Early-stage investor Olumide Soyombo launches VC firms for tech founders

NIGERIAOlumide Soyombo, one of Africa’s most active early-stage investors in tech startups, has launched Voltron Capital, a pan-African VC firm that will make pre-seed and seed investments in elite tech founders tackling critical problems in the continent’s largest markets.

Voltron Capital will deploy capital in up to 30 startups across a range of sectors, with a ticket size of US$20,000 to US$100,000 per company. Voltron Capital’s portfolio will primarily focus on startups in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Northern Africa.

Soyombo, who is also the co-founder of LeadPath Nigeria and Bluechip Technologies, has over his time as an investor seen his portfolio raise over US$70 million, while he has also overseen two secondary and one primary exits. Co-founder Abe Choi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Simple Dealer, has also invested in 15 tech startups, two of which have been exited.

“Voltron Capital is the beginning of another incredibly exciting journey for Abe and I, but it is also a celebration of the road Africa’s entire tech space has travelled to-date,” said Soyombo, who was an early investor in Paystack, the fintech company that exited to Stripe in October 2020.

“We hold a track record of identifying and supporting some of Africa’s most high-growth startups to-date with capital at pre-seed stage and also hold long-established relationships with corporates and regulators, which can make what can often be a difficult path for African startups much smoother.

“We want the next wave of African tech success stories to not only make an impact on the continent, but to be truly global; through Abe’s strategic connections to the United States (US), we’re confident we can provide our portfolio with the best possible opportunities to achieve this through our US and global network.”

“So, I think the investability of sectors, for me, is driven by quality entrepreneurs that are going to solve problems in that area.”

Olumide Soyombo – Founder, Voltron Capital

Voltron Capital will be managed on AngelList. Its investors cut across HNIs and executives from banks, telcos, among other sectors, each investing a minimum of US$10,000.

Voltron is similar to a typical seven-figure fund targeting pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Africa, yet it’s quite different in the way it chooses to back founders. The fund remains an embodiment of Soyombo’s investment stance, which is “founders-first regardless of the industry.”

“I’m going to continue backing interesting entrepreneurs. If Odunayo of PiggyVest was building a health tech or edtech company, I’ll still back that company,” he said, referring to the US$1 million investment he made three years ago in one of Nigeria’s widely celebrated fintechs.

“So, I think the investability of sectors, for me, is driven by quality entrepreneurs that are going to solve problems in that area.”

Besides listing local investors as LPs, Soyombo says startups will be able to access foreign capital too. Choi is the key to making that happen. Personally, Choi has invested in 15 startups (exiting two); therefore, his experience and network in the U.S. will be crucial in sourcing foreign capital into the continent.

Soyombo believes Stripe acquisition of Paystack has made foreign investors take notice of African startups.

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