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

    African tech in 2017 was concerning the normalization of market occasions principally absent even a decade in the past. There have been acquisitions, a number of funding rounds, numerous enlargement, huge strategic partnerships and a few shock failures.

    Africa is quick changing into house to a dynamic tech sector. Right here’s a snapshot of the information that formed that transition during the last yr.


    Andela’s $40 million VC raise in October was one of many continent’s most notable. The expertise coaching and job placement agency acquired Collection C funding from CRE Venture Capital, DBL Companions, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Salesforce Ventures, amongst others.

    Andela stated it will use the funds for continued enlargement. The coding accelerator marked three years in Could by adding a Uganda workplace to places in New York, Nigeria and Kenya.

    New funding additionally helped moved Africa’s startup growth into the used autos house. In May, Nigeria-based raised a $5 million Collection A spherical from the Frontier Cars Group to higher join used-car sellers to digital worth quotes, first-time on-line service histories and affords.

    2017 fintech funding went to Nigerian startups Flutterwave ($10 million) and Lidya ($1.25 million).  In digital photo voltaic, Kenya’s PayGo Energy raised $1.four million.

    Agtech startup Farmcrowdy acquired $1 million from traders together with Techstars Ventures and Cox Enterprises to carry Nigerian farmers on-line.

    In April, South African media and expertise big Naspers made a $70 million (majority stake) funding in Cape City-based e-commerce firm Takealot.

    South African digital cleansing startup Sweep South concluded a Collection A Spherical backed by, amongst others, DJ Black Coffee.

    A number of new African tech funding initiatives emerged in 2017. GSMA’s Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund made seven of its first 9 world investments in African startups.

    Lagos, London and Nairobi-based TLcom Capital raised $40 million for its new growth-stage Tide Africa Fund. In April, The World Financial institution launched its XL Africa accelerator to assist Sub-Saharan African startups with enterprise mentoring and as much as $1.5 million in early-stage capital.

    In October, U.S.-based personal fairness agency TPG Development raised $2 billion for The Rise Fund, based by TPG CEO Invoice McGlashan with Bono’s assist.

    In maybe an indication of issues to come back, Africa additionally registered some important outward tech funding. In September, Naspers added $795 million to its holdings in Berlin-based meals supply firm Supply Hero.

    Merchandise, Partnerships, Growth

    African tech noticed a quantity new merchandise and platforms launch in 2017. In January, MasterCard’s 2Kuze — an agtech app connecting small-plot farmers to markets, funds and logistics companies — went reside in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

    Africa’s first unicorn, e-commerce enterprise Jumia, launched an SME lending program. Safaricom ― Kenya’s largest telecom and M-Pesa cell cash supplier ― went reside with its Masoko e-commerce platform in November.

    Earlier in March, Kenyan communications firm BRCK unveiled its SupaBRCK — a water-resistant, solar-powered Wi-Fi field that operates as a 3G hotspot and off-grid server.

    Africa additionally registered on the blockchain bandwagon. Earlier this month, 500 Startups-backed SureRemit launched a crypto token product aimed toward disrupting Africa’s multi-billion-dollar remittance market.

    On enlargement and partnerships, Fb was very lively on the continent in 2017. FB introduced its Africa Bots for Messenger Challenge in February, detailed plans to spice up free Wi-Fi on the continent in April and teamed up with MainOne and Tizeti Community to enhance Nigeria’s net connectivity in November. The corporate partnered with TechCrunch in October for the debut Startup Battlefield Africa and with CcHub to launch Nigeria’s NG_Hub accelerator.

    Different huge Silicon Valley names additionally registered in Africa in 2017. Microsoft introduced the opening of Cloud Type knowledge facilities in Could and a partnership with Liquid Telecom in August to speed up cloud adoption in Africa.

    Off of CEO Sundar Pichai’s July Nigeria journey, Google announced plans to coach 10 million Africans in digital expertise, enhance funding to African startups and supply $20 million in grants to digital non-profits and modified variations of merchandise (similar to YouTube) in Africa. Google for Entrepreneurs additionally supported CcHub’s European PitchDrive tour in August.

    The identical month, eBay expanded its partnership with to permit African distributors to promote wares on to American on-line shoppers.

    On accelerators and capability constructing, 500 Startups introduced its frontier and rising markets journey sequence ― Geeks on a Aircraft ― to Africa for the primary time in March. Airbus held its inaugural BizLab pitch event in Nairobi focusing on African startups utilizing UAVs, 3D printing, sensible sensors and IoT. The MEST incubator obtained a brand new CEO, Aaron Fu, and scaled its presence to incorporate applications in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.

    And in October, Safaricom launched its Safaricom Alpha innovation heart in Nairobi, with a purpose of leveraging the corporate’s industrial social community (i.e. M-Pesa) to attach individuals to new product options.

    Contraction and shutting up store

    In fact, no tech sector expands and grows on a regular basis. In September, Y Combinator-backed French language VOD startup Afrostream shuttered, ending subscription companies in 29 international locations.

    In November, Jumia e-commerce competitor Konga slashed 60 % of its workforce and ended its pay on supply service, reportedly to chop prices. It’s not clear if it is a signal of bother or a realignment of enterprise technique, per Konga founder Sim Shagaya’s Medium publish.

    Acquisitions, IPOs

    Exits and public choices are nonetheless scant in Africa’s tech panorama. There was a notable acquisition in on-line actual property startup’s buy of Jumia Home Nigeria from e-commerce unicorn Jumia in November. Africa’s a lot anticipated and far delayed IPO of fintech agency Interswitch is anticipated in 2019, in line with Nigerian tech insiders — who provided TechCrunch perspective on different African ventures with itemizing potential.

    Tech to energy

    African tech and politics collided on a number of events in 2017. In September, anti-government protests in Togo, and the usage of social media to mobilize them, led to the president shutting down the web for a number of days.

    In a tech to energy success story, Cameroon’s #BringBackOurInternet motion — developed by native IT activists — went world, forcing the nation’s authorities to revive connectivity after switching it off in response to demonstrations that began in January.

    Revenues and house

    Large income information from African tech startups remains to be elusive, however Paga provided promising information in August. The Nigerian digital funds agency reported its first EBITDA positive quarter, after processing 31 million transactions value some $1.3 billion since inception.

    And in July, groups from Nigeria and Ghana launched satellites into space, with slightly assist from SpaceX and NASA — demonstrating the sky was not the restrict for Africa’s scientists and techies in 2017.

    Extra Africa-related tales @TechCrunch

    African tech across the ‘internet

    Featured Picture: NASA/Invoice Ingalls/NASA/Invoice Ingalls
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