Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) has announced the launch of an African fund. The Sony Innovation Fund Africa is unique as it will specifically focus on entertainment businesses in the continent.
SIF is fully funded by Sony and tends to invest in early-stage companies. Launched in 2016, the fund has invested in consumer and enterprise-facing startups that are bringing new forms of Entertainment, FinTech, Healthcare, IoT, Mobility, Deep Tech and Sensor Technologies to global markets.
In the African case, this new fund will be fully embraced in all markets. First, it comes in an year when other investors have been a bit shy to back African startups. Secondly, choosing to fund entertainment ventures will give a big boost to an underfunded sector.
Typically, in Africa, fintech startups tend to receive the most funding. Entertainment startups never seem to be a priority for investors. Last year for example, the entertainment sector received just 0.9% of the total investment given to the continent.
The Sony Innovation Fund Africa has set up a $10 million fund that will target early-stage startups in gaming, music, film and content distribution.
“Today, I am excited to announce the launch of Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, an initiative to support the growth of entertainment businesses in Africa. In addition, Sony has finalized a collaboration agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to further accelerate the progress and development in the region. We look forward to sharing more news and activity from Sony Innovation Fund: Africa.” Wrote Gen Tsuchikawa, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Sony Ventures Corporation, on his LinkedIn.
Sony is well-versed in matters of entertainment. The company runs Sony Music, Sony Pictures, and Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation). No doubt, African start-ups stand to benefit from Sony’s technical and business expertise.
In addition, they will have access to a global partner network to scale.
Sony Innovation Fund Portfolio
In the past, the Sony Ventures Corporation through the SIF has invested in a number of markets. These are Japan, India, Israel, Europe and the U.S. The company has offices in all these markets, however, the SIF Africa will in the initial stages be managed through the European office.
The SIF has a rich portfolio of entertainment startups across the markets. These include Bayes Holding, MainStreaming, Scriptic, Tracklib, and Yellowbrick. Of the more than 100 startups under the SIF, 23 are entertainment companies.
This is a promising sign for content creators and gamers in Africa and creates hope the sector will experience growth.