Context and Thoughts
As you can see from this issue’s “Industry and Ecosystem News” section, it’s been a busy last 4 weeks with African startup-related announcements from Google, GSMA, Microsoft, Orange, and more.
I’ve been impressed by the growth in funding reports from North African startups in this issue, especially the standout $3mm seed (!) round raised by Morocco’s WaysToCap. Given that the round closed soon after their graduation from US accelerator Y Combinator (recent YC Nigerian graduate Tizeti also closed a round of undisclosed size from US investors Zeno Ventures), it’s worth watching to see if the recent increase in African investments by US-based startup accelerator programs will result in more large funding rounds for the African startups coming out of these programs.
A few recent in-depth looks at South Africa which are worth checking out: since my last issue Ventureburn has published their thoughts on “Unpacking South Africa’s tech startup and scaleup investor landscape”, and Elevate Holdings released their 148-page report “Unicorns, Gazelles and Leapfrogs” on how to increase growth in the South African startup ecosystem.
Finally, for those of you watching the fintech sector in Africa, Disrupt Africa has released their “Finnovating for Africa” report focusing on the last 2.5 years of fintech startup activity in 20 countries across Africa, which Disrupt’s founder Tom Jackson describes in a recent interview.
Industry and Ecosystem News
CcHub [NG] and Google for Entrepreneurs have finished taking applications for PitchDrive, a 3 week, 5 country European tour of 15 African startups pitching for investment to over 300 investors, with a fundraising target of $22mm link link2
The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund is taking applications from African and Asia Pacific startups for its second round of grants (from $129k to $322k), focusing on the “sharing economy” and MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) link link2
Google announced that 6 African startups have been chosen to participate in their Launchpad Accelerator program: Delivery Science [NG], Flutterwave [NG], Paystack [NG], Gidimo [NG], Twiga Foods [KE], JUMO [ZA] link link2
Microsoft 4Afrika is opening an AppFactory Academy in Ethiopia to provide 6-month internships to build “real-world software development projects”, starting with a healthcare focus link
Orange [FR] invests ~$56mm into launching Orange Digital Ventures Africa [SN] investing in early stage startups focused on “new connectivities, FinTech, the Internet of Things, energy and e-health” link link2
Deals, Startups, and More
Restaurant guide and reservation startup EatOut [KE] raised $500k from Craft Silicon [KE] to use for expanding into more countries and adding payments support link
Fintech security startup Entersekt [ZA] raised $1mm+ (specific #s not disclosed) funding round from ZA banks through their investment vehicles AlphaCode and BoE Private Equity Investments link
Business expense management startup Expensya [TN] raised a $1.1mm funding round (investor names undisclosed) link
Solar-powered wifi provider Tizeti [NG] raised a new round (terms undisclosed) from Zeno Ventures [US] after graduating from Y Combinator link
African B2B marketplace WaystoCap [MA] raised a ~$3mm seed round after graduating from Y Combinator, plans to use funds to expand into West Africa link