A look back at the year that the Sub-Saharan African startup scene found its stride

A look back at the year that the Sub-Saharan African startup scene found its stride
From TechCrunch - January 5, 2018

African tech in 2017 was about the normalization of market events mostly absent even a decade ago. There were acquisitions, multiple investment rounds, lots of expansion, big strategic partnerships and some surprise failures.

Africa is fast becoming home to a dynamic tech sector. Heres a snapshot of the news that shaped that transition over the last year.


Andelas $40 million VC raisein October was one of the continents most notable. Thetechnology training and job placement firm received Series C funding fromCRE Venture Capital,DBL Partners, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative andSalesforce Ventures,among others.

Andela said it would use the funds for continued expansion. The coding accelerator marked three years in May byadding a Ugandaoffice to locations in New York, Nigeria and Kenya.

New investment also helped moved Africas startup boom into the used autos space.In May, Nigeria-basedCars45.comraised a $5 million Series A round from theFrontier Cars Groupto better connect used-car sellers to digital price quotes, first-time online service histories and offers.

2017 fintech funding went to Nigerian startupsFlutterwave($10 million) andLidya($1.25 million). In digital solar, KenyasPayGo Energyraised $1.4 million.

Agtech startupFarmcrowdyreceived $1 million from investors including Techstars Ventures and Cox Enterprises to bring Nigerian farmers online.

In April, South African media and technology giantNaspersmade a $70 million (majority stake) investment in Cape Town-based e-commerce company Takealot.

South African digital cleaning startupSweep Southconcluded a Series A Round backed by, among others, DJ Black Coffee.

Several new African tech funding initiatives emerged in 2017.GSMAs Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fundmade seven of its first nine global investments in African startups.

Lagos, London and Nairobi-based TLcom Capital raised $40 million for its new growth-stageTide Africa Fund. In April, The World Bank launched itsXL Africaaccelerator to support Sub-Saharan African startups with business mentoring and up to $1.5 million in early-stage capital.

In October, U.S.-based private equity firm TPG Growth raised$2 billion for The Rise Fund, founded by TPG CEO Bill McGlashan with Bonos support.

In perhaps a sign of things to come, Africa also registered some significant outward tech investment. InSeptember, Naspersadded $795 million to its holdings in Berlin-based food delivery company Delivery Hero.

Products, Partnerships, Expansion

African tech saw a number new products and platforms launch in 2017. In January,MasterCards 2Kuzean agtech app connecting small-plot farmers to markets, payments and logistics serviceswent live in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Africas first unicorn, e-commerce ventureJumia, introduced an SME lending program.SafaricomKenyas largest telecom and M-Pesa mobile money providerwent live with its Masoko e-commerce platform in November.

Contraction and closing up shop

Acquisitions, IPOs

Tech to power

Revenues and space

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