Norrsken22 Exceeds Expectations: Raises $205 Million for African Tech Growth Fund
Norrsken22, a Pan-African venture capital firm, has successfully closed its inaugural fund in a significant development for growth-stage investment in Africa.
The fund raised was a total of $205 million, surpassing its initial target. This achievement also underscores the growing interest from institutional investors in supporting African startups at a critical phase of their journey.
Founded by a team of five individuals with extensive experience in venture capital and private equity, Norrsken22 boasts a lineup of key players, including founding partners Niklas Adalberth and Hans Otterling, managing partner Natalie Kolbe, and general partners Ngetha Waithaka and Lexi Novitske.
Despite its relatively short existence of nearly two years, the venture capital firm has established operational teams in key African markets, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana.
The Norrsken22 African Tech Growth Fund was launched in January of the previous year, with an initial close of $110 million.
Impressively, approximately 59% of the funding came from a consortium of 30 unicorn founders from around the world.
Notable names in this group include Olugbenga Agboola, CEO of Flutterwave, Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, Jacob de Geer, co-founder of iZettle, and Niklas Östberg, co-founder of Delivery Hero.
How Norrsken22 Overcame Headwinds in Pan-African Venture Capital Firm
Norrsken22 embarked on its fundraising journey during a time when the tech sector was experiencing a surge of capital inflow.
The firm engaged in discussions with various development finance institutions (DFIs) and family offices, prerequisites for raising a substantial fund in Africa, with the goal of completing the final close by the end of 2022.
However, the global tech investment landscape witnessed a pullback, affecting fundraising efforts across the board, including those from institutional investors.
In 2022, venture capital activity in Africa reached a range of $5 billion to $6 billion. In 2023, this figure dwindled to between $2.5 billion and $3.4 billion, based on data from The Big Deal and Briter Bridges, reflecting a decline in overall VC activity.
Despite the headwinds in the tech investment landscape, Norrsken22's achievement in reaching its final close is noteworthy, particularly considering the challenges faced by many VC firms, both local and global, in raising or closing their funds.
Notably, the growth fund was oversubscribed, a testament to the renewed fundraising momentum observed at the beginning of 2023.
Managing partner Natalie Kolbe attributed this success to the extensive experience of Norrsken22's founding team in African investments and the backing of other limited partners, primarily founders of unicorn startups, which played a pivotal role in generating interest and support for the fund.
Following the initial close of the fund, which garnered support from SEB Pension Foundation and several family offices, Norrsken22 attracted new limited partners, including British International Investment (BII), International Finance Corporation (IFC), U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Standard Bank, and Norfund.
This diverse range of backers highlights the growing momentum and interest in supporting African startups and fostering growth in the continent's tech ecosystem.
Tage Kene-Okafor / TechCrunch