2018 has been an eventful year for African start-ups. These start-ups – from different sectors of technology Fintech, Edtech, Healthtech, logistics and Insurtech – had a thrilled year in terms of backing with South African start-up, Jumo raising the highest with over $64.5 million.
According to Ventureburn, SA start-ups raised $89.3-million from 15 disclosed deals – JUMO’s $52-million and $12.5-million deals and Yoco’s $16-million accounted for the majority of this – while Nigerian start-ups racked $69.9-million from 11 deals – Wakanow took the lion share ($40 million).
Egyptian start-ups were not left out, the country’s start-ups also raised $22.8-million from six deals – Vezeeta accounted for $12-million from this and Kenyan start-ups followed suit with 18.9-million raised from 11 deals.
While solving major socio-economic challenges in their countries, these startups gained the attention of international investors and venture capitalists; helping them upscale their businesses to much larger markets, delivering stronger, better solutions.
Below are the top 10 disclosed biggest startup investments this year.
Fintech company, Jumo witnessed another massive investment in 2018. It raised $52 million equity investment round in September, a round led by Goldman Sachs, Proparco, Finnfund, Vostok Emerging Finance, Gemcorp Capital and LeapFrog Investments as participants. Not done yet, it later closed a $12.5 million investment round led by Odey Asset Management.
This brings JUMO’s total funds raising to US$103M since it was launched in 2014 by Andrew Watkins-Bal. The investments are in line with the company’s plans to further develop its technology platform, support market expansion and deepen data capabilities – specifically in applied ML and AI innovation to accelerate financial inclusion, across its major markets.
Talk about stealing the show at the nick of time, some days ago, Wakanow grabbed the biggest investment round in Nigeria. It closed $40 million from the Carlyle Group – Carlyle Sub Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF), a fund tied with Andela’s Series C funding as the highest single round by a non-e-commerce start-up.
The investment also augments Carlyle’s involvement in the online travel sector, where it has financed companies like China’s C-trip, the Latin American travel, CVC Brasil, and Vasco Turismo in Peru.
In September, Yoco— a Fintech company in South Africa raised $16-million in Series-B round from different international and local investors led by Partech, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa. That brings the start-up’s total investment to $23m. This has encouraged the company to grow its network of small business merchants, invest in product development, operational scalability and attracting fintech talent.
A digital credit platform, Mines.IO raised a massive $13 million investment fund led by The Rise Fund (a $1 billion venture fund). Velocity Capital, Western Technology Investments, First Ally Capital, X/Seed Capital, NYCA Partners, Persistent Capital, Singularity Investments, Trans Sahara Investments, and the Bank of Industry also participated in the investment round.
Digital healthcare service in the MENA region, Vezeeta impressed investors in 2018. The Egyptian company announced a $12 million Series C investment round, led by one of the largest VC funds in the region – STV. Other investors include: BECO Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Silicon Badia, and investor Crescent Enterprises’ (CE-Ventures), from the UAE. This fund brings the total funding invested in Vezeeta to around $23 million.
This investment will be used to fund its continued regional expansion, primarily in Saudi Arabia, and for further investments in key new products.
Last month, five year old Twiga Foods from Kenya secured $10 million investment from World Bank’s investment branch, the International Finance Corporation, and Pan-African venture capital firm, TLcom Capital.
Other investors that participated in the round of investment are: Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, Wamda Capital, DOB Equity, 1776 and Adolph H. Lundin. Twiga Foods has now raised $30.4 million so far.
Flutterwave got a $10 million backing – an extension of the $10 million Series A investment it received in 2017 – from global payments company, Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures and Raba Capital. This deal brings the Nigerian Fintech start-up total investment to $20.1 million.
As part of its global market extension, Paga secured $10 million funding led by the Global Innovation Fund. Also part of the investors were, Goodwell, Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network and Unreasonable Capital. The fund brings Paga’s total fund to $35 million since it was established in 2009. The company has now recorded 11 million unique users and created over 10,000 jobs through its 17,000 agents who hire staff to run their stores across various locations.
In April, the Egyptian app-based mass transit system, Swvl announced an $8 million Series A led by regional venture fund, BECO Capital, Africa-based investor, DiGAME and global VC fund Silicon Badia. Other VC firms Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, and chairman of EDventure Holdings Esther Dyson, also participated in the round. The round comes as both primary and secondary.
Swvl is also in talks to raise $50 million – $100 million with Asian and Chinese investment funds. This will fuel its global expansion, according to the company’s co-founder and CEO, Mostafa Kandil.
In August, Paystack raised $8 million Series A funding from international fintech company following it’s major $1.3m funding in 2016. The investment round was led by, Stripe, Visa, Tencent, Y Combinator, as well as angel investors Tom Stafford (Managing Partner at DST Global), Gbenga Oyebode; of Aluko & Oyebode and Board member of MTN Nigeria), and Dale Mathias; Co-founder, Innovation Partners Africa.
This fund will energize Paystack’s expansion, building of payments infrastructure, and growth of their engineering team.
Some of our favourite startups also raised considerably good investment rounds for their ventures. As much as they could, they impacted the continent with their solution and attracted international attention through the funding rounds. From Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and across Africa; some of these are as follows.
The Fintech start-up in May announced that it has raised $6.9-million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based philanthropic investment firm, Omidyar Network. The platform assists small African businesses to manage their funds as well as access credit. Till date, Lidya has raised about 8.2m in investments. The funding will be used to scale operations in Nigeria, as well as to launch in new markets in Africa, in addition to hiring more staff and expanding the company’s loan book.
In 2018, Kobo360 raised $6 million to expand its platform operations to other African countries – Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire. The platform which links truckers and companies with their cargo needs secured the equity investment led by IFC investment with YCombinator, WTI, Cardinal Stone Partners, TLcom and Chandaria Capital as participants in the round.
MSurvey from Kenya in April announced a Series A round of $3.5m, led by TLcom Capital with investment from Social Capital, Kapor Capital, Golden Palm, and Richard Owen; founding team of Net Promoter Score (NPS). The investment enhanced the company to keep working out its infrastructure and partnerships, with a specific end goal to scale and venture into more African nations.
Early this year, Senegal-based classifieds app raised a £2.5 million ($3.085 million) funding round from some investors. CoinAfrique links online sellers and buyers in 16 African countries, and has recorded over 150,000 active users. It has a hub in Dakar, Senegal, but it has also established offices in Cotonou, Benin; Lomé, Togo; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
And of course, we have some investment deals that were not disclosed this year. They include Accounteer, Aerobotics, Atura, Click2Sure, CoGrammar, CoinAfique, Crossgate, DabaDoc, DataProphet, Giraffe, HouseMe, Instant Property, PEBL, PharmaScout, Riby, Skillup, Simply, Swvl, ThankUCash, Vezeeta and Yalu.
The spotlight on innovative ideas and solutions from Africa has not gone unnoticed this year. These investments will in no little way to improve the innovation culture gradually growing in different African communities and multiply our supply of solutions. We hope to see more solution driven startups in the coming year and definitely, we hope for more investments to push African technology in the right direction.
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