Jacana Partners, the pan-African SME investor, has appointed Shaun Collyer as chief investment officer.
In this newly created position, Collyer will be responsible for sourcing opportunities across East and West Africa, supervising execution of the firm’s investment process, managing portfolio strategy and developing successful exits.
The South African national is a former chief executive of Johannesburg-based Africa Private Equity Fund Managers, a venture capital firm currently in wind-down mode after two years spent trying to raise a $100 million fund.
Prior to APEFM, Collyer was a senior analyst at Sustainable Capital, an asset management outlet based in Mauritius. He was part of the investment team at US-based Pegasus Capital and Three Cities before then.
Based in Nairobi, Collyer will be looking to implement Jacana’s investment strategy across its current vehicles, a $32 million fund investing in West African SMEs and an $11 million fund focused on East Africa. “Things have been done in very different ways in these different places,” Stephen Dawson, chairman of Jacana, told Private Equity International. “So a key part of the role will be to ensure there are consistent processes across our various geographies, but also to make sure we do learn from what we've been doing in these different places.”
Investors have not had particularly good records in investing in first-time managers in the SME market in Africa. So they are looking for people who have got experience and geographic diversification
Collyer will also be a partner and investment committee member of the Jacana Partners Mezzanine Fund, the firm’s latest vehicle. The fund, which has a target of $75 million, is expected to hold a first close before the end of the year. “The fact that he has a huge amount of private equity experience internationally means that he can really add a lot of value at the detail level, as well as playing a coordinating role,” Dawson said.
The appointment comes a few months after Jacana merged with Nairobi-headquartered InReturn Capital, which has since rebranded to Jacana Partners. This followed the firm’s absorption of Fidelity Capital Partners, a West African firm, in August 2012.
“There are quite a lot of people trying to raise first-time funds in this market, and investors have not had particularly good records in investing in first-time managers in the SME market in Africa,” Dawson said. “So I think they are looking for people who have got more experience, who have got some geographic diversification, and they're pretty cautious to the funds that don't have those characteristics.”
The firm, which manages $43 million worth of assets, has invested in 20 companies since inception. These have included acquisitions in the healthcare, agro-processing, transport, construction and education, in companies in the $1 million to $5 million valuation range.