We are excited for the launch of Savannah Fund at Pivot East conference in Nairobi this week. Thought it would be good to provide some clarification on the fund.
Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in US$25,000-US$500,000 investments in early stage high growth technology (web and mobile) startups addressing the Sub-Saharan Africa market. Initially focused in East Africa, we aim to bridge the gap in early stage/angel and venture capital investment that currently exists in Africa. The Fund has 3 components and expects to achieve this objective by combining capital with mentor networks both in the region and from Silicon Valley via an
1) accelerator program in Nairobi, Kenya ($25k) and a
2) follow on fund for successful accelerator graduates ($100-200k) and
3) independent seed fund ($100-500k)
The Partners of Savannah Fund bring a complimentary mix of skill set for deal flow, on the ground due diligence and technical assistance to support startups. Erik Hersman is the founder of Ushahidi, a crisis management platform and the founder of the iHub in Nairobi, the leading workspace in Subsaharan Africa with over 5,000 members. Paul Bragiel is a serial tech entrepreneur and founder of i/o ventures, an early stage seed and accelerator program from San Francisco that has incubated 16 startups with 3 exits. Mbwana Alliy is a Tanzanian who has a blend of experience in both Silicon Valley, UK and Africa, having worked as a product manager at Microsoft for Excel & Access, systems engineer for QinetiQ and a founder of Tanzania’s first online travel portal and as an Entrepreneur in Residence for i/o ventures.
Savannah Fund is building a mentor-driven network, connecting top local & silicon valley entrepreneurs who have built successful Global & African companies to promising startups on the continent and helps address the concern that many startups in Africa do not have the capacity to absorb larger amounts of growth venture capital.
We are by no means the first accelerator or tech fund in the region, but we believe we are unique and first of a kind to span accelerator to seed financing in the tech space and effectively address a critical funding gap.
The accelerator program is now open for the first class of 5 startups beginning September. www.savannah.vc/accelerator
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