African startups amongst global heavyweights

There has been a lot happening in the first 4 months of 2021 as the African startup ecosystem continues to go from strength to strength. In this weeks edition we unpack some of the most exciting updates.

Time 100

Time Magazine recently published their 100 Most Influential Companies List of 2021 and we’re proud to announce that two African startups got featured. Flutterwave, which we’ve written about here before made it into the Pioneers section of the list alongside heavyweights such as Bumble, Beyond Meats, and Strava.

Flutterwave is one of Africa’s leading fintech companies alongside the likes of Paystack and Paygate. In March this year they raised a Series C round of $170 million. This valued the company at over a $1 billion making only the fourth African unicorn to date.

AI-driven insights company, Gro Intelligence, made it into the Innovators section of the list alongside stalwarts like Netflix, Spotify and Stripe (who acquired Paystack in October last year).

Headquartered in Kenya, Gro was founded by young, dynamic Ethiopian, Sara Menker. After an 8 year career on Wall Street, Menker launched Gro with the goal to manage the risks associated with food security and climate change. More on it below.

African VC Growth

African VC firm Atlantica Ventures is raising a $50 million fund that will invest in tech companies from seed stage onwards. So far their portfolio includes recently acquired Paystack, lending platform Migo, and broadband startup Tizeti.

Although “home grown” funding is keeping apace with the overall growth of tech on the continent, African investors still trail behind the US and Europe. With the continent’s average GDP growth rate forecast to hover around 6% until 2023 we can expect to see the African investment sector continue to grow in the short to mid term.

Conscious Capitalism

Fintech startup, Paymenow, enables employees to take salary advances ahead of pay day. In a world awash with loan sharks and payday lenders charging exorbitant interest rates, Paymenow offers a much needed service in an ethical manner.

Their customers are employers who pay a fee to use the service. The employers then give their employees the option to take a cash advance which is deducted from their paycheck on pay day. Overall, employees who are stress-free financially perform better at work and take fewer sick days.

Paymenow’s vision is to reduce the burden inflicted by payday and micro lenders through affordable, real-time, access to cash. And in the process educate its users on how to become better savers and improve their financial acumen.

In The News 🚀

🇿🇦 South African legal-tech startups Legal Lens and BriefCo have have merged as part of an agreed investment from VC, Imvelo Ventures.

🇧🇼 Botswanan insurtech startup, AlphaDirect, has raised a $600K in a pre-Series A bridge funding round to help it expand into Zambia and South Africa.

🇹🇳 Tunisian B2B expense management platform, Expensya, has raised a $20 million funding round to scale its R&D and fuel international expansion.

🇺🇬 Ugandan fintech startup, Ensibuuko, has raised a $1 million funding round to help it scale across the continent.

That’s it for another week. Until next Wednesday.

🖊 Marc Bromhall