Cairo-based Sawari Ventures raise $35 million as first tranche of its $70 million fund to invest in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco

As reports earlier this year suggested, Sawari Ventures has finally announced its latest fund with the first closing of $35 million today. The $70 million fund called Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I (SVNFI) was announced during a press conference on the sidelines of the Africa 2018 Business Forum in Sharm El Sheikh.

The fund will invest in technology and knowledge-driven companies in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, the statement said.

The investors in the fund include global financial institutions including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the UK’s CDC, the French Development Agency’s private sector financing arm Proparco and the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) managed by Triple Jump.

Sawari Ventures also plans to announce the closing of an Egypt only fund in parallel Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I (SVNFI) to double down their investments in Egyptian startups. The Egyptian Fund includes investors from the largest public sector banks and governmental bodies including National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, and Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).

“We are creating the first of a kind VC vehicle to combine top tier international and local institutional investors to cement VC as an asset class in Egypt; we are initiating a sustainable Egyptian VC industry to ensure availability of funding for future entrepreneurs,” said Wael Amin, partner at Sawari Ventures.

The fund, according to the statement will make investments with an average ticket size of $1.5 million in 25 growth stage companies in different sectors including ICT, Deep Technology, FinTech, Education Technologies, HealthTech, and Renewable and Green Energy.

“Investment appetite in Africa is growing aggressively, with an abundance of high-growth opportunities waiting for the right funding, and the right partners,” said Amin. “At Sawari Ventures, we have been building knowledge economy companies in this part of the world for years, and our role today will be to channel the available capital to the right entrepreneurs.”

“This is our first commitment to a venture capital fund focused on Egypt. Moreover it is the first EIB operation under the Risk Capital Facility of the Economic Resilience Initiative”, said Milena Messori, head of Intermediated Finance for MSMEs at EIB. “The fund will support early and growth stage innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential to scale rapidly and grow regionally, boosting the local tech ecosystem. This support to local SMEs and dynamic start-ups will contribute to economic growth, private sector development and job creation, especially for the young generation.” Added Ms. Messori.

Johann Choux, Head of the Innovation Division at Proparco, added: “Proparco is committed to support the nascent African VC industry, to bridge the financing gap for talented start-up entrepreneurs. This investment in the Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I fully fits our mandate to support innovation, skilled job creation and access to essential services in the region.”

“The Sawari team will bring quality expertise to add value to early stage companies and boost opportunities particularly for young entrepreneurs, both important objectives for DGGF” – Clemens Gerteiser, Director Fund Investments at Triple Jump.

The signing ceremony, held during the Africa 2018 Forum the Sharm El Sheikh International Congress Centre, was attended by the Sawari Ventures partners Ahmed El Alfi, Wael Amin and Hany Al-Sonbaty, as well as representatives from the international and local fund investors.

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