15 female-led startups to watch out for in Africa, according to investors

Despite a substantial funding gap between male-led and female-led startups on the continent, four investors see immense potential in these women entrepreneurs and consider them a must-watch.

15 female-led startups to watch out for in Africa, according to investors

Investing in female-led startups in Africa remains a pressing issue as the continent grapples with a stark funding disparity. In the first half of 2023, female-founded ventures secured a mere $22 million in equity funding, marking a concerning decline compared to previous years. According to 'The Big Deal,' an African investment tracker, a staggering 98% of funding flowed towards startups with at least one male founder, further emphasizing the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.

This disparity in funding allocation highlights the urgent need for gender balance in Africa's startup ecosystem. While exclusively female-founded startups received only 22% of equity funding, their male counterparts secured a significant 79% share. These statistics paint a stark picture of the hurdles female founders continue to encounter.

Despite these challenges, we shine a spotlight on 15 resilient female-led startups according to four African investors—Uwem Umemakpan, Opeyemi Awoyemi, Isaac Ewaleifoh, and Joseph Benson-Aruna—that are building outstanding startups and making an impact in the continent's tech ecosystem.

Editor's Note: Why did we ask only male investors? While we were working on this article a month ago, we reached out to at least three female investors in Africa but we did not get feedback from them. 


"I recently came across Mwanga, and the work that they do in debt collection is very essential," Opeyemi Awoyemi, managing partner at Fast Forward said.

Mwanga was founded in 2018 by Echika Obijiaku as a Business Process Outsourcing firm pioneering debt recovery for businesses in Africa. Mwanga uses digital-first models to help businesses with debt recovery, customer support/engagement, telemarketing, etc. Some of the startup's clients include Fairmoney, Carbon, Branch, Payhippo, etc.

Outsource Global

"I've always believed that the ability to train and market our youth's skillset at scale is an underrated competitive advantage," Opeyemi said. Outsource Global was founded in 2013. The startup is a business process outsourcing firm with offices in Abuja, Lagos, and Kaduna helping businesses reduce operational costs and time. In August of 2023, the startup was recognized by the World Bank for its efforts at job creation, empowerment, and innovation. "Amal is winning on this end with Outsource Global." He added.

With over 2,000 jobs created and more than 50 percent female across all levels, Outsource Global's impact on employment is a testament to its mission of driving positive socio-economic change.

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