Digest Africa Country Brief: Startup Funding In Uganda

    Funding
    In Brief
    The Country Brief

A country overview on Uganda can be found here. The Ugandan entrepreneurship and ecosystem comprises some of the youngest population on the continent and in the world with an average age of 17 years and 77% of the population under 25 years of age. Uganda therefore has the potential to become one of the biggest entrepreneurial prospects in Africa. With a conducive environment that has birthed many innovation hubs and subsequently digital solutions, there is a growing potential market for these products consisting of tech-savvy millennials and generation Z. Most startups are housed in innovation hubs, there are 16 recorded innovation hubs in Uganda including the Innovation Village, Hive Colab, Outbox Hub among others.

A review of funding shows a total of 190 disclosed funding rounds; representing a value of $55M. We note the following about early stage funding in Uganda:

  • Most funding based on number of deals by stage: Grants (133 deals) and Seed stage capital (25 deals)
  • Largest deal is debt finance of $13M to Tugende; Debt financing representing $40M in disclosed financing (Tugende $23M; Solar Now $17M)
  • Most funding by amount for the top 3 sectors to Financial Services (41 deals, $28M), Energy & Environment (23 deals, $20M) and Health & Pharmacuticals (40 deals, $2.5M)
  • Most active investors by number of deals participated in: National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (32, $890K); United States African Development Foundation (11, $120K), MTN Uganda (9, $18K), Villgro (6, $140K), NSSF Hi Innovator (6, $120K)
  • Beyond grants, active investors include: Up Accelerate (4, $40K), Techstars (3, $145K), Villgro (4, $100K), Google Launchpad Accelerator (3, $30K)
  • Startup that has raised a Series A onwards: Series A (Safeboda, $1.1m, Undisclosed Investors); Series B (Safeboda, Amount undisclosed, Allianz X and Go-Ventures)
  • Year on year growth: 2016 ($2.2M), 2017 ($8.6M), 2018 ($9.0M), 2019 ($32M), 2020 ($1.3M); 67% and 68% YoY growth respectively in amount of funding and number of deals between 2016 - 2019

COVID19 Impacts: As a result of the lockdown measures enforced by the Ugandan government, many of these innovative products gained popularity including E-Commerce platforms Bringo Fresh, The Online Butchery, payments’ Xente among others. However 2020 has seen $1.3M raised, a 96% drop from 2019 funding. This is likely due to the impact of the pandemic  which has dried up funding.

For a more detailed analysis and to access the Uganda Country Report, please subscribe to Digest Africa.

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