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Fatoumata Ba has launched a venture capital fund to help other African female-run startups.
Fatoumata Ba has launched a venture capital fund to help other African female-run startups.

An African female-led venture capital firm is on its way to reaching its €60 million (about $66 million) target in the first quarter of 2020, and has already quietly begun investing in women founders.

Janngo Capital, founded by Senegalese entrepreneur Fatoumata Ba, has raised about €15 million (about $16.5 million) from the European Investment Bank, according to Quartz.

[Related: A Nigerian Entrepreneur Teaches Women to Farm and Grow in Self-Confidence]

According to its website, Janngo “builds, grows and invests in pan-African ‘tech for good’ champions with proven business models and inclusive social impact.” Before launching the fund, Ba broke through the tech entrepreneur scene with Jumia, an e-commerce platform similar to Amazon that became wildly popular in Africa.

Janngo previously raised funds from family sources, and it’s now starting to invest in early-stage ventures that are run by women. It is unclear which companies are currently receiving capital.

The savvy businesswoman said she wants to be the largest pan-African VC fund to offer capital from seed through growth stage because “the toughest thing about building a startup is actually starting up.”

About 60 percent of her team is female, and Ba aims to have at least half of Janngo Capital’s portfolio to be founded or co-founded by women, if not directly benefiting them.

“This is critical and was an essential part of my motivation to take a leap of faith and become an investor myself,” she said.

[Related: Why This $1 Million Beauty Startup Cares About African Shea Farmers]

Ba has been named a 2019 Quartz Africa Innovator, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and one of Forbes Africa’s “30 under 30.” She also won this year’s Aenne Burda Award for visionary leadership, optimism and courage.

While the number of female founders in Africa is growing, there are still fewer than one in five startups led by women. The continent also faces a $42 billion funding gender gap, according to figures from the African Development Bank.

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