Profiles of 5 VC Firms Funding Africa's Leading Ride-Hailing Startups

The transportation and logistics industry has been predominantly low-tech. Following rudimentary business solutions were in order such as communication by telephone and email as well as payments handled on paper. Today, however, we have borne witness to their adaptation to digital integration with trends like efficient matching and routing through intelligent algorithms, modern online payment systems, blockchain technology and warehouse robotisation, among others. 

On the African Tech scene, e-logistics service provisions like ride-hailing and on-demand taxis, digital freight and trucking, couriers and delivery and a vehicle market place have most of the sector’s startups participation. Digest Africa data records $197M raised in venture funding from e-logistics firms since 2015 from a series of disclosed deals. $131M of this figure relates to ride-hailing startups.

Related: Africa’s 10 most funded transport and logistics startups 

International big players Uber and Bolt are facing stiff competition from local firms like Little Cab, Swvl, Gokada, Safe Boda and Halan that are not only offering cabs but safer motorcycle and rickshaw transportation. Enabling the activity of these local firms is funding that has been raised from a pool of investors, a number of which are VC firms. 

Below we spotlight 5 VC Firms that have backed Africa’s leading ride-hailing startups, highlighting how much they have helped raise across a series of rounds:

BECO Capital

BECO is an early venture capital firm in the UAE with a vision to reinvent the Middle East through innovation and technology entrepreneurship. The firm was founded by Amir Farha and Dany Farha in 2012 and is headquartered in Dubai, UAE. Focused on the MENA region, this VC firm has backed 22 companies with Egypt’s Swvl and Vezeeta and Dubai’s Careem among the lot. As one of the notable investors in a Series A, B and C set of rounds, BECO has helped the two companies raise total funding of $80M and $23.5M respectively to support their operations in Egypt and expand their markets on the African continent. Backed by International Federation Corporation (IFC), the firm has raised $100 million which makes it one of the largest in the MENA region. 

Novastar Ventures 

The Nairobi-based VC firm which manages more than $160 million across two venture funds specializes in early-stage startups in East Africa. As a notable investor in a Series A round, the firm helped Nigeria’s secure $6 million, in addition to its 17 company portfolio. Novastar was founded in 2014 by co-founders Steve Beck and Andrew Carruthers and last year announced its expansion into West Africa opening an advisory office in Lagos, Nigeria after raising $72M for its second fund bringing the total to $162 million. The firm is backed by AXA Impact Fund II, CDC Group, European Investment Bank, Dutch Good Growth Fund and FMO.

Algebra Ventures

With investments in two e-logistics Halan and Trella, this $50 million fund has helped these two startups raise funding to a tune of $4.3M and $600K respectively. Other of its portfolio companies include La Reina, Eventtus, iCommunity, Goodsmart, Dsquares, Orcas to mention but a few. Algebra Ventures focuses its investment on technology-enabled startups that leverage innovation to transform large markets and seeks to be trusted partners with its entrepreneurs. Tarek Assaad, Karim Hussein and Ziad Mokhtar are the managing partners of this now 4 years old firm. 

Rise Capital

Founded in 2013 by Nazar Yasin, this global investment firm has backed 3 startups in Africa among which is e-logistics Gokada, in a Series A round amounting to $5.3M. Rise Capital focuses on making expansion-stage investments in internet businesses in the most prominent emerging markets. Headquartered in San Francisco, the USA this firm has investments in Latin America (Chile, Mexico, Columbia and Brazil) and now Africa.

CRE Venture Capital

CRE Venture Capital is a fund that partners with visionary entrepreneurs building category-defining tech companies in Africa. This six-year-old firm has participated in an estimated 13 venture funding rounds that have raised over $177M funding for African startups, two of which were for Gokada and Safeboda. CRE was founded by Pule Taukobong, a recognized Kauffman fellow and Pardon Makumbe, an Ivy League Alumnus and has an impressive 26 tech-driven startups on its portfolio. 

Related: Two of Africa’s leading boda-hailing startups are backed by the same investor.

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