VC Trends Watch: Feb. 6–24, 2023

Here’s a condensed rundown of what unfolded last month in the African venture capital investment space.

Feb. 6 – 10

Egyptian Healthtech Start-up, Yodawy, Raised USD 16 M Series B Round

Egyptian e-health startup, Yodawy, raised a USD 16 M Series B round. The round was co-led by UAE-based and MEA-focused venture capital firm, Global Ventures, and Delivery Hero Ventures, the venture arm of the global food delivery platform Delivery Hero.

The health tech’s platform allows insurance companies and hospitals to automate approvals, save costs and improve customer experience. It plans to use the investment to expand across markets in the Middle East and Africa. 

Two Major African Funds Launched

  • Vantage Capital, one of Africa’s largest mezzanine fund managers, closed its fourth mezzanine fund. A total of USD 377 M of commitments was secured from a mix of European and US-based commercial investors, and a host of development finance institutions (DFIs) including IFC, BII, SIFEM, DEG, Norfund, Swedfund, Finnfund and EIB. Vantage will continue to provide mid-sized African businesses with flexible capital to drive business expansion and support job creation.
  • Partech Africa announced the first closing of Partech Africa II at EUR 245 million (USD 262 M), already above the target fund size. The fund will provide USD 1 M to USD 15 M initial tickets from seed to growth to support entrepreneurs who use a combination of technology and excellent operations to address some of the hard-to-solve but huge opportunities the continent offers across all sectors. Major development finance institutions as well as institutional and commercial investors backed this second iteration of Partech’s Africa-focused strategy.

Deal Street Roundup

  • South African start-up, Sendmarc, raised USD 7 M in Series A funding led by Atlantica Ventures, with participation from Allan Gray, E-Squared Ventures, Fireball Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, 4Di Capital, Endeavor Harvest, Alpha Private Capital, and Kalon Venture Partners.
  • Gameball, a customer intelligence and marketing CRM platform raised a USD 3.5 M seed funding round from 500 Global, P1 Ventures, Launch Africa, and Middle East VCs Seedra Ventures, Arzan Ventures, Propeller, Core Vision, as well as several regional investors to drive its expansion.
  • Jendaya, a year-old start-up that acts as a gateway for global luxury brands to the African continent and for consumers in the rest of the world to discover African brands, came out of stealth, having raised £1 million (USD 1.2 M) in pre-seed funding.
  • Morocco-based agritech, Sand-to-Green, raised a USD 1 M Seed funding round from Norwegian Katapult and pre-Seed fund, Catalyst.
  • Chari, a Morocco-based B2B e-commerce startup with embedded financing for the FMCG sector, raised USD 1 M from Orange Ventures.

Feb. 13 – 17

Smile Identity Raised USD 20 M Series B Funding Round

South African start-up, Smile Identity, racked the highest funding round of the week.

The SaaS start-up, which provides ID verification and KYC compliance for African faces and identities, raised USD 20 M in Series B funding to further its expansion plans, among other roadmap activities.

Silicon Valley investor, Costanoa Ventures, co-led the round with Africa-focused venture capital firm, Norrsken22. Lexi Novitske, general partner at Norrsken22, will join the company’s board.

The Baobab Network Invested USD 50 K in Five New African Start-ups

Nairobi-based accelerator, The Baobab Network, announced its latest cohort of five investees, each of which secured USD 50 K in funding.

Each company received a cash injection of USD 50 K, a program of bespoke and expert-led venture support, and access to leading angels and VCs, both in Africa and around the world through the demo day.

Seven African Start-ups to Receive USD 385 K to Develop Solutions for the Blue Economy

Climate resilience venture launcher, Triggering Exponential Climate Action (TECA), announced the selection of seven start-ups to each receive USD 55 K in funding to advance their solutions for the blue economy in Africa last week.

Each selected startup will receive USD 27.5 K in seed capital and USD 27.5 K in hands-on, venture-building support to progress financial and tech-enabled solutions that bolster the climate resilience of communities and ecosystems in and around the oceans, lakes, and rivers across the Eastern region of Africa.

