Visa Foundation and Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund invested in the first institutional fund raising by Nigerian equity and gender-focused firm Aruwa Capital Management.
The two firms helped raise more than $20 million for the Nigerian company to invest in women-led enterprises facing capital challenges on the continent, Lagos-based Aruwa said in an emailed statement. Others who contributed to the funding include closely held Nyala Venture and family businesses from Africa, Europe and the US, it said.
Founded in 2019 by Adesuwa Okunbo, an ex-investment banker at JPMorgan Chase Co., Aruwa plans to invest $500,000 to $2.5 million “in women-focused small and growing businesses in Nigeria and Ghana,” in sectors including healthcare, renewable energy and financial technology, it said.
Africa’s female entrepreneurs and startups have been under-represented in access to capital in Africa. Out of 300 companies that raised $3.5 billion in venture capital in the six months through June, only 27% were led by female founders or have at least one female founder, according to a report by the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.
Aruwa has made six investments and committed more than 45% of its capital to firms that met its investment criteria, the company said. “The fund aims to create more sustainable and scalable pathways for economic growth and inclusion in the region,” it said.