10 Biggest Funding Deals For African Tech Firms So Far In 2018

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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The year 2018 has been kind to tech firms across Africa in terms of funding deals, with over 120 companies already benefiting from investments or raised capital during the first six months of the year.

African tech firms have already raised in excess of $168.6 million, according to WeeTracker.

The most popular tech sector for investment remains fintech, while health-tech and agritech were the next most popular sectors.

In fact, the two biggest funding deals of the year went to two fintech firms, a digital payments solution firm and an online micro-lending startup.

Here are 10 of the biggest funding deals for African tech firms so far in 2018.

Terragon Group – $5 million

The African venture firm TLcom Capital made a $5 million investment in Nigeria’s Terragon Group, a data analytics software company. The Lagos-based startup serves clients in the telecommunications and financial services sectors, providing them with valuable data on Africa’s growing consumer markets.

WeFarm – $5 million

WeFarm, an artificial intelligence-enabled peer-to-peer farmer network for smallholder farmers, raised a $5 million second seed round in March led by True Ventures. Others participating in the round included Skype and Atomico founder Niklas Zennström, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan, and the Norrsken Foundation, according to UKTech.

Wuzzuf – $6 million

Egyptian recruitment platform Wuzzuf raised a $6 million Series B round of funding in May, making it the largest ever Series B round of funding for an Egyptian startup. The investment was led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a London-headquartered multilateral developmental investment bank and Vostok Ventures who had previously invested in Wuzzuf’s Series A round in 2015.

Lidya – $6.9 million

Lidya, a Nigerian fintech platform that offers small business loans, raised $6.9 million in Series A funding in May. The startup aims to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses with small loans through their platform, which relies on innovative credit scoring algorithms. The funding round was led by Omidyar Network, the Silicon Valley impact investment firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and it will be used to fund expansion, according to Ventureburn.

SureRemit – $7 million

In February Nigerian blockchain startup SureRemit raised $7 million in the biggest African initial coin offering to date. The fintech firm, which uses blockchain to cut the cost of and increase access to digital payments in Africa, made a utility token available that was designed on the Stellar Network, according to BitcoinAfrica.

funding deals
These are the biggest multi-million dollar funding deals for African tech startups thus far in 2018. Photo – AP – Ted Shaffrey

Swvl – $8 million

In April this year Egyptian mass transit app Swvl announced a successful Series A funding round amounting to $8 million, making it the biggest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt to date. Middle East venture fund BECO Capital, investor DiGAME and global venture capital fund Silicon Badia led the round, with Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, and chairman of EDventure Holdings Esther Dyson also taking part, according to Forbes.

Africa’s Talking – $8.6 million

Another of the funding deals on this list, and the third biggest of the year, is Kenyan startup Africa’s Talking and their $8.6 million investment raised in April thanks to IFC Venture Capital, with participation from Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital. The business solutions firm will use the investment to hire more people and build capacity at their Nairobi headquarters.

M-Kopa – $10 million

Kenyan company M-Kopa Solar secured a round of funding in March this year. The investment amount, which was undisclosed, included a first ever $10 million investment from FinDev Canada. The amount is in the process of being used to extend their product offering to more homes and individuals across Africa. Led by U.K. government owned investment company CDC, the round included follow-on investments by existing shareholders Generation Investment Management and LGT Venture Philanthropy.

Branch – $20 million

The second biggest funding amount of the year thus far was raised by Branch, an online micro-lending startup, which received investment of $20 million in March. Trinity Ventures led the equity portion of the funding round, with participation from International Finance Corporation, Andreessen Horowitz and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, according to TechCrunch.

Cellutant – $47.5 million

The biggest African tech investment of the year involved Cellulant, a digital payments solution firm. The company raised $47.5 million in its Series C round in May. The funding round was led by The Rise Fund, an impact investment fund run by U.S.-based private equity group, TPG Growth. Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital and Progression Africa also participated, according to Quartz.