Nigerian female-led early-stage VC firm Aruwa Capital has announced the first close of its $20 million early-stage growth equity and gender lens investment fund from global institutional LPs.

The fund’s first institutional and anchor investor is Visa Foundation, followed by other investors such as Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund, Nyala Venture, backed by Financial Sector Deepening Africa Investments and leading family businesses from Africa, Europe and the United States.

The Fund will invest $500,000 to $2.5 million in women-focused small and growing businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, targeting investments in critical sectors such as healthcare, fintech, renewable energy, and essential consumer goods, the firm said in a statement.

Founded in 2019 by Adesuwa Okunbo, the firm invests in innovative businesses, founded or led by women or with gender-diverse teams, that provide essential goods and services to the rapidly expanding female economy.

Adesuwa started Aruwa to address the investment gap that women-led enterprises face in Africa. They comprise 40% of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) yet receive only 1% of startup capital1 due to the lack of female capital allocators in the region.

Based in Lagos, Aruwa has a team of investment professionals and portfolio managers who leverage their international expertise and local networks to identify untapped investment opportunities. To date, the Fund has made six investments, committing over 45% of its capital into a diversified portfolio of rapidly growing companies.