Lapaire Glasses

Sector of activity: Health
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: I&P Expansion, IPAE 2
Entrepreneur: Jérôme Lapaire, Louis Gascoin
Country: Pan-African
A propos:

Lapaire is a pan-African company specializing in visual health, founded in 2018. It targets a population that was previously excluded from the market for quality optical care by offering services and products at fair and transparent prices through a network of proximity and personalized customer service.


Lapaire operates more than 50 optical agencies across the African continent, employing over 300 people. With the goal of becoming the leading eyewear brand in Africa, Lapaire plans to open additional optical agencies in major cities as well as in peri-urban areas



Graduated from the University of Geneva Law School, Jérôme Lapaire, a Swiss national and lawyer by profession, founded Lapaire Glasses in 2018 with his personal savings and money from friends, after realizing that access to quality eye care was a particularly burdensome problem in Kenya. The cost of an ophthalmological consultation, the time it takes and the price of prescription glasses are often too great a burden for a large proportion of the population.

He is joined in this entrepreneurial adventure by Louis Gascoin, who holds an MBA from EDHEC Business School, specializes in operational excellence and distribution development. Based in Côte d'Ivoire since 2012, he has built up solid professional experience in project development with multinationals such as Servair (owner of the Burger King franchise), where he was General Manager Côte d'Ivoire from 2017 to 2020.


Partnership with I&P

Lapaire Glasses is supported by I&P through the I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 (IPAE 2) fund, which is joined by AfricInvest in this round of financing. This partnership will help the company :

  • Open 250 additional stores in 3 years, including expansion into 5 new African countries;
  • Strengthen and structure management, operational teams and working capital for this new period of growth;
  • Strengthen the company's IT infrastructure.


Expected impact

  • Extend access to quality corrective eyewear and ophthalmic care to populations excluded from the conventional healthcare system ;
  • Job creation.


Articles to read

⇒ Jérôme Lapaire's portrait on

⇒ Article in How we made it in Africa: "Entrepreneur capitalises on Africa’s demand for affordable eyeglasses"


In portfolio since: 2023


Sector of activity: Culture
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: I&P Expansion, IPAE 2
Entrepreneur: Guy Kamgaing
Employees: 30
Country: Pan-African
A propos:


Launched in 2017, StarNews is a network of mobile video channels that gives access to quality content thanks to strong distribution and marketing partnerships with pan-African mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Moov.

StarNews is positioning itself in a unique market, specifically adapted to the African context to unlock the potential of the creation of mobile video content on the continent.

StarNews was designed as a digital platform for creating, producing and distributing video content to mobile subscribers on various themes (celebrities, culture, cuisine, sport, humor, religion, beauty, events, etc.). The company started out collaborating with local and international African celebrities such as Fally Ipupa, Serge Beynaud, Lady Ponce or Davido and has been focusing since 2019 on the development of new themes.

StarNews has established partnerships with large pan-African mobile operators such as MTN and Orange in order to distribute exclusive and quality video content directly to users who can subscribe through their mobile to the various channels offered.

The company now operates in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa




Guy Kamgaing, founder and director of the company, has over 20 years of experience in the mobile phone industry.

This Cameroonian entrepreneur began his career some 20 years ago by supplying network equipment to cell phone operators. He then entered the service sector and was a pioneer of mobile navigation by SMS ( jokes, quizzes, horoscopes, etc...) in Africa, before the widespread use of smartphones and mobile internet. He observed then that value-added service offers are usually not Africanized and even when they are, the content comes only from international players.

He therefore decided in 2015 to work on the creation of a platform to deliver African content at an affordable price to consumers. He launched StarNews in 2017, and after only 9 months of pilot deployment in Côte d'Ivoire in partnership with the operators MTN and Moov, StarNews Mobile reached over one million subscribers.




StarNews carries out a first fundraising campaign with Investisseurs & Partenaires through its I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 fund.

The partnership between StarNews and I&P aims to:

• Building the skills of local teams (Abidjan, Douala, Johannesburg, Lagos)

• Developing value-added content for users


"We are proud to support a talented and experienced African entrepreneur who demonstrates a real commitment to deploy a pan-African and innovative solution. We share StarNews’ ambition to showcase African artists and to produce a greater diversity of quality local content with high added value for end users"

Nouss Bih, Investment Manager at I&P, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.




• Generating new sources of income for African artists and various creators of content

• Supporting the development of an information platform with increasingly impactful content (health, employment, etc.).




