A Funding Flurry
In November so far there has been a surge in funding across the African startup ecosystem. In this edition we’re going to look at some of the highlights - who’s raised, how much, and what will they use the capital for.
This South African payment gateway closed a $48 Series B round last week. The round was led by Chinese technology conglomorate, Tencent, with Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavor Harvest Fund also participating in the round.
Ozow are going to use the capital to build alternative payment solutions for millions of merchants and consumers.
They launched in South Africa in 2014 with a simple aim - to connect internet banking to ecommerce, point-of-sale, e-billing or P2P methods. Before then the customer experience in South African ecommerce was fragmented and sloppy. EFTs only represented about 4% of the volume of sales in ecommerce stores.
Since Ozow entered the market that volume has grown to an average of about 30%, and EFTs have become South Africa’s second most popular payment option (after cards) for ecommerce.
Nigerian shared mobility startup, Shuttlers, recently closed a $1.6 million seed round. The round was led by VestedWorld, with participation from Interswitch, Launch Africa Ventures, Rising Tide Africa, EchoVC Partners, Alsa, CMC 21, ShEquity, Consonance, Five35, Sakore, CcHub Syndicate, and Nikky Tarus.
Shuttlers was founded in 2019 by Damilola Olokesusi. It provides safe and affordable transport on designated routes across Lagos. Its value proposition is centred around the Shuttlers app which allows users to load credit, book a ride, and track shuttles.
Trips delivered through Shuttler’s fixed routes services are on average 80% cheaper than other ride-hailing services in Lagos. To date the startup has completed over 5 million trips. The seed round will enable Shuttlers to expand to other major cities in Nigeria.
South African mobile marketing startup, Mobiz, has raised a pre-Series A round of $4 million from HAVAÍC, Futuregrowth, Launch Africa, Allan Gray E-Squared Ventures, CapaciTech and Endeavor’s Harvest Fund.
Founded in 2014 by Greg Chen, Mobiz is a code-free tool that helps marketers to seamlessly create and send SMS campaigns to their customers. These messages range from offers and and loyalty programs to crisis communication and ticket sales.
SMS messages delivered by the company are typically read within 3 minutes and have an average open rate of 98%.
With the newly raised capital, Mobiz are setting their sights further afield. They’re now looking to launch in the US where they plan to take their proposition to SMB’s.
Nigerian accounting startup, Kippa, has raised $3.2 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by Target Global with participation from Entrée Capital, Alter Global and Rally Cap Ventures. A plethora of angel investors also participated including the CEO of Kuda, Babs Ogundeyi and Edward Suh from Goodwater Capital.
Using the Kippa app, small business owners can keep track of debtors and send automated debt reminders. According to Kippa, merchants are able to recover debts three times faster, which in many cases frees up cash flow to ensure their continued survival. Merchants can also record sales and expenses, create invoices and receipts, manage their inventory, and track the overall financial performance of their business.
Kippa will use the capital to further scale its product, which to date has more than 130K active users from across Nigeria.
Nigerian shared mobility startup, Treepz (formerly Plentywaka), has secured a seed round of $2.8 million. Earlier this year they closed an initial tranche of $1.2 million. They’ve now secured a further $1.6 million in funding from Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa, Uncovered Fund, Blanford Capital and Jonomi Capital.
Similar to Shuttlers, Treepz offers a digital platform where passengers can book daily rides along fixed routes. However, it also serves as an aggregator for bus companies across 21 cities in Nigeria, allowing transport operators to replace manual servicing and ticketing with digitised solutions.
Shortly after raising the $1.2 million Treepz acquired Ghanian startup Stabus. History is repeating itself with their coffers now topped up. They have recently announced the acquisition of Ugandan bus company, Ugabus.