Hummingbird raising $24M to back promising, impactful tech ventures across Africa
18-03-2020 11:56:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 1930 | Tags:

Hummingbird Impact is raising a $20M blended-finance impact fund to invest in scalable, tech-enabled social ventures at the pre-Seed, Seed and Series A stages.

The fund will be complemented by a $4M technical assistance facility to accelerate the growth and impact performance of its portfolio. Hummingbird will operate autonomously and is supported by and affiliated with EWB Canada. 

“Thanks to the philanthropic backing of generous individuals, visionary foundations and Global Affairs Canada, EWB Canada has been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of its model in addressing the unique needs of early-stage startups in Africa. We have proven that it works, and it is now time to scale its impact ” says Boris Martin, CEO of EWB Canada. “Spinning off a business unit has precedence at EWB. We do it when it allows us to reach sustainable impact at scale. In this case, Hummingbird will allow us to catalyse both philanthropic and commercial capital towards a shared mission.”

Hummingbird views impact from a broad perspective. As a gender-lens investor, the fund will focus on bringing a holistic approach to business practices that promotes women’s economic participation, leadership and entrepreneurship. As an investor in technology innovations, the fund will contribute to the sustainable development of the continent by leapfrogging growth obstacles.

By proving the financial and impact potential of investing in diverse teams, Hummingbird seeks to motivate those with more financial might (both private and public investors) to address inequality and promote empowerment by dedicating capital towards women-led and locally founded African startups. 

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to reducing global poverty. Research also shows that gender and ethnically diverse teams are positively correlated with higher impact and profitability than their peers. Hummingbird will therefore commit 100% of its proceeds towards these underserved, undervalued and undercapitalised ventures,” says Muthoni Wachira, Founding Partner for Hummingbird. “It is my personal ambition to even out the funding landscape and see more gender and ethnic representation at the investor and investee levels. It is not only our moral imperative, it is smart economics,” she concludes.

Hummingbird Impact is a venture fund that leverages on nearly a decade of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) Canada’s experience delivering talent and seed capital to early-stage, for-profit social ventures in Africa with a track record of 11 investments. Just like Wangari Maathai’s Hummingbird, the fund is bold in its commitment to impact through technology innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to shift mindsets when it comes to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in African startups. 

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