How venture funding in Africa went beyond the ‘big four’ nations in 2021

 How venture funding in Africa went beyond the ‘big four’ nations in 2021

Africa’s startup ecosystem took off last year with the creation of multiple unicorns and marquee global venture investors dipping their toes into the next big region in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

While the headlines focused on the unicorns, or startups with valuation topping the $1 billion mark, and the large cheque sizes floating around in the continent, one underrated aspect of the whole activity was the number of startups that attracted venture capital money.

Data compiled by The Capital Quest shows around 400 startups got equity funding from angel investors and venture capital investors last year. If one factors out the weekends, this translates into one African startup getting funded every 16 hours of the working week through 2021!

The list of most active venture investors in Africa last year included Launch Africa, Future Africa, Kepple Africa Ventures, LoftyInc Capital, 4DX Ventures, EchoVC, Microtraction and Global Ventures.

Partech, Enza Capital, Enygma Ventures, Naspers, Knife Capital and Samurai Incubate were also in the list.

We also dug around to see how these 400-odd startups were spread across the continent.

While the big four countries—Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa—did dominate the action, a large number of startups in other countries also nabbed funding. Check our interactive map of startup funding by volume or a country-wise spread of how the number of startups that got funded last year.

The map does not include some startups that are not headquartered in the continent even though their primary operational market is in Africa.

The numbers show nearly a fifth of the startups that raised capital last year were outside the big four nations.

Morocco, Ghana and Uganda, located in the north, west and east side of the continent, in close proximity to regional powerhouses Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya, respectively, saw nearly a dozen startups raise capital in 2021.

Senegal, Rwanda, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia saw four or more startups get funded.

Mali and Togo also saw more than one startup attract venture capital.

This list includes funding that came through debt and equity but excluded those deals that only involved debt capital. It also excludes a few startups that raised large sums almost entirely by private equity-stage investors.

Moreover, it also excludes grants received by startups as also tiny amounts that come as part of an acceleration program or a startup competition. If those numbers are added, the number of African startups that got funded shoots up even higher.

Keep track of this space as we slice the database to bring additional insights on the venture capital funding by different stages and sectors in Africa.

Also read:

Recap 2021: African deal activity, people moves and most-read stories

Check out Africa’s biggest private equity deals of 2021

Meet the most active private equity investors in Africa

Vivek Sinha

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The Capital Quest