Home » SBI Holdings Anchors Novastar Ventures’ Future Funds with $40M Commitment

SBI Holdings Anchors Novastar Ventures’ Future Funds with $40M Commitment

by Lucas Finis
SBI Holdings

In a telling sign of growing interest in African startups, Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has committed to anchor future funds of pan-African VC firm Novastar Ventures with a $40 million investment. The partnership underscores burgeoning opportunities for Japanese investors in Africa’s tech ecosystem.


Over the past decade, SBI Holdings has been aggressively expanding beyond Japan, making strategic investments in promising startups and venture firms globally. The consortium has specifically targeted Africa as an emerging hub of innovation ripe for Japanese capital and know-how.

Novastar Ventures has quickly made a name for itself since launching in 2015 as one of Africa’s most active early-stage VC firms. It focuses on startups innovating in healthcare, education, financial inclusion, and agriculture technology. Novastar has backing from high-profile LPs like Microsoft and JP Morgan. 

The Partnership

As part of the new partnership, SBI Holdings will acquire a minority stake in Novastar Ventures and gain a non-executive board seat. SBI’s Africa advisor Riki Yamauchi will also join Novastar’s investment team to facilitate collaboration between the firms. 


The $40 million commitment from SBI will anchor Novastar’s planned $100 million Africa Agriculture & Climate Fund, which will invest in startups sustainably transforming farming and food systems. Novastar intends to leverage SBI’s network to attract additional LPs from Japan to co-invest in the vehicle.

Strategic Opportunities 

For SBI Holdings, Novastar represents an ideal partner for capturing Africa’s growth potential, thanks to its local know-how and stellar track record. Novastar’s portfolio includes e-commerce pioneer Jumia and fintech unicorn Chipper Cash. 

With Novastar’s guidance, SBI can gain privileged access to Africa’s pipeline of rising tech startups. Its investment also builds inroads between Japan and Africa for further bilateral business development and capital flows.

For Novastar, SBI’s backing lends further credibility in anchoring its new Africa Agriculture & Climate Fund, which is core to its impact-driven strategy. Having SBI on board also unlocks partnerships across Japan’s broader VC landscape to augment funding and cooperation with African startups. 

Bigger Picture

This partnership comes as investor appetite for African startups hits new highs. VC funding into Africa smashed records by topping $5 billion in 2021, per Briter Bridges data. While 2022 is on pace to fall short due to global pressures, the long-term growth thesis remains strong.

With this deal, SBI Holdings and Novastar aim to catalyze even greater participation from Japanese institutional investors in backing Africa’s next wave of innovators. Their strategic alignment can enhance knowledge exchange and channel more Japanese capital to high-potential sectors like tech, fintech, clean energy, and healthcare across the continent.

If the collaboration flourishes as envisioned, it would solidify Japan as a vital partner in realizing Africa’s digital economic potential. With the right cultivation, Africa’s tech ecosystem could blossom into a thriving portal linking Japan with broader emerging markets growth.


SBI’s landmark commitment to Novastar’s fund carries significance far beyond the dollar amount. Symbolically, it cements Africa’s viability as an investment hub for Japanese capital and sets the stage for deepened bilateral business ties and value creation. With this foundation, the Africa-Japan investment corridor could accelerate prosperity for all partners in the ecosystem.

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