Digest Africa Radar: Startups to watch driving local investment and wealth management in Africa

Financial services, as a sector, received the most funding in 2020. The sector raised over $234M last year with over 112 funding deals. Over the years, this has been the most funded sectors. While the focus of investment has been in facilitating payments for mostly commerce and peer to peer transactions, some of the startups under this sector are dedicated to driving local investment and wealth management by encouraging personal savings and investments.

The startups have managed to do this by availing information on business deals and investments, making saving easier with better discounts and interests and reacting to the immediate monetary needs of their target populations. This article explores the startups to watch that have been driving local investment and wealth management in Africa for the last five years.

Here are the top twelve startups to watch based on Digest Africa data.

Investment tools

AZA Group - formerly BetPesa, is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform. It leverages blockchain settlement to significantly lower the cost and increase the speed of business payments. The startup has raised over $29M in funding since 2015 with an impressive $15M in Debt Financing from the Development Bank of Southern Africa in 2019. 

Money Fellows, the Egyptian startup founded in 2014, has been able to raise about $5.72M in funding across 6 rounds since 2015. Its latest deal is the $4M Series A funding from Partech Partners and Sawari Ventures in June 2020. The startup allows for members to join Money Circles they are best suited to based on a user’s score. Because the concept of ‘Money Circles’ is a common model around the world, Money Fellows hopes to expand its base into several countries 

Aella Credit gives instant loans that eliminate the red tape of standard loan applications and enable borrowing at competitive and fair rates. The Nigerian startup has raised more than $10.2M across 4 rounds since 2016. It raised $10M in Debt Financing from HQ Financial Group in February 2020. 

With an aim to reimagine and rework how financial services are delivered, Cowrywise helps Nigerians save and invest money regularly. The startup has been able to attract more than 200,000 personal accounts since its inception in 2017. Cowrywise raised $3M in Pre-Series A funding in January 2021 from its investors; Quona Capital, Sahil Lavingia and Tsadik Foundation.

Thndr has set itself up as Egypt’s first mobile investment platform. It offers 0% commission, no account minimum, access to real-time news, market data and an easy account setup. All these designs aim to make investing easy for both beginners and experts in the investment field. It received $150,000 seed funding from Y Combinator in August 2020. 

South Africa’s Valr is another startup to watch as it bridges the gap between traditional financial systems and the novel cryptocurrency. It has raised about $4.9M in two rounds of funding. Its most recent funding deal, a $3.4M Series A funding, was raised by 100x Ventures, Bittrex, 4DiCapital and Michael Jordan. 

Data Analytics

Guanxi Invest, a directory of the most innovative and competitive start-ups and projects, enables the public to discover and invest in projects/companies of their choices. With headquarters in Douala, Cameroon, the startup has been able to raise more than $3,500 in seed funding.

Portfolio Management

10X Investments, a South African startup, is an authorised financial service provider, a licensed retirement fund administrator and investment manager. It has received over $6M in Private Equity funding. Its investors are Old Mutual Private Equity and Digital Growth Africa Middle East Investment Company.

Digital Brokerage

Bamboo is a Nigerian digital investment platform that provides real-time access to buy, hold and/or sell stocks. The startup was founded in 2019 and has raised more than $150,000 in disclosed seed funding. Its investors across three rounds include Outlierz Ventures, Future Africa and Y Combinator.  

Kudabank is a full-service digital bank that seeks to help people live healthier financial lives. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Nigeria, Kudabank has raised over $11M in funding across three rounds. It recently - November 2020 - raised $10M in Seed funding from Target Global, Entree Capital and SBI Investment.

Software

Founded in South Africa in 2015, Investsure is a technology company that uses its software to enable partner investment platforms to sell their unique investment indemnity to its clients. It received $685,000 seed funding in March 2019 from 4DiCapital, Lireas Holdings and Compass Insure. The software enables buyers buy insurance at the click of a button once it is added to a trading platform, fully automating the process from buying to settling claims.  

PiggyVest is a web app in Nigeria that helps individuals and businesses handle their finances effectively. The app ensures automatic saving from the debit card towards a saving target. The startup has received about $1,150,000 in seed funding across two rounds. It received $1.1M from LeadPath Nigeria, Village Capital and Ventures Platform Foundation.

Other Note-worthy companies

  1. FINT peer to peer lending platform from Nigeria. Founded in 2017, $8300 grant in 2019 from Labs By ARM and Ventures Platform Foundation.
  2. OUTvest, an OUTsurance powered investment platform in South Africa, brings a set of tailored investment plans to plan for long-time wealth.
  3. Kenya’s Bismart Insurance is a leading insurance aggregator, leveraging digital platforms and technologies to connect customers to the best insurance and investment solutions. It received an undisclosed amount of seed funding in 2018 from GreenTec Capital Partners.
  4. Payday Investor is Nigeria’s cool investment app intended to provide a simple and secure way to put money aside for desired items. The company in 2019 received an $8300 grant from Labs By ARM and Ventures Platform Foundation.
  5. Nigeria’s Trove Finance allows for investments in public stocks, cryptocurrency assets and bonds at the click of a button. Its most recent deal is an undisclosed amount in Pre-Series A funding in June 2020. The investors in this deal included Lagos Angel Network, SSE Angel Network and Diaspora Angel Network.
  6. Lifecheq, a South African based startup, helps people achieve goals through good financial decision making. It received an undisclosed amount of funding in Private Equity from Future Growth Asset Management.
  7. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Uganda, Xeno Investments helps clients plan, save and invest for their financial goals. It received a $150,000 Seed funding in 2019 from Nordic Impact Funds.
  8. ElGameya is an Egyptian FinTech Mobile App that offers a systematic saving tool that helps clients save money and get loans from their friends. It has received pre-seed funding in two rounds and its most recent investors include AUC Angels, Cairo Angels and Alex Angels.   

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