Monthly Round Up: Early Stage Funding Still Eminent As We Hope For The $1B Mark

Funding to date is now at $804M across 322 rounds. This is $196M short of the $1 billion mark that startups can reach to hit at least 59% of the total funding raised in 2019 ($1.694 billion). Given the various impediments African startups have encountered this year, this will be a rather impressive mark to hit. However we cannot help but take note of the funding disparities compared to last year and what this could imply for the ecosystem as a whole: 

  • Total funding raised in the month was $65.3M across 29 rounds ($62.2M across 27 rounds being venture capital). Although this is a mere $2.3M increase from total funding raised last month ($63M across 27 rounds), November funding is made up of 95% venture capital while October was made up of 51% Debt Finance.
  • 31% (9 startups) of the 29 that raised funding are women-led and collectively raised $5M. 
  • Majority of rounds raised, by number of rounds, in Seed ($22.4M across 11 rounds) followed by Grant ($120K across 6 rounds) and ($Series A ($7.7M across 5 rounds.) The past 3 months have shown similar consistencies which implies more promise for startups solutions that are just breaking into markets.
  • The most funded sectors of the month, by amount: Financial Services ($45.1M, 5 deals), E-Commerce & Retail ($7.2M, 8 deals), Transport & Logistics ($3.5M, 2 deals), Agriculture ($3.2M, 5 deals) and Education ($2.9M, 1 deal). 
  • The highest investment went to Chipper Cash in a $30M Series B round to the fintech startup, making up 46% of the total figure raised by the sector in the month and giving the sector a distinct overlap over the other sectors.
  • 21 of the 29 deals were from startups based in: Nigeria (8 deals, $18.2M), Egypt (4 deals, $3.74M), South Africa (5 deals, $6.3M) and Kenya (4 deals, $2.62M). 
  • The total amount of funding raised in Q4 so far clocks $128.3M across 56 rounds, which is 53.2% of what was raised in Q3 this year ($241M across 104 rounds). 

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

Morroccan startup ATLAN Space which develops artificial intelligence to guide unmanned aircrafts (UAV) in their data collection and tracking missions over large geographical areas raised a $1.1M (MAD 10M) Series A from Maroc Numeric Fund II with participation from Hilmi Law Firm and Cadex Group. Since it was launched in 2016, ATLAN has helped governments and institutions fight environmental crime and assist vulnerable populations, and has operations in Morocco, Niger and Seychelles. The funds will be used to foster expansion of the company’s operations. 

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platform Xend Finance raised a $1.5M Seed round backed by Binance Labs, Google Developers Launchpad, AU21 Capital, Ampifi VC, JUN Capital and TRG Capital. Xend Finance is also the first African company to build on the Binance Smart Chain, and one out of the four (4) African startups that graduated from the 2nd season of the Binance Labs incubation program. So far, the startup claims to have a network of 55,000 users that it hopes to bring over into the new Xend Finance DeFi platform.

SwiftVEE raised $1.5M in a Corporate round to further expansion into Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The investment came from an unlisted private company in the food industry, Subtropico and is their first disclosed raise. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the company conducts real-time online livestock auctions and matches buyers and sellers of livestock from anywhere in the world to help buyers acquire livestock at the most optimal times. With these newly acquired funds, SwiftVEE intends to expand its use of AI. 

E-commerce & retail platform Kasha has made yet another raise this year from Swedfund, the Development Finance Institution of the Swedish state. Swedfund runs a talent program that promotes gender equality by strengthening women in their professional activity to support their portfolio companies, one of which is Kasha. This investment follows the $1M raise made from Finnfund in April and another $1M United States International Development Finance Corporation in September to enable access, education and confidential distribution of women’s contraceptives, menstrual and health products, primarily to underserved women. These new funds will be used to accelerate growth and impact across Kenya and Rwanda, improve its platform and support its expansion into other African countries. This brings the company’s total raise to $3.15M across four (4) rounds. 

Nigerian neobank KudaBank has made its highest raise yet in a $10M Seed round led by Target Global with participation from Entrée Capital and SBI Investment. Since its $1.6M raise in September 2019, the company has grown its customer base to over 250,000 customers and processes over US$500 million of transactions monthly. The funds will be used to help accelerate its growth plans and keep up with customer demand in terms of key hires, product development, and to expand operations across Africa. To date, the company has raised $11.6M across three (3) rounds. 

In the highest round of the month, ChipperCash made its most eminent raise yet in a $30M Series B round led by global investment organization Ribbit Capital with participation from Bezos Expeditions, the personal VC fund of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The company offers mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya, as well as the merchant-focused, fee-based payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business, Chipper Checkout. With this raise, the company intends to expand its products and geographic scope. Chipper Cash is well on its way to be one of the 10 most funded startups in the Financial Services industry of all time with $52.2M across 4 rounds. 

Following the acquisition of Cheki, Nigeria’s  Autochek closed a $3.4M Pre-Seed round co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures to support its aim of bringing sales and servicing of cars in Africa online. According to the CEO Etop Ikpe the startup launched with 10 bank partnerships in Nigeria and two (2) in Ghana and generates revenues through fees charged on consumer transactions and commissions paid by dealers and service shops on the platform. Consumers can sign up and use the Autochek app for free. This is the company’s first raise since it was founded this year. 

Naspers announced a R45 Million ($2.9M) in online learning platform The Student Hub to support the potential the startup has to address unequal access to education, create local opportunities, and enable increased participation towards a more inclusive economy. Student Hub is a one stop portal that empowers users to embark on a journey of self discovery and make informed education and career choices by providing information and tools to explore various education and career pathways. The Student Hub has raised over $3.2M across two (2) rounds. 

Egypt-based ExpandCart  that was launched in 2013 recorded an increase in demand during COVID19 and supported thousands of merchants to continue their business online. In a $2.5M Series A round led by Sawari Ventures, with participation from Agility Ventures, Graphene Ventures and two angel investors, the company has received funds to support its strategic plan to double down on digital commerce solutions that target online and offline retailers and reduce the gap between suppliers and merchants in the Middle East. This brings its total disclosed  funding to date to $2.65M across two (2) rounds. 

FinChatBot, the South Africa based company that develops chatbots that help financial service providers to acquire and retain customers thanks to AI-powered conversations, raised an impressive $1.6M Series A fundraise. The investment that came in from French investment holding company Saviu Ventures, the Mauritius-based  Compass Venture Capital, and South African venture capital firm Kalon Venture Partners will be used to grow its team and into Europe and West Africa markets. This brings the company’s total funding of $2.16M across 2 rounds.

Since its last fundraise in 2019,  Turaco has received another lump sum investment in a $2M Seed round from Novastar Ventures, Mercy Corps Ventures, Musha Ventures, GAN Ventures and Zephyr Acorn to scale its operations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Turaco is an insurtech business that partners with local companies and mobile lending organisations to provide simple and affordable medical cover to underserved and unserved communities. To date, the startup has raised $3.26M across 3 rounds in disclosed funding. 

Sote, a Kenyan supply-chain startup raised a $3M Seed round to bring its licensed tech-enabled customs clearing and forwarding service public. This marks the company’s second raise bringing total funding raised so far to $4.4M since it was launched. The round was led by MaC Venture Capital, with participation from Acceleprise, Backstage Capital, Future Africa, and Rob Solomon who is theChairman at GoFundMe. Additionally, Managing General Partner at MaC VC Marlon Nichols also joined Sote’s Board of Directors. Sote gives industrial cargo owners a central dashboard that acts as a single record of transactions for all involved parties in clearing and forwarding.


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