EIB Global has announced that it has invested US$30 million in the Seedstars Africa Ventures I venture capital fund.

The fund will invest in companies developing and implementing digital technologies, in particular those addressing basic needs such as education, healthcare and utilities, or enhancing goods, services and efficiency.

“Encouraging and promoting innovation and digitalisation is crucial to developing strong and sustainable economies,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “African entrepreneurs hold the key to the continent’s future, creating jobs, reducing inequality and improving quality of life. The EIB, as part of Team Europe, is committed to supporting African businesses, and we are proud of the success of Boost Africa and the ACP Trust Fund.”

Seedstars Africa Ventures I was created by Maxime Bouan, Tamim El Zein and Bruce Nsereko Lule, in partnership with Seedstars and LBO France.

The Nairobi and Paris-based team explained that “the anchoring ticket provided by the European Investment Bank is a testament to our investment thesis and the work we do across Africa. It signals the relevance of our positioning as well as the effectiveness of our support to portfolio companies. This recognition will further help us onboard both African and foreign investors in the Fund to reach our US$80 to US$100 million target size.”

Seedstars Africa Ventures invests in Seed+ and Series A rounds, with an ability to follow-on significantly, bridging the pools of capital available.

The Fund expects to reach a first close early this year but has already completed four transactions. They are; Beacon Power Services, Poa! Internet, Shamba Pride and Bizao. Each company is building a solution to tackle some of the continent’s pressing needs. Lagos-based Beacon Power Services (BPS) has developed proprietary grid management software and data solutions for Africa’s power industry. BPS seeks to improve the reliability and quality of the continent’s energy supply through the creation of smart grids, by leveraging extensive data collected on the ground. As of September 2023, BPS was working with four utility companies in Nigeria and Ghana connecting to a population of over 60 million and has reduced grid energy losses by an average of 25% per utility. In Lagos, this translated into three additional hours of energy daily per household. Better access to grid electricity also allows the homes and businesses connected to BPS’ clients to rely less on diesel generators, which the company estimates has saved 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2023.

The US$30 million EIB Global investment is backed by the EU, through US$20 million from the ACP Trust Fund and US$10 million from the Boost Africa programme. With this investment, the EIB has now fully deployed Boost Africa, a programme launched in 2016 with the aim of boosting sustainable jobs and prosperity through venture capital for African entrepreneurs. Under Boost Africa, the companies invested in by Seedstars Africa Ventures 1 will also benefit from technical assistance to develop business skills and expertise, funded by the EU.