In 2019, Nigerian and Kenyan fintech and logistics firms secured major funding deals while an Egyptian startup attracted $42 million — the largest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt to date.
The biggest deal disclosed of 2018 was a $64.5-million funding round for South African fintech platform Jumo. In 2019, three funding rounds helped secure more than $100 million for companies founded or based in Africa.
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Here are the 12 biggest disclosed African tech funding deals in 2019.
In December, Nigerian renewable energy startup Rensource raised a $20 million Series A round co-led by Omidyar Network and CRE Venture Capital. The Lagos-based renewable energy company builds and operates solar-powered micro-utilities that provide electricity for commercial community structures, such as outdoor markets and commercial hubs. Other participating investors included Cape Town-based renewable energy-focused investment management firm Inspired Evolution, French Development Agency subsidiary Proparco, and Madrid-based renewable energy firm EDP Renováveis, Techcrunch reported.
In December, another of the major funding deals of the year went the way of pan-African digital classifieds company Jiji. The company raised $21 million in Series C funding from investors, led by Dubai-based venture capital firm Knuru Capital, according to Techcrunch. Lagos-based online marketplace Jiji connects buyers and sellers. The company has a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
Ghana-based pay-as-you-go solar company Peg Africa raised a $25 million Series C funding round in March, bringing its total funding to date to $47.5 million, according to a press release. The latest investment from new and existing investors is aimed at boosting growth in its current markets. The company has operations in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mali, which became Pega Africa’s fourth market in November.
In December, Copia Global, an e-commerce firm giving underserved Kenyans in rural areas access to goods they’d normally have to travel for, raised a $26 million investment led by LGT Lightstone. Participating investors included Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments, Silicon Valley-based investment firm Endeavor Catalyst, Nimble Ventures, a San Francisco-based family office that makes venture capital investments, and Perivoli Innovations, a Mauritius-based investor focused on early-stage digital and tech companies in sub-Saharan Africa. The $26 million is Copia’s second funding round of 2019. The e-commerce platform raised a $2 million equity investment through Goodwell Investments in February.
In October, Kenyan mobile distribution platform Twiga Foods secured $30 million in funding led by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs. The Twiga platform allows vendors to order and pay for vegetables and fresh food from smallholder farmers, resulting in a more efficient supply chain. The Series-B funding round was led by Goldman Sachs with participation from Washington D.C.-based International Finance Corporation, Paris-based investment firm Creadev, and London-based African VC firm TLcom Capital, which is focused on funding African tech startups, according to a press release sent to Moguldom.
In August, Nigerian e-logistics company Kobo360 raised a $30 million funding round. Kobo360 helps to connect the supply of trucks with the demand for transportation services by cargo owners, and promotes itself as an “Uber for trucks”. The $30 million funding included a $20-million Series-A equity round led by U.S.-based investment bank Goldman Sachs, with participation from existing investors Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation and TLcom Capital, as well as Singapore-based investment firm Asia Africa Investment and Consulting, according to a Kobo360 blog post. An additional $10 million in debt financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
In November, Kenyan digital trucking logistics firm Lori Systems raised a $30 million Series A round of funding. Lori’s digital logistics platform connects cargo owners to transportation. The investment was led by Chinese investors Hillhouse Capital and Crystal Stream Capital. Other participating investors included Nigeria and U.S.-based venture capital firm EchoVC, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen and Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, who co-founded New York-based coding recruitment startup Andela and fintech firm Flutterwave.
In June, Egyptian minibus ride-hailing firm Swvl raised $42 million to expand into African markets outside of Egypt, according to Moneyweb. The $42 million investment represents the largest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt to date, Bloomberg reports. The participation investors were all venture capital firms including Sweden’s Vostok Ventures, Dubai-based Middle East VC fund BECO Capital, China’s MSA and Endeavor Catalyst, based in New York.
In May, Kenya-based mobile health payments firm CarePay International raised a $45 million Series A funding round from Dutch investors focused on healthcare inclusion in Africa. CarePay connects millions of users with healthcare providers in Kenya and Nigeria. The investment came from the Investment Fund For Health In Africa, a Dutch private equity fund focused on healthcare investments, and impact investor ELMA Investments, a private equity fund that invests in private sector health care providers serving low- to middle-income populations, according to ITWebAfrica.
One of the top three funding deals on this list is a familiar name in African tech circles. In January, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s investment firm, Generation Investment Management, led a $100 million funding round in Andela, a Nigerian tech startup company that outsources African tech talent — mostly to U.S. companies. The investment brought Andela’s venture capital funding to date to $180 million, Bloomberg reported.
Lagos-based payments platform OPay raised $170 million in two funding rounds in 2019. Owned by Norwegian mobile browser Opera, OPay is a Nigerian mobile app-based payments platform. It raised a $50 million Series A investment in July 2019 and added a further $120 million in November. Investors in the funding rounds included Chinese social e-commerce platform Meituan-Dianping, Boston-based investment firm IDG Capital, the Chinese arm of California-based VC firm Sequoia Capital, Chinese emerging markets-focused VC firm Source Code Capital, and Singapore-based VC firm focused on early-stage tech companies GSR Ventures. Other investors included Beijing-based VC firm GaoRong, South Korea-based corporate VC arm of SoftBank Group, Softbank Ventures Asia, Chinese investment firm Bertelsmann Asia Investments, and Silicon Valley-based VC firm Redpoint Ventures.
In April, fintech firm Branch International, which was founded in Kenya, raised a $170 million Series C round of funding and announced a partnership with Visa to expand into Brazil and Indonesia. The investment is the biggest single funding deal of 2019 for a tech firm founded or based in Africa. The funding round was led by Silicon Valley-based Foundation Capital and Visa, with participation from B Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8 and Trinity Ventures. The company, now based in Silicon Valley, offers personal loans for as little as $2 up to around $700 via mobile in emerging markets, according to Quartz.