Africa’s tech startup scene is on the rise. Here’s a list of the most interesting tech news, and startup funding in Africa news for the month of May.
Unicorn Interswitch New $110 Million raise
One of Africa’s 7 Unicorns, Interswitch, raised $110 million and its majority stakeholder, African focus private Equity company, Helios, come out as winners again.
Helios became acquired a majority stake in the company at a valuation of $200M in 2010. 9 years later Helios sells a significant minority stake to VISA taking the valuation of Interswitch to $1 billion. This new $110M raise from LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital takes Interswitch valuation above $1B. Meanwhile, Ignite Holdco, a joint vehicle of Helios and TA Associates, remains the largest Interswitch shareholder after the transaction.
NETPOS Brings Contactless Payments to Nigeria
NetPOS, a Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) has obtained approval from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to launch contactless payments in Nigeria. Anyone with an NFC-enabled Android phone will be able to convert it to a POS terminal.
Merchants will be able to accept payments for goods and services with a few taps on a mobile phone. Also, it takes away the headache related to the cost of physical POS costs for both payment providers and merchants, especially with the circulation of phones on the continent. The Guardian
Paypal Second Africa Investment goes to Payment startup Paymob
Paymob has tripled the number of local and international merchants using its payment gateways to over 100,000 over the last year. This has led to a $50M Series Braise co-led by PayPal Ventures, Kora Capital and ClayPoint with participation from new investors Helios Digital Ventures, British International Investment, and Nclude. This’s PayPal’s first in the MENA region and second in Africa after Stitch’s Series A raise in February.
Jambo’s Web3 Play sees new $30M
Congolese startup, Jambo, a (DRC) crypto platform that onboards Africans onto web3 via play-to-earn games and educational incentives, raised a $30M Series A just after raising a $7.5M seed round in February this year.
Mara in Crypto Raise
MARA, a pan-African crypto exchange platform, raised a $23M seed round. The round was a mix of equity and token sale.
Tech plastic waste recycling Kaltani sees $4M
Kaltani, a Nigerian tech-enabled cleantech plastic waste recycling platform, raised a $4M seed round from undisclosed investors. The funds will be used to open new collection and aggregation centres across Nigeria and double its staff.
IdentityPass rounds up $2.8M for its Digital Identity Initiatives
Nigerian digital identity verification and compliance platform, IdentityPass raised a $2.8M seed round. Since launching in 2020 launch, Digital identity has processed over 1 million unique user verifications and it currently serves 200 active business clients across Nigeria, the UK, Kenya, the US, and India
Top-Up Mama & Famerline tap into B2B Food boom
Kenya’s TopUp Mama, a B2B food supply chain platform, raised $1.7M as it seeks to be the largest grocery distributor in Africa targeting restaurants. The company currently has ~1,000 active merchants making orders on its platform every month in Kenya and Nigeria.
While Ghana’s Farmerline, an Agrictech marketplace that connects farmers with access to high-quality fertilizer and seeds; free education on climate-smart farming practices; and connections to international markets, raised a $6.4M pre-Series A along with an additional $6.5M in debt.
TooMuchWifi connects the Dots to Raise $1M
TooMuchWifi, a South African internet service provider, raised a $1M pre-series A round, The company has saved $50 million in data costs for Capetonians living in townships.
Recommerce Badil raise $3.5M while Myler miles in $9.6M
Badili, a Kenyan used smartphone online buy-back ‘re-commerce’ platform, announced that it raised $850K of a targeted $3.5M Pre-seed. With the proliferation of startups in the continent, it would be interesting to see how Badili plays in this space.
While Mylerz, an Egyptian e-commerce fulfilment platform, raised a $9.6M growth round. S Mylerz has delivered over two million packages to date via a fleet of over 350 vehicles and 21 local fulfilment hubs across Egypt all after it launched in 2019.
Bank account Collapsing Bridgecard raises $440k after Succesful private Beta
Bridgecard, a Nigerian platform allowing users to manage multiple bank accounts via one app, raised a $440K pre-seed In two months of private beta involving 120 users, Bridgecard processed over $70K in transaction volume.
Business Incorporation Norebase raises $1M
Nigeria’s Norebase, a company incorporation, and business management platform raised a $1M pre-seed. Norebase is part of the new TradeTech trend in Africa, other startups in the space is SideBrief and Flutterwave Grow.
Uber for Tractor, Transport Digitiser & Freight Management Startups in Big Raises
Hello Tractor, a Nigerian Uber-like platform that allows farmers to book tractors, raised $1M in its bid to provide pay-as-you-go loans for Tractor purchases.
