Japanese VC firm creates fund to seed African startups

 Japanese VC firm creates fund to seed African startups

Uncovered Fund Inc, a Japanese early-stage investment firm, has created a US$15 million fund to back African startups and has disclosed names of five ventures that form a part of its initial portfolio.

The fund, named Uncovered Fund Investment Partnership I, was established in July 2020, almost a year after the investment management firm was started in Tokyo. The VC fund has a presence in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

It seeks to invest in seed, pre-Series A and Series A stages where the ticket size will start from $100,000-200,000 and will go up to $500,000 in the Series A follow-on stage.

The VC firm will seek to drive synergy for these startups with Japanese companies and technology with alliances and horizontal expansion to the Far East.

According to its website, it has already backed five startups. These are Kenyan e-commerce venture Skygarden; Singapore-based mobility startup Gozem, which operates in west and central Africa; Nigerian digital freight forwarder Send and e-pharmacy RxDelivered; and Kenyan fintech venture LipaLater, which is also present in Rwanda.

The VC firm was started by Takuma Terakubo, who had previously founded Leapfrog Ventures in May along with Japanese startup incubator Samurai Incubate. Leapfrog Ventures is separate from the emerging markets private equity firm by the same name. Two years ago, it rebranded to Samurai Incubation Africa Inc.

However, Terakubo moved on from this venture and floated a new one albeit with a similar objective of backing African startups with seed funding.

Vivek Sinha

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