SMEs and Ventures

Innovate Africa Fund Is Now Launched with $2.5M For Early-Stage Africa-Focused Startups

Innovate Africa Fund, an angel investment fund that supports early-stage founders in funding life-changing ideas, taking startups from conception to product and financing innovative ventures, has launched with an initial $2.5 million rollout. Co-founded by Kristin Wilson and Christian Idiodi, the sector-agnostic fund aims to support up to 20 startups in its first year to solve complex, recognised problems such as insecurity, unemployment, and poverty with purpose-driven technology.

Since 2019, there has been a positive growth in the African funding landscape, with disclosed exits exceeding $2.3 billion. This represents a significant 13.4% of the total $17.2 billion raised by African startups. Despite this progress, early-stage founders continue to encounter challenges in navigating the path from ideation to market fit. The persistent lack of early-stage funding further exacerbates these difficulties, impeding many startups from realizing their full potential and contributing to the continent’s economic growth.

BuyMyBusiness Business Brokers
BuyMyBusiness Business Brokers

Innovate Africa Fund aims to empower startups to thrive in Africa’s ever-evolving tech landscape by providing insight-driven capital to help founders accelerate the journey from Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to Product-Market Fit (PMF). The goal is to facilitate the infrastructure that enables founders to unlock growth through audacious problem-solving, supported by access to a comprehensive ecosystem of resources.

The Innovate Africa Fund, led by Managing Partner Kristin, offers a comprehensive support package to early-stage founders in Africa. With an average investment of $50,000, the fund provides expert guidance in finance, governance, public relations, and strategy to propel startups towards success. Through the Product Leadership Accelerator, startups receive crucial product development support to refine their offerings and achieve product-market fit.

Additionally, the fund facilitates talent resourcing by connecting startups with skilled professionals through an extensive partner network. The fund’s portfolio strategy includes first cheque funding, a refined product operating model, valuable network and partnerships, assistance with revenue model iterations, and comprehensive operations and governance advisory. This holistic approach aims to accelerate startups’ path to success by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and connections to navigate early-stage challenges and achieve sustainable growth.

The Innovate Africa Fund benefits from a team of seasoned operators and product specialists spread across Africa, offering a solid base of expertise and experience to support early-stage entrepreneurs on their path to success. Kristin, the Managing Partner, holds the position of Chief Strategy Officer at Spurt!, serves as a Venture Partner at Oui Capital, leads investments at the Rising Tide Africa Angel Network, and is a General Partner at the Bold Angel Fund.

Affordable Heath care treatment in India - Core Synergy Limited
Affordable Heath care treatment in India – Core Synergy Limited

With a portfolio of 34 African startups, including 26 tech companies like Hoaq, Clafiya, Shuttlers, and OmniRetail, Kristin’s efforts have led to the recognition of OmniRetail as Africa’s Fastest Growing Company in 2024 by the Financial Times. The companies in Kristin’s portfolio have collectively generated over $100 million in revenue and cater to more than 100,000 users.

Kristin’s expertise is complemented by Christian, the Founder of Firtsi and Work Nigeria. A globally recognized product expert, Christian is a partner at the Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG), and assists companies in revolutionizing their approach to product creation, delivering value to customers, and enhancing business outcomes. He is a co-author of several New York Times Best-Selling books, including INSPIRED, EMPOWERED, LOVED, and TRANSFORMED, which have had a significant impact on product management worldwide.

Christian has played a pivotal role in the development of companies such as Amazon and Merrill Corporation, and has tackled complex product challenges for industry leaders like Microsoft, Interswitch, and Squarespace. With a wealth of experience in enterprise and consumer products, he has been instrumental in scaling businesses across the globe, having successfully founded over two dozen companies.

Kristin Wilson, Managing Partner of Innovate Africa Fund, emphasized the importance of providing more than just funding to early-stage African founders. She highlighted the need for deep expertise and strong connections to help brilliant ideas truly thrive. The investment strategy of the fund aims to empower innovators and break the cycle of dependency on those with too much leverage and too little knowledge. As a founder-first catalyst fund, they offer insight-driven capital to assist founders in accelerating their journey from MVP to PMF. Through this support and funding, innovators can concentrate on creating sustainable, transformative businesses that address significant challenges and deliver value to investors.

Through the Innovate ecosystem, our portfolio companies are connected with experienced operators and advisors, both in Africa and globally, to ensure they have access to the necessary expertise,” stated Christian Idiodi, the Founder of Innovate Africa Foundation.

“The African diaspora has remitted over $150 billion to the continent in the last three years, but financial assistance alone is not sufficient. Many individuals are willing to contribute their skills and knowledge to impactful ventures, and this is where we step in. Building a startup requires an ecosystem. By engaging with founders at an early stage, we can link them with crucial partners and support their growth. Ultimately, the decisions we make today will determine who leads, owns, and benefits from the upcoming wave of disruptive technology in emerging markets.”

Innovate Africa Fund is part of an ecosystem of companies, working together to empower Africa with meaningful technology. Through the fund, Innovate Founders will have access to the Product Leadership Accelerator, Pan-African Product Tours, InspireAfrica Gatherings, and Silicon Valley Product Group Coaching Programs

Applications are open for founders across Africa who meet the six criteria for screening: Character, Credibility, Capacity, Courage, Competence and Context. Interested founders can apply via 

Leave a Reply