African startups have been steadily making their mark in the tech ecosystem, attracting the attention of investors with their innovative solutions and disruptive potential. From fintech to healthtech, these startups have shown immense promise and are becoming increasingly sought after by venture capitalists. With funding pouring into the continent's tech scene, it's no surprise that investors are closely watching the rise of African startups.
In the first half of 2023, African startups have raised over $1.4 billion in funding in 153 deals which is 53% less than what was raised in H1 2022 with various sectors vying for a piece of the pie. While this figure represents a slight dip from the previous year, there are still some notable rounds to be celebrated, with startups like MNT-Halal of Egypt raising $400 million which was a mix of debt and equity, and M-Kopa raising $250 million; also a mix of debt and equity.
As the ecosystem begins to pick back it pace following the market reset, we shine the light on 12 African startups that have caught the eye of investors, who believe they are a must-watch.
These startups, spanning diverse industries, showcase the region's thriving tech landscape and its potential for further growth. From disruptive fintech solutions to groundbreaking health innovations, these startups are poised to impact their respective industries significantly.
As investors continue to bet on Africa's tech future, these startups are the ones to watch out for.
Joe Kinvi - Founding Partner, HoaQ
Brass co-founded in 2020 by Sola Akindolu and Emmanuel Okeke which delivers easy access to affordable premium banking services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), is making business banking simple again. According to Joe Kinvi, "They are very intentional about building each product and their ecosystem approach is coming together very nicely. If you haven’t heard of it, your favorite business is probably using them".
In 2021, the startup successfully secured $1.7 million in funding. Currently, it offers a wide array of products, including credit and payment services, payroll and expense management, API support, and other core business solutions. Brass has served thousands of businesses, provided over $2 million in credit, and introduced Brass Capital, a cash-flow financing service to foster business growth.
"Francis the CEO has built many businesses in the past but found a very good niche that is not very sexy and ignored. My money is on Francis to build a truly global business." Joe said.
Rayda provides businesses the infrastructure to acquire, manage, insure, track, and dispose of their business assets globally. The startup was founded in 2022 by Francis Osifo, who was a co-founder of 54gene, a YC-backed startup.
The Tembo Plus website says "Embed and Launch financial products across Africa" which reflects the scope of their ambition, however, they also have a digital banking app and according to a tweet by the Founder, Victor Joseph on the 5th of November 2021, they had gotten approval from the Bank of Tanzania to start offering their product in partnership with a bank partner. "One huge step closer to bringing true digital banking services to this market!" he said via the tweet.
"Victor might just put the Tanzanian fintech ecosystem on the global map with what they are building. He is relentless and will not give up until he achieves his goals." according to Joe Kinvi.
Stephen Deng - General Partner, DFS Labs
Asif Khan and Vineet co-founded Ando Foods in 2020, a food tech startup operating in Kenya and South Africa that is disrupting the conventional restaurant model. Stephen commends Ando Foods as a standout startup, demonstrating how to build a food-first food-tech business in Africa.
Terminal Africa was established officially in 2021 by Nnamdi Okoh and Udi Okoh. The startup facilitates continental and global commerce through scalable technology-based solutions and is said to be serving over 3,500+ businesses, shipping goods worth over ₦350 million monthly.
"Terminal is a startup worth watching for leading the cross-border delivery opportunity while staying asset-light," Stephen said. The startup has raised $2.1 million from 10 investors according to their LinkedIn profile.
Orda is referred to as the OS for small and medium-sized African restaurants, founded in 2020 by Guy Futi, Fikayo Akinwale, Mark Edomwande, Kunle Ogungbamila, and Namir El-Khouri and their vision is to help small-sized African restaurants optimize their business and achieve sustainable growth. In Nov 2022, the startup secured $3.4 million dollars funding, bringing its total raise to $4.5 million. The startup is said to be serving over 600 restaurants across Nigeria and Kenya and is now processing over 500% more weekly orders for its customers.
Stephen believes they are a must-watch for showcasing the potential of a vertical-specific fintech opportunity done right.