Endure Capital completes first close of $50m fund to invest in Africa start-ups

California-based venture capital fund says it will take a sector-agnostic approach

Brimore, a Cairo-based social commerce platform, has received investment from Endure Capital's new fund Endure 21. Photo: Brimore
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Endure Capital, a venture capital company focused on early stage start-ups, has completed the first close of its new $50 million fund that will be used to invest in companies in the pan-Africa region.

The fund, Endure 21, is its second early stage venture capital fund and fourth globally.

It will take a sector-agnostic approach to investing in 24 start-ups, focusing on Africa while also considering global companies, California-based Endure Capital said on Wednesday.

The fund drew participation from British International Investment (BII), Egypt's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency and founders of several leading start-ups of the region, it said.

“Endure is committed to adding value to the region’s flourishing start-up founders and ecosystem, and we love to partner with founders that relentlessly pursue entrepreneurship as a means for value creation to society and who are building lasting businesses," said Tarek Fahim, founder of Endure Capital.

The start-up sector has grown exponentially with the increase in digitalisation in key sectors such as retail, services, e-commerce and government.

Start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa have also attracted a considerable amount of funding in recent years. They collectively raised about $1.75 billion in the region's top five countries for venture capital funding — the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia — in the first half of 2022, start-up data platform Magnitt said last month.

Looking at Africa, Nigeria was the top destination for FinTech funding among emerging venture markets in the first half of 2022, another Magnitt report found.

The country, along with the UAE, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, drove $561m in FinTech investments, accounting for about three quarters of total funding, the report said.

Globally, the value created by start-ups was about $3 trillion in 2020, which is almost on a par with the gross domestic product of a G7 economy, according to advisory firm Startup Genome. Funding for these companies broke records in 2021 when it hit $621bn, according to CB Insights.

Additionally, more than 45 unicorns — start-ups with a valuation of at least $1bn — are expected to emerge from the Mena region by 2030, led by Saudi Arabia, a recent report by Riyadh-based venture capital fund STV said.

Endure Capital — one of the earliest investors in Careem, the Dubai-based start-up that was later acquired by Uber for $3.1bn — said it would reserve half of the Endure 21 fund for follow-up investments in the top-performing companies in its portfolio.

The new fund has already made several investments, particularly in Egyptian start-ups, including co-leading the Series A funding of social commerce platform Brimore, buy now, pay later service Cassbana and smart metering company Pylon.

"Endure 21 will help support the next generation of visionary entrepreneurs in Egypt, providing them with the capital to build transformative businesses that are creating innovative solutions and accelerating productive, sustainable and inclusive growth across society,” said Abhinav Sinha, managing director and head of technology and telecoms at BII.

Careem CEO on what's next after a decade in business

Careem CEO on what's next after a decade in business

Alongside the new fund, Endure Capital also introduced two more initiatives — Endure Pay it Forward, which will see founders from its portfolio mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, and the Endure Opportunity Fund, which aims to double down on previous top investments.

Endure Capital was launched in 2015 and has investments in the UAE, Canada, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Turkey, the UK and the US.

It has contributed to creating about 10,000 direct jobs and helped to raise about $1.8bn within its portfolio.

Updated: May 19, 2023, 4:08 PM