Note #17: July 15 - August 9 2019
Context and Thoughts
Welcome back dear readers: It’s been a little while since my last issue of Africa Notes! Since then, Africa has seen new world-class datacenters go online and more in progress, subsea Internet cables under construction, accelerators launched, and even more acquisitions and funding. And because as momentum increases it gets harder to track and understand the market, I’m keeping Africa Notes (notes.africa) as a simple, convenient newsletter to help you stay on top of it all.
As always, Africa Notes covers the last ~2 weeks of African tech startup news highlights, focusing on major ecosystem shifts, funding events, startup M&A, and other relevant items.
Looking at a few upcoming investment-related events in Africa, I see the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit (one of my favorite investor-focused events) is coming up again in Cape Town this November, and this week is the India Africa Entrepreneurship & Investment Summit in Mauritius.
Keeping an eye on the big picture, the Disrupt Africa Tech Startups Funding Report shows continued growth in African startup investment, with a year-over-year African startup fundraising increase of 71.5% (!) in 2018 for a total of $334m raised. (This reflects particularly strong YoY growth when you remember that 2017’s Africa investment numbers were already boosted by Andela’s relatively large $40mm Series C round.)
Chinese investment in African tech startups is rising, notably with the launch of ShakaVC / Shaka Ventures, a Chinese-backed VC firm based in Lagos and a pan-African investment thesis, who have made 6 investments in the 6 months since their launch.
News coverage on African tech startups is also increasing, notably TechCrunch’s Africa coverage (note the uptick on article tagged Africa over the last 12 months) alongside continued strong coverage from long-standing African tech news sites such as Ventureburn and Disrupt Africa.
Industry and Ecosystem News
The World Bank launches the $75mm Tunisia Innovative Startups and SMEs project to support Tunisian startups and SMEs link
4Di Capital [ZA] and SA SME Fund [ZA] raised $8.5m fund for South African startup investment, 50% of investments to be focused on black founders link
10 more African countries working on local “Startup Acts” (see Tunisia’s 2018 Startup Act for an example) to support local startup ecosystems and entrepreneurs link
Google [US] and ccHub [NG] announce PitchDrive II to take African startups on a tour of Asian investors link
Startups raising funding on Uprise.Africa [ZA] will also be listing on the ZAR X [ZA] stock exchange link
Senegal DER [SN] & GreenTech Capital Partners [DE] announce Francophone regional “Venture Building Center” in Dakar link, link2
African tech hubs #s increase by 40% in 2019, according to GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator and Briter Bridges link
Flutterwave [NG] partners with payments giant AliPay [CN] to enable African developers to receive AliPay payments link, link2
Camtel [CM] and the University of Yaounde [CM] begin creation of a new AI training center link
South Africa proposes amendments to the Income Tax Act which the 12J Association says would make it harder to both raise and invest 12J capital link
Deals, Startups, and More
Mobile game studio Cryptyd [EG] raises “Pre-Series A” funding round (terms undisclosed) from Cairo Angels [EG] link
Agritech startup Taimba [KE] raised $100k from Gray Matters CapitalcoLABS [US] link
Consumer goods distribution startup Optimetriks [KE] raises $330k in debt financing from French banks link
Healthcent [ZA] raises ~$530k funding from Umkhathi Wethu Ventures [ZA] and Allan Gray [ZA] link
Sortd [ZA] raises funding round (terms undisclosed) from HAVAÍC [ZA] link
Rent to Own [ZM] raises $1.13m funding from Dutch Good Growth Fund [NL] and other European investors link
OPay [NO/CN/NG] raises $50m funding for African mobile payments, with focus on Nigeria link
Canal+ [FR] acquires ROK studios from IROKOtv [NG] to expand their African film offerings link
VertoFX [UK] raies $2m to focus on African + emerging markets currency trading and payments link
Lulalend [ZA] raises $6.5m series A from IFC and Quona Capita [US] link
Sports timing startup Mobii Systems [ZA] sells 26% stake to Blue Label Ventures [ZA] (terms undisclosed) link
African space news and research agency Space in Africa [NG] raises seed funding round led by AC Ventures [US] (terms undisclosed) link
MAX.NG [NG], a motorcycle hailing and delivery startup, raises $7.5mm funding round led by Novastar Ventures with Yamaha [JP] participating link
SweepSouth [ZA] raises a $2.4m investment from Naspers Foundry [ZA] link
PayFast [ZA] acquired by African payment processors DPO Group [KE] (exact terms undisclosed) link
Middle Eastern matchmaking app Harmonica [EG] acquired by Match Group [US] (terms undisclosed) link
Health diagnostics startup Ilara Health [KE] raises $735k seed funding from VC firms and angels link
The Baobab Network invests $125k in African health startups Beblocky [ET], Dr Cadx [ZW], Kakbima [KE], Gladepay [NG] and Pennysmart [GH] link
The Gambia Angel Investors Network (GAIN) launches with 10-12 local investors and target of funding 8-12 startups/year in The Gambia link