About

Optimizer Foundation is driven by the mission to improve youth’ access to health, education and employment opportunities. Founded in 2017, Optimizer Foundation is an impact investing organization, headquartered out of Sweden, and with a presence in Nairobi and London.

We are a non-profit organisation leveraging philanthropic capital to make commercial investments into social enterprises. We invest in companies that are, or have the potential to be, financially viable whilst maximizing benefits for the society. Returns on investments get channelled back into our organisation to benefit future social enterprises.

We were founded and originally funded by Optimizer Invest – a venture capital firm focused on online and consumer-driven businesses. They have embarked with us on this journey and are continuing to support us with capital as well as advisory.

We have also received generous donations from companies and individuals. To all of you, the Optimizer Foundation team, would like to extend a profound thank you for your generous donations.

Since our founding, we have been funded by the generous support of many.  If you are interested in supporting our work, please visit our Donations page.


INVESTMENT STRATEGY

At Optimizer Foundation, we are striving to find entrepreneurs that share our vision of a future where youth across the continent have access to affordable and high-quality health and education, as well as job opportunities. We search for dedicated and impact-oriented founders and leadership teams, who have a financially sustainable plan to provide products or services that create a positive social impact.

Our geographical focus is primarily on East Africa, although we have recently broadened our geographies to incorporate parts of West Africa. Our previous investment strategy pre 2018 included India, hence we have portfolio organisations in the region.

For more details on our strategy and impact, please see our most recent Impact Report.

INVESTMENT CRITERIA

We are currently searching for investments in social enterprises that fit the following criteria:

  • Sector: Education, Health, Youth Employment
  • Geography: Primarily East Africa (specific focus on Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda), but we are considering investment opportunities in parts of West Africa.
  • Investment Size: 50,000 – 150,000 USD (follow-on rounds of similar size up to a maximum of 300,000 USD per investee)
  • Investment Type: Equity, debt and hybrid (such as Convertible Debt)
  • Investment Stage: Seed (Early-Stage) Ventures
  • Impact: Core product or service has a positive social impact on the end-customer
  • Customer Segment: Focus on underserved customers, who wouldn’t otherwise have access to similar affordable and high-quality products or services.
  • Scalability: Scalability or replication potential for regional/national/international expansion
  • Team: Fulltime team in place with strong leadership skills, business acumen, and a clear orientation to drive impact
  • Financial Sustainability: Generates revenue with long-term financial sustainability

If you lead a company that fits these criteria, or know of one that does, please reach out to us!

INVESTMENT PROCESS

To fully support audacious social entrepreneurs, we follow a three-step process.

  1. We find the social entrepreneurs changing the health and education systems: We build deep expertise on the opportunities and challenges in the health and education sectors. We then search for dedicated and impact-oriented entrepreneurs who are building financially sustainable companies that provide products and services to underserved populations.
  2. Invest capital and expertise into their businesses: We invest both capital and advisory into innovative enterprises, pulling from the expertise of our team and wider advisor networks.
  3. Partner with the broader ecosystem: We continuously engage with the overall ecosystem, sharing learnings and opportunities, and building a stronger system that empowers game-changing businesses.

IMPACT

Through our investments into social enterprises spanning the education, health, and youth employment sectors, we aim to improve long-term quality of life and economic prosperity across our markets. Ultimately, we strive to add value to the end-customers of our investees, to the entrepreneurs and teams that we invest in, and to the broader ecosystem. 

We measure our impact in partnership with our investees, and report the results in our annual impact reports, found here.