African startups shake off Covid, haul in over $4bn in 2021 - Nigeria tops the "big four"
Africa's startup ecosystem rebounded in 2021, hauling in a record 4 billion US dollars before year-end, reflecting a surge of investor interest in the continent’s rapidly-growing tech marketplace.
## Africa's startup ecosystem rebounded in 2021, hauling in a record 4 billion US dollars before year-end, reflecting a surge of investor interest in the continent’s rapidly-growing tech marketplace.
Seth Onyango, bird
According to Wee Tracker, Africa is now home to seven unicorns; Jumia, Interswitch, Flutterwave, Andela, Wave, OPay and Chipper Cash.
Five of these became unicorns this year - including two in September alone - indicating levels of interest in Africa's startup market not seen before.
Startups in Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya - considered the continent's big four - gobbled up the lion's share of the over 4 billion US dollars raised through 2021.
In November 2021 alone, African startups raised 605 million US dollars, which is nearly half the total amount of funds raised by Africa's startups in all of 2020 - around 1.3 billion US dollars according to data-driven research firm, Briter Bridges.
According to Briter Bridges, while financial technology companies retain the lion’s share of total funding, cleantech is increasingly attracting capital from local and international investors, including a growing number of corporates interested in fast-tracking their transition to renewable energy.
"Healthcare, data and IT infrastructure, and agriculture follow as more private companies reach maturity, but ticket sizes remain contained compared to those across fintech and cleantech," the firm said.
According to Connecting Africa, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya accounted for 80 per cent of the total raised on the continent up until the end of November, with 35 per cent of capital raised in Nigeria alone.
Nigerian startups hauled in 1.37 billion US dollars in 2021, South Africa attracted 838 million US dollars, Egypt 588 million US dollars, and Kenya raised 375 million US dollars.
Startups in Africa's most populous nation landed over 200 deals for the year, while the remaining three countries counted over 100 deals each.
Outside the big four, other proactive markets were Senegal and Tanzania whose startups raised 222 million US dollars and 96 million US dollars respectively, according to Connecting Africa.
"One of the biggest success stories was Chipper Cash, which raised a total of 250 million US dollars this year. The authors, Max Cuvellier and Maxime Bayen decided not to pin the raise to Ghana, saying the startup's Ghanaian and Ugandan co-founders and its African HQs split between Ghana and Kenya "make it quite pan-African," the Connecting Africa report said, quoting from Big Deal Africa.
"Without Chipper Cash, Ghana raised 48 million US dollars in 2021; Algeria 30 million US dollars; Morocco 29 million US dollars; Tunisia 23 million US dollars; Uganda 18 million US dollars; Rwanda 16 million US dollars; Democratic Republic of Congo 12 million US dollars and Cameroon 11 million US dollars."
The Briter Bridges report can be found here.
The following is a link to The Big Deal data.