African tech startup funding virtually trebles to cross $2bn mark in 2021

Funding into the African tech startup ecosystem virtually trebled over the course of a record-breaking 2021 that noticed whole funding cross the US$2 billion mark for the primary time.

That is in response to the seventh version of the annual African Tech Startups Funding Report launched by startup information and analysis portal Disrupt Africa, which is offered free to all as a part of an open-sourcing initiative in partnership with Novastar Ventures, MFS Africa, Quona Capital, 4Di Capital, MEST Africa and Future Africa.

The report tells the story of a unprecedented 2021 during which extra startups raised extra funding than ever earlier than, by fairly a way. In all, 564 startups raised a mixed US$2,038,627,500 in 2021. This represented unbelievable progress. The variety of funded startups grew by 42.1 per cent on 397 in 2020, and the funding whole was virtually treble – up 190.6 per cent – the US$701,460,565 banked the earlier yr. 

In all, the variety of African startups securing funding has elevated by 351.2 per cent since 2015. Although progress had slowed a bit of in 2020, partly as a result of impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers doubled down in 2021, with the variety of completely different buyers growing by greater than 100 per cent to 771 from 370 the earlier yr.

Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya stay Africa’s “large 4” from a funding perspective, securing a higher share of whole funding between them than in 2020, but Nigeria soared previous all different nations to take prime spot, with 161 startups elevating an enormous mixed whole of just about US$800 million.

Although Nigeria and the remainder of the “large 4” stay clear leaders, there may be nonetheless loads of exercise elsewhere on the continent, with startups backed in 24 African nations.

The fintech sector was, but once more, essentially the most enticing to buyers in 2020, with extra startups securing funding than some other sector and a mixed whole that dwarfed all others. The sector broke the US$1 billion funding barrier, one thing the African tech area as an entire solely managed for the primary time in 2021, with fintech accounting for greater than half of whole funding.

Different sectors additionally had spectacular years – notably e-commerce and retail-tech, e-health, logistics, ed-tech, vitality, agri-tech and transport.

The report is offered totally free obtain right here. Except for offering a full checklist of the funded startups, who invested in them, and, the place attainable, the quantity raised, from the earlier yr, the annual reviews additionally present deep-dives into funding traits inside key startup geographies and verticals, in addition to knowledge on African startup acquisitions.

“Momentum has been constructing within the African tech area for fairly a while now, and 2021 might be remembered as a watershed yr. Breaking not simply the US$1 billion however the US$2 billion mark, creating extra unicorns, and about doubling the variety of lively buyers – it was an excellent 12 months certainly. It’s nonetheless only a starting, nevertheless, and there may be loads of room for extra progress,” stated Disrupt Africa co-founder Gabriella Mulligan.

Beforehand out there on the market, the African Tech Startups Funding Report was till the final version bought every year by main tech corporations from Africa and the remainder of the world, Huge 4 consulting corporations, banking and fintech leaders, enterprise capital corporations, supranational buyers and worldwide commerce our bodies. Now, nevertheless, Disrupt Africa releases the publication totally free, making it accessible to these for whom the knowledge is most beneficial – African entrepreneurs. 

This yr it’s doing this with the assistance of companions Novastar Ventures, MFS Africa, Quona Capital, 4Di Capital, MEST Africa and Future Africa, with whose help Disrupt Africa might be distributing the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021 to as many ecosystem stakeholders as attainable.

“For too lengthy entry to essential trade knowledge resembling this has been out of attain for lively or aspiring entrepreneurs, as they’re normally priced out of entry,” stated Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson. “It’s the Disrupt Africa ethos to make as a lot info freely accessible as attainable, and we are able to’t thank our companions sufficient for serving to us with the open-sourcing of this publication.”

“We have now been investing in startups on the continent since 2014 and are inspired by the super progress of the enterprise ecosystem since then. Nonetheless, as startups transfer from proof-of-concept to scale, capital stays scarce. Disrupt Africa’s annual funding report is a crucial useful resource for founders as they climb and navigate a capital ladder that also has lacking rungs. We’re delighted to associate with the group at Disrupt Africa to make sure their analysis is accessible to all entrepreneurs. The info and insights within the report are a significant useful resource, not only for charting the event of the enterprise ecosystem in Africa, however for supporting it,” stated Steve Beck, managing director at Novastar Ventures. 

MFS Africa founder and CEO Dare Okoudjou stated the African tech ecosystem had skilled unprecedented progress, breaking data yr after yr. 

“It’s the clearest indicator that we’re reaching an thrilling inflection level in our sector. Within the final quarter of 2021, we raised US$100 million in Sequence funding to speed up our progress as we make borders matter much less. As such we perceive the significance of the precise funding to construct the elemental infrastructure wanted to facilitate interoperability throughout cost schemes, borders, and currencies. Correct and informative reviews concerning the ecosystem elevate the profile of our sector past Africa, and that curiosity helps to channel much-needed investments in impactful startups. We’re completely thrilled to help Disrupt Africa on this necessary undertaking,” he stated.