The startups were AquaTrack, Carboni Bank, ConserVate, Mwani Blu, RegisTree, Vua Solutions and Wezesha Aqua Farms.

Deal Street Roundup

  • South African artificial intelligence-driven insurtech company,Naked, which offers a new, fully digital way for consumers to insure their cars, homes, and valuables, raised USD 17 M in Series B funding to drive its growth.
  • Qotto, a solar kits provider with operations in Burkina Faso and Benin, raised USD 8 M in a Series A equity-debt round led by the IBL group.
  • Earnipay, a financial technology solution providing flexible and on-demand salary access to income-earners, closed a seed round of USD 4 M to provide scalable solutions for employees to access their salaries.
  • Curacel, a Nigeria-based platform aiming to drive insurance penetration in emerging markets via APIs enabling insurers to connect with digital distribution channels and administer their claims, raised USD 3 M in seed funding.
  • Power Financial Wellness secured USD 3 M seed funding in a round led by DOB Equity with participation from QED Investors, Quona Capital, Zephyr Acorn, and Norrsken Impact Accelerator.
  • Digital booking platform, BuuPass, raised USD 1.3 M pre-seed funding to scale in Kenya and Uganda.
  • Terraa, a Moroccan B2B tech-enabled food distribution platform, raised USD 1.5 M pre-seed funding in a round led by FoodLabs.
  • PressOne Africa, a start-up helping businesses retain their customers through a centralized voice communication platform, raised USD 600 K in a pre-seed round led by Ventures Platform, with participation from Voltron Capital and a set of stellar angels.

Feb. 20 – 24

South African Car Subscription Start-up, Planet42, Raised USD 100 M Funding Round

South African start-up, Planet42, a car subscription platform addressing transport inequality by putting cars in the hands of people who cannot access traditional bank credit, recorded the highest funding round of the week.

The startup raised USD 100 M in combined equity and debt funding to help it accelerate its expansion.

The USD 15 M equity round was co-led by Naspers and ARS Holdings, with participation from existing and new shareholders, including Rivonia Road Capital, which also provided a USD 75 M credit facility. Private investors contributed a further USD 10 M in debt financing.

Planet42 uses an automated scoring algorithm to process client applications based on credit bureau, affordability, and alternative data.

Start-up Wise Guys Secured USD 26.7 M Funding to Scale Operations

VC and accelerator firm, Start-up Wise Guys, closed the first EUR25 million (USD 26.7 M) of EUR45 million (USD 48 M) that will be used across its various geographies and vertical-focused funds to support its new strategy centred on global markets that remain underserved by capital investment.

The company plans to invest in a minimum of 200 start-ups from mostly across Europe and Africa in 2023 and 2024.

The company claims to have worked with more than 500 founders, made more than 235 startup investments, seen five exits, and achieved an overall startup survival and success rate above 77% since its inception in 2012.

Co-Creation Hub Launched USD 15 M Accelerator Program for African Startups

Innovation hub, Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), launched a USD 15 M accelerator program dubbed “The Edutech Fellowship Program” to support 72 start-ups across Nigeria and Kenya over the next three years.

The accelerator program will amplify the impact of edutech start-ups across Africa, and support founders offering tech solutions that will address learning innovation in the education sector.

Outside the accelerator program, there’s also a provision for follow-on investment that will offer diversification and lower risk for seed or Series A investors.

Deal Street Roundup

  • Kenyan B2B construction tech start-up, Jumba, raised USD 4.5 M seed funding round. The round was led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Enza Capital, Foundamental, Seedstars International Ventures, Logos Ventures, SpeedInvest, First Check Africa and Alumni Angel Network.
  • African HR & Payroll solution provider, Workpay, raised USD 2.7 M in seed funding from Launch Africa, Saviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, to expand its operations.
  • Hollydesk, an expense management platform in Egypt, raised USD 1 M in venture debt financing to help more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the country manage and track their daily expenses.

More funding news and updates next week.


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