Five notable African private equity and venture capital deals in April

Development Partners International, alongside co-investors, has made a $165 million equity investment in Kazyon, a discount grocery retailer in Egypt.

Development Partners International, alongside co-investors, has made a $165 million equity investment in Kazyon, a discount grocery retailer in Egypt.

We highlight five of the most interesting African private equity and venture capital investments that came across our desk in April, covering sectors such as retail, transportation and fish farming.

This article is published in association with Africa Private Equity News, a one-stop source for industry-related information. Stay up to date by downloading the free Africa Private Equity News app here: Android | iOS 

1. Significant investment targets Egypt’s retail market

Egyptian discount grocery retailer Kazyon has attracted a $165 million investment from private equity firm Development Partners International (DPI), alongside co-investors, including British International Investment and South Suez. The chain has 600 stores across Egypt. According to a statement by DPI, Egypt’s mass market remains underserved in terms of retail options.

In an interview earlier this month, investor Eliot Pence, co-founder of Tofino Capital, also expressed bullish sentiments about the Egyptian market. “We’ve been super excited about Egypt for a long time … What makes Egypt different is that it’s a very large market and there is a real middle class that’s connected and digitally savvy,” he said. Read more: Investor Eliot Pence on backing frontier market startups.

2. Betting on paper-based products

Amidst the rise of digitisation, The Rohatyn Group has made an investment in Kensta, one of East Africa’s largest paper merchandisers. The Kenya-based family business, founded in the 1960s, makes paper-based stationery products for use in schools and offices. In addition it is also involved in distributing printing supplies and the provision of associated office equipment and IT services.

3. Nigerian bus-sharing service gains $4m boost

Nigerian transport platform Shuttlers, which provides shared bus transportation solutions for individuals and corporate passengers, has secured an additional $4 million in equity funding to accelerate its growth. The latest funding round was led by Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures.

The platform allows passengers to book rides on specific routes. To reserve a ride, users can register on the platform and either pay the fare themselves or have it covered by their employers. Presently, about 260 buses travel through 300 routes daily in Lagos and Abuja. These buses come with on-board entertainment and free wifi.

4. Filling East Africa’s fish supply gap

East African aquaculture platform, Victory Farms, has completed its $35 million Series B funding round to fund the expansion of its operations in Kenya, Rwanda, and potential entry into Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. The round was led by Creadev, a global investor controlled by the Mulliez Family. Other investors included the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF), DOB Equity, Endeavor Catalyst Fund, and Hesabu Capital.

“The East African fish supply deficit is one of the greatest supply-demand imbalances in the global food system today,” said Victory Farms in a statement to announce the fundraising round. “Regional governments estimate a supply gap of one million metric tonnes of fish per annum. The aquaculture industry supplies meet a mere 3% of the deficit.” Read more: Fish in East Africa: Among world’s greatest food ‘supply-demand imbalances’

5. Europe’s growing appetite for Kenyan avocados

UK-based impact investment firm AgDevCo has supported Agris, the agriculture and forestry division of Maris Africa, and Israeli avocado producer Granot, in establishing a 390-hectare avocado plantation at Agris’ flagship Ndabibi farm in Naivasha, Kenya. The demand for avocados in Europe keeps growing, and Naivasha offers favourable conditions that yield high-quality fruit at lower unit costs. The Ndabibi farm benefits from these growing conditions and is situated less than a day’s travel from the international port of Mombasa, providing convenient sea links to Europe and other markets.

In a recent interview with How we made it in Africa, Maris CEO Charlie Tryon expressed that he sees potential in East Africa for producing crops like avocados, fresh herbs, and various vegetables, primarily for export to Europe and the Middle East. Read more: Export potential for East African avocados and fresh produce to Europe, Middle East