BY TOM JACKSON
With a background in engineering, consulting and investing, V8 Capital Partners founding partner Tobi Oke has been investing in African startups since 2013.
Having started out as a software engineer at Motorola, Oke then moved into management consulting with Booz Allen, before finally winding up in African VC with Intel Capital.
“I started investing in African tech startups with Intel Capital with an Africa wide mandate in 2013,” Oke told Disrupt Africa.
“In 2017, after Intel Capital decided to discontinue investing in emerging markets, I started V8 Capital Partners with the goal to create an investment firm focused on African intellectual property with the goal of accelerating business automation.”
V8 has a broad set of LPs. “We started out with former colleagues, investment professionals and HNIs. Our LP base now includes institutions and fund or funds,” said Oke.
The firm has invested in more than a dozen businesses at different stages, largely at pre-Series A and Series A, including MarketForce, Zuri, ShapShap, Mecho Autotech, and Yamauchi.
“We invest in business automation. In other words we invest in technology businesses that help other businesses operate more effectively reaching a wider audience at lower costs over a shorter period of time. Our investments are usually disruptive but central to new ways of doing business,” Oke said.
V8’s name comes from the popular V8 Engine, with Oke saying it speaks to the firm’s role as catalysts to African entrepreneurs.
“The biggest value-add we believe is using our deep expertise and global reach to help our entrepreneurs navigate different stages of growth and the challenges that come with that,” he said.
“We are active investors, helping on a wide range of issues from business development to increased governance, leadership training, capital raising, building partnerships and more. However we don’t follow a one size fits all. We look to augment and catalyse strong management teams.”
Having been part of the ecosystem since 2013, he says the development of the African startup space so far has been exciting.
“There is tremendous opportunity to both leapfrog from a business automation perspective but also develop new technology infrastructure that creates huge opportunities in specific verticals,” said Oke.
“Investor interest in Africa is growing steadily and investors are increasingly keen to do more.”
So what’s next for V8?
“We are looking to partner with new LPs and grow our portfolio companies tremendously. We expect to deploy a significant amount of capital across the continent supporting our entrepreneurs become more successful in 2022 and beyond,” Oke said.