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Nine fastest-growing Kenyan tech companies in 2023, according to FT

We curated the nine fastest-growing tech startups based on Financial Times data. So far this year, Kenya emerged as the frontrunner among the Big Four nations in funding growth

Nine fastest-growing Kenyan tech companies in 2023, according to FT

Kenya has emerged as one of Africa's leading startup nations, being ranked number one in East Africa and 62nd globally. One key factor enabling this success is the increasing access to VC funding, which is the lifeblood of growth. Despite the market reset that saw a downturn in the inflow of investment into the continent, Kenya's startup scene has continued to progress.

So far this year, Kenya emerged as the frontrunner among the Big Four nations in funding growth. According to the BD Funding Tracker, Kenyan startups raked in a substantial $511.4 million, which is a 14.31% increase from the previous year, as of August. This surge marks a staggering 153.21% year-on-year increase since 2021, a testament to the flourishing Kenyan startup landscape.

A total of 28 disclosed deals, encompassing accelerator raises, debt financing, and equity transactions, fueled this funding milestone. In this article, with the aid of a report by Financial Times, Bendada.com delves into nine dynamic Kenyan companies, driving not only their own rapid growth amidst uncertainties but also propelling the nation's tech ecosystem further.

Wasoko

The B2B e-commerce company founded in 2016, was ranked by Financial Times in its 2023 report as the third-fastest growing company in the continent, having been previously ranked as the continent's fastest growing company in 2022.

In 2022, the company rebranded from Sokowatch to Wasoko and raised $125 million in Series B, which took the company's valuation to $625 million. Its revenue grew from $3.4 million in 2018 to $136.9 million in 2021, with a CAGR of 242%.

Africa Health Care

Africa Health Care Network was founded by Nikhil Pereira-Kamath in 2015. It describes itself as the "first and largest dialysis chain across Sub-Saharan Africa, providing high-quality, life-saving dialysis at affordable cost".

According to CB Insights, the company has raised $5 million across 2 rounds of funding, the most recent being debt funding in May 2021. The company boasts 30 dialysis centers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mauritius. The company was ranked by Financial Times as the 13th fastest growing company in Africa in its 2023 report. Its revenues grew from $700,000 in 2018 to $5.4 million in 2021 and are expected to top $15 million in 2023. It currently has a CAGR of 92.9%.  

Victory Farms

Victory Farms, an Agritech company founded in 2015 by Joseph Rehmann and Steve Moran was ranked as the 15th fastest growing in the continent in 2023 by Financial Times. In May 2022, the company raised $5 million in equity funding to expand its operations into Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The report by FT also revealed revenues growing from $2.8 million in 2018 to $17.3 million in 2021 with a CAGR of 87.8%. On the back of this tremendous growth, the fish farm startup raised a mega Series B round of $35 million to advance its mission of building the world's most sustainable end-to-end protein platform to nourish 2 billion Africans.

Lipa Later

The Buy Now Pay Later startup was founded in 2018 by Eric Muli and Michael Maina and was initially a program designed for their employees at their security firm to access mobile phones that enabled them to be efficient at work. It however metamorphosed into a business of its own when they realised that there existed a huge gap in the market for a solution like this.

In the 2023 report by Financial Times, the company was ranked as the 16th fastest-growing company on the continent. In 2022, the company raised a pre-series A round of $12 million which was a mix of equity and debt to expand across Africa, bringing its total funding to $16 million to date.

The Financial Times report revealed that the startup grew its revenue from $600,000 in 2018 to $3.5 million in 2021 with a CAGR of 84.2%. In August 2023, Mastercard announced a partnership with the company to further drive financial inclusion and expand BNPL solutions in Africa.

Poa Internet

The company was founded in 2015 by co-founders; Andy Halsall, Mike Puchol, Chris Rhodes, and DJ Koeman. In 2020, the startup won the Africa50 innovation challenge beating 673 other startups from across the world, which resulted in being added to the Africa50 investment pipeline. In January 2022, the startup raised $28 million in Series C funding led by Africa50, bringing its total funding raised to $42 million across 6 rounds. The company which currently serves over 12,000 customers, is said to be the 21st fastest-growing startup on the continent according to the 2023 report by Financial Times. It grew its revenue from $300,000 in 2018 to $1.5 million in 2021 with a CAGR of 72%.

Fourth Generation Capital

The Fintech company founded in 2013 by Wyne Hennessy-Barrett, was ranked as the 43rd fastest growing company on the continent by Financial Times in its 2023 report. The Kenya-based startup provides unsecured credit to micro-enterprises, the firm also provides financial education and training.

In 2022, it raised a Series C round of $18.5 million, bringing its total raise to $23.1 million. According to the report by Financial Times, it grew its revenue from $6 million in 2018 to $17.3 million in 2021 with a CAGR of 42%.

M-Kopa

The company was founded in 2010 by Nick Hughes, Jesse Moore, and Chad Larson but was commercially launched in 2012. The company is an asset-financing platform providing underbanked customers in Africa with access to essential products like smartphones, and solar power systems, as well as loans and health insurance. In 2021, they announced their expansion into Nigeria by hiring Babajide Duroshola as the country's general manager.

In 2022, the company clocked 2 million customers across the four markets they operated in and they also raised a "growth equity round" of $75 million. In one of the largest funding rounds that have come to the continent in 2023, the company announced a $250 million debt and equity funding to help its now 3 million customers enjoy more access to credit to buy essentials. The report by Financial Times revealed that M-Kopa is the 50th fastest-growing company on the continent with a CAGR of 34%.

Laterite

The data, research, and analytics firm was founded in 2010. The company operates offices in East and West Africa, and they are expanding to Latin America. The Financial Times ranked Laterite as the 54th fastest-growing company on the continent, it grew its revenue from $2.4 million in 2018 to $5.4 million in 2021, with a CAGR of 32.2%.

Copia

The e-commerce startup was founded in 2013 by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis. Copia which in 2021 had set up shop in Uganda as its next step in fulfilling the company's mission to reach Africa's emerging middle class, in 2023 announced it was shutting down its Ugandan operations stating a need to focus on its Kenyan business because of current market realities.

The company combines technology and a network of roughly 40,000 local agents to reach consumers in cities and towns. The company has raised a total of $103 million over 7 rounds according to data from Crunchbase, with its latest funding being a Series C funding of $50 million in 2022.

The report by Financial Times ranks the company as the 35th fastest-growing company on the continent, it grew its revenue from $8.9 million in 2018 to $30.1 million in 2021 with a CAGR of 49.9%.

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