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Closing the gap: Klarna’s founder’s African tech growth fund snaps $205M


Norrsken22, an Africa-focused tech growth fund, has successfully concluded its initial fund-raising effort, amassing an impressive $205 million in capital. The fund’s origins can be traced back to the Norrsken Foundation, a Stockholm-based impact ecosystem dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs committed to addressing global challenges.

Established in 2022 by Niklas Adalberth, the visionary founder of both the Norrsken Foundation and the payments unicorn Klarna, alongside Hans Otterling, a Partner at the technology investment firm Northzone, Norrsken22‘s mission revolves around supporting entrepreneurs involved in fintech, edtech, medtech, and market-enabling innovations. The fund’s primary objective is to bridge the existing funding gap for tech startups in the growth stage across the African continent.

Heading the investment team is Natalie Kolbe, formerly the Global Head of Private Equity at Actis, with support from Ngetha Waithaka in Kenya, an associate of Actis, and Lexi Novitske, who previously founded Acuity Venture Partners in Nigeria. Notably, Norrsken22 operates across Africa, with dedicated teams on the ground in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana.

From its inception, the fund received substantial support from more than 30 unicorn founders, a distinguished group including Olugbenga Agboola (co-founder of Flutterwave), Niklas Zennström (co-founder of Skype), Jacob de Geer (co-founder of iZettle), Niklas Östberg (co-founder of Delivery Hero), Carl Manneh (co-founder of Mojang), Sebastian Knutsson (co-founder of King), and Willard Ahdritz (founder of Kobalt Music). Additionally, SEB Pension Foundation and various family offices provided backing.

Following the initial fund close, several high-profile institutional investors have joined the ranks of supporters. This includes British International Investment (BII), International Finance Corporation (IFC), US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Standard Bank, and Norfund, strengthening Norrsken22’s potential to drive impactful tech innovation across Africa.

Niklas Adalberth, Founder of Norrsken Foundation, said: “Africa has the youngest population globally and its upcoming digital-first generation is the future of Africa – and the world. We’re delighted to announce this final close and with the support the fund has received. There are huge opportunities in Africa. We are excited to continue our mission of driving funding into African tech, and creating jobs and sustainable growth in the region”

Natalie Kolbe, Managing Partner of Norrsken22, said: “The timing of the fund ideally positions Norrsken22 to support a growing African tech tailwind.  The transformative power of technology can leapfrog traditional ways of doing business, and Africa has the opportunity to lead the World with its solutions. We are excited to be partnering with so many promising startups that can have a positive impact across Africa. We are delighted to see an active and growing early-stage investor community growing across the continent, however we still see a gap at growth stage tech funding in the continent. We see a huge opportunity here, and are excited to continue investing at this stage”

Norrsken22 has already made five investments.  The portfolio includes South African challenger bank Tyme Bank, African business-to-business digital commerce platform Sabi, Africa’s leading identity verification solution, Smile ID and auto financing platform Autochek.

The fund is also supported by an advisory council of business leaders from across the continent, contributing local business knowledge as well as global perspectives: Nonkululeko Nyembezi, Chairman Standard Bank Group, Phuthuma Nhleko, ex-Chief Executive, MTN and Shingai Mutasa, Founder and CEO, Masawara Plc.

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