Breaking down France’s new $76M Africa startup fund

Weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a $76M African startup fund at VivaTech 2018, TechCrunch paid a visit to the French Development Agency (AFD) — who will administer the new fund — to get more details on how le noveau fonds will work.

The $76M (or €65M) will divvy up into three parts, according to AFD Digital Task Team Leader Christine Ha.

“There are €10M [$11.7M] for technical assistance to support the African ecosystem… €5M will be available as interest free loans to high potential, pre seed startups…and…€50M [$58M] will be for equity-based investments in series A to C startups,” explained Ha during a meeting in Paris.

The technical assistance will distribute in the form of grants to accelerators, hubs, incubators, and coding programs. The pre-seed startup loans will issue in amounts up to $100K “as early, early funding to allow entrepreneurs to prototype, launch, and experiment,” said Ha.

The $58M in VC startup funding will be administered through Proparco, a development finance institution—or DFI—partially owned by the AFD. The money will come “from Proparco’s balance sheet”…and a portion “will be invested in VC funds active on the continent,” said Ha.

Proparco already invests in Africa focused funds such as TLcom Capital and Partech Ventures. “Proparco will take equity stakes, and will be a limited partner when investing in VC funds,” said Ha.

Startups from all African countries can apply for a piece of the $58M by contacting any of Proparco’s Africa offices (including in Casablanca, Abidjan, Douala, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg).

And what will AFD (and Proparco) look for in African startup candidates? “We are targeting young and innovative companies able to solve problems in terms of job creation, access to financial services, energy, health, education and affordable goods and services…[and] able to scale up their venture on the continent,” said Ha.

The $11.7M technical assistance and $5.8M loan portions of France’s new fund will be available starting 2019. On implementation, AFD is still “reviewing several options…such as relying on local actors through [France’s] Digital Africa platform,” said Ha.

Digital Africa­—a broader French government initiative to support the African tech ecosystem—will launch a new online platform in November 2018 with resources for startup entrepreneurs.

So that’s the skinny on France’s new Africa fund. It adds to a load of VC announced for the continent in less than 15 months, including $70 for Partech Ventures, TPG Growth’s $2BN Rise Fund, and $40M at TLcom Capital

Though $75M (and these other amounts) may pale compared to Silicon Valley VC values, it’s a lot for a startup scene that — at rough estimate—attracted only $400M four years ago.  African tech entrepreneurs, you now have a lot more global funding options, including from France.

Evernote’s Freshly Minted COO Linda Kozlowski Is Leaving The Company

evernote Evernote made a name for itself as the platform where you could store your ideas and notes for life, and beyond. But the same permanence does not apply to the people who work there. We’ve confirmed through multiple sources that Linda Kozlowski, Evernote’s COO, has put in her notice and will be leaving the company by the end of this year. It’s the latest in a series of… Read More

The POTUS Gets A Facebook Page

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.53.21 PM Despite the headlines you may see today, President Obama already has a verified Facebook page. It’s this one: facebook.com/barackobama/. Obama launched another Facebook page for himself today, this time the official POTUS Facebook page.
“Hello, Facebook! I finally got my very own page,” the President wrote on the page.
Confused? So are we, but this is in line with the… Read More

The Teenaged Maker Who Was Arrested For Building A Clock Is Moving To Qatar

ahmed0001 Ahmed Mohamed has accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development where he will join the QF Young Innovators Program. The family announced the move today, some 24 hours after meeting with President Obama. Ahmed gained Internet fame last month school officials called the police when he was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school.… Read More

President Bill Clinton Steps Into VR

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.58.47 AM As I mentioned during my VR panel at TC Disrupt last week, Bill Clinton has been messing around with virtual reality. Today, Felix & Paul Studios’ production “Inside Impact: East Africa” has hit both Oculus (Oculus Store for Gear VP Innovator Edition) and Facebook 360 degree video. For the video embedded below, hit play and drag the screen around to get the full… Read More

America’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer DJ Patil Is Coming To Disrupt SF 2015

DJ Patil - Greylock White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for data policy DJ Patil is coming on stage with us at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015. We’re excited to have him come and chat with us about his role as the first national data scientist.
President Obama appointed Patil to his current position this spring. Patil was formerly the head of data science at LinkedIn but came to the White House from… Read More

iRobot and CyPhy Co-founder Helen Greiner To Talk Robotics, Drones And Founding Companies At Disrupt SF 2015

Helen-Greiner When it comes to the complex world of robotics, Helen Greiner is an expert. She was one of the co-founders of iRobot, the robotics company responsible for the wonderful vacuuming Roomba robot, and she founded and currently helms CyPhy Works, which develops UAVs for search and rescue missions and bridge inspections. We’re stoked to announce that Greiner will be joining us live on stage… Read More

Square’s Board Adds Former Brown University President Ruth Simmons

IMG_4907 Square announced a powerful addition to their board today, former Brown University President, Ruth Simmons. Before her 11-year post at Brown, she was the President of Smith College, establishing the first engineering program at an American women’s college. Jack Dorsey, Square’s CEO, had this to say about Simmons in a release: Ruth has inspired generations of young people to… Read More

Shinola, Grado Labs, And Adafruit To Talk Making And Manufacturing At Disrupt NY

fried-grado-panis Manufacturing never left America. Even during the recession, good people were still building good things. Recently, though, thanks to the maker movement, small-scale manufacturing is seeing a renaissance throughout the world, something the president of Shinola, Vice President of Grado Labs, and founder of Adafruit will discuss at Disrupt NY. Each of these people have a unique vantage point on… Read More

A Conversation With DemocracyOS, The YC Non-Profit That Built A Latin American Political Party

democracyos One of the stranger things that Y Combinator has supported — among the many more interesting things they’ve started to back like prosthetic legs, macrobiotic research and Uber-for-marijuana startups — is a non-profit that built an entire political party in Buenos Aires, Argentina. DemocracyOS is a software platform that allows regular voters to debate and forward policy ideas.… Read More