Nigerian startup Green Africa Airways has completed its initial financing push in partnership with pan-African investment manager Kuramo Capital and has begun negotiations for its future fleet.
The so-called Series A financing marks Green Africa Airways’ first major institutional round of financing.
Green Africa Airways founder and CEO Babawande Afolabi declined to comment on the exact sum that has been raised, but he said Series A requires a “a mission-driven investor” that believes in the market opportunity and return on investment potential.
“Series A funding, in many cases, is the toughest round for any new company to raise,” Afolabi said. “We are extremely fortunate that Kuramo Capital is backing Green Africa Airways with this pivotal round of financing.”
Kuramo Capital is an independent, pan-African investment-management group based in New York, with additional offices in Lagos and Nairobi.
“The aviation sector is a critical industry that can create meaningful value for shareholders, while also contributing significantly to the economic development of a nation. Green Africa Airways presents a legacy opportunity for Kuramo Capital to generate an attractive risk-adjusted return for our investors and build a world-class business that will serve as a catalyst for economic growth on the African continent,” Kuramo Capital founder and CEO Walé Adeosun said.
Lagos-based Green Africa Airways describes itself as a “value airline,” which aims to offer affordable air travel. The startup has already secured its air transport license and has started work toward its air operator’s certificate.
Now that the initial financing is in place, Green Africa Airways said it is “in conversations” with aircraft manufacturers. Afolabi confirmed the airline still plans to launch with domestic flights within Nigeria, using leased mid-sized jets, although no timeline has been specified.
Green Africa Airways has an advisory board made up of senior industry leaders, including former Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines CEO Tom Horton, Viva Air Colombia founder and former CEO William Shaw, as well as former American Airlines CCO Virasb Vahidi.
“Having such a distinguished board will uniquely position us not only for takeoff but also in establishing a world-class platform that will help Green Africa Airways scale into an industry-leading carrier over the next decade,” the startup said.
Green Africa has also appointed Caribbean Airlines VP-operations Jag Singh as COO and former New York-based JetBlue Airways VP-flight operations Bart Roberts as safety review board chairman. ASKY Airlines Boeing 737 captain Folu Oladipo, who was previously technical pilot at Nigeria’s largest carrier Arik Air, is Green Africa’s chief pilot.