September overtook August to become the most funded month this year, and most likely of all time. Across 49 deals, startups raised $657,816,500, the first time over $600m was raised in a single month. This brings the total amount raised this year to $2.4bn already from 471 deals.
Also in another first, two startups became unicorns in September. On 7th September 2021, Senegalese fintech Wave became a unicorn after it raised $200m in Series A at a valuation of $1.7bn from Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Stripe, Ribbit Capital and Partech Partners. This was the largest Series A raised by an African startup. Wave is the first unicorn from Francophone Africa. On September 29 2021, Andela also became a unicorn after it raised $200m Series E at a $1.5bn valuation in an investment round led by Softbank Vision Fund II.
Nigeria received 39% of all funding ($274M) from 15 deals followed by Senegal with 29% ($201M) from 2 deals and Egypt with 25% ($178M) from 10 deals. Financial Services took the lion’s share across sectors with $244M raised, which is 37% of the entire amount from 14 deals. Commercial and Professional Services came second with $200M( all of this amount was raised by Andela) and Transport and Logistics was third with 18% ($122M) of the entire amount from 5 deals. The most funded round was Series A with $269M or 41% of the money raised in September. Series E ($200m) and Undisclosed ($124M) were the only other funding rounds that crossed the $100M mark.
Here are the top 10 venture rounds of the month in order of size
1. Wave ($200M, Series A)
Wave is a Senegal-based mobile money provider that was founded in 2014 as a spinoff of Sendwave, the fintech that was acquired by World Remit, in a $500M stock and cash deal. It is similar to PayPal, but with mobile money accounts not bank accounts. It has an agent network that uses cash on hand to service Wave users who can make free deposits and withdrawals and charges a 1% fee to send money which is 70% cheaper than mobile money services of telecom networks. It has 4-5m users in Senegal alone.
Wave raised a $200m Series A that valued it at $1.7bn, making it the first Francophone unicorn from investors like Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Stripe, Ribbit Capital and Partech Partners. Wave will use these funds to deepen its presence in Senegal and Ivory Coast and expand into regulatory friendly markets like Uganda. It will also grow its 800-string team across product, engineering and business.
Andela ($200M, Series E)
Andela is a fully remote company that enables tech companies to hire remote engineering teams. It was founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014 but has since expanded to over 80 countries across the globe. It has a client list of over 200 tech companies including GitHub, Cloudflare and Viacom CBS.
Andela raised $200M for its Series E which valued the startup at $1.5bn. Investors in this round included Softbank Vision Fund 2, Whale Rock, Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Spark Capital. Andela intends to use these funds to add to its 300 employees especially in production and engineering, It will also use the funds to expand to new markets.
3. Halan ($120M, Undisclosed)
Halan is an Egyptian super app with various services including ride-hailing, financial services, e-commerce and on-demand delivery. It started as a ride-hailing application offering smart transportation using 2 and 3 wheelers.
It raised $120m in an undisclosed round from Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International and Lorax Capital Partners. Halan will use this money to drive further innovation in its technology and product development, scale to millions of customers and expand cross-border.
4. ZOLA Electric ($45M twice; Debt Financing and Private Equity)
Zola is a next-generation digital renewable energy brand in Africa that enables people from low-income households and those from areas where there is no electricity access to light their homes, power small businesses and stay connected. This is done through affordable solar energy products and batteries.
Zola raised $90M in two rounds in September. One was a $45m debt financing round from FMO and SunFunder. The other was a $45M Private Equity round from Total Energy Ventures, DBL Investors, Helios Investment Partners, Vulcan Capital and Electron Capital Partners. It will use this funding to improve product development and to improve technology in its products.
6. Capiter ($33M, Series A)
Capiter is a B2B e-commerce startup that was launched in 2020 by Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Nouh. It helps manufacturers to gain capital insights into the markets they serve, the products they sell and how they fare with the competition using AI. It also helps merchants to order products from Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMGs) and wholesalers. It currently has 50,000 merchants and 1,000 sellers.
Capiter raised $33M in its Series A from Quona Capital, MSA Capital, Savola, Shorooq Partners, Foundation Ventures, Accion Venture Lab and Derayah Ventures. It will use this money to expand into new verticals like agriculture and pharmaceutical offerings and also expand geographically next year.
7.54Gene ($25M, Series B)
Less than 3% of the genetic material used in global pharmaceutical research is from Africa. This gap is surprising given the fact that Africans or people of African descent are reported to be more diverse than any other population. 54Gene is an African genomics startup that wants to decrease this gap through researching the genetically diverse African population.
It raised a $25M Series B from Cathay Innovation, AfricInvest, Adjuvant Capital, KdT Ventures, Plexo Capital, Endeavour Capital and Ingressive Capital. It will use this funding to set up its 1st lab, increase its biobanking capacity by 5 times from its current 60,000 sample capacity. It will also recruit and train new talent.
8. Finclusion Group ($20M, Debt Financing)
Finclusion is a startup that specializes in AI-driven fintech solutions that offer financial services and credit products. It also promotes financial wellness and inclusion. It partners with 8 financial brands that service its over 240,000 customers across 5 countries.
It raised $20M in a debt financing round from Lendable. It will use these funds to expand into the East and South African markets.
9. Dopay ($18m, Series A)
DoPay is a cloud-based payroll service that allows employers to calculate salaries and make payments electronically. It raised $18m in a Series A round from Force Over Mass Capital, FMO, Mbuyu Capital Partners and Alder Tree Investments. It will use this funding to scale in its initial market, Egypt and build a range of financial services including a cashless payroll and prepaid cards for employees.
10. Agricorp International ($17.5M, Pre-Series A)
AgriCorp International is a Nigeria-based spice producing, processing and exporting startup founded by Kenneth Obiajulu and Wale Omotimirin in 2018. It is contributing to the growing demand for spices as an export material. It raised a $17.5m Pre-series A from Vami Farms, One Capital and PiggyTech Global Ltd. AgriCorp will use this funding to increase its processing capacity to 7,000 metric tonnes.
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