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Lateral Capital Achieves First Close of $50-Mn Fund For African Startups, Exceeding Its Initial Target


TechInAfrica — Lateral Capital has achieved the first close that exceeding its initial closing target of $20 million with the Lateral Investment Partners I Fund initiative.

Lateral Capital, which has offices across the United States and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, accepted its first LP commitment in early 2018. With the initial close exceeding expectations, the venture capital firm is well on track to reach its final close target of $50 million in 2020.

The VC firm has built a solid structure by providing technology solutions across financial services, education, healthcare, and real assets, with a presence in New York, Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg.

Managed by Steven Grin and Rob Eloff, Lateral Capital is led by a team that has, between them, more than 40 years of experience in the African tech scene drawn from working in up to 15 African countries. They have collectively done no less than $3.5 billion in transactions.

Samakab Hashi, a Partner at Lateral Capital, handles operations in Nairobi, Kenya. The VC firm also has Ochuwa Akhigbe-Ogionwo and Garikai Govati holding down the fort in Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa, respectively.

Lateral Capital’s Lateral Investment Partners I Fund has the capacity to invest between $250,000 to $5 million in early and growth-stage companies across the capital structure.

The firm’s presence in multiple tech hot spots exerts enough influence to deliver on its mission of bridging the divide between opportunity and capital via its US and African teams.

Backing Nairobi-based LipaLater, the fund has already made three new and two follow-on investments in 2020, after making its tenth portfolio investment in Q4 2019. It also has set a target to review 1,000 investment opportunities in 2020 to add up to six new portfolio companies in the form of equity or debt.

Since the company’s establishment, it has also backed Asoko Insight, AppZone, Koko Networks, Lynk, MedSaf, WorkStyle Africa, and SparkMeter. It has also made and exited investments in one of its former investment partners, Silvertree Internet Holdings.

The initial close of the Lateral Investment Partners I Fund, which was led by Investmon Corp. — the family-owned investment company that specializes in high impact, disruptive businesses in new and emerging markets — drew participation from institutional investors and leading family offices across the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Albert M. Amon, Executive Director of Investmon, said, “Investmon identified and backed Lateral Capital as its partner for African venture investing on the strength of its African and US team and cornerstone portfolio. We believe in their innovative model of company building and are confident that their approach to technology venture capital in Africa is the right way forward.“

Lateral Capital, which describes itself as a mission-driven venture fund that invests in early and growth-stage opportunities by partnering with visionary entrepreneurs with a demonstrated commitment to its mission and first-principles thinking in profitably solving pressing challenges, is part of the Capria and Align17 impact investment networks.

Regarding the development, Lateral capital’s Managing Partner, Steven Grin, said, “We are fortunate to have received the backing of such a high caliber group of families and institutions. This initial milestone positions us well to continue creating valuable companies with talented founders who deploy technology to build for the needs of the world’s fastest-growing region.”

Rob Eloff added that the investment firm is targeting six investments in 2020, and some of those are already in the bag with the next investment closing potentially coming as soon as next month.

Besides Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, Lateral Capital also aims for investments in other parts of Africa, seeking opportunities with Francophone Africa and Ethiopia.



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