P1 Ventures, a venture capital firm with a focus on the US and African markets, is now set to broaden its operational footprint, establishing teams in Nairobi and Dakar, and intensifying its investment focus on AI-powered Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

In a pioneering move for the African investment landscape, P1 Ventures has onboarded a data scientist to weave AI into its investment and operational workflows, marking the first instance of a fund utilizing AI for deal sourcing and talent acquisition within the region.

The firm recently announced the second close of its second fund at $35 million, with an ambitious target of reaching $50 million by the final close.

This significant milestone has attracted the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as its inaugural public institutional investor, following a successful first close of $25 million last September.

Olivier Buyoya, IFC’s Regional Director for West Africa, has expressed the organization’s commitment to supporting innovative business models through its investment in P1 Ventures. The goal is to elevate the competitiveness and efficiency of traditional markets, thereby fostering inclusive economic growth across the continent.

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Leveraging AI for Enhanced Investment Opportunities

P1 Ventures’ integration of AI aims to revolutionize its investment processing capabilities, allowing for a more effective evaluation of potential opportunities. This strategic enhancement is poised to give P1 Ventures a competitive edge in identifying and nurturing high-potential startups.

The collaboration with IFC is set to provide P1 Ventures’ portfolio startups with easier access to growth capital and opportunities for operational expansion. The partnership is particularly focused on bolstering sectors such as fintech and AI-powered SaaS, aligning with P1 Ventures’ investment strategy.

A Portfolio Reflecting Innovation and Diversity

P1 Ventures boasts a diverse investment portfolio, including the Algerian super app Yassir, Nigeria’s employee healthcare platform Reliance Health, an Ivory Coast neobank, and Chari, a Moroccan fintech and e-commerce application. These investments reflect the fund’s confidence in the African continent’s potential and its propensity to adopt new technologies rapidly.

The African market has demonstrated a remarkable adoption rate of mobile money solutions, circumventing traditional card infrastructure and accounting for nearly half of the world’s mobile money accounts in 2022. This trend underscores the region’s openness to innovative financial technologies and services.

Backing Disruptive Technologies and Seasoned Founders

P1 Ventures is committed to supporting founders who leverage cutting-edge technologies like generative AI to transform sectors such as retail, agriculture, and healthcare. The fund places a strong emphasis on backing experienced second-time founders and operators with proven business models and in-demand software solutions.

The fund’s co-founders, Halbouny and Hajjar, have underscored the importance of building robust in-house data science tools to enhance the investment team’s screening and sourcing processes. This initiative is expected to refine P1 Ventures’ ability to identify and invest in startups with the potential to disrupt traditional markets.

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About P1 ventures

P1 Ventures specializes in working with African tech entrepreneurs when their businesses are just getting started. The company wants to close the gap between venture capital investment and the enormous entrepreneurial talent that exists throughout Africa. A broad team with backgrounds in business operations, investment banking, and venture creation, P1 Ventures has scaled up ventures at early-stage startups and Fortune 500 organizations in the US, South Africa, China, and France, among other regions.

The company has invested in a number of African businesses, including the super app Yassir in Algeria, the employee healthcare platform Reliance Health in Nigeria, a neobank in Ivory Coast, and the fintech and e-commerce app Chari in Morocco. P1 Ventures’ faith in the African market’s potential and its quick uptake of new technology is seen in these investments.

With a goal of $50 million for the final close, P1 Ventures recently closed $35 million for the second close of its second fund. With the help of this cash, the team hopes to grow into Nairobi and Dakar and increase its investments in industries like AI-powered SaaS. Supporting second-time founders and operators with successful company plans and in-demand software solutions is another priority for the fund.