Home » Kenyan investor David Owino’s Ascent Capital raises more than $100 million in funding round; IFC joins in

Kenyan investor David Owino’s Ascent Capital raises more than $100 million in funding round; IFC joins in

by Ishioma Emi

Kenya’s Ascent Capital has announced the first rolling close* of its Ascent Rift Valley Fund II (ARVF II) at more than $100 million. 

The Nairobi-based private equity fund announced the news in a press release this week, stating that the latest funding round significantly exceeded its initial target of $80 million.  

The equity firm, co-founded by Founding Partner David Owino, further mentioned that the final close of ARVF II, with a target of $20 million, is expected in December 2021.

The latest fund will provide financing to scalable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa to drive broader business and industrial development.

The firm will target the financial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and services, education, healthcare and agro-processing sectors.

Commenting on the round, Owino said: “We are proud to have raised this additional capital from prominent investors to invest in Africa’s most promising companies. We are now well-positioned to become the leading SME fund manager in East Africa, empowering ambitious entrepreneurs with capital and knowledge from our local advisory teams.” 

The new fund’s backers include Britain’s CDC, the Dutch development financier FMO, and the International Finance Corporation, Ascent stated.

Ascent Capital is a private equity firm that specializes in growth investments in SMEs in East Africa. It focuses on improving operational efficiencies in consumer-driven sectors such as agribusiness, FMCG, financial services, manufacturing, medical services, IT, energy and telecommunications. 

Through its maiden fund, Ascent Rift Valley Fund I (ARVF I), the firm provided growth capital to scalable SMEs in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.

In 2015, CDC Group, a UK-based development finance institution (DFI), invested $15 million in the ARVF I, alongside other DFIs, including Austria’s OeEB and Norway’s Norfund, with commercial and institutional investors. It closed at a final fund size of $78 million. The fund was aimed toward providing much-needed growth capital for SMEs in these underinvested countries.

*A rolling close occurs when a management team raises money within a certain window of time with no predetermined size for the “round.” Every amount invested is closed immediately at a set valuation, versus traditional funding where a round is not completed until a predetermined minimum is raised.

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