Source: Niarametrics

Venturing into the intricate world of African venture capital, Nigeria emerges as a beacon of financial innovation and growth, providing a fascinating backdrop to the unfolding narrative of Q3 2023.

Generally, the continent experienced a remarkable 28% year-on-year increase in capital raised, making Africa the sole region to showcase growth during that quarter.

In comparison, venture capital funding in Africa outpaced Latin America, with a substantial $2.9 billion raised between Q1 and Q3 2023, a stark contrast to Latin America’s $1.6 billion within the same period.

Notably, Nigeria commands 43% of the total capital invested in Fintech startups across Africa, portraying its influence in shaping the sector’s trajectory. However, the quartet of Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa witnessed a noteworthy shift, with Nigeria raising $398.2 million, lagging behind Kenya’s impressive $756.2 million.

Despite facing setbacks in funding, the nation proudly hosts unicorn tech companies like Flutterwave, Opay, Interswitch, and others.

In the global VC and tech community, a ‘unicorn’ is universally acknowledged as a privately held tech startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more on paper.

However, it’s important to note that most of these companies have multiple venture capital investors who, in exchange for equity, have played a pivotal role in their growth.

Traditionally, men have often been recognized as the primary contributors in this venture capital landscape.

Nevertheless, as we continue to celebrate March as women’s month with an emphasis on inspiring inclusion and accelerated growth it becomes imperative to shine a spotlight on the influential women catalyzing change within venture capital firms and for startups in Nigeria, some of which boast valuations as high as $1 billion.

The impact of these women is palpable, extending from investments in some of Nigeria’s highest-valued tech companies to providing invaluable business mentorship and guidance.

Their contributions challenge traditional narratives and show the vital role that women play in shaping the future of the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

Their stories add depth to the narrative, reminding us that Women’s Day is not only about celebrating achievements but also acknowledging the ongoing journey toward equity and inclusivity.

Here are ten female venture capital executives in Nigeria, supporting the country’s unicorns and fostering growth in its tech ecosystem.

10 Eloho Omame

Eloho Omame is a prominent figure in Africa-focused technology venture capital, serving as a Partner at TLcom Capital and co-founder at FirstCheck Africa.

With TLcom Capital managing around $250 million, Eloho advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Africa’s technology ecosystem. She represents TLcom Capital on various portfolio company boards and co-founded FirstCheck Africa in 2021, focusing on supporting exceptional female entrepreneurial talent.

Eloho has played a crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s technology ecosystem, serving on advisory groups and steering committees, including Nigeria’s Startup Consultative Forum.

Her extensive experience includes leadership roles, such as Managing Director & CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria and contributions to impactful initiatives like “Lagos Innovates.”

With a background in global growth equity at General Atlantic, Eloho holds an MBA from the London Business School and a BSc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

9 Adenike Sherriff
Adenike Sheriff, Co-founder and Chief of Staff at Future Africa is shaping a future where purpose and prosperity unite in Africa. Studying Law at the University of Lagos, she boasts over five years of experience in Africa’s technology sector.

With a focus on content strategy and storytelling, her work has gained recognition in international publications, including the Huffington Post.

In her pivotal role at Future Africa, Adenike facilitates resources for innovators to scale, providing capital, coaching, and community support.

Her dedication to building a mission-driven African future underscores her commitment to making purposeful progress accessible to all.

8. Omobola Johnson

Omobola Johnson is a Senior Partner at TLcom Capital LLP in Lagos and holds a prominent position on the boards of Andela, Pula, Okra, and Kobo360.

Her board memberships extend beyond these startups to encompass key roles in leading Nigerian and multinational corporations.

She further contributes her expertise as a board member of the World Wide Web Foundation and serves as the Founding Chairperson and Trustee of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ).

Before assuming her role at TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson served as the Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria from 2011 to 2015.

During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in launching and executing the National Broadband Plan.

Additionally, she championed support for the Nigerian technology industry, marked by the government’s groundbreaking involvement in a local venture capital fund and a network of startup incubators.

Before her public service, Omobola accrued over 25 years of consulting experience at Accenture, where she spent five years as Country Managing Director. Her tenure at Accenture was characterized by transformative work with companies across various industries, propelling them into more competitive and dynamic realms.

Dr. Omobola Johnson’s academic background is equally impressive, with a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester, a Master’s in Digital Electronics from King’s College, London, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Cranfield University’s School of Management.

7 Biola Alabi

Biola Alabi, General Partner at Acasia Ventures, leads the venture capital fund with a focus on early-stage technology start-ups in Africa.

Renowned as an angel investor, advisor, and founder of ‘Grooming for Greatness,’ a mentorship initiative, Alabi’s influence extends to media as the founder of Biola Alabi Media.

As an award-winning executive producer, she contributed to Netflix-streamed films and notable TV shows like Big Brother Africa.

Her transformative role at M-Net Africa revolutionized the continent’s broadcasting industry. Holding degrees from the University of Cincinnati, Alabi is a Non-Executive Director at Unilever (Nigeria) and chairs Big Cabal Media.

Her investment portfolio showcases a strategic approach, encompassing investments in tech startups like Trove Technologies and Chekkit.

As a trusted advisor and board member, Biola Alabi’s influence continues to shape Africa’s burgeoning technology and media ecosystem.

6. Ijeoma Agboti

Ijeoma is a seasoned advisor to both institutional and private investors in private equity strategies, allocations, and investments.

