Stockholm-based Norrsken Foundation, a non-profit organisation solving problems such as poverty, famine, environmental issues, and mental health, announced on Monday that it has launched a $200M (approx €179M) fund to back Africa’s future tech giants.
Founded by Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth, the Norrsken Foundation has teamed up with Hans Otterling, Partner at Northzone, an investment team led by Natalie Kolbe, previously Global Head of Private Equity at Actis in South Africa, Actis colleague Ngetha Waithaka in Kenya, and Lexi Novitske, prior founder of Acuity Venture Partners in Nigeria, to launch Norrsken22 Africa Tech Growth Fund.
Niklas Adalberth says, “Africa has a population of 1.2 billion, where 60 per cent are below 25 years old. In the next decade, this young, digital-first generation will change not only the future of Africa but of the world.”
The Norrsken22 African Tech Growth Fund has reached its first close of $110M. This comes after Norrsken closed a €125M impact fund for European startups in March, 2021. Norrsken22 will back businesses in the fintech, edtech, medtech, and market-enabling solutions.
Who has backed the fund?
Out of the $110M investment, $65M came from a group of 30 unicorn founders. Some of them include Flutterwave co-founder Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, iZettle co-founder Jacob de Geer, and Delivery Hero co-founder Niklas Östberg. Others include Carl Manneh, co-founder of Mojang, Sebastian Knutsson, co-founder of King, and Willard Ahdritz, founder of Kobalt Music also contributed. The fund is also backed by SEB Pension Foundation and family offices.
According to a statement, the fund is supported by an advisory council of business leaders from across the continent, contributing local business knowledge as well as global perspectives. They include Nonkululeko Nyembezi, Chairman of Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Arnold Ekpe, ex-Group Chief Executive, Ecobank, Phuthuma Nhleko, ex-Chief Executive of MTN and Shingai Mutasa, founder and CEO of Masawara Plc.
Norrsken Foundation says it will re-invest its portion of the capital generated by Norrsken22 back into supporting African entrepreneurship, to further promote the growth of the African tech ecosystem and a new generation of founders.
Ngetha Waithaka told TC, “Norrsken22 plans to invest 40 per cent of its capital, about $80M in Series A and B companies and the rest in follow-on rounds from Series C up until exit. The firm will make 20 investments at an average ticket size of $10M and may go as high as $60M, including follow-on rounds in some portfolio companies.”
According to Hans Otterling, founding partner at Norrsken22, eyes are turning towards Africa as the next epicentre for digital disruption. Otterling says, “Technology is enabling emerging enterprises to leapfrog legacy ways of doing business. Leaders are emerging but a lack of growth capital is holding them back.”
The pan-African investment team, based in the key tech hubs of Africa, have previously backed Africa’s fastest-growing unicorns from Fawry to Flutterwave and are focused on helping companies expand regionally and internationally, delivering the support that African founders need when scaling their businesses.
About Norrsken and Norrsken22
Founded in 2016 by Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth, Norrsken is a non-profit foundation that believes entrepreneurs building scalable businesses are the best bet to solving the hardest and biggest problems such as poverty, famine, environmental issues, mental health, and integration.
Norrsken supports entrepreneurs in two ways. The first is through a co-working space for 425 impact entrepreneurs in Stockholm. The second is through a VC fund backed by unicorn founders, which invests in companies with the potential to improve the world. Norrsken VC is a €130M impact VC fund and manages the Norrsken Impact Accelerator for early-stage impact startups.
In 2019, Norrsken announced the first step in its global expansion – Rwanda, where it is building the biggest hub for entrepreneurship in East Africa. The centre, located in Kigali, has now opened up to the region, though it is happening in two phases. The first phase will welcome 250 entrepreneurs, according to TC. The second may bring in over 750 additional entrepreneurs by December 2022.
Norrsken22 is a tech growth equity fund that partners with entrepreneurs to scale their disruptive businesses across Africa. It is founded on the belief that scalable entrepreneurship drives long-term and sustainable economic growth. The fund is managed by a pan-African investment team with previous experience of backing Africa’s fastest-growing tech unicorns.