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This Nigerian venture capitalist led his VC firm in raising $46 million in 2022

Kola Aina is a key player in the African venture capital space.

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Kola Aina.

Kola Aina, a leading Nigerian venture capitalist and a key player in the African venture capital space, is one of the few African entrepreneurs and angel investors who achieved the rare feat of raising more than $45 million in funding for their firms and startups in 2022.

As the founding partner of Ventures Platform, an early-stage “discovery” venture capital fund championing the next generation of African entrepreneurs, Kola Aina combines a powerful mix of entrepreneurial, investment, and technical experience across diverse industries, including technology, finance, media, agriculture, infrastructure, and real estate.

The Nigerian venture capitalist, who is a passionate ecosystem builder, is also the founder of Ventures Park, a co-working space and community for entrepreneurs, as well as the Ventures Platform Foundation, which empowers entrepreneurs by providing access to capital, education, and digital resources.

The foundation also advocates for entrepreneur-friendly policies, highlighting Aina’s commitment to supporting and promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

Aina’s passion for supporting and promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria is evident in his various roles, including chair of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity to the President of Nigeria and co-chair of the Committee on Job Creation and Youth Employment to the President of Nigeria.

These positions demonstrate the high level of trust and respect that Aina has earned from the Nigerian government and solidify his position as a leading figure in the Nigerian entrepreneurial and venture capital landscape.

In December 2022, the Nigerian venture capitalist made headlines after he successfully led his pan-African VC firm, Ventures Platform, to the final close of its early-stage and intercontinental fund at $46 million, thus surpassing its initial $40-million target.

Since the VC firm was founded in 2016 by Aina, it has invested in more than 60 companies working in fields such as healthcare, financial services, agriculture, education, big data, and internet infrastructure.

The $46-million fund, which was secured from global investors, top-tier commercial banks, and corporates, including Standard Bank and the International Finance Corporation, will allow Ventures Platform to double down on backing category-leading companies across the continent and provide follow-on capital for portfolio companies.

This will further solidify the firm’s position as it continues to leverage its on-the-ground presence on the continent and expertise in corporate partnerships, talent, growth, regulation, and operations to strengthen the venture capital ecosystem in Africa.

Kola Aina leads Ventures Platform to set up post-investment support for African companies

In order to better support the companies it invests in, Ventures Platform, under the leadership of Kola Aina, has established an innovative “platform and networks” practice that will provide scalable and world-class post-investment support and value creation to its portfolio companies. This includes access to a wide range of resources and services such as mentorship, strategic partnerships, and marketing support.

Aina’s vision for Ventures Platform is to create a sustainable ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and to support the next generation of African entrepreneurs in creating and scaling impactful businesses.

The Nigerian venture capitalist believes that by providing access to capital, education, and resources, Ventures Platform can help unlock the potential of Africa’s entrepreneurial talent and drive economic growth on the continent.

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Kanye West faces new hurdle in business and personal life as Australian visa denial looms

The potential denial of a visa may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Kanye West.

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Ye
Kanye West, now formerly known as Ye.

African-American multi-industry creative, Kanye West, who is now formerly known as Ye, may face a new hurdle in his business and personal life as he may be denied entry into Australia.

The African-American rapper-turned-mogul had reportedly planned to meet the family of his new partner, Melbourne native Bianca Censori, but his anti-Semitic comments in October may prevent him from entering the country.

The news of a potential ban was confirmed by Australian Minister for Education Jason Clare, who stated that individuals who have made similar comments have been denied visas in the past and that Ye will have to go through the same process and answer the same questions.

“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected,” Clare said. “I expect that if he does apply, he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions that they did.” 

Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovich and opposition leader Peter Dutton have joined in calling for Kanye West to be banned from entering Australia due to his “appalling” comments.

The backlash from Ye’s anti-Semitic remarks (Kanye West) has already had a significant impact on his business ventures and wealth. In October, he lost all of his partnerships through his brand Yeezy with companies such as Adidas and Balenciaga.

The termination of the Adidas partnership, which began in 2013, had a substantial impact on Ye’s net worth. Forbes reported that the termination of the deal led to a decline of more than $1.6 billion, taking Ye’s net worth from $2 billion to $400 million.

