Digest Africa Briefs: The Most Funded Startups in Morocco

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Morocco, officially known as the kingdom of Morocco, is the northwestern most country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Morocco is Africa’s 5th largest economy with a GDP of $112bn ( only behind Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Algeria). It has a GDP per capita of $3,414.  It has a population of 37m people with 45% of those being below the age of 24 and 42% between the age of 25-54. 

Morocco is one of Africa’s most advanced markets in terms of internet connectivity. 74% (27m) of its population is connected to the internet. It has a mobile phone penetration of 125% of which 80% of these phones are smartphones. It ranks highly on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report. Morocco was 60th in the 2018 report, but improved 7 positions the following year. Only Mauritius(13th)  and Rwanda (38th) performed better than Morocco. This is because it is now possible to apply and obtain certificates of conformity online. Morocco has also been active in tax reductions and promoting e-payments at ports as well as streamlining paperless customs clearance.

However, startups in Morocco still face a few challenges. The major one is the lack of a pipeline of talented engineers and business  courses related graduates. Startups have been forced to settle for less impressive talent because they can not compete with the pull of more established traditional companies when it comes to hiring talent. 

There has been a glaring absence of local investors for startups to turn to especially at Angel and seed level. This has led to the death of many startups within their first year. Startups also lack access to data and expertise that is needed to grow. 

Overview of the Startup Ecosystem in Morocco

There are a few notable players in the startup ecosystem in Morocco, especially investors. Outlierz Ventures, a seed investment firm and Innov Invest Fund, a $50m Fund for startups were both founded in 2017 and are active in the startup ecosystem. 

Maroc Numeric Fund II is also a Fund for growth stage startups while Reseau Entreprendre offers interest free loans to entrepreneurs. Other investors are Wise Venture Capital, which manages a USAID -supported investment initiative program in Morocco and Wamda Capital which typically invests in Series A.  

The most important hub in Morocco is the Impact Lab found in Casablanca. It was founded in 2014 and supports startups involved in social and environmental causes. Others are Endeavor Morocco, launched with support of USAID; AFEM, an association of Women Entrepreneurs in Morocco with hubs in Casablanca, Rabat, El Jadida and Tangier as well as Dare Inc in Rabat which supports startups in energy, recycling and agriculture. 

Most Funded Startups in Morocco 

The 10 most funded startups in Morocco have raised a total of $24,925,000 across 13 rounds. This is an average ticket size of almost $2,000,000 per round. 68% ($17,000,000) of the total amount raised went to the proptech startup, Mubawab which it raised across two rounds. 

Of the 13 rounds, 8 (62%) were seed stage investments even though it accounted for just $4,716,000 (19%)  in terms of amount of money. The most funded round was an undisclosed one in Mubawab from the Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) of $10,000,000) followed by a corporate round investment from EMPG in Mubawab again ($7,000,000) while Waysto Cap’s $3,000,000 seed round came third. Overall, there were 8 seed rounds, 2 Series A, 2 undisclosed rounds and a solitary corporate round. 

The most funded sector was by proptech due to the EPMG’s $17,000,000 investment in Mubawab. However, there are three information technology startups in the top 10. They accounted for just  $1,700,000 of the total amount raised. They were followed by E-commerce (2). 

The most active investor in Morocco are the Maroc Numeric Fund II which funded a total of 3 startups; the AI startup ATLAN Space, Ed Tech KoolSkools  and the fintech, OnePay and 212 Founders which invested in Invyad ,Kifal Auto and Weego

1.Mubawab($17,000,000) 

Mubawab is a proptech startup that was founded in 2011 by Kevin Gourmand. It allows sellers and landlords to advertise their properties in Morocco and Tunisia. It has 2m website visitors every month and has over 150,000 properties listed. 

Mubawab has raised two rounds of financing from UAE based Emerging Markets Property Group(EMPG) with a $7,000,000 corporate round in January 2020. It also raised an undisclosed $10,000,000 round in March 2021. Mubawab plans to add 200 new employees and develop in-house research and development departments with its latest round of financing. 

