April closed with $21.7M raised across 15 rounds, an 89.8% drop compared to April 2019 ($213.5M across 21 rounds) and 28.6% drop compared to $30.4M raised in March 2020. There has also been lower investor participation with most rounds being backed by one investor. Despite the drop, it is still commendable that African startups are raising amidst this uncertainty. 54gene scored the most valuable raise with a $15M Series A. This too gives the Healthcare & Pharma industry the highest raise of the month ($15.3M from 54gene and Ingress Healthcare.) Majority of the other startups however raised in Seed (6 out of the 15 rounds with a total value of $1.8M.)
Here is the breakdown of all the deals:
South Africa’s Mobiz has raised $1M in a Series A from VC firm Kalon Venture Partners. This is the startup’s first raise since it was started in 2014. Mobiz is a mobile marketing platform which operates on a software-as-a-service model to help its clients improve on their interactions with their customers. The company will use the investment to fund its expansion as it looks to grow in the US and Europe.
EdTech Gradely secured funding from Microtraction to the tune of $25K in a Seed round. Microtraction March announced its change in deal standard upping its investment and reducing its stake to 7%. The investment raised is directed towards helping students and teachers and teachers stuck at home during the lockdown continue their learning through identifying learning gaps and closing them. The startup already has 70 schools using their platform.
Finnfund backed e-commerce platform Kasha in a Series A round valued at $1M. This brings the startups total disclosed funding raised so far to $1.15M across 2 rounds. The Rwandan based startup is improving women’s access to health, hygiene and self care products like menstrual products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and other beauty products. Last year Kasha expanded operations to Kenya now and with this new investment, will expand further across Africa.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, another Edtech Play Sense went digital making their unique play-centric curriculum and pre-school format available online to worldwide users. The startup raised $458K to support this pivot in a Pre-Series A round backed by US-based VC firm Enygma Ventures. Enygma was launched last year at empowering, mentoring and capitalising outstanding female entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.
At mid of the month, Nigeria’s 54gene raised the highest of the month in a $15M Series A round backed by Adjuvant Capital. This brings their total vc raised so far to $19.7M across 3 rounds. The funds will expand its biobank and lab capabilities as well as addressing the gap that exists in precision medicine for people in Africa. 54gene has also positioned itself to do testing for the virus in Nigeria’s public health facilities and plans to offer coronavirus screening in its Lagos lab too.
Ingress Healthcare raised R6M ($333K) in a Pre-Series A round to help scale its platform that aims to distribute spare consultation rooms in hospitals and clinics to general practitioners and specialists. The investment came from Pegasus and Cape Town-based Enso Equity. The platform functions like an Airbnb for medical practitioners who cannot afford the high costs of setting up and running their own practice. Ingress has raised a total of $611K across 2 rounds.
Xeno Investment is an investment management firm that provides goal-based investment by helping its clients to plan, save and invest for their financial goals such as secure retirement, build wealth, fund education or own a home. In a Pre-Seed round backed by Nordic Impact Funds, the startup raised $150K bringing its total funds raised to $430K to power its growth in Uganda. Xeno also recently partnered with MTN Uganda and has made professional investment advice and management available to anyone looking to invest, even as little as shs.10,000 ($3.7).
Nigerian media company Stears raised $600K funding in a Seed round led by undisclosed Nigerian investors with participation from Omidyar’s Luminate. This funding will be used to grow its team, collect data and build its media and information products. Stears Business has also put up live-data visualizations on their website to help track the spread of the coronavirus in Nigeria, a way of educating its visitors on the outbreak.
Another from Nigeria, fintech Bundle grossed $450K in a Pre-Seed round backed by global blockchain company Binance. Bundle users are able to buy, sell and store digital currencies and local fiat currencies starting with Nigerian naira and later other currencies. These transactions can be processed through various payment gateways including cards, bank transfers and mobile money.
Okra also raised $1M Pre-Seed to boost its infrastructure development and establish itself as a leader in the Nigerian fintech scene. This round was led by Sun-Saharan focused VC firm TLCom Capital Partners. The startup has recorded a 175% increase in demand since March since the coronavirus has given digital banking and payments a boost. Okra is creating a secure portal and process to exchange real-time financial information between customers, applications and banks.
CDG Invest, through the 212 Founders program announced its grant of seven financing agreements, four being Morocco's Kifal Auto, Freterium, Weego and Invyad of $300K, $280K, $300K and $280K that were released. This is from the selection of the 20 startups for the first edition of the 212 Founders Program aimed to support and finance world-class startups from Morocco. This fund was granted after their completion of the six-month incubation period and commencement into the acceleration phase which aims to prepare them for commercial and technical development over the next twelve to eighteen months.
At the end of the month, Cairo-based Pravica raised $500K in a Pre-Seed round backed by 500 Startups, Modus Capital and DYRES Ventures. Pravica will use the investment to build its customer base, expand its team and develop additional private communication tools to further enhance its products.
Digest Africa urges all to wash your hands with soap, sanitize them frequently with an alcohol-based sanitizer, wear protective masks and gloves while going out into the public if need be but most importantly staying indoors to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you’re a startup fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through your business or offering solutions to other startups in these tough times, contact us here for the opportunity to be showcased on our website.