It’s been almost three years since young Japanese investor Takuma Terakubo announced the launch of his sub-Saharan Africa-focused Leapfrog Ventures. It has since been rebranded into the Samurai Africa Fund, and its management has been taken over by Samurai Incubate, the Tokyo-based VC firm that Terakubo previously worked for.
After Leapfrog Ventures (also known as Samurai Africa Fund I) finished its investment activities, Terakubo apparently moved on to establish a new fund. We just learned that he established Uncovered Fund in July last year, named it after regions or areas where backing entrepreneurs is considered insufficient, with a targeted total of 1.5 billion yen (about $14.2 million). It has secured funds from institutional investors as well as Japanese footballer Keisuke Honda’s KSK Angel Fund.
The fund is expected to invest in early-stage startups in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and other East African countries, as well as larget market such as Nigeria and South Africa. It will be focused on retail, fintech, healthtech, logistics, MaaS, agritech/foodtech, and smart city verticals, with an eye on “Africa in 2030” when the fund will mature. Its ticket size is ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 US.
The fund also announced investments in five companies:
- SkyGarden (Kenya), helping retail stores digitize offline and online sales
- Rxall (Nigeria), building a safe drug distribution infrastructure leveraging a fake drugs detection system
- LipaLater (Kenya), enabling postpaid payments at e-commerce stores in East African countries
- Gozem (Togo), offering a car-hailing service in West African countries.
- Send (Nigeria), a digital freight forwarder and customs broker, expected to grow as the AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was launched last month
Apart from Uncovered Fund, there are an increasing number of funds from Japan investing in African startups. In addition to the aforementioned Samurai Incubate, Double Feather Partners, Asia Africa Investment & Consulting (AAIC), Kepple Africa Ventures are active these days.