With over 20 years of demonstrating a fervour for entrepreneurship and economic development, she focuses on fostering business growth, startups, and innovative models in emerging markets, notably in Africa.

Currently serving as the Managing Director/CEO of FBNQuest Funds, the alternative investments arm of FBNQuest, a prominent financial services conglomerate with 125 years of history, Ijeoma plays a pivotal role in directing institutional investment toward businesses poised for growth.

As a member of FBNQuest’s Executive Leadership Committee, she contributes to strategic decision-making. Before her role at FBNQuest, Ijeoma operated her alternative investments consultancy, OAI Alternative Investments, and held a key position at the Abraaj Group, overseeing Investor Coverage and Corporate Business Development activities for Africa.

During her 13-year tenure at JPMorgan Chase & Co., including 11 years with the JPMorgan Asset Management Private Equity Group in New York and London, she led business development in the EMEA region, excelling in investment selection, portfolio management, investor relations, and product development. Ijeoma holds a B.Sc. from the University of Lagos, a CSS from Harvard University, and an MBA from INSEAD.

5. Kofoworola Agbaje

With over 13 years of professional experience in financial services and investments, Kofoworola has a wealth of experience.

Joining Quona Capital in 2019, she focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, and Cross-Border investments.

Kofoworola’s prior experience includes tenure with the technology team at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, where she contributed her skills across various investment banking divisions. Her educational background comprises an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an engineering degree from Imperial College London.

As Vice President of Quona Capital, in 2022, its Africa portfolio companies recorded $4.5 billion in payment transactions processed / transaction volume. Financed more than $278 million in loans across 1.1 million loans. Served more than 408,000 retail customers and 353,000 MSMEs

4. Nneka Eze

Nneka Eze holds the position of Managing Director at VestedWorld, a venture capital firm specializing in impactful investments in agriculture, consumer goods, and enabling technology across Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Based in Lagos, Nigeria, she has been an integral part of the Investment Committee for four years.

With over a decade of experience, Nneka has actively contributed to deepening investments in African businesses.

Her diverse background includes roles such as Nigeria Director/founder at Dalberg and co-lead of the Global Agriculture and Food Security practice, with prior experience in Senegal and Kenya.

Nneka serves on the boards of the Impact Investors’ Foundation of Nigeria and The Resolution Project, along with a five-year tenure on the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) West Africa Steering Committee.

She has also worked at McKinsey in both the USA and Nigeria. Nneka graduated cum laude with an AB in Economics from Harvard, and she is fluent in English and proficient in French.

3. Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes

Adesuwa, a seasoned investment professional and CEO with over 14 years of diverse experience in investment banking and private equity, stands as a trailblazer in both developed and emerging markets.

Her expertise spans various sectors, including healthcare, financial services, technology, and consumer goods.
Launching her fund at the age of 29, she is among the youngest female private equity fund managers in Africa.

As the Founder and Managing Partner of Aruwa Capital Management, she pioneers a women-owned and led private equity fund, focusing on untapped investment opportunities in West Africa’s small to lower mid-market.

Adesuwa is on a mission to leverage Aruwa Capital Management’s investments as a case study, compelling the business case to invest in women as fund managers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and societal stakeholders.

Driven by a mission to unlock the power of private capital for positive change, Adesuwa stands as a mission-driven pioneer.

2. Tokunboh Ishmael

Tokunboh Ishmael, Co-founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital, spearheads impactful private equity investment in Africa, emphasizing profit with purpose.

A pioneer in this domain, she co-founded Alitheia IDF, raising over $100 million for female-led businesses. Tokunboh’s investments catalyze transformative change in various sectors.

As a former Dragons Den Nigeria TV show Panelist, she mentors small-to-mid-sized businesses, advocates financial literacy through Yellow Cowries, and serves on diverse boards, including the Earthshot Prize.

Her influence extends globally, promoting diversity, ethical governance, and aligning with gender inclusion, responsible investing, and social responsibility for high-performing companies.

Ishmael previously served as the Country Partner for Nigeria at Aureos Capital, successfully raising $50 million for the Aureos West Africa Fund.

With a background in mergers and acquisitions at Salomon Smith Barney and experience as Managing Director at Avante Capital Ltd, she co-founded and currently serves as Managing Director of Alitheia Capital.

Ishmael’s dedicated service on the Board of First City Monument Bank Limited spanned from January 2013 to February 2020, where she significantly influenced the bank’s innovative initiatives.

1. Maya Horgan Famodu

Maya Horgan Famodu is a venture capital investor and entrepreneur renowned for her impactful contributions to Africa’s tech landscape.

She is the Founder & MD at Ingressive Capital, overseeing a $10 Million VC Fund I and a $50 Million Fund II with a focus on early-stage African tech ventures.

Ingressive Capital has been instrumental in nurturing some of Africa’s rapidly growing businesses. Notable success stories include Paystack, which was acquired by Stripe for over $200 million.

Other accomplishments include Mono securing a Series A round led by Tiger Global and Y Combinator alum, and Carry1st raising a Series A round with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Google, Riot Games, and AET. Impressively, 40% of the portfolio comprises female-founded enterprises, while 50% are alumni of Y Combinator.

Maya’s work has attracted prominent Silicon Valley entities such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and GitHub, facilitating over 20 investments in African tech.

Her brainchild, the High Growth Africa Summit, unites investors, developers, and tech companies annually to deliberate on scaling and funding high-growth African enterprises.

Source: Niarametrics