GOODsoil VC, an Africa-focused early stage venture capital firm headed by a diverse team of entrepreneurial investors, has made true on its mission to drive financial inclusion across the continent with an injection of $940 000 seed capital in Ghanaian fintech company Zeepay.
Founded in 2017 by Charmaine Hayden, Orla Enright, Ashley Thompson-MacCarthy and Richard Mensah, GOODsoil comprises 50% female and 75% black partners, all young, serial entrepreneurs intent on becoming catalysts of economic growth for minority founders across Africa.
“There are clear barriers to entry for tech startups to scale, and our vision is to level the playing field. We go by the dictum that talent is evenly distributed; opportunities are not,” explains Charmaine Hayden. The company is the perfect fit for entrepreneurs, markets and industries that may typically be overlooked by other VC firms, adds Orla Enright.
Zeepay focuses on digital rails to connect digital assets. The company has a footprint in more than 20 African markets and, in April 2020, became the first indigenous company to be awarded the Electronic Money Issuer (EMI) license to operate as a mobile financial services company by the Bank of Ghana, the regulator of banking and financial services.
GOODsoil’s investment will enable Zeepay to continue to scale and roll out its services across the continent, and extend its global reach by launching in the UK in 2021.
“We are delighted to have GOODsoil on board,” says Zeepay co-founder and managing director Andrew Takyi-Appiah. “We believe with their strong brokerage background, with leading Ghanaian brokerage firm Obsidian Achernar in their portfolio, we will be able to attract good pricing on Foreign Exchange for our wholesale clients.”
The deal not only highlights the levelling of disparity in global funding for African startups, but also the challenges inherent in various levels of funding, notes Hayden.
“Whilst the growth of seed investment in Africa is incontestable, it does not reflect the same volume of exits that is able to attract mass investors to the market. In order to sustain real growth, we believe there needs to be an increase in trade sales (exits); real tangible successes that can have a light cast on them to increase investors appetite into the continent.”
GOODsoil’s partnership with Zeepay proves that investors can see significant returns in African startups, confirms Takyi-Appiah. “In the deal, two initial shareholders at Zeepay exited from an initial investment of about USD24,000 in 2015 to USD940,000 at the 2020 exit, making it the first of the kind that a Ghanaian investor has exited a local startup with such significant gains.”
Based in London and Accra, with a portfolio as diverse as its team, GOODsoil VC aims to fund 50+ startups in the next 5 years, while also building longterm relationships with investors who are equally passionate about tech innovation, early-stage companies and investment in Africa.
“GOODsoil will remain bullish on Africa for the foreseeable future, as we scale our portfolio and invest in new exceptional startups. We look forward to shortly confirming a $67.5 million fund we are currently raising,” confirms Hayden.