While SA’s GoMetro, a mobility management platform for transport/logistics operators, raised a $1M (ZAR16.3M) seed extension round. This logistics startup enables public transport and logistics operators to boost operational efficiency and futureproof their services by digitising transport operations.
OnePort 365, a Nigerian digital freight management platform, raised a $5M seed round. The startup provides providing end-to-end digitization of freight management operations.
Topship, a Nigerian digital freight forwarding platform, raised a $2.5M seed round led by Flexport, with participation from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Starling Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Capital X, True Capital, and others — The company currently serves ~1,500 merchants.
Cloudfret, a Moroccan B2B SaaS trucking & logistics platform, raised $1.08M at a valuation of $21.5M from Plug and Play, PRC Ventures ICAV, Azur Innovation Fund, AfriMobility, and others — Cloudfret reached ~4,000 active trucks and ~60 active freight customers across Europe & Africa in 2021; it’s targeting 10,000 active trucks by the end of 2022
Crypto Powered Money transfer App Afriex Raises $10M
Afriex, a Nigerian stable coin-powered cross-border remittance platform, raised a $10M Series A at a $60M valuation.
Largest South African Seed Round Raise to Date
South African tech-enabled Inseco, using insects transforms food waste and other organic byproducts into proteins, oils, and fertilizer. The company raised a $5.3M seed round
Swvl Acquisition Spree
Egypt’s Swvl announced an agreement to acquire British B2B smart bus operator startup Zeelo in a deal valued at $100M. Swvl also recently announced an agreement to acquire Turkish corporate mobility platform Volt Lines for an undisclosed amount as it enters the Turkish market.
Eden Life to Kenya
Nigerian home services subscription platform Eden Life acquired Kenyan informal sector jobtech platform Lynk for an undisclosed amount — the deal accelerates Eden Life’s expansion into Nairobi via Lynk’s customer base
Aladdin in Debt Funding
Nigeria’s digital bank, Aladdin, announced the closing of a debt-financing deal up to $3.5M.
Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2022
FT annual ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies (below) provides a snapshot of the corporate landscape in a continent where technology, fintech and support-service businesses have had to adapt to a radically altered environment.
Wasoko, formerly Sokowatch, leads the ranking. Wasoko is cutting the cost of doing business in the massive informal commerce sector, by helping to deliver goods to traders more efficiently. The Kenyan company achieved the highest compound annual growth in revenues between 2017 and 2020 and, in March, raised $125mn in a Series B funding round.
Kenya is the third most represented country in the ranking, with nine companies, behind South Africa (24) and Nigeria (20), and ahead of Egypt (six). These are also the markets that have attracted the most venture capital and where unicorns (companies valued at $1bn+) and would-be unicorns have proliferated.
Instabug $46M Backing to Build Mobile Moat
Egyptian Instabug, a SaaS bug reporting & app performance monitoring service, raised a $46M Series B. In 2021, Instabug saw “record” growth, as its ARR doubled and the number of enterprise customers grow by 10 times. in the same year, Instabug software sat within 2.7 billion mobile devices, processed 110 billion mobile sessions (up at least 20x from 2020) and helped customers resolve 4.2 billion issues.
CarePoint (formerly Africa Health Holdings), an operator of tech-enabled healthcare facilities across Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, and Nigeria, raised a $10M Series B bridge round led by TRB Advisors with participation from Breyer Capital, Beyond Capital Ventures (BCV), M3, Inc, Asia Pacific Land/ Natural World Limited and others — This follows an $18M Series A round in 2021.
More Farming Startups see Funding
Nile, a South African Agritech platform connecting farmers to buyers of fresh produce, raised a ~$5.1M (ZAR83M) led by Naspers Foundry, with participation from Platform Investment Partners, Raba Capital, Base Capital, and others
Victory Farms, a Kenyan tech-enabled aquaculture platform & fish farm, raised $5M — VF serves over 15,000 market women via 54+ retail locations; it claims it experiences less than 1% spoilage due to its predictive data
Digital Bookkeeping Bamba in $3.2M Seed Round Despite Stealth Mode
Bamba, a digital bookkeeping, enterprise software, and payments platform for African MSMEs, raised a $3.2M seed round led by 468 Capital, with participation from Presight Ventures, Jigsaw VC, and others — Co-founded by Iroko co-founder Bastian Gotter, Bamba is currently in stealth mode with 30 merchants and has yet to officially launch
HealthCare Platforms Doxx, Essal & Zuri Health in Seed Raise
Doxx, an Egyptian digital healthcare platform connecting medical professionals and institutional healthcare providers, raised a $1.5M seed round led by Openner and Elevate — Founded in 2021, Doxx currently has 2600 doctors, 18 polyclinics, 52 pharmacies, 26 medical labs, and 10 scan centers on its platform.
