7 most active investors in African startups in 2017


Investment into African tech startups hit the highest levels since records began in 2017, with 159 startups raising in excess of US$195 million.

The Disrupt African Tech Startups Funding Report 2017, released this month, reveals a record amount of funding was secured over the course of 2017, by the highest number of startups to date.

Total funding of African tech ventures grew by 51 per cent as compared to 2016, while the number of funded startups also increased by 8.9 per cent. South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya remained the top three investment destinations for the third year running.

Funding came from both Africa and abroad, with various investors putting amounts large and small into startups across the continent. Here are seven of the most active.

Greycroft Partners

Only invested in two African startups in 2017, but boy were they big deals. The US-based Greycroft, founded in 2006, led the August follow-on round in Kenya’s BitPesa, which took the startup’s total secured funding beyond the US$10 million mark.

Clearly has a taste for African fintech, having also led the US$10 million round raised by Nigeria’s Flutterwave.

500 Startups

Busy, and getting busier, in the African tech startup space. 500 Startups backed the likes of Printivo, MailHaven and MobileForms via its renowned US-based accelerator, but was active elsewhere too. It was involved in the most recent Aella Credit round, and used its MENA-focused 500 Falcons fund to invest in Egyptian companies Mumm, Breadfast and Eventtus.


A stalwart of African tech funding for a while now, Accion was again busy in 2017. Its investments came more in the form of quality rather than quantity, however, with fintech a favourite. Nigeria’s Lidya and South Africa’s AllLife were on the receiving end.

Algebra Ventures

Egypt’s “largest ever tech-focused VC fund”, Algebra Ventures made good on its promises during 2017. On occasions investing alongside 500 Startups, the company pumped funding into the likes of Eventtus, elmenus, FilKhedma and GoodSmart.

Y Combinator

Like 500 Startups, Y Combinator has been taking an increasingly large number of African tech startups into its programmes, and investing further down the line as well. WaystoCap, Kudi, Releaf, Oolu and Aella Credit were among the recipients.

Kalon Venture Partners

South Africa-based Section 12J venture capital fund Kalon Venture Partnerspreviously Grotech – had an active year. The company seeks out startups who are “dis-intermediating various industries through disruptive tech solutions”, and put money into Snapnsave, The Sun Exchange and i-Pay in 2017.

Ventures Platform

Relatively new to the scene but already a major player in Nigeria, Ventures Platform only looks like getting more active after expanding from Abuja to Lagos and growing its cheque size. Startups backed by the company – either as part of its accelerator programme or separately – include Printivo, Kudi, GeroCare, Kangpe and Accounteer.

The companies mentioned in this article are only a handful of the hundreds of firms, funds and individual investors that backed African tech startups in 2017. You can obtain a full list of the 159 startups backed, who funded them and how much they secured here.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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