Byld Ventures, a $15 million fund supports fintech companies in Africa • TechCrunch


two years ago Youssef Odjidan Co-founder of the Sudanese FinTech Company Thrives After failing to find devaluation startups in Africa to invest in, he was the managing partner and president of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) at Class 5 Global, a San Francisco-based venture fund with a keen interest in emerging markets.

But the Category 5 wasn’t his first investment opportunity. At Solebury Capital, a small investment bank later acquired by PNC Financial Services, the UK-born entrepreneur, who is of Algerian descent, was a principal partner and worked on several technology IPOs including Snapchat. In 2017, he joined as Head of Strategy and Investments at Dubai Future Foundation, a small team that launched the first venture capital fund in Dubai Government.

In Category 5, Oudjidane led investments in African startups such as tildeAnd the dashAnd the good And the Buyer. The investor also partnered with several professional footballers such as Mesut Ozil, who was a partner in the project. His relationship with footballers proved his worth – Odgdan played the sport at the college level and won scholarships – and other athletes proved his worth in his next adventure: Build Ventures, a $15 million fund launched in May focused on early-stage start-ups in Africa. More than a dozen athletes have supported the fund, as well as the Dubai government and several unnamed institutional LPs.

“For the past 12 months, founders in Africa have been reaching out to me for advice and I have been investing personally,” the co-founder said in an interview. “So, I decided to institutionalize it and create a fund together.”

Byld Ventures nearly reached its first close in June, and a second close at $10 million last month. Oudjidane expects to achieve final closing by the end of the year. Early stage fund – which made four investments: Ceviant, Apata, Altheer And the anchor – Consists of four project partners, mostly co-founders supported by Ojidane: Ahmed Sabah (CEO of Telda), Prince Boampong (CEO of Dash), Skehinah Adewumi (CEO of Apata) and Kieran Gibbs, footballer professional.

Oudjidane believes Africa is at the intersection of opportunity, the next billion people who will come online — and based on his current portfolio of pre-seed startups, fintech is what piques his fund’s interest.

“We invest early, sometimes before the presentation; we make the joke perfectly, as soon as you turn in your resignation,” said the co-founder. “We strive to be the founding president of the company; We want to be there on the first day. Fintech is our bread and butter. It’s just what we know and what we like.”

Build Ventures

LR: Youssef Ogdan (Co-Founder, Byld Ventures), Kehinde Dabiri (CEO, Ceviant), Kieran Gibbs (Venture Partner, Byld Ventures), Idris Saliu (Co-Founder, Ceviant), Andy Yiadom (LP, Byld Ventures) and Khaled Al Saud (Associate, Byld Ventures).

Fintechs dominate fundraising in Africa, accounting for nearly $3 billion, or two-thirds of the total investment made by startups across the continent last year, Report Through market insights Briter Bridges emerges. This amount was also more than double $1.35 billion The investment raised by fintechs in Africa in 2020, and triple the amount in 2019.

The Byld Ventures portfolio indicates that the fund has a narrower focus within the fintech sector because it prefers supporting startups that build APIs and infrastructure games. Rally Cap, an emerging market fund, manages an identical portfolio setup. Investing in startups to build financial infrastructure is one of Byld Ventures’ main themes, as well as startups working to reverse the brain drain in Africa and repeat founders. For the latter, three of the company’s investments went to founders with successful exits: Skehinah Adewumii’s Touch Tech PaymentsIdris Salio Fansoo And Segun Adeyemi amplify, enlarge, exaggerate Acquired by Stripe, Interswitch, and Carbon, respectively.

“I doubt many investors have our knowledge of fintech in Africa,” Co-Founder replied as to why fintech founders choose Byld Ventures at checkout to increase incorporation checks. “We build deep and personal bonds with the founders, perhaps a byproduct of being open and vulnerable. For example, some founders are reluctant to seek advice from investors when proverbial nonsense collides; Chances are, we’ve been through worse. We believe in the power of intellectual honesty and independent thinking to help reach optimal decisions.”

In terms of what the company looks for in founders, Oudjidane says Byld is particular about others who are technical, committed and frugal. “I think alignment with the founder problem is also critical because we know how difficult it is to start a company and there are a lot of secondary effects on the founder,” he adds.

Oudjidane said the four-month-old venture capital firm does not intend to invest in more than 15 to 20 portfolio companies in this first fund. According to him, Byld is not a “prayer and spray shop” and will invest an average ticket size of $500,000 in startups while keeping about 50% of the fund to continue.

Byld Ventures is eyeing startups mainly in Egypt and Nigeria due to the experiences of the partners in those markets; However, they will also be watching Ethiopia and Algeria – the latter was a biased choice due to Odgdan’s roots. However, personally, Odgdan is one of the few people on the continent who juggles the roles of founder and investor simultaneously; In his case, a Sudan-based fintech fund and a UK-based fund. He says the physical synergy between both duties gives him this privilege. Bloom and Bild are personal to me. I believe in the potential of Africa and want to dedicate my life to ‘Transcendence’. It is our duty. [this generation] to lead the change,” the co-founder commented.



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