Lateral Capital Exceeds Target In First Close Of USD 50 Mn Fund For African Startups

By  |  January 27, 2020

For its sub-Saharan Africa fund, christened “Lateral Investment Partners I Fund”, which is targeted at promising early-stage and growth-stage startups on the African continent, Lateral Capital has achieved a first close that eclipses its initial closing target of USD 20 Mn.

Lateral Capital, which has family offices across the United States and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, accepted its first LP commitment in early 2018. With the initial close exceeding expectations, the venture capital firm is well on track to reach its final close target of USD 50 Mn in 2020.

With a presence in New York, Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg, Lateral Capital has built a solid structure by fuelling technology solutions across financial services, education, healthcare, and real assets. 

The VC firm is led by a team that has, between them, 40+ years of experience in the African tech scene drawn from working in up to 15 African countries. They have collectively done no less than USD 3.5 Bn in transactions.

Steven Grin and Rob Eloff are both Managing Partner at Lateral Capital.

Steven Grin
Managing Partner, Lateral Capital
Rob Eloff
Managing Partner, Lateral Capital

Samakab Hashi, who is a Partner at Lateral Capital, handles operations in Nairobi, Kenya. The VC firm also has Ochuwa Akhigbe-Ogionwo and Garikai Govati holding down the fort in Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa, respectively.

Lateral Capital’s Lateral Investment Partners I Fund has the capacity to invest between USD 250 K to USD 5 Mn in early and growth-stage companies across the capital structure.

Lateral’s presence in multiple tech hot spots gives it ample leverage to deliver on its mission of bridging the divide between opportunity and capital via its US and African teams.  

After making its tenth portfolio investment in Q4 2019, backing Nairobi-based LipaLater, the fund has already made three new and two follow-on investments in 2020 and has set a target to review 1,000 investment opportunities in 2020 to add up to six new portfolio companies in the form of equity or debt.

Since its founding, Lateral Capital has also backed Asoko Insight, AppZone, Koko Networks, Lynk, MedSaf, WorkStyle Africa, and SparkMeter. It has also made and exited investments in one of its former investment partners, Silvertree Internet Holdings.

The initial close of the Lateral Investment Partners I Fund, which was led by Investmon Corp. — the family-owned investment company that specializes in high impact, disruptive businesses in new and emerging markets — drew participation from institutional investors and leading family offices across the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

On the backs of the announcement, Albert M. Amon, Executive Director of Investmon, said: “Investmon identified and backed Lateral Capital as its partner for African venture investing on the strength of its African and US team and cornerstone portfolio. We believe in their innovative model of company building and are confident that their approach to technology venture capital in Africa is the right way forward.“

Lateral Capital, which describes itself as a mission-driven venture fund that invests in early and growth-stage opportunities by partnering with visionary entrepreneurs with a demonstrated commitment to its mission and first-principles thinking in profitably solving pressing challenges, is part of the Capria and Align17 impact investment networks.

Commenting on the development, Lateral capital’s Managing Partner, Steven Grin, said: “We are fortunate to have received the backing of such a high calibre group of families and institutions. This initial milestone positions us well to continue creating valuable companies with talented founders who deploy technology to build for the needs of the world’s fastest-growing region.”

As gathered from Rob Eloff, who is also a Managing Partner at Lateral Capital, the investment firm is targeting six investments in 2020, and some of those are already in the bag with the next investment closing potentially coming as soon as next month.

Besides Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, Lateral Capital also has eyes for investments in other parts of Africa with Francophone Africa and Ethiopia looking like bright prospects.

Featured Image Courtesy: TechCityNG

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