Goodwell Investments and Alitheia Capital have announced the first closing of their uMunthu II fund, which invests in early and growth-stage SMEs in Africa, with a particular emphasis on women-led firms. A diversified collection of international investors led the fund’s capital round.
uMunthu is a pan-African fund that invests in SMEs that improve access in important sectors such as financial inclusion, digital inclusion, mobility and logistics, energy, healthcare, education, clean drinking water, and sanitation for underserved groups in society.
Els Boerhof, managing partner of Goodwell said, : “The challenge is that even with this progress, millions of households lack access to affordable basic goods and services. At the same time, this group has significant buying power. The African market provides a huge opportunity for impact and economic growth, especially during turbulent economic times, as we learned once again during recent crises. African economies and specifically inclusive businesses that provide essential products are highly resilient and continue to grow, contrary to global developments. Because crisis or not, unmet demand for basic goods and services on the continent will rise for an ever-growing group of underserved users.”
The investment seeks to close this gap in Africa by investing in local entrepreneurs who provide locally tailored solutions to pressing concerns.
Women-led investment teams will operate from the same locations as the entrepreneurs they support, generating a deeper awareness of the local environment and facilitating significant change.
According to Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder and managing director of Alitheia Capital comments: “uMunthu II will tap into the huge potential of inclusive businesses that provide high-quality, reasonably priced goods and services for underserved low-income groups, such as food, housing, transportation, and healthcare. Improving access to these essentials directly links to increasing participation in social and economic networks and improving livelihoods. Funding from uMunthu II will enable these innovative entrepreneurs to build businesses that reach millions of underserved end-users while delivering positive social and environmental impact and market-rate financial returns.”
uMunthu II wants to fill this void by aggressively seeking out women-driven enterprises, as just 15% of venture capital funding is currently directed toward companies started or headed by women.
In addition, the fund plans to extend the uMunthu II portfolio and recruit new family offices and institutional investors to its network.