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MEMBER NEWS || Female Founded and Led Aruwa Capital Management Achieves Final Close on Fund I

Female Founded and Led Aruwa Capital Management Achieves Final Close on Fund I

Oversubscribed fund secures large backing from global institutional LPs

LAGOS, NIGERIA – 5 December 2022. Aruwa Capital Management (“Aruwa” or “Aruwa Capital”), a Lagos based female founded and led early-stage growth equity and gender lens investment fund, is pleased to announce the successful close of its first institutional fund, which was oversubscribed, surpassing its target of $20 million. The fund’s first institutional and anchor investor is Visa Foundation, followed by other investors such as Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund, Nyala Venture, backed by Financial Sector Deepening Africa Investments and leading family businesses from Africa, Europe and the United States.

Aruwa Capital Management was founded in 2019 by Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes who has leveraged more than a decade of investment banking and private equity experience from leading global organisations such as J.P. Morgan. Adesuwa started Aruwa to address the investment gap that women led enterprises face in Africa. They comprise 40% of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) yet receive only 1% of startup capital due to the lack of female capital allocators in the region. Through its investment strategy, the Fund aims to create more sustainable and scalable pathways for economic growth and inclusion in the region. The Fund will invest $500 thousand to $2.5 million in women focused small and growing businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, targeting investments in critical sectors such as healthcare, fintech, renewable energy, and essential consumer goods. Aruwa invests in innovative businesses, poised for scale, that provide essential goods and services to the rapidly expanding female economy, and businesses that are founded or led by women or have gender diverse teams.

To date, the Fund has made six investments, committing over 45% of its capital into a diversified portfolio of rapidly growing companies. Aruwa has established a reputation for rigorous investment selection and active hands-on support of management teams on the ground, to improve Company operations and performance. Aruwa’s team is comprised of investment professionals and portfolio managers, based in Lagos, who combine international best practice skill sets from global institutions with deep local networks, and on the ground presence to unlock untapped investment opportunities.

Najada Kumbuli, Head of Investments at Visa Foundation, said: “Visa Foundation is pleased to be the first institutional investor in Aruwa Capital Management. We deeply believe that in order to address the financing gap that women-led small businesses face, we need to empower and invest in more women led investment funds like Aruwa. We were impressed by Adesuwa’s track record and her approach at tailoring the Fund’s financing to small businesses’ needs. We believe the team’s deep commitment to driving equitable and inclusive economic growth through investments will meaningfully support the business owners and the communities they operate in.”

Samuel Akyianu, Chief of Party at the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (MFAGF) said: “We selected Aruwa Capital as one of our first investments because we were impressed by the team’s grit, conviction and depth of analysis, their value addition for early-growth stage SMEs in Nigeria, and their commitment to drive impact for women and youth. We look forward to working with the team to help make Aruwa Capital a success story.”

Bart Schaap, Managing Director at Nyala Venture said: “With our investment, we are putting our weight behind local and innovative capital providers in Sub Saharan Africa with a focus on gender lens. The Aruwa Capital team has already made successful investments in small and growing businesses in West Africa that are creating inclusive economic growth and jobs whilst also strengthening good corporate governance and investment rigour in the process.”

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder of Aruwa Capital Management, said: “Having launched the Fund in October 2019 shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, we are very grateful for the confidence of world class institutional investors who have put their trust in us and share our vision for the continent: generating superior returns, whilst having a significant socio-economic development impact in the countries we invest in. We are also delighted to have been able to mobilise 30% of our Fund from local investors, who have a first-hand understanding of the operating terrain, as well as mobilising global capital from well respected names, a trend we hope to see continue.
We are excited to continue to showcase the untapped potential of women in society through our investment portfolio at Aruwa Capital. Global data has shown that investing with a gender lens improves financial returns as well as providing a multiplier effect for social impact in local communities due to the role women play, we look forward to showcasing this in Africa specifically.”


About Aruwa Capital Management
Aruwa Capital Management is a Lagos based, female founded and led early-stage growth equity and gender lens fund focused on investing equity and equity linked capital to established and fast-growing companies in the small to lower mid-market segment in Nigeria and Ghana that are currently undervalued and underserved by larger financial institutions. Aruwa focuses on providing growth capital to untapped indigenous businesses with an operating history and proven track record. Aruwa Capital only invests in business that are in line with its gender lens criteria.
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About Visa Foundation
Visa Foundation seeks to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses, and communities can thrive. Through grant making and investing, Visa Foundation prioritizes the growth of gender-diverse and inclusive small and micro-businesses. The Foundation also supports broader community needs and disaster response in times of crisis. Visa Foundation is registered in the U.S. as a 501(c)3 entity.
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About the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund
The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund is a bold initiative— a Fund of Funds—that works through African fund managers to support early-stage, growth-oriented SMEs on the continent, with the goal of enabling dignified and fulfilling work for young people, particularly young women. The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund is catalytic, helping to crowd in additional capital for African entrepreneurs by investing in and strengthening African investment funds that are committed to advancing gender equity in entrepreneurship.
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About Nyala Venture
Nyala Venture is a Fund Manager, set up as a joint venture between Cardano Development and Total Impact Capital Europe. As a Fund Manager and through the various funds it raises, Nyala Venture aims to contribute to boosting local economies. With a priority for Gender Lens Investing, Nyala Venture provides capital and capacity strengthening services to Local Capital Providers (LCPs), which are best equipped to finance and support Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs), the most important business segment in any economy. The first fund managed by Nyala Venture is the FSDAi Nyala Facility (FNF). FSDAi is backed by UKAid providing catalytic capital to deepen African financial markets. The capacity strengthening services of the Facility are provided in partnership with the Collaborative for Frontier Finance. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development contributed to the seed capital to the Manager.
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For Further Information, please contact
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes
Kusumi Said