Monthly Roundup: Over 10 startups raise $1M+ funding in April to accelerate growth

Startup funding has continued to show a gradual climb compared to 2020. Precisely, a 169% increase ($78M across 35 deals) in total funding and 189% increase ($69.5M across 32 deals) in venture capital compared to April 2020 that recorded $29M across 25 deals and $24M across 24 deals in venture funding. However this is a 228% fall off from March 2021, that recorded $255.6M across 48 deals in total funding. Nonetheless, there were significant wins made in the period. 12 startups received $1M+ in funding, with the largest funding round to Tunisian Expensya in a $20M Pre-Series B from MAIF Avenir and Silicon Badia. Uganda’s Ensibuuko also raised a notable $1M in Seed. 

Some highlights of the month’s funding deals. 

Key Takeaways:

  • A Total of $78M was raised in the month in a mixture of 35 deals. $69.5M of this figure was venture capital, raised across 32 disclosed rounds, $4M in Debt Finance across two (2) disclosed rounds and $4.7M from one (1) Private Equity Deal. 
  • 30.6% ($7.6M) of the venture capital recorded was raised by women-led startups and 69.4% ($62M) by men-led startups.  
  • Tunisia’s Expensya received the highest investment to the tune of $20M in a Pre-Series B round backed by MAIF Avenir and Silicon Badia
  • Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda took the top 5 slots as most funded in  venture capital for the month with $20.5M, $19.2M, $13.8M, $5.5M and $3.5M respectively.
  • The Financial Services sector was the most funded with a total of $61.5M across 14 deals, followed by the Automotive with $3.5M from one (1) deal, Education with $1.6M from two (2) deals, Healthcare & Pharma with $1.5M from three (3) deals and E-commerce & Retail with $743K from four (4) deals. These were the 5 most venture funded sectors of the month.
  • Majority raised Pre-Seed funding (12 deals to the tune of $1.1M) and Seed (7 deals to the tune of $10M.) 
  • Flat6Labs and MEST Africa made the most investments in the month, dispersing funds to 8 startups (total of $520K) and 3 startups ( total of $20K) respectively. 

Here is a breakdown of the $1M+ deals of the month: 

Social Enterprise Baobab+ announced their first disclosed round of $4.75M Private Equity from The Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund (EEGF) managed by Triple Jump and  Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI-OGEF) managed by LHGP Asset Management. Baobab+ has extended operations to Nigeria and DRC, in addition to the Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Madagascar markets. The newly acquired funds will be used to further its socio-economic impact in rural areas by providing clean and affordable energy, improving its product range and growing in the Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire markets. 

Egypt-based Paymob raised a substantial Series A round to the tune of $15M bringing the total to $18.5M following the first tranche of $3.5M received in July 2020. The round had participation from Dubai-based VC firm Global Ventures, leading MENA tech investor A15 and Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO. Paymob offers mobile wallet solutions allowing users to accept payments via online transactions, POS solutions, payment links, subscriptions among others and make secure payouts across the globe accessible to the unbanked. The funds will be used to expand into Saudi and other regional markets. Paymob claims to have registered 5X revenue growth in 2020 and processed payments worth over $5 billion to date. 

Electric motorcycle developer Ampersand Electric Motorcycles received $3.5M, marking their seventh disclosed raise since they launched in 2014. This brings their total funding to $4.4M across seven (7) rounds. The latest funds came in from early stage venture capital investor Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), adding the company to EIF’s portfolio as well as helping them gear up for scaling in the Rwandan and East Africa markets. With a fleet of over 35 riders and emotos, Ampersand has covered over 1.3 million kilometers in rides to date.

Uzima Chicken Ltd is a distributor of high-quality dual purpose day-old chicks that can thrive in rural conditions and are highly productive. The company raised $3M in Debt Finance from London-based AgDevCo to increase production capacity, integrate into poultry feed and increase impact across the Great Lakes region. Uzima claims to have reached over 59,000 households.

Nigeria’s Appzone raised $10M Series A from CardinalStone Capital Advisers, V8 Capital, Constant Capital, Itanna and Lateral Capital to drive growth further into existing and new markets. Appzone builds digital infrastructure for banking and payments in Africa and has clients spread across Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Tanzania, Senegal and Guinea. The company’s platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and more than 450 microfinance banks all over the continent. 

Quro Medical makes access and delivery of medical healthcare simple by providing all the essential elements of inpatient care in the comfort and convenience of the patient's home, a safer option especially in the wake of COVID19. Since it was founded in 2018, Quro has grown to work with 150 doctors and intends to scale their operations further. This will be fueled by the $1.1M Seed fundraise from Kenya-based Enza Capital and South African VC firm Mohau Equity Partners.

Another financial service Revix, that provides a platform for users to invest in a bundle of top cryptocurrencies, made their highest raise yet to the tune of R58M ($4M) backed by a consortium of UK and European investors, as well as the Qatar Development Bank. This follows the increasing awareness of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum among others and the growth of Decentralised Finance (DeFi) that is underpinned by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The funds will be used to launch Revix's mobile application, a variety of fourth industrial revolution investment opportunities, and for expansion to the European Union.

Nigeria-based Okra has made a 2 year consecutive fundraise, the recent being a $3.5M Seed, bringing their total disclosed funding to date to $4.5M. The round was led by US-based seed stage VC firm Susa Ventures and received additional investments from previous investor TLcom Capital Partners and newly joined Accenture Ventures as well as some angel investors. Okra’s API is a secure portal to process and exchange real time financial information between customers, applications and banks. The investment will be used to expand Okra’s data infrastructure across Nigeria. 

Oko, an agricultural insurtech currently operating in Mali and Uganda raised $1.2M Seed Capital from Newfund Capital, ResiliAnce, Mercy Corps Ventures and Techstars to further expansion in Africa. OKO develops affordable mobile-based crop insurance products to provide smallholder farmers with the financial security they need, regardless of unstable climate trends. 

Learn Capital, Launch Africa Ventures Fund, Graph Ventures and Century Oak Capital, among other notable local and global angel investors backed Kenyan edtech Kidato in a $1.4M Seed round. Since it was founded in 2020 by serial entrepreneur Sam Gichiru, what started off as a platform for educating his children has now grown and reports over 1263 students using Kidato for academic and interactive learning. The students, who are mainly from Canada, Kenya, Malawi, Switzerland, Tanzania, UK, United States, and UAE pay $5 per lesson, and access both academic and after school classes. 

Expensya made the highest fundraise of the month in a $20M Pre-Series B round backed by Paris-based MAIF Avenir and Amman-based Silicon Badia, taking the startup’s total funding yet to $25M across two (2) rounds. The company provides an automated expense management system for businesses through its web, mobile and API-based tools. With this investment, Expensya intends to add another 100 employees to its current 140 in the next three years to support different functions. According to its website, Expensya currently serves over 5,000 customers in over 100 countries, partnering with a number of large corporations including Microsoft, American Express, BNP Paribas among others. 

Global Impact investor FCA Investments solely backed Ugandan fintech Ensibuuko in a $1M Seed round to rapidly scale operations in Uganda and other African markets. The company deploys technology solutions to community-based savings and loans organisations so they can efficiently reach and serve unbanked and most underserved communities in Africa with affordable and relevant financial services. Within this month, the startup has received an undisclosed grant from the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion and now strikes another win that has set its total disclosed funding yet to $1.36M raised across 3 rounds.      

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