“Quona Capital is proud to help this necessary work by Disrupt Africa,” stated Johan Bosini, associate at Quona Capital. “We’re seeing such unbelievable traction on many fronts of the enterprise ecosystem in Africa, with main milestones being achieved in massive funding rounds and whole quantum being invested in expertise companies throughout the most important hubs in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt. All of us study and profit from this trade knowledge, and we’re delighted to be a part of this necessary initiative.” 

“As soon as once more we’re very completely happy to help this significant initiative. It’s publications like this that assist all members of the African ecosystem to get a snapshot as to how and the place the trade is transferring, and subsequently important to all of our companies and groups. We can not thank Tom, Gabriella and the group sufficient for the hassle in placing the report collectively,” stated Anton van Vlaanderen, associate at 4Di Capital.

Ashwin Ravichandran, managing director of MEST Africa, stated he was excited to associate Disrupt Africa on this initiative due to the “huge alternatives” it attracts to the continent, thereby enabling innovators to do extra

“Due to the work of organisations like Disrupt Africa, there was a promising and inspiring improve within the knowledge and insights on investments in Africa. This knowledge shines a light-weight on Africa’s burgeoning tech ecosystem whereas pointing the varied ecosystem gamers in the direction of higher and extra progressive methods of supporting native companies to thrive,” he stated.

“Tom, Gabriella and the Disrupt Africa group are doing necessary work in making certain we’ve got the precise knowledge in terms of measuring the success of the African tech ecosystem. Future Africa is completely happy to help the Disrupt group in ensuring actionable knowledge and insights can be found to founders, operators and buyers seeking to construct the way forward for Africa,” stated Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, managing associate of Future Africa. 

For extra info, or to obtain the report, please go to, or electronic mail Gabriella on [email protected], or Tom on [email protected].

About Disrupt Africa

Disrupt Africa is the one-stop-shop for all information, info and commentary pertaining to the continent’s tech startup – and funding – ecosystem. With journalists roaming the continent to search out, meet, and interview essentially the most progressive and disruptive tech startups, Disrupt Africa is a real showcase of Africa’s most promising companies and enterprise concepts. Its analysis arm releases in-depth reviews on varied features of the African tech startup ecosystem. Particulars right here.

About Novastar Ventures

Based on the assumption that essentially the most priceless corporations are people who deal with our greatest challenges, Novastar is a enterprise capital agency devoted to serving to founders construct progressive companies for the frequent good. Novastar companions with entrepreneurs who’ve the character, capability, and ambition to remodel markets and sectors. They’re innovating enterprise fashions to widen entry, enhance high quality and decrease value for aspiring mass market customers and producers in Africa. With places of work in Nairobi, Lagos and London, Novastar is among the largest platforms devoted to financing and supporting early- and growth-stage companies on the continent.

About MFS Africa

MFS Africa is a number one Pan-African fintech firm, working the most important digital funds hub on the continent. Related to over 200 million cell wallets in Sub-Saharan Africa, MFS Africa presents its companions unparalleled attain for scale throughout the continent. We enable retailers, banks, cell operators and cash switch corporations to leverage the ubiquity of cell wallets as a secure, handy, and cost-effective transaction channel. MFS Africa works in shut partnership with gamers throughout the ecosystem to convey easy and safe cell monetary companies to un- and under-banked prospects. For hundreds of thousands of shoppers in Africa and past, we make borders matter much less.

About Quona Capital

Quona Capital is a scale-up stage enterprise agency centered on fintech for inclusion in rising markets. Quona companions have deep expertise as buyers and operators in each rising and developed markets, and search for entrepreneurs whose corporations have the potential to supply excellent monetary returns and promote breakthrough innovation in monetary inclusion. To this point, Quona has supported greater than 30 monetary expertise corporations increasing entry for underserved customers and small companies in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The agency has places of work in Washington D.C., Bangalore, Mexico Metropolis and Cape City. For extra info, go to

About 4Di Capital

4Di Capital is an unbiased enterprise capital fund supervisor based mostly in South Africa’s “Silicon Cape”, specialising in high-growth expertise enterprise alternatives, on the seed, early-and growth-funding phases. The fund supervisor has places of work in Cape City, South Africa and Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. and funds are managed by the GP partnership group of Anton van Vlaanderen, Erik van Vlaanderen, Justin Stanford and Laurie Olivier.

About MEST Africa

MEST is an Africa-wide expertise entrepreneur coaching programme, inside seed fund, and community of hubs providing incubation for expertise startups in Africa. For younger aspiring and established African entrepreneurs, MEST Africa offers the talents, mindset, and experiences to construct a globally profitable tech firm. Past tech and entrepreneurial abilities coaching, MEST Africa offers a real-world benefit to entrepreneurs by funding, enterprise incubation, and entry to a world tech community.

About Future Africa

Future Africa is a fund that connects buyers to mission-driven startups turning Africa’s most tough challenges into international enterprise alternatives. Our mission is to construct a future the place goal and prosperity are inside everybody’s attain.


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