Since its inception in 2019, the Harambean Prosperity Fund (H-Prosperity) has invested $1.2m across 12 Harambean-led ventures who have gone on to collectively raise more than $140m from leading investors across the globe, including Enza Capital and Future Africa, both Harambean-founded, as well as V8 Capital Partners, Backstage Capital and Aleka Capital. The portfolio’s current market valuation is estimated to be in the region of $365m. “We are hugely encouraged by the impact that H-Prosperity is having in leveraging the Alliance to help companies to scale and increase their impact – the portfolio of companies has created almost 23 000 direct jobs since inception. Their success has also reaffirmed our conviction that enduring prosperity for many countries in Africa will not come from fixing poverty, but from investing in innovations that create new markets within these economies,” said Harambeans Founder, Okendo Lewis-Gayle.
H-Prosperity is a donor-advised investment vehicle formed through the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance’s network of prominent families and corporations. With seed funding from Cisco and Allan Gray Philanthropies, H-Prosperity leverages investment networks to increase capital flow to Harambean-led ventures. It was specifically designed to build coalitions of investors and entrepreneurs to bring scalable and affordable market-creating innovations to Africa.
In 2022, H-Prosperity invested a further $300k through $100k investments in Africa Foresight Group, Jem HR and Qwili, bringing the total portfolio of companies to 9/10.
Africa Foresight Group
Africa Foresight Group (AFG) is an African-owned and managed firm building the largest future-of-work platform to transform African people and companies into global champions. The business, founded in 2016 by Yasmin Kumi H’16, offers a freelance consultancy platform and an AI-powered remote talent management system. It works with leading African companies, investment funds and development agencies across the continent to harness the potential of their resources for shared growth and development.
AFG has raised $2.5m in seed and pre-Series A funding, including the investment from H-Prosperity. “This round has enabled us to launch a new talent training programme for flexible workers across Africa and the diaspora; build the African Hidden Champions in collaboration with the German Investment Corporation and the African Development Bank; as well as launch Peralta as a public platform to enable African SMEs to access top flexible talent,” says Kumi.
Thandwe Radebe H’21 is the co-founder of Qwili, a start-up that provides **a downloadable storefront offering digital and physical products that simplify the journey to starting a business for people who don’t earn enough to support themselves. They’ve done this by minimizing start-up costs to just $3 and made it easy for micro entrepreneurs to advertise to their customers. Their curated distribution network targets offline, low-income consumers and the combination of their platform and network of resellers, who act as a trust bridge, enables them to reach hard-to-reach consumers. **Founded in 2020, the platform has 4K monthly active entrepreneurs and revenue has grown 7 fold in the past year.
In addition to the H-Prosperity investment, Qwili raised a total of $2.7m, which will enable the company to onboard 20K entrepreneurs in the next 6 months.
“There’s nothing that fills us with greater joy than aligning with a fund that shares Qwili’s vision of bringing prosperity to our people within our lifetime. The funding from H-Prosperity is just one small part of the substantial contribution that Harambe brings. This contribution represents a union of immensely dedicated entrepreneurs who wholeheartedly embrace a shared goal, ready to collaborate at a moment’s notice to bring Africa’s vision to fruition,” says Radebe.
H-Prosperity’s final investment for 2022 was in Jem, a dynamic HR tech company. Founded by Simon Ellis H ’21 and Caroline van der Merwe H’23, Jem is revolutionizing HR for frontline employees in emerging markets, through WhatsApp. Jem helps employers easily onboard new hires, schedule shifts and distribute payslips via an earned wage-access platform accessible via WhatsApp. The company has facilitated over 400,000 advances and scaled to work with 100+ companies and 80,000+ employees across Africa and is making significant strides in both user engagement and financial savings. Traditional HR tech is like a square peg in a round hole for frontline workers who don’t use email or SMS. Jem fills this gap by enabling smooth, automated HR processes via WhatsApp. To date, they’ve raised over $3 million in seed funding, scaled revenue 5x year on year and are eyeing market expansion into two new countries.
“In emerging markets, most HR workflows are stuck in the Stone Age – 9 million employees in South Africa still get printed payslips. Jem changes the game using WhatsApp as the magic wand. Our solution is faster and three times cheaper, and setup takes less than 48 hours.H-Prosperity’s investment marks a significant endorsement and sets the stage for our ambitious future plans,” says Ellis.
“Not only have these Harambean-led companies been given the opportunity to scale further, create employment and increase their impact in the economies and communities in which they operate, but they have also made valuable contributions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” noted inaugural Harambeans Prosperity Fund Fellow, Brian Simiyu. All companies are required to report annually on their SDG impact.
Prosperity Fund ventures’ SDG impact
- SDG 3 Good health and well-being: 1m patients have been helped by Vula – an increase of 56%
- SDG 11 Sustainable cities & communities: 13 work weeks of time have been unlocked per year for commuters
- SDG 8 Decent work & economic growth: 22 920 direct jobs and 1.3m indirect jobs have been created, an increase of 892%
- SDG 7 Affordable & clean energy: 9.7M kWh passed through Shyft
- SDG 13 Climate action: 153 Mt CO2 emissions saved
“Our hope is that as Harambeans succeed and have liquidity events, they will choose to follow in the example of Cisco and Allan Gray and donate to H-Prosperity so that our Alliance can back the next generation of Harambean-led ventures,” concluded Lewis-Gayle.