground and want to build a flexible support system that enables strong collaboration and interaction between fellow entrepreneurs, advisors, angel networks, and investors in Kenya and beyond. Our goal is to connect and fast-track the initial stages of the entrepreneurial journey,” said Marie Nielsen, Partner at Antler East Africa.
According to the IFC-Google report, eConomy Africa 2020, Kenya’s Internet economy, for example, has the potential to grow from $7.42 billion in 2020 to $12.84 billion by 2025, and up to $51 billion by 2050. IFC has partnered with Antler to help local tech startups launch and grow in Kenya and in other East Africa countries.
“Africa’s digital economy is growing and it is critical that our investments and partnerships empower more entrepreneurs to tap into this growth. By supporting Antler, we can help entrepreneurs in East Africa, including women, to bring their ideas to life or take their startups to the next level, contributing to the region’s digital transformation,” said Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa.