Saturday May 18th, 2024
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New $50M African Fund Ambo Ventures to Target Green Economy Startups

Led by founders with regional experience and backed by partners on-ground across the continent, Ambo Fund is poised to achieve its lofty green goals.

Haisam Awad

Ask most investors across the world right now and they’ll tell you that the ‘emerging markets’ are where the future lies. Ask again, and Africa will likely be in and around the top of the list. While in other contexts, branding a whole continent under one name, under a singularity, is problematic and erroneous on several levels, in the world of entrepreneurship it presents myriad opportunities. 

With many African nations sharing similar challenges, each individual ecosystem is primed to produce innovation that can have a continent-wide impact. Subsequently, more and more VCs have taken a keen interest in Africa as a whole ecosphere of ecosystems, one full of opportunities. 

One new VC fund that is counting on exactly that is Ambo, the first pan-African VC of its kind to focus on the content’s green economy. Looking to raise and invest $50 million in seed stage, Series A and select Series B rounds, Ambo Ventures has some impressive names in its ranks. Co-founder Jade Bouhmouch, has managed $1.2B in public equity funds and invested in and advised dozens of startups on fundraising and corporate finance, while also helping build Google's Sustainable Development Goals Accelerator. The second co-founder, meanwhile, Loic Amado, launched Uber on the continent, including in Egypt, delivering 10x growth. Their experience of the region is supported by partners on-ground, including Kenya-based Mark Kuria. As Venture Partner, he brings extensive experience with early stage investments in Kenya, creating a 40%+ IRR family office in East Africa. As Operating Partner, Morocco-based Lina Naciri brings pedigree, too, having launched one of the biggest innovation challenges in Africa, which saw her source more than 700 innovative tech companies across the globe (72 countries, 80% from Africa).

Meanwhile, Changelabs co-founder, Karim Samra, has been on-boarded as Venture Partner, tasked with leading the fund’s activities in Egypt. Samra finds himself in what is arguably the crux of the operation, or at least one of them, his efforts in Egypt holding a key to the potential impact of Ambo beyond cash.

“Ambo was built on the premise of giving top Egyptian startups and scaleups access to African markets, and vice versa,” he told StartupScene. “Africa presents the most exciting and untapped opportunity for Egyptian companies,” he added, though he of course, knows that the content is rich with innovation further down south, in key nations that have just as much activity as in and around his post in Cairo. “In addition to Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are also significant markets in terms of startup activity,” he explains. “Nigeria and Kenya alone have two-and-half times the population of Egypt.”

Changelabs involvement goes beyond Samra, whose VC University Programme is helping high-potential regional VCs enter Egypt and raise funds, alongside GIZ Egypt and ENdure Capital. Ambo and Changelabs are also partnering on the latter’s Scale Up to Green accelerator in Egypt, which is currently working with 15 of the most innovative green energy, resource efficiency and agritech startups. It all serves the fund well, it's very many ties to the continent putting it in good stead to make the very impact it seeks in startups.

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