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Meet five investors behind 2021 biggest funding in Nigerian startups

Five global investors are putting their money where their mouth is by championing bold ideas in Nigerian startups, a development that is expected to boost more innovations in Nigeria’s technology sector.

In a bid to leverage on the huge potentials in Nigeria’s tech sector, Tiger Global, SoftBank, Valar Ventures, Target Global, and Avenir Growth alongside other investors have contributed a significant portion of the over $850 million raised by tech startups in Q3 of 2021.

A quest for resource deployment, a proliferation of fintech services across Africa and the opportunities that abound in the sector, among others are the reasons for these investments in Nigerian startups.

These are the top five of the highest investors for 2021.

SoftBank

SoftBank Group, a Japanese company with its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo was founded by Masayoshi Son. The group primarily invests in companies operating in the technology, energy, and financial sectors.

A first-time investor in Africa, the group led an Africa-focused fintech company OPay to raise $400 million in new funding in August. This round marked the fund’s first investment in an African startup.

In September, the group also led a $200 million Series E round for Andela, another African startup with operations in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, making both startups unicorn companies.

Read also: Why Nigerian big companies scramble for commercial paper

Tiger Global

The American hedge fund started operations in March 2001 and focuses on public and private companies in the global Internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries. This year, the company has co-led fundings of startups to close several series’ rounds, which include Fairmoney, a Nigerian credit-led neobank, to raise $42 million Series B round in July and $170 million Series C raised by Nigerian-owned Flutterwave in March.

Founded by Chase Coleman, Tiger Global has since 2003 invested in over 100 companies across more than 30 countries, including investments ranging from Series A to pre-initial public offering (IPO), having won bets on companies like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Avenir Growth Capital

A New York-based private equity firm co-led the $170 million Series C round by Flutterwave in March.

Avenir Growth Capital is a private investment firm based in New York, founded in 2017 with a focus to invest in future-focused growth equity firms, backing category-defining technology and technology-enabled companies.

Valar Ventures

Valar Ventures invests in high-margin, fast-growing technology companies that are pursuing huge market opportunities. The company started its journey in investing in African startups with Nigerian Kuda Bank leading the $25 million Series A in the fintech company in March, and a co-lead in the $55 million Series B funding in August.

Valar Ventures, founded in 2010 by Andrew McCormac, with founding partners which include James Fitzgerald and Peter Thiel, has helped Kuda Bank raise $80 million across two rounds.

Target Global

A Berlin-based venture capital firm founded in 2012 by Alex Frolov has 70 percent of its funds invested in Europe-based startups and 20 percent to startups in Israel, has committed the remaining 10 percent to emerging startups in Africa.

The company invests in early-stage ventures, late-stage ventures, and seed rounds.

Being a first-time investor in Africa, Nigerian Kuda bank is one of such emerging startups and has enjoyed lead funding from Target Global in one of its last three rounds, and co-led in two of the rounds this year.

$25 million Series A round in March 2021 and the $55 million Series B in August.

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