Mauritius and UK investment firm Juven went live today with plans to fund growing tech and consumer companies in Africa.
The one-year-old company is looking to invest big checks in companies “that have proven business models, strong revenue traction and large addressable markets,” she said in a statement..
Juven is one of the few investment firms targeting growth deals on the continent, including TLcom, Novastar and Partech Africa, which have issued large checks to tech companies in recent years.
But unlike the others, the Juven is not a venture capital fund; The evergreen investment firm is a spinoff of Goldman Sachs’ core team for Africa, responsible for several high-growth investments in the tech scene since 2014.
Juven’s founder Jules Frebault led this team (also known as the Special Situations Group). He joined Goldman Sachs in 2010 and developed the department’s strategy from a Johannesburg office to support companies that could make good returns on the continent..
The team initially made some investments in private equity and credit; the most notable bets were in companies and telecom-led towers like the IHS towers.
Ultimately, Goldman Sachs got hold of growth stage investments in tech companies, supporting the first African unicorn Jumia, Zipline, and Eat’N’Go. He also led investments in Unicaf Series B, Jumo Series B Second, Kobo360 Series A and Twiga Foods Series B.
Frebault told TechCrunch that the Juven team has moved away from Goldman Sachs to “seize the opportunity of the growth phase in Africa with a dedicated structure, capital, resources and mandate.. ”
Thereby, Goldman Sachs has moved its growth portfolio – Unicaf, Jumo, Kobo360, Twiga and Eat’N’Go – to Juven. Some former Goldman Sachs employees also left with Frebault to develop Juven’s operations.
The company is structured to have a holding company and a balance sheet that holds its assets in cash. So when an investment is monetized, the capital returns and the Juven redeploys it. Such methods make it possible to various investments without raising dedicated funds.
“It’s actually similar to a business in terms of how it’s structured, ”said Frebault. “And the capital we deploy comes either from our balance sheet or from follow-up investments by our shareholders.”
With this in mind, Juven has reinvested this year in four companies in its current portfolio. Although he plans to add more investments before the end of next year, Frebault says the company might not make more than three investments per year..
The average ticket size will range from $ 10 million to $ 30 million, then $ 50 million or more in follow-up checks. The founder says that for tech companies, which is one of Juven’s primary targets, he targets the Series B and later stage growth cycles.
Since Juven only makes a handful of investments per year, the company will provide Additional advantages around financial, legal, operational and strategic support.
“We have to be flexible and start at $ 10 million because that may be the right size for Serie B rounds on the continent,” Frebault said. “We don’t take a venture capital approach and we don’t invest in a lot of companies. We take concentrated positions and then continue to invest in these companies over time. “
La Juven is focused on entrepreneurs trying to leverage technology to solve access issues for the masses, the company said. Frebault adds that the Juven may also consider non-tech companies that may solve such problems.
Although the company says it can invest in almost anything, companies that solve problems related to food, education, health, financial services, trade and logistics will likely get a sign head before the others..
“We can invest in anything, but we stay away from extractive industries,” said the founder.
It is the same situation with countries as the investment firm has a preference for expanding businesses at regional level in major consumer economies such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
Even though the team that led Goldman Sachs’ investments in Africa are now Juvenile, Frebault says the 152-year-old Asset Management division of the investment giant still has a global mandate that includes Africa. , although focusing on larger scale and institutional activity.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment on Frebault’s decision, the Juven’s activity, its own goals or broader plans for the region going forward.