Nigeria-based Ventures Platform, an early-stage venture capital fund that takes part in pre-seed and seed-stage transactions, said Thursday it has made a first close as it aims to garner more to raise $40 million in total.
The fund garnered money mainly from local limited partners. These include Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, UAC Nigeria, VFD Group, Gbenga Oyebode, and Paystack’s Shola Akinlade, besides some international investors.
It would look to raise additional sum from global investors, including development finance institutions. to wrap up the process by early next year.
The firm is led by founder Kola Aina and has invested mostly in Nigeria in the past. However, it has also done some transactions in other countries and hopes to accelerate that with the fresh corpus.
The VC firm has backed companies like Payhippo, Payday, Lemonade and MoneyHash this year. It says it has backed nearly six dozen startups over the last six years. It had previously harvested an early investment in fintech venture Paystack, which was acquired in a landmark deal by Stripe last year.
Ventures Platform joins the likes of LoftyInc Capital, which also announced a first close of its VC fund this year, though aiming at a much smaller corpus as a micro fund. A big corpus would allow Ventures Platform to participate with larger cheque sizes in follow-on rounds.
Aina, the firm’s founder, started his career as an analyst at Fifth Third Bank. He later moved to publishing house Regent before joining West African ed-tech venture Emerging Platforms prior to starting Ventures Platform.
The VC firm has morphed from its earlier avatars. It initially invested small sums and then added an accelerator model and a syndicate network, before eventually floating a formal early-stage fund.