As Nigeria’s startup culture becomes more attuned to the modern
fast-changing business landscape, entrepreneurs are finding that there
are more ways to achieve their aims than the restrictions of regularity
and tradition suggest. If there’s one aspect of business in Nigeria
that’s beginning to undergo this shift from the old to the new, it’s the
funding of businesses.
Venture Capitalists are doing something for SMEs and startups, that
the more well known financial institutions have only partially succeeded
at; they’re injecting substantial amounts of money into them, in the
belief that these relatively small but promising enterprises, will
blossom speedily and yield considerable financial surpluses as rewards.
What’s more, venture capital firms may also provide invaluable advice
and technical support to the companies that they fund. All of this comes
at a price: VCs (as they’re sometimes called) get a share of the
company in exchange for their investment in it. This guarantees them a
portion of the company’s profits (or losses).
If you’re looking for a venture capital firm to fund your startup, you may consider any of these six VCs.
- Adlevo Capital
This venture capital firm has a strong bias toward technology-driven
businesses, as its investments show. Prominent among companies it has
invested in are Interswitch, an electronic payment process service provider, and Paga, a Fintech startup that’s working to simplify payments processes in Nigeria.
But Adlevo does invest in companies that are at various stages of
development. It requires that such companies have a strong management
team and operate in a market with great opportunities for high, consumer
Founded in 1994, this transnational private equity firm boasts a hard
to ignore string of achievements. It manages assets worth $1.2 billion,
has invested in over 140 small and mid sized companies in 25 African
countries, and has offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London, as well as in
France, Egypt and Tunisia.
AfricInvest puts its money into businesses in the construction,
manufacturing, retail, financial services, agribusiness and technology
sectors. It’s also interested in ventures operating in the
pharmaceutical, healthcare, education, chemicals and logistics and
Alitheia provides financial and non-financial support to early and
growth stage companies in the financial services, clean energy and
construction sector- a money backed nod to the future. Its funding comes
from social investors, development finance institutions, pension funds,
Apart from the financial jumpstart that Alitheia gives businesses, it
also avails them of “hands-on strategic guidance and support”. In order
to qualify for this support, companies must have capable management
teams and a demonstrable high growth potential.
- EchoVC Partners
EchoVC has its tentacles spread across two continents. It invests in
budding and growing technology startups in North America and sub-Saharan
Africa, and leverages its connections with Silicon Valley to provide
valuable strategic advice to the African (Nigerian) businesses it
EchoVC has funded a number of well known startups, including online print shop Printivo, and hotel listing site Hotels.ng.
If you would like to have EchoVC invest in your startup, you can submit your proposal to them via their website.
- Unique Venture Capital
Unique Venture Capital (UVC) was established in 2004 by 5 Nigerian
banks. It invests in SMEs operating in the agricultural sector, and has a
record of lending support to poultry, fishery and piggery businesses.
It also targets companies in the tourism and manufacturing sectors.
Businesses can access loans of up to ₦200 million from UVC’s SMEEIS funds.
- Sahel Capital
Sahel Capital funds commercial establishments in the agribusiness
sector. Since its incorporation in 2010, it has grown its profile as a
uniquely agriculture focused private equity firm. In 2013 it was
selected to manage the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN),
a $100 million investment fund that provides capital and technical
assistance to agricultural SMEs.
Agribusinesses with a track record of strong profitability, strong
growth potential and competent management team are eligible for Sahel’s