The Maris Africa Fund was established in 2009 by Charlie Tryon, Andrew Fimister and Coco Ferguson, all of whom had worked extensively in frontier market operations. Drawing on their commercial expertise and networks in Africa they identified a number of interesting early stage opportunities in South Sudan and Kenya. They established 4 companies, with strong operating partners, which was the start of our portfolio that now spans 9 countries and 19 companies.
Between 2010 and 2014 Maris Africa made 14 investments in seven countries and doubled the value of the portfolio. We then initiated a conversation with investors about how to capitalise on our first mover advantage and the potential of the strong teams and partnerships we had developed.
We felt the typical private equity fund cycle was at odds with our wider, long-term objectives and restricted the potential for greater synergy between our businesses. As a result we restructured in 2014, registering Maris Limited as a Permanent Capital Vehicle in Mauritius. A rights issue raised $40m and allowed original shareholders to exit if they wished. Those who exited received up to a 2x their original investment within 5 years of investing and a net IRR of 31%.