Saviu Ventures raises $13m to back francophone African startups
Saviu Ventures, a venture capital firm focusing on startups in francophone Africa, has secured an initial close of €12 million ($13 million) for its second fund. Private investors, including French and Kenyan family offices, have contributed to the fund. Saviu, founded by Benoit Delestre and Samuel Touboul, plans to finalize the fund between €30 million and €50 million, primarily targeting investments in startups within the region.
Having been active in the French-speaking startup ecosystem since 2018 with its first €10 million fund, Saviu invests in seed-stage startups. While sector-agnostic, the current fund places emphasis on fintechs, health-techs, and climate-techs, while slowing down investments in e-mobility, e-commerce, and e-logistics.
The firm intends to invest between €500,000 and €3 million in 15 to 20 post-revenue startups with its second fund. The firm adopts a strategy of supporting "sustainable companies" and provides business development assistance in addition to financial investment. Notable investments from the second fund include Waspito, a Cameroonian health tech; Rubyx, a Senegalese digital lending SaaS provider; and Workpay, an HR payroll provider.
Saviu Ventures stands out as one of the pioneering VC firms focusing specifically on the Francophone region, a startup ecosystem gaining attention from venture capitalists due to factors such as reduced competition, significant market potential, and opportunities for high-quality, cost-effective deals compared to more established Anglophone regions. Beyond prominent startup nations like Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, the francophone region is emerging as the next investment frontier for VCs. According to the 2022 Partech report, the Francophone region constituted 49% of the rest of Africa's deals and 38% of its funding in the previous year. While equity funding in the region showed nearly flat growth in the past year, the ecosystem has witnessed substantial development since 2018. At that time, there were fewer founders and no incubators. Although still not at the level of maturity seen in countries like Kenya or South Africa, the startup landscape in Francophone Africa has made significant strides and is increasingly attracting attention and investment.