10 Tech Startups That Proved Themselves In Africa Before Expanding Globally

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

An increasing number of African tech startups are looking beyond the continent for growth, expanding globally into new markets after proving themselves in Africa.

From fintech to agritech, Nigeria to South Africa, tech firms in Africa or focused on the continent are looking to U.S, European, Asian and Latin American markets for growth opportunities.

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They have managed to solve a specific problem or address a challenge in Africa, and they are now aiming to bring that solution to international markets.

Here are 10 tech startups that proved themselves in Africa before expanding globally.

Paga

Nigerian payments solution Paga has plans to expand its service to target users in Asia and Latin America. CEO Tayo Oviosu has also discussed the possibility of an IPO for his company, though he believes that they will remain private for the next two to four years, according to Techcrunch.
The company has raised $34.7 million over four rounds since 2010, according to Crunchbase.

Entersekt

Entersekt is a South African payments security app that has gone global after accumulating banking clients in Africa and is now being used by clients in Europe and the U.S. The South African fintech company develops push-based authentication and app security technology to protect clients in numerous industries. Current South African and international clients include Absa, Nedbank, Capitec, Investec, Swisscard, Equity Bank, Ecobank, Pluscard and First Bank of Colorado, TechCentral reports.

FlexClub

Flexclub is a South African startup that matches investors and drivers to cars for ride-hailing services. The fees charged to users generate monthly, fixed-rate interest income for the investor. The driver has the option of buying the car after 12 months, with a descending purchase price over time. The startup has expanded into Mexico through a partnership with Uber, where it began matching investors to cars and Uber drivers in Mexico in April, according to Techcrunch.

Mintrics

Egyptian social video analytics platform Mintrics is in the process of closing a $500,000 investment that is expected to fund its expansion into the U.S., Mintrics growth hacker Adel Heikal told Ventureburn. Launched in 2016 by CEO Tarek Nasr, Tarek Shalaby, and CTO Muhammad El Zahlan, the startup now has offices in Cairo and Dubai.

WorldCover

New York-based insurtech firm WorldCover creates insurance products for smallholder farmers whose crop yields are negatively affected by weather. The company operates in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya, and will now expand into Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and India. The company has provided more than 30,000 African farmers with insurance products, and that success in Africa has prepared it to cater to markets outside of the continent, according to TechCrunch.

drone tech expanding globally
South African drone tech company Aerobotics is betting on its service to assist U.S. farmers. AP Photo – Mel Evans

Aerobotics

In March, South African drone company Aerobotics raised $2 million for a total of $4 million in funding, and is using the money to empower farmers and grow its U.S. market, according to ITNewsAfrica. Their service has been a hit with farmers in South Africa, prompting the push to expand into other markets. Two members of the executive team in South Africa have moved to California, and the company plans to have eight U.S. staff in by the end of 2019 in areas where there are high concentrations of tree and vine crops in order to target fruit and wine farms, according to ITWeb.

Branch International

Kenyan online lender Branch International, which was founded in Kenya but is now based in Silicon Valley, raised $170 million in April this year following a $20 million funding round in 2018, according to Quartz. The firm’s excellent financial performance has allowed for expansion into other markets, including growth into Brazil and Indonesia thanks to a partnership with Visa.

Wakanow

Lagos-based online travel company Wakanow was launched in 2008 by CEO and former NBA basketball player Obinna Ekezie, and has since grown to establish operations in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the U.A.E. and the U.K., according to Ventureburn. It secured a $40-million equity investment from U.S. asset manager The Carlyle Group‘s sub-Saharan African fund in 2018, using that investment to fund its expansion into other markets.

Jumo

South African fintech platform Jumo, a financial services platform for emerging markets, has plans to expand into other continents. It concluded a $64.5 million funding round in 2018 led by U.S.-based investment bank Goldman Sachs, according to the company. That was the biggest tech startup funding deal of the year, with the investment dedicated to accelerating expansion into additional Asian and African markets, according to ITWebAfrica.

Luno

South African cryptocurrency exchange Luno is one of the more impressive African tech companies when it comes to scaling abroad, having expanded into other African countries, Southeast Asia and Europe. It has now made its platform available throughout the world, with a local office in the U.K., Singapore and South Africa, according to their website.