South African VC firm Knife Capital gets first commitment for its $50M fund, to invest in 10-12 Series B rounds

Knife Capital, a South African venture capital firm, is raising a $50 million fund for startups looking to raise Series B financing. With Knife Fund III called the African Series B Expansion Fund, the firm seeks to directly invest in the aggressive expansion of South African breakout companies. It also plans to co-invest in companies across the rest of Africa.

The first fund, known as Knife Capital Fund I or HBD Venture Capital, was a closed private equity fund managed by Eben van Heerden and Keet van Zyl. The firm offered seed capital to startups. It also generated significant exits from its portfolio — VISA acquisition of fintech startup Fundamo, and orderTalk’s acquisition by UberEats come to mind.

In 2016, the VC firm launched its current 12J offering with Knife Capital Fund II. The fund (KNF Ventures) which invests primarily in Series A stage has eight startups in its portfolio. Last year the firm told TechCrunch of its intention to extend the Fund II and open to new investors. The plan was to give startups access to networks, money and expansion opportunities.

“We want to help South African and African companies internationalize,” said co-managing partner Andrea Bohmert at the time. A testament to its cause, one of its portfolio companies, DataProphet, raised $6 million Series A to expand into the U.S. and Europe.

Bohmert tells TechCrunch that the third fund aims to address the critical Series B funding gap that has characterised the (Read more...)