2.Waysto Cap ($3,120,000) 

Waysto Cap is a tech driven platform for businesses to buy and sell goods fast and securely. Some of the goods sold on Waysto include kente fabric, diapers, argan oil, rice and hundreds of others. Headquartered in Morocco, it operates in other countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire. 

Waysto Cap is Morocco’s second most funded startup. It raised a seed round of $120,000 from Y Combinator in March 2017 and followed that with another seed round in June 2017. It raised $3,000,000 from Story Ventures, Soma Capital, Pascal Levy-Garboua, Palm Drive Capital, Neon Capital, Lynett Capital, Jude Gomel, Endure Capital, Battery Ventures, Amino Capital and 4Dx Ventures. Y-Combinator’s Michael Seibel was also involved in this round. Waysto Cap also raised an undisclosed seed round in June 2018 from Outlierz Ventures

3.Buzzkito($1,700,000) 

Founded in 2006 by El Mehdi Benslim, Buzzkito claims to be the first brand technology company in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA) region. It uses data, technology and psychology to produce short and engaging videos that go viral. Buzzkito makes money by charging brands to produce branded content for them. Similarly, brands also pay to sponsor regular content that might be relevant to their customers that happen to be Buzzkito's audience. 

The company has a large following on social media. One of its Facebook pages has 10m likes alone. It also receives 200m views every month on its social media platforms from Facebook, Instagram to Snapchat and YouTube. It’s clients include Proctor and Gamble, Coca Cola, Nestle, Honda, Pizza Hut etc. Buzzkito raised a $1,700,000 Series A from Tunisia based AfricInvest in January 2018. 

4.ATLAN Space ($1,100,000) 

ATLAN Space is a startup that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to drive Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAV) while they carry out tracking missions with complete autonomy. The startup received the African Entrepreneurship Award Innovation Prize in 2017 and was named as one of the best AI startups in 2018 by Nvidia. It has been funded once by the Maroc Numeric Fund II. It’s series A in November 2020 was a cool $1,100,000. 

5.KoolSkools ($416,000)

Kool Skools uses technology to digitize the process of teaching and learning. It creates interactive courses, exercises, content and monitors how the learners are acquiring the skills. It also has digital management tools for schools that include student records, report cards and fees payments. 

Kool Skools has worked with 30 schools, 20,000 students and 700 teachers across Morocco. It plans to reach 100,000 students within the next 2-3 years. Kool Skools raised a $416,000 seed round in July 2020 from the Maroc Numeric Fund II.. 

6.OnePay ($409,000) 

OnePay is a financial services startup that enables offline and online businesses to receive digital payments. Founded by Karim Zaitouni, it was born as a result of an investment by SisPay, it’s parent company and the Maroc Numeric Fund II which invested $409,000 in July 2020. The round was not disclosed. 

7.Weego ($300,000) 

Weego is a transit app that eases travel by public transportation serving buses, tramways and large taxis. It enables users to find transportation options available, to track their arrivals in real time and to also share their position once they board in order to assist those that want to board. 

Weego was launched in Dakar, Senegal but is a Moroccan company. It’s office was shifted to Marrakech, Morocco where the founders plan to use it as their nucleus to spread to the other cities in Morocco and Africa. Weego raised a seed round of $300,000 from 212 Founders in April 2020. 

8.Scale ( $300,000) 

Scale is a startup that enables its partners to develop and execute digital strategies. Its partners range from Small and Medium sized enterprises(SMEs) to large companies. Scale got $300,000 in a seed round in January 2018 from undisclosed sources. 

9.Kifal Auto ($300,000) 

Kifal Auto is an online marketplace where individuals/companies are able to buy and sell new and used cars safely. In April 2020, 212 Founders invested $300,000 into Kifal Auto in a seed round. 

10.Invyad ($280,000) 

Invyad is a mobile Point-of-Sale(POS) technology company with an end to end solution that helps small and medium sized businesses to sell and grow their products. Invyad was funded by 212 Founders with a $280,000 seed investment in April, 2020. 

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