AFRICA –Lateral Capital, a mission-driven venture capital fund focused on Sub-Saharan Africa, has exceeded its initial closing target of US$20 million for its Lateral Investment Partners I fund after accepting its first LP commitment in early 2018.

Institutional investors and leading family offices across the United States (US), Europe, Middle East and Africa participated in the fund, which has a final close target of US$50 million. This initial close puts Lateral Capital on track to reach its final close target in 2020.

Lateral backs technology solutions across financial services, education, healthcare and real assets, and has a presence in New York, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

Samakab Hashi, who is a Partner at Lateral Capital, handles operations in Nairobi, Kenya. The VC firm also has Ochuwa Akhigbe-Ogionwo and Garikai Govati holding down the fort in Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa, respectively.

The fund has the capacity to invest between US$250,000 and US$5 million in early and growth stage companies across the capital structure.

Lateral made its 10th portfolio investment in the fourth quarter 2019, backing the Nairobi-based Lipalater, and has so far made three new and two follow-on investments in 2020. It has set a target to review 1,000 investment opportunities in 2020, to add up to six new portfolio companies in the form of equity or debt.

“We are fortunate to have received the backing of such a high calibre group of families and institutions. This initial milestone positions us well to continue creating valuable companies with talented founders who deploy technology to build for the needs of the world’s fastest growing region,” said managing partner Steven Grin.

Since its founding, Lateral Capital has also backed Asoko Insight, AppZone, Koko Networks, Lynk, MedSaf, WorkStyle Africa, and SparkMeter. It has also made and exited investments in one of its former investment partners, Silvertree Internet Holdings.

The initial close of the Lateral Investment Partners I Fund, which was led by Investmon Corp. — the family-owned investment company that specializes in high impact, disruptive businesses in new and emerging markets — drew participation from institutional investors and leading family offices across the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Rob Eloff, who is also a Managing Partner at Lateral Capital, said the investment firm is targeting six investments in 2020, and some of those are already in the bag with the next investment closing potentially coming as soon as next month.

Besides Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, Lateral Capital also has eyes for investments in other parts of Africa with Francophone Africa and Ethiopia looking like bright prospects.