A family office, Artha India Ventures (AIV), plans to spend USD 20 million in African countries by 2024, according to a senior executive. The family office launched its first investment in Africa, with a stake on Kenyan re-commerce firm Badili, after previously investing in the US and Israel. Anirudh Damani, director of Artha India Ventures, told PTI that Africa is where India was over a decade ago, and that some nations like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Zambia, as well as Egypt, offer good chances.
The family office will invest USD 20 million in up to 25 startups, starting with making 2-3 deals per year initially, Damani said, adding that it is already close to dealing with a second investment and closely looking at a third possibility. The challenges of investments in Africa majorly include political risks, he said, pointing to instances like quick currency devaluations due to domestic requirements as a possible impediment.
The family office is entering Africa also because it is unable to tap into the seed capital opportunities in India, where it operates a venture capital fund for such bets, but feels that it has a good understanding of the segment, Damani said. African investments come with their own set of challenges, but the opportunity is immense and the family office will invest USD 20 million either directly by itself or through syndications with limited or general partners, he said.
Also, the local laws are very complex and differ from country to country, he said. If all goes well, the family office can have a dedicated team to look at opportunities in Africa and may even consider opening an office eventually, he said. Badili is into the buyback of smartphones, which purchases and sells used smartphones directly from or to the consumers, and is supported by strategic partnerships in China, South Korea, and India.
The company has raised the first tranche of USD 850,000 from the total target of a USD 3.35 million pre-seed round, an official statement said, adding investors such as Rajesh Sawhney, Ritesh Malik, SOSV, Uncovered Fund, and Grenfell Holdings participated in the tranche. Artha has invested over USD 35 million in India over the last five years focusing majorly on growth deals, and will continue with the same, he said. The platform will also look at investing directly or through partners in South East Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia, he said.
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