Aduna Capital, the African venture capitalist, has launched its $20 million fund, with a major focus on investing in the Northern Nigerian startup ecosystem

General Partner at Aduna Capital, Surayyah Ahmad, co-managing the fund with Sanusi Ismaila, expressed enthusiasm about this initiative, emphasizing a zeal to identify and nurture exceptional opportunities in the region.

Aduna Capital’s investment strategy allocates 55.5% of its capital to startups in Northern Nigeria, leveraging the projected growth that positions Nigeria as the world’s 4th largest country by 2050. 

While maintaining a strong focus on the North, the fund will also channel investments to outstanding founders across the country and the broader African continent. Notably, the vision encompasses a dedication to achieving 50% female representation among the startups receiving backing.

Surayyah Ahmad, an experienced founder with a successful track record, brings a wealth of knowledge to this venture. Having founded the eCommerce startup YDS Online, which was later acquired in 2022, Ahmad has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the startup sector.

Her co-founder, Sanusi Ismaila, is a major figure in technology innovation in Northern Nigeria, having established Colab, the region’s largest innovation hub. Colab has been essential in nurturing startups and fostering tech talent, contributing to the emergence of successful ventures like Sudo and Payant.

Aduna Capital aims to redefine the investment space by shifting attention from Lagos, which currently hosts over 80% of Nigerian startups. Recognising the imbalance in investment distribution and the challenges faced by female founders, Aduna Capital aspires to bridge these gaps and be a catalyst for transformation in Northern Nigeria.

The fund will concentrate on pre-seed and seed-stage startups, with plans to invest in over 50 ventures in these early stages. Ahmad disclosed that investments ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 will be the norm, and the firm is open to occasionally writing angel checks to address the angel investing gap in the region.

Acknowledging the scarcity of exits in the market, Aduna Capital intends to exit investments at the Series A stage. However, Ahmad clarified that around 20% of portfolio companies would be retained, with provision for follow-on investments.

While details about the percentage of secured funds remain undisclosed, Ahmad confirmed that a substantial portion is ready for deployment, signaling the fund’s readiness to commence investments. In a unique approach, Aduna Capital will explore alternative models, accommodating regional investors uncomfortable with the traditional VC model, such as profit-sharing arrangements.

Aduna Capital’s ultimate goal is to foster innovation, inclusivity, and economic growth in Nigeria and beyond, creating a lasting impact on the African continent.

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