Lateral Capital Firm to Give African Startups a New Dawn

Steven Grin, Rob Eloff , Nigeria, Kenya, Koko Network

Steven Grin’s frontier markets goal came as a result of early training in the United States. In the US, he learned about energy, infrastructure projects, real estate development. He raised US$250 million in Guayana low-cost carbon development. Steven Grin and Rob Eloff launched Lateral Capital in 2015. This followed the establishment of angel investing in Africa. The company aid in renewable energy, financial services, healthcare, housing, and education. The firm implemented the agenda via US$50 million Lateral Africa Opportunities Fund.

Guaya market comprised of high business growth rate and low invests capital US$250,000 to US$10 million. Mr. Grin’s capital intermediation model did not tap opportunities in the market. He started the angel investing using personal funds to find a fit model in Africa market. The firm rolled out four investment projects which attracted Bill Gates and Capria.

According to Grin, the company realized US$10 million extra funding from the portfolio companies. The company structured first exists in last summer via secondary sales. Lateral Capital is planning to launch regional offices in Lagos and Nairobi. The company is mission-driven and invests in profitable companies in Africa. He noted that human capital, environment and financial services are the economic growth pillars. Besides Kenya and Nigeria, other potential Africa countries are Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda.

Dynamic Africa Market

Business models developed superseded the continent but helped to grasp Silicon Valley opportunities. African market comprised of professionals, raw talents, hustlers, innovative engineers and experienced entrepreneurs. Startups in the continent are a focus to solve real-life problems unlike in the western world.

For instance, Koko Network helps in mitigating cooking fuel havoc, in urban dwellers. Cooking fuel is an Africa problem which results in deforestation and even death. This challenge on the other hands, can is a market opportunity worth US$20 billion. Despite startups’ inadequate funds in the continent, Africa has endowed resources. Grin noted that startups lack policy support in many countries across the continent. Over 50% of Sub Saharan Africa GDP originates from SME sectors.

To improve startups performance, policy markets need to transform entrepreneurial ecosystem. Strategies include legal framework, incentives, and creation of attractive environment among others. Startups investment in Africa is below the global average capital pools. Nevertheless, Africans form 15% of global population but receives less than 0.1% of global capital.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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