In this research brief, we break down the funding raised by African ventures in 2019 up to the close of the month of July 2019 and compare it to the same period in 2018. We also include a full list of the startups and how much they raised.
According to Digest Africa funding data, in 2019, at least 45 startups (full list at the bottom) have raised funding of equal to or more than $1 million in a single round. Which represents only a 4.5% increase from last year. In 2018, 43 startups (full list at the bottom) recorded at least $1 million in funding for the period leading to the end of the month of July.
There's no significant difference between the number of startups for 2018 and 2019. However, the major difference lies in how much was raised in the same period by these startups. In total, for 2019, the 45 startups recorded $441.5 million representing a 65.8% growth compared to the $266.2 million in total venture funding recorded in 2018.
The main reason for this growth is the increase in the bigger rounds - especially those above $10 million. Last year, only 4 startups recorded funding of more than $10 million for the period leading up to July 31. This figure grew to 10 this year for the same period.
Additionally, the difference between the most funded and the cut-off mark of $1 million has almost doubled. Last year, the difference between the most funded and the cut off mark was $54 million. In 2019, that difference sits at $99 million because of Nigeria's Andela, which raised $100 million Series D led by Generation Investment Management in January 2019. The firm has also recorded the highest funding amount in the period for 2019 while Tanzania's Zola Electric with a $55 million Series D was the most funded in the same period last year.
- Data used is for the period leading to July 31, 2019
- 45 startups raised funding in 2019 vs 43 in 2018
- $441.5 million was raised in 2019 vs $266.2 million in 2018
- Andela ($100M) raised the most in 2019 vs Zola Electric ($55M) in 2018
- Nigeria ($208M) recorded the most funding
- South Africa (13), Kenya (08) and Nigeria (12) dominated the list
- Financial services sector (13) was the most represented
- 76% of the startups on the list have a white or expat co-founder
- 34% of the startups have a female co-founder
- Most of the rounds were Series A (24)
Although the funding leading to July 31, 2019, grew by 64.5% compared to the same period in 2018, it is worth noting that much of this funding is continuing to be concentrated in a handful of companies and people. Startups that are looking for follow-on funding are dominating the lists. In 2018, the 10 most funded companies contributed 70% to the total funding with only 4 of those raising $10 million or more. In 2019, the figure has grown to 75% and all the top 10 companies raised $10 million or more.
It has also been known that startups with white co-founders or executives find it easier to raise funding while female and black founded or led ones to struggle. In 2019, of the 45 startups, 77% of them had either a white or expat co-founder and only 33% had a female as a co-founder.
South African, Nigerian and Kenyan startups - as expected by many - are still leading the way when it comes to attracting funding. With 12 startups on the list, Nigeria recorded $208.5 million in venture funding. While Kenya, South Africa and Egypt followed suit with $74.5 million, $35.5 million respectively. Because of Swvl - which raised a $42 million Series C - Egypt ranked among the top four with $43.5 million.
The financial services sector recorded the biggest number of startups on the list with 13 with Opay being the most funded followed by Zimbabwe's Payitup. Healthcare and Pharma also recorded 6 deals followed by transportation and logistics with 5. (It is worth noting that SafeBoda is not on the list because the figure was not disclosed).
When it comes to funding rounds, Series A dominated the list. With 24, over half of the rounds were Series A followed by Seed rounds at 12 and Series B at 5. Only Andela's was a Series D and Azuri Technologies was the only one that recorded a Corporate Venture round. In total, Series A rounds recorded $222.7 million followed by Series D with $100 million.
There's also a noticeable growing trend of global firms setting up their own startups on the continent and supporting them in raising funding. This model is similar to what Rocket Internet deployed when starting Jumia with hired founders whom they backed with an endless supply of capital until the firm went public in April this year. Boomplay, founded by Transnet Music Limited an arm of Chinese phone-maker Transsion and Opay, founded by Norwegian software firm Opera, are some of the noticeable examples.
Visit our methodology to find out our critieria. Please note that we only include funding figures that we have verified.