In portfolio since: 2020


Sector of activity: Digital, Tech
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: IPAE 2
Entrepreneur: Mathias Papet, Eric Genêtre
Country: Pan-African
A propos:

CoinAfrique is a 100% mobile community platform designed to buy and sell products simply.

Created in 2015, CoinAfrique aims to become the leader in online ads between individuals in French-speaking Africa. To date, CoinAfrique has over 500,000 downloads and more than 100,000 active users.



Matthias Papet is the founder and President of CoinAfrique. An expert in new technologies and e-commerce, he managed many sites in the field of mail order, beauty and travel, before working at Google France as Head of Travel.


Eric Genêtre is the Managing Director of CoinAfrique, in charge of the administrative and financial aspects of the company. During his career, he has managed major projects in the fields of construction, real estate and concessions, in France and abroad. In particular, he worked as Managing Director of Vinci Concession's subsidiary in Slovakia.



I&P is committed to working with CoinAfrique to:

  • Strengthen local sales teams



  • A technical project with a strong growth potential
  • An African development team interested in the company's capital
  • Creation of local employment opportunities in several French-speaking African countries



In portfolio since: 2018


Sector of activity: Agro-food
Status: Sortie
Associed fund: IPAE 2
Entrepreneur: Julien GIUGE et Anne MERIENNE
Employees: 35
Country: Pan-African
A propos:


AFRIBON, launched in 2012, is specialized in the creation and marketing of food flavours. The group has five production sites in total: four in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania) and one in Cameroon.

AFRIBON is currently the only company to produce locally and offer a tailor-made service to its customers, including notably manufacturers of beverages, biscuits and dairy products.



AFRIBON was created and is managed by two entrepreneurs :

Julien GIUGE  is the co-founder and Managing Director of AFRIBON. He graduated from ESSEC and worked for nine years in China, where he was for three years the manager of the Chinese subsidiary of the AROMATECH Group, a French group specialising in the production of flavours and fragrances. 

Anne MERIENNE is the co-founder and Director of the Kenyan sector. A graduate of ESCP, she has worked in China and the United Arab Emirates for the Beaumanoir group and the Accor group on management control and business development positions.

Based in Kenya, Anne and Julien have lived in several African countries over the past five years (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda).



I&P is committed alongside Afribon to :

•Ÿ Develop the activities of the group in the current countries of operation

Ÿ•Ÿ Finance a new production line  

Ÿ •Ÿ Strengthen the group's structure on cross-cutting activities

Ÿ •Ÿ Support the group's development in new countries



Ÿ•Ÿ Creation of many skilled jobs

Ÿ•Ÿ Creating opportunities for young teams composed mainly of women

Ÿ•Ÿ A service that reduces a major bottleneck in the food industry

•Ÿ Develop the skills of local teams

Ÿ•Ÿ Substitution to imports



In portfolio since: 2018


Sector of activity: Agro-Industry
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: IPAE 1
Entrepreneur: Durabilis
Employees: 283
Country: Pan-African
A propos:

Barajii produces and commercializes water and locally produced fruit juices (Bissap, mango, ginger, etc.) packed in bio-degradable bags and PET bottles.

Production currently takes place in Burkina Faso, with a main factory based in Ouagadougou and a small production unit in Bobo Dioulasso. Part of the production is exported to Mali. The company has produced more than 130 million liters of beverage in 2015.


Barajii aims to develop its production and distribution activities in 8 to 10 countries over the next 5 years. the group has already launched with success a subsidiary in February 2016.



Barajii is part of the group Durabilis. Founded in 2003, Durabilis is an international impact investing company specialized in the agro-industry sector with headquarters in Ghent, Belgium. Through the concept of shared value, Durabilis is committed to providing local and export markets with sustainable quality products, optimizing supply chains and improving the lives of employees. Since its creation, Durabilis has achieved notable successes in the production and export of fair trade products (Fair Fruit in Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Burkina Faso; Stévia One in Peru, Terral’s rice production in Senegal…).

Barajii Group is managed by Peter Willaert. Based in Ethiopia since early 2016 to manage the launch of the subsidiary in the country, he previously successfully managed the Burkinabe organization. Before 2010, he worked for the Dutch NGO SNV in Ouagadougou, where he was responsible for the West African region.


The group Barajii currently holds two subsidiaries: one in Burkina Faso (Société Burkinabè des Filières Alimentaires – SBFA) and one in Togo (Société Togolaise des Filières Alimentaires – STFA)

The Burkinabe branch is led by Abasse Kane, a Senegalese businessman with more than 15 years of experience in the agro-industrial sector. The Togolese branch is headed by Charles Netchenawoe, a Togolese citizen graduated from Ecole des Mines of Nancy.




