Africa’s startup scene is coming of age in 2018


Last year marked something of a turning point for Africa’s startup scene with a record-breaking $650m being raised from investors – more than a 50% increase on the previous year.

After a decade of relatively modest investment into African startups but six-figure deals are now a regular feature – particularly in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. These three countries alone raised more than $400m of the total investment into African startups in 2017 but countries like Egypt and Rwanda are capturing the interest of more, bigger-spending investors.

At the same time, a number of African nations are proving their ability to innovate new ideas and disrupt established industries. In 2018, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that this is the year Africa’s startup scene comes of age.

Investors are getting serious about Africa

Source: Partech Ventures, ATLAS

Research from Partech Ventures, visualised above by ATLAS and published by Quartz, shows that the number of investors and the amount they invest in African startups is rapidly increasing. The continent’s reputation as a future technology and startup hub is already outdated; Africa is the hub everyone has been talking about for the past ten years and investors are moving quickly to capitalise on early growth.

This week, Africa’s Talking – a Nairobi-based telecom and payment startup – raised $8.6 million in Series A funding led by IFC World Bank, Social Capital, and Orange Digital Ventures. While Lagos-based software-as-a-service platform, TradeDepot, secured $3 million in Series A investment led by Partech Ventures.

Last week, TLcom, a European venture capital firm led a $3.5m round of investment mSurvey, a Nairobi-based mobile survey platform. Last month, it helped Terragon, a Nigerian mobile marketing company, raise $5m and last June raised $40m for its own Tide Africa Fund.

Featured image: Public domain

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.