The year 2018 has seen tech firms across Africa securing funding deals, with fintech remaining as the most popular tech sector for investment, while health-tech, mobility and agritech also attracted investment.
Tech companies in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya secured the biggest funding deals of the year, but not all of the African tech firms that raised capital disclosed their funding amounts.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 29: Alfred Liggins
Jamarlin talks to Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One (NASDAQ: UONEK) about why he never merged with BET and whether going public inspired the Fox series “Empire”. They discuss the Democratic Party neglecting Black media when it comes to campaign ad spending, and the disconnect between Black CEOs and Obama.
The biggest funding deals of the year went to two fintech firms, a digital payments solution firm and a financial services platform for emerging markets.
Here are the 15 biggest disclosed funding deals for African tech firms in 2018.
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.
Black Americans Have the Highest Mortality Rates But Lowest Levels of Life Insurance
Are you prioritizing your cable entertainment bill over protecting and investing in your family?
Smart Policies are as low as $30 a month, No Medical Exam Required
Click Here to Get Smart on Protecting Your Family and Loves Ones, No Matter What Happens
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.
Paystack, a Nigerian fintech startup providing payments tools to businesses across Africa, successfully raised $8 million in Series A funding in September. The Lagos-based payments company brought its total investment to date to $10 million following this $8 million investment, according to Techcrunch. The round was led by U.S.-based online payments software company Stripe, and includes credit card firm Visa, along with follow-on funding from Chinese internet-focused multinational investment conglomerate Tencent and Y Combinator, perhaps the world’s most powerful startup accelerator program.
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.
Another of the funding deals on this list 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.
Kenyan mobile produce platform Twiga Foods raised a $10 million Series B investment led by U.S.-based International Finance Corporation (IFC) in November. The investment was made alongside TLcom Capital and the the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with participation from previous investors Wamda Capital, DOB Equity, 1776 and Swedish oil and mining entrepreneur Adolph H Lundin, according to a press release.
September was a good month for Nigerian mobile payments company Paga, as the firm raised a $10 million Series B funding round led by Global Innovation Fund, with participation from Goodwell Investments, Unreasonable Capital, Omidyar Network, and equity fund Adlevo Capital, according to Ventureburn. The investment formed part of Paga’s plan to look beyond the Nigerian market and expand into other parts of Africa.
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.
Egyptian healthcare technology firm Vezeeta raised a $12 million Series C funding round in September. The Cairo-based healthtech platform’s round was led by Saudi Arabia’s STV Capital, and represents the largest-ever investment raised by an Egyptian startup, according to Menabytes. The Vezeeta platform is home to more than 10,000 doctors, and since launching it has served over 2.5 million users.
In October, South African fintech firm MFS Africa closed a $14 million Series-B funding round led by China-based venture capital firm LUN Partners Group. The mobile payments services provider acquired the funding with participation from Goodwell Investments, Equator Capital Partners and FSD Africa. The investment is set to be used to facilitate MFS Africa’s expansion into Asia, according to Techfinancials.
In September, South African fintech startup Yoco, a point-of-sale payments provider, secured a $16 million Series-B funding round led by Silicon Valley VC firm Partech Partners, with participation from Orange Digital Ventures, FMO (The Dutch Development Bank) and existing Series A investors Quona Capital and Velocity Capital, according to BusinessInsider. Yoco builds tools and services to help small businesses accept card payments and manage their day to day activities.
One of the biggest funding amounts of the year 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.
Lagos-based online travel company Wakanow has secured a $40-million equity investment from U.S. asset manager The Carlyle Group‘s sub-Saharan African fund. Wakanow was launched in 2008 by CEO and former NBA basketball player Obinna Ekezie, and has since established operations in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the U.A.E. and the U.K., according to Ventureburn.
The biggest African tech investment of the first half 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.
South African fintech platform Jumo, the financial services platform for emerging markets, concluded a $64.5 million funding round thanks to an additional $12.5 million from London-based investor Odey Asset Management in December. In September Jumo raised a $52 million funding round led by U.S.-based investment bank Goldman Sachs, according to the company. The total of $64.5 million will be dedicated towards accelerating expansion into additional Asian and African markets. Others who participated in the funding round include Proparco, the private sector financing arm of the French Development Agency (AFD), Finnish development finance company Finnfund, Vostok Emerging Finance, London-based Gemcorp Capital, and LeapFrog Investments, according to ITWebAfrica.