I&P committed alongside with Barajii to:

• Finance the launch and development of the group in 8 to 10 African countries

• Support the group in its geographical expansion

• Reinforce and expand Barajii’s environmental and social strategy



The company has adopted a strong social and environmental policy, which is developed on several areas: support to local producers, job creation, environmental responsibility… As a result:

  • More than 600 jobs have been created, including about 300 full-time jobs. The minimum wage is 67% superior to the legal minimum wage in Burkina Faso, and all the employees benefit from an inexpensive health insurance
  • Barajii buys the fruits to local producers, providing them with additional income and opportunities. The group also provides them with training and agricultural inputs.
  • Good quality and accessible products, including for people at the bottom of the pyramid
  • Use of biodegradable packaging which disintegrated in 6 months on contact with air and sun. The company has contributed to the new Burkinabe law forbidding the use of non-degradable bags and packaging in Burkina Faso
  • The factories use solar panels and require little energy


In portfolio since: 2016

Enko Education

Sector of activity: Education & Training
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: IPAE 1
Entrepreneur: Cyrille Nkontchou, Eric Pignot
Employees: 50
Country: Pan-African
A propos:

Enko Education is a fast-growing network of African international schools, increasing access to the world’s best universities for learners across Africa, with a strong emphasis on Francophone countries.

Enko Education offers a renowned and high quality education accessible to the upper middle class in Sub Saharan Africa, with a strategy to constantly broaden its audience through an ambitious grants program.


Enko is building its network by partnering with high-potential existing schools to rolls out a 3-year high school program, awarding the worldly renowned International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. The IB curriculum puts an emphasis on students’ personal development and group work. It is highly recognized by international universities.

Enko helps successful private schools to grow and improve learning conditions by bringing alongside funding, better management practices and new education tools.


Enko programs are already implemented in Cameroun, South Africa, Mozambique and Côte d’Ivoire.





Cyrille Nkontchou, Founder and Chairman

Cyrille Nkontchou is the founder and managing partner of Enko Capital Management LLP, an Africa-focused asset management firm with offices in South Africa and Great Britain. He is also the founder and executive chairman of the pan-African investment bank LiquidAfrica Holdings Limited. He started his career as a consultant with Accenture in France, and worked as a banker with Merrill Lynch in London. He holds a BA in Economics from Sciences Po Paris and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Cyrille was nominated as Young Global Leader 2006 by the World Economic Forum.


Eric Pignot, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer

Before EEI, Eric worked at BearingPoint, a management consulting firm. As an Engagement Manager, he helped his customers to improve their performance and scale. Eric is French, holds an MBA degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he focused his MBA experience on understanding how digital technologies will transform education in Sub-Saharan Africa.




I&P committed alongside with Enko to:

  • Fund its Pan-African growth
  • Participate to its governance
  • Support its strategy to reach out to the lower middle class through grant programs.



  • Develop a network of 30 schools, with more than  10,000 students over 5 years
  • Access to international universities
  • Dozens of teachers trained to international standards



In portfolio since: 2016

Africa Radio

Sector of activity: Culture
Status: Sortie
Associed fund: IPAE 1
Entrepreneur: Dominique Guihot
Country: Pan-African
A propos:

Africa Radio aims to launch a pan-African independent radio based on the African continent.

Africa Radio will broadcast news, sports and cultural programs, as well as dedicated music programs to highlight the richness and diversity of African music.


The project relies on the experience of Africa N°1, a pan-African radio created in 1981. Africa N°1 Paris, primarily aimed at the African diaspora, reaches about 980 000 listeners.



Dominique Guihot worked as a radio journalist for France Inter, RFI and RMC and is the CEO of Africa Media SA. He manages Africa N°1 Paris for fifteen years.

Dominique Guihot is the founder and manager of Africa Média SA, a communication company specialized in Franco-African projects. He also works as treasurer and administrator of the SIRTI, the Union of Independent Radios and Televisions. He is member of the African Press Organization’s international committee.

Dominique has demonstrated a great interest for Africa and the African media over the course of his career. With the project Africa Radio, he intends to pursue the work accomplished with Africa N°1 and launch a true African radio, based on the continent and mostly composed of African journalists.



• Reinforce the domestic market

• Favor the freedom of information in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa



In portfolio since: 2016

Latest News

Africa Radio gets a frequency in Abidjan (June 2018)