iYa Ventures (“iYa”) is an investment fund whose mission is to provide strategic and financial resources to early-stage companies providing goods or services to under-served consumer groups in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on the growing needs of the rising middle class in the Ghanaian, Nigerian and Ethiopian markets. We further encourage the effective use of technology among Africa’s entrepreneurs.
Our team comprises professionals with expertise in private equity, law, and media. Our investment committee comprises the Diaspora with significant experience investing across a range of industries in Africa. Our ambition is to use this experience to deliver top-quartile returns by investing growth capital in companies that positively benefit local communities and the environment.
A sample of the deals we have worked on individually (pre-formation) includes:
- Bharti Airtel’s $9bn acquisition of Zain’s African telecom assets
- Market research for Kingdom Africa Management (formerly Kingdom Zephyr) a pan-African private equity investment with over $300M AUM
- The creation of Ethiopia’s Commodities Exchange
- Safaricom’s $3bn IPO
- Formation of Nigeria’s premier luxury clothing e-commerce site
- A British tabloid’s entry into Nigeria’s publishing industry
iYa makes investments in ventures where we can exercise significant influence, with the aim of delivering moderate capital growth and sustainable return over the long term.
Although sector agnostic, the Fund has domain expertise in consumer credit and finance, workforce recruitment and staffing solutions, creative industries (digital media & design), hospitality and education. The fund’s target markets are Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, where we have investee companies, local expertise and partners on the ground.
The Fund will be managed by iYa Ventures Management, a minority and woman owned advisory company headquartered in New York. iYa has a presence in Accra, Lagos, Washington, D.C. and Toronto.
iYa identifies existing small and medium-sized ventures with potential to create a wide ‘economic moat’
These startups are providing goods or services demanded by a growing consumer class and also possess comparative advantages that are difficult for a competitor to emulate in the short-term.
iYa adheres to a well-defined investment process, only investing our resources into sustainable business models
We execute our strategy by first sourcing emerging growth companies led by driven and experienced entrepreneurs leading ventures that are, broadly defined, consumer-facing. Baseline criteria:
After an extensive due diligence process, we invest in and advise only those ventures characterized by one or more of these traits:
- Geographic advantage
- Licensed or patented innovative technology
- Strong brand identity via the first-mover advantage and a strong distribution or network advantage
- Buying power or operational efficiency
iYa is local
We have deep domain expertise in both Ghana and Nigeria, and have a growing presence in Ethiopia. In Ghana, our team is on the ground working with partner NGOs, incubators and national and foreign governments, using our network to identify the most promising ventures. In Nigeria, we have a joint-venture partnership with an incubator focused on digital media and design as well as education.
Moreover, we have already have investee companies operating in both nations.
Beyond BRICS: We Believe in African’s Growth Story
The rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region. A McKinsey study estimated that at least four groups of industries—consumer-facing industries, agriculture, resources, and infrastructure—together could generate as much as $2.6 trillion in revenue annually by 2020, or $1 trillion more than today.
Notably, household discretionary income is projected to rise by 50 percent over the next 10 years and by 2030, the continent’s top 18 cities could have combined spending power of $1.3 trillion. Add to this Africa’s affluent diaspora, remitting over $33 billion to sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank estimates. This figure is project to grow to $36 billion in 2014 and $39 billion in 2015.
Today, much of this money is spent on the consumption of goods and services. We have already identified some of the ventures best positioned to provide those goods and services.to the consumer. And as early entrants into the African economies, we have the opportunity to create markets, develop local brand and influence consumer behavior. We are establishing crucial long-term relationships, and helping building the businesses that will carry the continent into the future.
We Believe in African Entrepreneurs
Africa’s greatest resources are its people. These educated, resilient, and globally minded entrepreneurs continue to build attractive, impactful and scalable ventures. As a result of their innovative efforts, 13 of the 20 fastest growing economies were located in Africa in 2012.
The African Venture Space is Under-Invested and Overlooked
Investment in microfinance institutions, private equity funds and publicly listed companies has far outpaced investment in early-stage ventures, particularly those companies with high growth but few commodities. There’s increased investment on the Continent, to be sure, our brand of venture capital is community development focused. VC as an asset class is yet to gain significant traction, but there are hopeful signs.
Private Equity inflows into sub-Saharan Africa have grown from increased by 43 per cent from 1.1 billion US dollars in 2012 to 1.6 billion dollars in 2013, according to the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA). That doubled in 2014, with private equity players raising a record $4 billion for Africa, according to the economist. Yet these billions going to Africa only amount for about 1% private equity investment globally.
UNCTAD estimates total foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 of $36.9 billion, with the vast majority of going to mature industries, including infrastructure, energy, mining and real estate.
We are a Vehicle by which Investors can Provide Strategic Financial Investment and Essential Services to African startups
Our access to a wide-range of ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa and commitment to the continent make us a good investment vehicle for American and Canadian investors with an appetite for Africa’s growth story. We work with the most promising African entrepreneurs effectively meeting Africa’s consumer demands, engage our network of experienced sector experts, and develop metrics to achieve and measure community impact.
Additionally, we take equity from each investee company then provide them with advisory services. Our team’s combined expertise in finance, private equity, venture capital, corporate law and media is iYa’ s strategic advantage, elevating these ventures to global standard levels by instituting rigorous performance benchmarks.
Consumer Sectors With Tremendous Growth and Impact Potential
– E-learning, software development, examination prep to level the playing field globally (e.g. Andela in Nigeria)
• Health Care
– TeleMedicine for new mothers and women with sensitive issues (e.g. Hello Doctor in Ethiopia, Sproxil and Mpharma across the Continent)
• Financial Services
– Mobile payment platforms for the unbanked and small business owner (e.g. Zeepay in Ghana, Soco in South Africa)
– Delivering goods and services in the face of terrible infrastructure and crowded roads (e.g. SupermartNG* and ACE Logistics in Nigeria)
– Highlighting the work of local artists and designers (e.g. Iroko TV, FaceAfrica)