The cancellation of the partnership that grew the Yeezy line into a brand that accounted for up to €1.5 billion ($1.47 billion) of Adidas’ total sales over the last decade is expected to cost the German behemoth up to €250 million ($247 million) in earnings.

The aftermath of Ye’s anti-Semitic comments has been negative for his wealth and ranking as one of the richest Black individuals in the US and one of the richest businessmen globally.

The potential denial of a visa to enter Australia may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Ye because of his anti-Semitic comments. 

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James Mwangi’s Equity Group to receive $4.1 million for acquisition of Spire Bank

Equity Group is the largest financial services conglomerate in East Africa.

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James Mwangi.

Equity Group Holdings, the Kenyan financial services giant led by James Mwangi, is set to receive millions of dollars from Mwalimu Sacco’s acquisition of financially distressed Spire Bank, as the teachers-backed lender agreed to pay Equity Group Ksh510 million ($4.1 million).

The deal is structured as an asset purchase transaction, backed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), and will see Equity Group assume control over the assets and liabilities of the troubled bank.

The $4.1-million payment by Mwalimu Sacco to Equity represents the difference between the assets and liabilities of Spire Bank, implying that the bank holds zero value and the teachers have lost millions of dollars after purchasing a majority stake in 2014.

Mwalimu Sacco CEO Kenneth Odhiambo said the key consideration was to stop the bleeding and preserve Sacco’s bottomline for its members.

Equity Group will settle all redundancy costs for the more than 100 employees who will lose their jobs following the deal. The bank’s non-performing loans stand at Ksh2.63 billion ($21.1 million), and Equity’s immediate task will be to step up collections and recoveries.

The process of exiting Spire Bank was not as seamless as the initial acquisition, with Mwalimu Sacco citing the bank’s decline as beginning after the withdrawal of Naushad Merali’s deposits worth Ksh1.7 billion ($13.7 million), which represented one-fifth of the bank’s total deposits. 

The takeover of the troubled Spire Bank may present additional challenges and opportunities for Equity Group, which under the leadership of Kenyan businessman, Mwangi reported profits in excess of $280 million in the first nine months of 2022.

As of today, Equity Group shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange are trading at Ksh44.95 ($0.361) per share, a 0.99 percent decrease from their closing price on Fri., Jan. 27.

This values the company at Ksh170 billion ($1.36 billion) and Mwangi’s 3.38-percent stake at Ksh5.74 billion ($46.1 million).

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Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu’s food conglomerate achieves milestone with $195-million profit

Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, own 99.8 percent of BUA Foods.

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Abdul Samad Rabiu
Abdul Samad Rabiu. ©Billionaires.Africa

BUA Foods Plc, a leading food conglomerate majority owned by Africa’s fourth-richest man Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu, has achieved a milestone in its financial performance as it reported record-high earnings at the end of its 2022 fiscal year.

With a profit surge surpassing N90 billion ($195 million), the company’s latest earnings report highlights its impressive growth and financial strength. The Abdul Samad Rabiu-led food conglomerate has reported a record high in its financial performance, with its profit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2022, surging by a staggering 30 percent.

The unaudited financial statements reveal that the group’s earnings rose from N69.77 billion ($151.5 million) in 2021 to N90.4 billion ($196.3 million) at the end of 2022, driven by an increase in revenue from its diverse product portfolio of sugar, pasta, bakery flour, and wheat bran.

The remarkable growth reflects the company’s ability to continuously expand its offerings and maximize profitability in a competitive market.

BUA Foods’ revenue surged from N333.37 billion ($723.8 million) to N417.82 billion ($907.1 million) due to increased sales of non-fortified sugar N79.15 billion ($171.8 million) to N144.29 billion ($313.2 million) and other food items such as sugar molasses, bakery flour, pasta, and wheat bran.

The increase in consumer demand for food items, including stockpiling, resulted in higher prices and a corresponding boost in revenue for the group.

The robust performance led to an increase in retained earnings and shareholder equity from N192.66 billion ($418.26 million) and N200.7 billion ($435.7 million) in 2021 to N237.15 billion ($514.86 million) and N245.21 billion ($532.35 million) in 2022.

The outstanding financial performance is expected to result in a substantial increase in dividend earnings for Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, with their 99.8-percent ownership in the consolidated food conglomerate.

This will be a marked improvement from the N62.9 billion ($151.6 million) that they received in dividends last year.

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