African technology and broadband company, CSquared, has announced that it has raised $25 million (about R468 million) in new funding from investors including a fund managed by Convergence Partners, a pan-African digital infrastructure investor.
The funding will be used to support CSquared’s growth and expansion plans in new and existing markets across the continent.
CSquared was founded in 2011 as a project within Google, with the aim of building metropolitan fiber optic networks that would be leased by mobile network operators and internet service providers on a wholesale model, and as a neutral operator of shared infrastructure. The project was spun off as an independent company in 2017, with Google, Mitsui & Co, Convergence Partners, and the International Finance Corporation as the initial shareholders.
As part of the latest funding round, Google has sold its stake in CSquared to Convergence Partners, which now becomes the majority shareholder of the company. Google said that it remains committed to supporting internet access and digital inclusion in Africa, and that it will continue to work with CSquared as a customer and partner.
“The new investment into the company will be used for network expansion as CSquared continues to drive digital infrastructure developments across its footprint and the broader African region,” the parties said in a statement.
Lanre Kolade, the CEO of CSquared, said that the new funding and the exit of Google mark a new chapter for the company, which has grown to operate over 3,000 km of fiber in Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, reaching over 12 million people with high-quality broadband access. He said that the company plans to leverage its experience and expertise to enter new markets and partner with more operators and service providers to connect more people and businesses in Africa.
“The long-term vision for the company is to increase internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa and to reduce internet access costs by investing in infrastructure necessary to drive digital transformation in the region,” CSquared CEO said in the statement
Andile Ngcaba, the chairman and founder of Convergence Partners, said that the investment in CSquared reflects the fund’s vision of accelerating digital transformation and inclusion in Africa, and that the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the increasing demand for data and connectivity on the continent. He also praised Google for its role in creating and supporting CSquared, and said that the fund looks forward to working with the other shareholders and the management team to take the company to the next level.
Convergence Partners chairman Andile Ngcaba said: “As investors in the company since 2017, we have had a front-row view of the tremendous impact of open-access networks on the development of the African ICT ecosystem. The combination of developmental impact, as well as strong commercial returns, makes this an attractive investment for the CPDIF…”