Mobius investor, Playfair Capital, raises KShs. 3bn for start-ups

Playfair Capital, the UK venture capital firm — whose founding partner Federico Pirzio-Biroli is an early-stage investor in Kenya’s Mobius Motors — has raised $32 million (about KSh3.2 billion) for investing in promising tech start-ups.

The company said it plans to invest the funds over the next three to five years.

The firm, however, did not clarify to the Business Daily how much of the war chest by one of London’s top venture capital funds will be channeled into Kenya and which sectors it would be eyeing.

Mr Pirzio-Biroli recently relocated to Kenya but will still act as chairman of Playfair Capital. When he announced he was shifting to Nairobi as his base for African expansion, experts predicted African start-ups could be lined up for angel investment by the firm.

An angel investor provides capital for a business start-ups, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.

“I’m delighted to be announcing … the launch of Playfair’s Fund II,” said Mr Pirzio-Biroli in a statement.

“With the new fund we will seek out start-ups that use deep tech and data to create a defensible proposition that has longevity. We are hugely excited about opportunities in the deep tech, SaaS and marketplace segments where we have already demonstrated success”.

Critical products
Mr Pirzio-Biroli last year said he plans to keep his stake in Mobius. Through Playfair Capital, he has invested in more than 20 companies across the UK, Europe, the US and Africa.

“Mobius is a fantastic example of ‘Africa 2.0’ — businesses that provide critical products and are playing a key role in the region’s industrialisation. Our continued commitment to the company reflects our excitement to realise this vision,” he was quoted saying.

Playfair also has some stake in Andela, a Nairobi and Lagos based company that trains programmers for placement with tech giants.

Andela received about $24 million (about Sh2.4 billion) investment from Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (his wife).

Mobius Motors, which pioneered production of a stripped-down car model for African roads, has lately announced plans to boost production with its new Mobius II.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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