July saw African startups raise a total of $66 million in venture capital. In this funding roundup, we focus on the startups that raised significant amounts in that month.
Opay raised a $50 million Series A round and it was the biggest for the month. The funding came from its parent Opera as well as GSR Ventures, IDG Capital, Meituan Dianping, Source Code Capital, and Sequoia Capital China. This was also the first funding round for the Nigerian fintech startup which was founded in 2018 by Norwegian browser company Opera as an Africa-focused mobile payments platform. The funds will be used to grow Opay’s digital finance business in Nigeria.
We also had Kenyan renewable energy startup Powerhive raising $9.3 million in a Series B that was led by Toyota Tsusho Corporation. The company, which is powering millions of households with clean electricity, also counts Kouros, a clean energy investment company as one of its investors, as well as Tao Capital, James Sandler, Prelude Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures, and Total Energy Ventures.
The newly founded 54gene and a fresh graduate of Y Combinator's acceleration program managed to raise $4.5 million in a seed round from several investors including Y Combinator, Better Ventures, Fifty Years Fund, Hack VC, Techammer, and KdT Ventures. Based on the fact that only 2% of genomic material available for pharmaceutical research comes from Africa, the Nigerian healthcare startup is addressing this issue by offering a genetics testing platform in an effort to unlock the African genome to the rest of the world.
South Africa’s Enko Education raised $1.4 million in a pre-Series B from a pool of private and institutional investors. It operates as an Africa-wide network of international secondary schools in Africa and also offers launchpad to the world’s best universities. According to Enko, they are now working on a Series B of $11 million to be closed by the end of the year.
Ethnic Brand, the Kenyan virtual manufacturing company that connects marginalized artisans in Africa to global fashion brands raised $500,000 in a seed round that was led by Malaysia’s MAGIC Global Accelerator Programme as part of its third cohort. Ethnic Brand operates using a USSD platform that allows the artisans to receive work from fashion brands via their mobile phones and work remotely to fulfill orders. The startup actually started as an ‘e-lab’ which was recycling obsolete electronic devices and eradicating e-waste by turning them into bespoke jewelry.
Kenya-based HotelOnline raised $320,000 in a seed round from existing shareholders, with participation from two notable new investors, Trond Riiber Knudsen Group and Shravan Shroff. The funding was raised with an aim to strengthen its position in current core markets. Its platform which was founded in 2014 enables digital marketing and online distribution for up to 1500 independent hotels in 18 markets across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Cowtribe, the agritech startup which was founded in Ghana in 2016 raised $120,000 in a seed round from the Techstars Impact Accelerator that it was selected for along with 9 other startups. Cowtribe delivers animal vaccines and other livestock services to rural farmers in Africa. This recent investment came after a $300,000 investment that Cowtribe received from the US-based Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation in November last year.
Nigerian financial services startup WellaHealth also received $120,000 in seed funding from the Techstars Impact Accelerator for its platform that provides affordable malaria insurance for its users to cover particularly malaria tests and medication.
COLNN, an Egyptian edtech startup that was founded in 2012 raised $100,000 in a seed round from Edventures, which focuses its investments on innovative learning solutions, culture, and education. COLNN’s cloud-based app connects teachers, students and parents at the same time and makes use of a school management system (SMS) to manage and optimize internal processes, departments and activities in educational institutes. It also provides customized software in order to cater to each school’s needs.
Kijani Limited raised $60,000 in a seed round this month which was led by RENEW, an investment firm that was launched in Uganda last year. Founded in 2014, the Ugandan startup which makes eco-friendly, washable, and reusable diapers, as well as other baby products from wipes, creams, bags, clothes, and sleeping bags, will use the funding to increase its production and expand to more markets in East Africa.
Visit digestafrica.com/deals for more information on which African startups are raising funding.