Going by the first half of 2019, African startups are raising VC funding at an unprecedented rate. Unlike in the past where large venture capital funding rounds into the continent depended on a few companies - take an example of Jumia and Takealot - this year, not only are the sizes of the funding rounds going up but so is the number of startups that are raking in that funding.
Using Digest Africa data, we have identified the 11 startups that have raised at least $10 million in venture funding this year. In this particular list, per our methodology, we only included startups that are either headquartered in Africa, have Africa as their only/primary market or are incorporated in Africa. That is why we excluded companies like Branch International that others might include in their research.
In summary, the top 11 funding rounds raised by African startups totalled to $350 million. Looking at the list, Andela raised the most significant round while Mauritius headquartered Daystar Power with $10 million, rounds off the list.
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1. Andela’s [$100M]
In January 2019, Andela raised $100 million in a Series D round led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital. Now with $180 million raised, the company announced in February 2019 that they were looking to use AI to "pair African developers with high-growth startups". The recommendation engine will be trained on data Andela has collected from developers since it was founded in 2015.
2. Opay [$50M]
Founded by Norwegian technology firm Opera, Opay is one of the startups in the grey zone that make it hard for many to classify if it is African or not. Like Boomplay and Jumia as well as many others, though it was launched in Africa, its owners are not. Leveraging the networks and financial muscles of its owners, Opay which is trying to build a super-app, raised a massive $50 million Series A in July from notable Chinese investors including Sequoia China. Some of the ventures that Opay is launching to support its payments service include Oride, Ofood and others. Per Digest Africa data, Opay has the biggest Series A round by any startup across Africa.
3. CarePay [$45M]
Dutch-Kenyan healthcare startup, CarePay, in May 2019 raised a huge Series A round amounting to $45 million from Elma Investments, IFHA, and PharmAccess Foundation that was to be used to expand its operations into Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Like Opay, the venture is also in a grey zone of whether it should be classified as African or not given that it is headquartered in The Netherlands. The firm's $45 million Series A is the continent's second-biggest after Opay's $50 million - a position it ties with Jumia's $45 million Series A that the e-commerce giant launched with 7 years ago in 2012.
4. Swvl [$42M]
In June 2019, Egyptian ride-hailing startup Swvl raised $42 million in a Series C round, the country’s largest-ever funding round for any startup and Africa's largest for a transport and logistics startup. Notable investors in the round included BECO Capital, DASH Ventures, Endeavor Ventures and MSA Capital. With $80 million-plus in total venture capital amassed, Swvl is setting its eyes on expansion beyond its home market. So far, it has officially kickstarted operations in Kenya's capital where they also signed a partnership with BRCK to provide free wifi on their buses. The startup also expanded to Pakistan and reports indicate they are looking at Nigeria and Uganda as well.
5. Azuri Technologies [$26M]
The London-headquartered energy firm with the majority of its operations in Rwanda raised a $26 million corporate venture round that Japanese Marubeni Corporation led. In June, the company announced the launch of AzuriTV, the company’s 24-inch solar satellite television and home lighting system in Zambia. This specific funding round was raised on the back of Azuri Technologies raising a $2.4 million Crowdfunded round in April 2018 as well as $20 million debt facility through TRINE. Azuri and other solar firms have come under scrutiny after Mobil, which was considered one of the pioneers of the solar craze filed for bankruptcy.
6. Boomplay [$20M]
Launched in Nigeria by Chinese phone-maker, Boomplay is another case of a venture leveraging the position of its parent to gain access to funding. In April 2019, the music streaming startup that was founded in 2015 announced that it had closed a $20 million Series A round to back its expansion plans with a keen focus on content acquisition, product optimisation and recruitment. Per Digest Africa data, their $20 million round ties with One Africa Media, Powerhive, Kobo360 and Flutterwave's in the 6th place of the continent's biggest Series A rounds.
6. Kobo360 [$20M]
An alumnus of the prestigious San Francisco based accelerator Y Combinator, Nigeria logistics startup is now among the most well-capitalised startups in the area. The Lagos-based startup raised $20 million in venture funding in August 2019 as well as $10 million in debt from a consortium of Nigerian banks. Goldman Sachs led the round making it their third startup across Africa, after Jumia and Jumo, that they are backing. Upon announcing the investment, Kobo360 also pointed out that they were looking to expand to 10 additional countries across Africa.
8. PayItUp [$13M]
Zimbabwean financial services startup PayItUp raised $13 million in a Series A round led by Thawer Fund Management in May this year. The round is the highest venture capital round for any Zimbabwe startup. Golix, which raised $23 million in 2018 did so through an ICO. Led by Aretha Gonyora who previously worked at EY KPMG and EY in Zimbabwe, the startup is the only one with a female CEO on the list. It is also the only one from Zimbabwe to have raised at least $1 million-plus in venture funding per Digest Africa data and research.
9. mPharma [$12M]
Another major funding round earlier on this year was by Ghanaian healthcare and pharma startup mPharma which raised a $12 million Series B round led by 4DX Ventures and Novastar Ventures. mPharma used part of the funds raised to enter the East African healthcare market by acquiring one of Kenya’s leading pharmaceutical chain Haltons.
10. RapidDeploy [$12M]
South African SaaS platform RapidDeploy raised a $12 million Series A in February 2019 from GreatPoint Ventures and Samsung NEXT. The startup plans to channel the funds towards accelerating the development and deployment of their Cloud Aided DispatchTM platform.
11. Daystar Power Africa [$10M]
The energy and resources startup Daystar Power Africa, serving Ghanaian and Nigerian markets, raised $10 million from Verod Capital Management and Persistent Energy Capital. It also closed an additional $16 million in debt financing from the same investors.
Note: This is an update of the earlier version published in July. This list keeps on changing as we revise and refine our methodology.