Last year was filled with a lot of activity that it was so easy for one to miss some of it. According to our research, it was probably the highest year that startups and companies in Africa – with holding companies in the US – filed with the SEC.
While as the amounts disclosed went up, there were those that were either not disclosed or inaccurately disclosed We decided to dig them up. Throughout December 2018, we wrote about some of them that were either recent or big in size. Some of them include; African Leadership Academy’s $28 million, PrepClass’s $300,000, Halan’s $4.4 million, BitPesa’s $2.2 million, Lori Systems’ $6.1 million and SafeBoda’s $1.1 million.
However, to sum it up, we have decided to bring you the comprehensive list. Please note that this list includes startups that raised funding but the figures were reported inaccurately (UbaPesa & Ensibuuko). Or those that were not disclosed at all (Kopa Technologies, Gokada, Names & Faces). They are ranked in ascending order. This list of 13 startups has funding amounting to $11.7 million.
1. BuyCoins – $120,000
Unlike other Nigerian startups – like Cowrywise and Kobo360 – that were admitted into Y Combinator in 2018, very few noticed that BuyCoins was also admitted. As one of the benefits of participating in the accelerator, the startup received $120,000 in funding. It also went on to receive an undisclosed amount from Precursor Ventures. (The startup is among our Digest Africa NEXT50 – Top 50 Startup to watch in 2019).
2. Passerine Aircraft Corporation – $120,000
The South African startup, founded in 2017, develops electric-powered aircraft that can attain flight speed using a jumping mechanism. Like BuyCoins, few noticed its admission into Y Combinator last year after which it bagged $120,000 in funding.
3. Rwanda Motor Cycle Company – $150,000
Founded in 2016, Rwanda Motor Cycle Company – or RMC as mostly known – is a manufacturer of motorcycles that are “specifically designed to meet all kinds of challenges”. The company secured $150,000 in funding from an undisclosed investor last year according to the SEC filings of the company that we recovered. The deal closed in November 2018.
4. Medsaf – $330,000
Medsaf is making the process of buying and selling medication in Nigeria’s complex health system easy and efficient. The startup, founded in 2016, received funding from Lateral Capital in May last year which they declined to disclosed. However, checking their SEC filings revealed that they had raised $330,000 in funding – the exact amount they had set out to raise.
5. Gokada – $337,300
In March last year, Nigeria’s ride-hailing startup raised $337,300 in Seed round of funding from Adventure Capital and CRE Venture Capital. We got knowledge of this after checking the startup’s filings with the SEC. (The startup is among our Digest Africa NEXT50 – Top 50 Startup to watch in 2019).
6. Ensibuuko – $350,000
Uganda’s Ensibuuko is a provider of cloud-based micro-finance software for community-level financial entities. The startup was among those selected to join the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator last year. In turn, they also received grant funding from the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund. However, platforms like CB Insights recorded it as $250,000 yet, according to Gerald Otim – Ensibuuko CEO and Co-founder – they raised £250,000 which translated into $350,000.
7. UbaPesa – $450,000
UbaPesa is a peer-to-peer money market app where users can borrow and lend money. Checking the startup’s CrunchBase page indicates that it raised $500,000 in funding in July 2018. However, when we contacted them, they clarified that they had instead raised $450,000 as a combination of both debt and equity.
8. BeneFactors – $550,000
Throughout the course of 2018, Rwanda-based BeneFactors raised a total of $550,000 in funding though most are familiar with the $150,000 it closed in September 2018. The startup secured the $550,000 as a mixture of debt and equity funding from Seedstars, NISK Capital and Silverback Capital. (The startup is among our Digest Africa NEXT50 – Top 50 Startup to watch in 2019).
9. Tastemakers Africa – $980,000
Founded in 2016, Tastemakers Africa connects travellers to vetted local insiders in African cities. Though headquartered in the US, we classify the startup under South Africa (according to our methodology). Last year, it raised close to a million dollars from US-based Prercursor Ventures and CRE Venture Capital. (We wrote more about Precursor Ventures here.)
10. Rensource Energy – $1,006,250
Rensource allows qualifying companies throughout Nigeria and West Africa to start selling Power-as-a-Service (PaaS) to their customers. The startup raised $1 million in funding at the beginning of 2018 according to their SEC filing. It was not easy to establish the date when the company raised the amount given that the date when the startup made the sale is ahead of its date of signing. We, therefore, took this as an error on the document. Also, CB Insight’s algorithm also agreed with our decision. However, it is important to note that deals at the beginning or towards the end of the year/quarter are hard to allocate. We, therefore, try as much as possible to triple check. If you think we are wrong on this one, email [email protected]
11. Kopa Technologies – $1,700,000
Kopa Technologies describes itself as a travel & technology-based company stating Mauritius as its headquarters. Little is known about them except this merger notice [PDF] from the Fair Competition Commission of Tanzania after expressing interest in acquiring Kopagas Limited. The notice described them as close to a private equity firm. “The Acquiring Firm is a recently incorporated company and it operates as a company that engages in acquisitions and managing subsidiaries that deal with distribution of gaseous fuels in emerging markets,” it read. According to their SEC filings, Kopa Technologies raised $1.7 million in May last year – the exact amount they were looking for.
12. SomaApps Technologies – $2,400,000
The Tanzanian startup develops an app for high school students, current undergraduates, and graduate students to find scholarships. They also run SomaFit, which programs, designs and manufactures fitness trackers. In December 2018, we were informed that the startup closed $2.4 million in funding from an undisclosed investor. When we contacted Isaya Yunge, the CEO and Co-founder, he acknowledged the funding but declined to give any further details about the round.
13. Names & Faces – $3,077,503 + $120,000
The Cape Town-based startup creates tools to help organizations build directories of their teams. In September last year, per their SEC filings, the startup closed $3.1 million from undisclosed investors. The startup was also selected to join Y Combinator and ended up securing $120,000 in seed funding.
Digest Africa tracked 440 deals worth over $1.1 Billion (plus M&A) in 2018. Next week, our 2018 African Technology Companies Investment Report will be released for purchase at $299 (without the data) and $999 (with the data). Send us an email to [email protected] to book a copy.