Enterprise capital, international growth, blockchain and drones characterize African tech in 2018

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2018 noticed Africa’s tech sector turn out to be extra dynamic and worldwide. VC corporations on the continent multiplied. There have been quite a few funding rounds. And startups pursued acquisitions and international growth. Right here’s a snapshot of the information that formed African tech over the past 12 months.  

Surge in VC funds

A notable 2018 pattern was Africa’s VC panorama changing into extra African, with an rising variety of funding funds headquartered on the continent and run by locals, in response to Crunchbase knowledge launched on this TechCrunch unique.

Drawing on its database and first supply analysis, Crunchbase recognized 51 viable Africa-focused VC funds globally with not less than 7-10 investments in African startups from seed to collection stage.

Of the 51 funds, 22 (or 43 p.c) had been headquartered in Africa and managed by Africans. Of these 22, 9 (or 41 p.c) had been fashioned since 2016 and 9 had been Nigerian.

4 of the 9 Nigeria-based funds had been fashioned throughout the final 12 months: Microtraction, Neon Ventures, Beta.Ventures and CcHub’s Progress Capital fund.

The Crunchbase research additionally tracked extra Africans in high positions at outdoors funds and the rise of homegrown company enterprise arms.

A kind of entities with a company enterprise arm, Naspers, introduced a $100 million fund named Naspers Foundry to put money into South African tech startups. This was a part of a $300 million (four.6 billion Rand) dedication by the South African media and funding firm to help South Africa’s tech sector total, as reported right here at TechCrunch.

One other DFI got here on the scene when France introduced a $76 million African startup fund administered by the French Improvement Company, AFD. TechCrunch obtained the thin on the way it will work right here.

Funding and growth

If African VC funding headlines had been scarce a decade in the past, in 2018 we grew to become overwhelmed with them. This was largely a results of a number of not too long ago closed Africa funds — TLcom’s $40 million, Partech’s $70 million, TPG’s 2 billion — starting to deploy that capital.

In March, Nigerian client knowledge analytics agency Terragon raised $5 million from TLcom. Kenyan enterprise enterprise software program firm Africa’s Speaking raised $eight.6 million in a spherical led by IFC.

Funding startup Piggybank.ng closed $1.1 million in seed funding and introduced a brand new product — Good Goal, for conventional financial savings teams. Trucking Logistics firm Kobo360 raised two rounds, for a complete of $7.2 million. Kenya-based agtech provide chain startup Twiga Meals raised $10 million. B2B retail provide chain Sokowatch closed a $2 million seed spherical led by 4DX ventures.

White-label lending startup Mines.io secured a $13 million Collection A spherical. South African SME fee enterprise Yoco raised $16 million. Paga Funds added $10 million in contemporary funding.

After which there have been the three large raises of the 12 months. Kenyan digital fee firm Cellulant hauled in $37.5 million in a Collection C spherical led by TPG Progress. South African lending startup Jumo raised $52 million led by Goldman Sachs. And simply this month, The Carlyle Group invested $40 million in Africa-focused on-line journey web site Wakanow.com.  

Acquisitions and growth

In 2018, African tech demonstrated it may possibly journey, as a number of digital firms expanded on the continent and overseas. In Could, MallforAfrica and DHL launched MarketPlaceAfrica.com, a worldwide e-commerce web site for choose African artisans to promote wares to patrons in any of DHL’s 220 supply nations.

Paga introduced plans to develop in Africa and internationally, with an eye fixed on Ethiopia, Mexico and the Philippines, CEO Tayo Oviosu instructed TechCrunch. Kobo360 is transferring into in new markets — Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire.

On the again of its $52 million spherical, Jumo stated it could develop in Asia and began by opening an workplace in Singapore.

On the acquisition entrance, Terragon purchased Asian cellular advertising and marketing firm Bizense in a money and inventory deal. The corporate is exploring larger development alternatives in Latin America and Southeast Asia, CEO Elo Umeh instructed TechCrunch.

TPG Progress acquired a majority stake (of an undisclosed worth) in Africa leisure content material firm TRACE. After earlier investments, Naspers acquired  96 p.c of Southern African e-commerce enterprise Takealot.

And in December, California-based Emergent Know-how Holdings acquired Ghanaian fintech fee firm InterpayAfrica.

Partnerships

Collaboration between native tech corporations and large international names continued in 2018. Liquid Telecom and Microsoft continued their partnership to supply connectivity cloud providers similar to Microsoft’s Azure, Dynamics 365 and Workplace 365 to pick startups and hubs. That is a part of Liquid Telecom’s technique to go lengthy on Africa’s startups as its future purchasers and the continent’s subsequent huge firms.

Fb teamed up with Nigerian tech hub CcHub to launch its NG_Hub high-tech incubator.

Blockchain

As crypto fever gripped many main economies in 2018, Africa was shaping its personal blockchain narrative — yet one more grounded in utility than hypothesis. 500 Startups-backed SureRemit launched a crypto token product aimed toward disrupting Africa’s multi-billion-dollar remittance market and raised $7 million in an ICO. South African funds enterprise Wala and photo voltaic power startup Solar Alternate additionally had ICOs.

For blockchain as a platform, agtech startups Twiga Meals and Whats up Tractor partnered with IBM Analysis to make use of the digital ledger tech to advance small-scale farmers and agriculture on the continent.

Journey-hail boda bodas

Journey-hail tech expanded into the continent’s ceaselessly used bike taxi market. Uber entered the three-wheeled tuk tuk moto taxi market in Tanzania in March and Uber and Taxify launched bike passenger providers in East Africa, together with Kenya and Uganda.

Fails

Final 12 months noticed Y Combinator-backed VOD startup Afrostream shutter. In February 2018, Nigerian e-commerce startup Konga — backed by VC — was bought in a distressed acquisition. There have been excessive expectations for Konga and its much-liked founder Sim Shagaya. I made the case that Konga’s acquisition was certainly one of Africa’s first huge startup fails that flew underneath the radar.

Drones

TechCrunch did a deep dive into Africa’s drone scene, speaking to a number of specialists and rising use circumstances throughout supply providers, agtech and surveying. On the regulatory facet, a number of nations — Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Malawi — are doing a little attention-grabbing issues round regulation and creating drone-testing corridors for international gamers.

TechCrunch and Africa

In 2018 TechCrunch did extra with Africa than any earlier 12 months. Along with extra content material, there was a market engagement journey to Ghana and Nigeria, with meet-and-greets at Affect Hub, MEST Accra and Lagos, and CcHub.

TechCrunch additionally had its first Africa panel on Disrupt SF’s primary stage, an Africa session at Disrupt Berlin and held the second Startup Battlefield Africa in December in Nigeria.

Fifteen startups competed in Lagos in entrance of a Pan-African and international crowd. South African digital banking startup Bettr was runner-up. Extremely-affordable ultrasound startup M-Scan from Uganda was the winner.

Extra Africa-related tales @TechCrunch

  • Netflix rival Iflix offloads its Africa enterprise to concentrate on Asia
  • SimbaPay launches Kenya to China fee service over WeChat

African tech across the ‘internet  

  • Africa Tech Ventures closes $7.5M from AfDB for seed-stage investments
  • Six African startups chosen for GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund

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