InvestmentTech

Modus extends into Sub-Saharan Africa with the creation of a $75 million AI and blockchain fund.

Modus extends into Sub-Saharan Africa with the creation of a $75 million AI and blockchain fund.

Modus extends into Sub-Saharan Africa with the creation of a $75 million AI and blockchain fund.

The Modus team has launched Modus Africa, a VC fund that will invest in AI and blockchain companies throughout the continent of sub-Saharan Africa. This fund is expected to close for good in the first quarter of 2019.
In the previous 18 months, Modus has opened operations in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and most recently Riyadh, with the aid of organizations like Mubadala’s Hub71. By establishing a foothold in Africa, Modus can offer “an extra conduit of market access for Modus portfolio businesses while also assisting African entrepreneurs to extend into the MENA region.”

Modus is a “holistic venture platform” that works across the Middle East and the Gulf Cooperation Council, with each of its three sections catering to the needs of local startups and entrepreneurs (GCC). One of them is the Venture Builder, which helps new businesses with everything from ideation to MVP creation. In addition, the firm provides a service called “Corporate Innovation” to help both public and private sector organizations make use of the company’s resources and knowledge. It also has a venture capital arm that makes early and mid-stage investments in companies like the Ogram staffing platform.

On its website, Modus brags about the wide range of investors who have contributed to its fund, which includes high-net-worth individuals, family offices, private investors, and government-backed institutions from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Given that Modus invests mostly in foreign-based enterprises that are “portable to the Middle East,” as well as startups in Egypt and the GCC, the company’s planned expansion into sub-Saharan Africa comes as no surprise. According to this study, African entrepreneurs raised over $5 billion and generated five unicorns in 2017, a 250% year-over-year increase that exceeded capital spent in MENA. Despite layoffs, down rounds, and shutdowns caused by the current economic climate, startups across the continent are on course to set a new record for fundraising this year.
Unlike many other firms with inflated profits, Modus isn’t only focused on Africa but also artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. The blockchain industry is still in its infancy in Africa, despite the presence of well-known businesses such as InstaDeep (Tunisia), Sama (Kenya), and DataProphet (South Africa). Vianney Mathonnet and Andre Jr. Ayotte, general partners of Modus, are responsible for the strategy’s implementation.
“Modus Capital approached us because they wanted a pan-African strategy of their own shortly after we launched this program after seeing how significant blockchain and AI may be in Africa,” Ayotte said. We started discussing the practicalities of a potential partner when they expressed a need for people with relevant networks and skills. Our effort eventually developed into the Modus Africa Fund.

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