Zuri Health, a Kenyan digital healthcare company which provides affordable healthcare via mobile, raised a $1.3M pre-seed from DOB Equity, Launch Africa and Founders Factory Africa, V8 Capital, Platform Capital, Villgro Africa, Asime Ventures, and the Salik Family Trust, and others — The company has partnered with 16+ mobile network operators across seven countries, over 300 doctors, 27 lab and diagnostic centers and 15 pharmacies.
Essal, an Egyptian platform connecting users to doctors and other healthcare professionals, raised a $1.7M seed round from A15 — Since its 2018 launch, Esaal has onboarded over 350 consultants whose expertise includes anxiety, physiotherapy, pediatrics, and nutrition
South African Book rental, Message-based Learning & Subscription Platforms in Million Dollar Raises
Kelo, a South African digital book rental Edtech platform, raised ~$1.5M (ZAR23.5M) from Khulisani Ventures, the VC arm of Mineworkers Investment Company
Rentoza, a South African subscription platform for online electronics and appliances, raised ~$1.3M (ZAR20.5M) from Khulisani Ventures, the VC arm of Mineworkers Investment Company.
FoondaMate, a South African messaging-based learning platform, raised a $2M seed round led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Emerge Education, FirstCheck Africa, Future Africa, LoftyInc, Base Capital, and others — Since its 2020 launch, FoondaMate has been used the world over by more than 400,000 students in over 30 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia
Immigrant-Tech Pillar Sees High Pre-seed Raise
Pillar, a fintech platform that provides immigrants moving to a new country with access to credit products, raised a $16.9M pre-seed co-led by Global Founders Capital and Backed VC — Among the company’s target customers are Africans who it says “migrate out of their countries more than any continent in the world”
Nigeria’s Autocheck Acquires Morrocco’s Kifal & MooveBeta Merges with ImpalaPay
Nigerian/pan-African automotive marketplace & solutions provider Autochek announced the acquisition of Moroccan online market for used vehicles Kifal — this is the latest example of the MENASSA (Middle East + North Africa + sub-Saharan Africa) trend we predicted at the start of the year
MooveBeta, a Kenyan voucher-driven e-commerce and fintech platform incubated at Adanian Labs, announced a merger with ImpalaPay, a Kenyan B2B digital and blockchain payment platform.
Twiga Launches Twiga Fresh with a Focus on Fresh Produce
Kenyan B2B e-commerce food distribution platform Twiga invested $10M into new subsidiary, Twiga Fresh, a commercial farming venture focused on fresh produce.
B2B E-commerce Jabu in Series A Raise
Jabu, a Namibian B2B e-commerce platform connecting FMCG brands and informal retailers in Southern Africa, announced that it raised a $15M Series A led by Tiger Global, with participation from new investors Box Group, Knollwood, and D Global Ventures, and existing investors Afore Capital, Oldslip, and FJ Labs.
This comes after Jabu’s January announcement of its $3.2M seed round.
Used Car Startup Sylndr in Pre-Seed Raise
Sylndr, an Egyptian online marketplace for used cars, raised a $12.6M pre-seed led by RAED Ventures, with participation from Algebra Ventures, Nuwa Capital, 1984 Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and others — This is the largest pre-seed round in Africa to date; Sylndr has not yet launched to the public.
WealthTech Untapped Global in Pre-Seed Mixed Raise
Untapped Global, a Kenyan investment platform connecting global investors with investment opportunities in Africa and other emerging markets, announced that it raised a $10.3M (debt & equity) pre-seed in March — The company also announced the launch of its public beta platform; it claims an annual revenue run rate of $2.5M ‘with a consistent profitable return on capital’.
Blockchain Cassava in $8M Raise
Cassava, a Nigerian blockchain infrastructure network focused on DeFi and NFT solutions, raised $8M from Adaverse, Decentraland, Formless Capital, and a variety of other investors.
Biotech Firm Natrify in 6-Figure Pre-seed raise
Natrify, an Egyptian biotech firm producing sustainable bioplastics, raised a ‘six-figure’ pre-seed from Ambo ventures — in addition to preparing its MENA launch, Natrify is also targeting the US and the UK
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