French investment group adds three African SMEs under its $57m Fund portfolio

IInvestisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), an impact investment group dedicated to African Small and Medium Enterprises has through its I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 fund invested in three African SMEs with regional footprint on the continent. The investments are the the first to be made since the Paris-based investment group launched the IPAE 2 fund in December 2017 with a first closing at €50 million ($57.45 million).

The three SMEs are AFRIBON, which is specialized in the development, production and marketing of food flavors in East Africa; African Management Initiative (AMI), a company pioneering a scalable approach to workplace learning for Africa, present in 11 African countries; and CoinAfrique, a mobile platform designed to easily sell and buy products within the community of users.

“More and more we meet companies such as Afribon, AMI or CoinAfrique, aiming for multi-country expansion. Besides, African companies are increasingly integrating new technologies into their service offering and/or business model,” says Jérémy Hajdenberg, Chief Investment Officer at I&P.

I&P has a target size of €80 million for IPAE 2. Hence, a second closing between €70 and 75 million is expected to be announced by the end of 2018. The Fund aims to invest in equity and quasi-equity in 30 to 40 startups and SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, particularly in West and Central Africa. The Fund will also be looking to East Africa and Madagascar.

Mature companies and large projects that still fall within the SME category often struggle to get desired investment, with very few equity or debt investors willing to finance them in spite of their high-potential. I&P acknowledges that such companies represent a powerful growth driver in Africa, hence its IPAE 2’s investment ticket size, which can reach up to €3 million, allows it to support them.

Besides equity investment, IPAE 2 also provides companies with active participation in their governance, personalized managerial support and technical assistance resources, enabling them to reach their full potential in terms of growth and impact.

IPAE 2 aims to deliver significant financial return and essential social and environmental impact, including notably: the promotion of a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the use of local subcontractors, job creation, the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship, the protection of the environment, etc.