There have been some terrific funding rounds in Africa this year, with the numbers definitely getting higher. [Dear investors, that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement!] Without further ado, here is Disrupt Africa’s ranking of the top five funding rounds of 2015!
Off Grid Electric – US$25 million
For the second year running, Tanzania’s Off Grid Electric (OGE) takes the top spot in our list of top funding rounds. Last year in December, OGE raised US$16 million – having raised US$7 million earlier in the year. This year, they’ve outdone themselves, with a US$25 million funding round.
OGE claims its solar solutions have achieved the highest solar adoption rates in the world in Tanzania, with customers able to access a reliable energy source for less than US$0.20 per day. The startup says their solution provides customers with 50 per cent more light per day than traditional energy sources.
The US$25 million investment round included DBL Investors, Zouk Capital, Vulcan Capital and SolarCity – which have all previously invested in OGE -; while energy access-dedicated fund Energy Access Ventures (EAV) also joined the round.
The funds are being used to continue OGE’s goal to provide power to 1 million homes in Tanzania by 2017; but also enabled the startup to launch its first international operations in Rwanda.
M-KOPA – US$19 million
Solar power proved to be the sector with the most this year, taking first and second spots in our top five list.
Kenyan startup M-KOPA Solar raised a US$19 million funding round in December, led by London-based Generation Investment Management – founded by former US Vice President Al Gore together with David Blood -, and also included new investments by Sir Richard Branson – founder of Virgin Group -, and Jean and Steve Case – founder of AOL -, as well as reinvestment by existing shareholders.
M-KOPA Solar is a pioneer of ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy for off-grid customers, combining mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable the leasing of solar power systems. As of May, it had connected more than 200,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to solar power since launching in 2012.
It was a busy year for M-KOPA; the US$19 million funding was the startup’s second round of the year; having in February secured a US$12.45 million equity and debt deal.
Paga – US$13 million
In October, Nigerian mobile payments company Paga announced the completion of a US$13 million Series B funding round.
Founded in 2009, Paga provides Nigerians with safe and convenient ways of making payments, allowing money to be sent to any phone number for the beneficiary to redeem at a Paga agent or at an ATM via a cardless withdrawal. Customers can also use Paga to deposit money to bank accounts in Nigeria, pay their bills, or top-up mobile phone airtime.
The US$13 million round was led by Adlevo Capital, a previous investor in Paga, alongside Omidyar Network,Goodwell West Africa, Acumen Fund and Capricorn Investment Group. Individual investors included Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Yelp and one of the early team members at PayPal.
The startup said the funds would help it build its agents network and continue to innovate its product.
Asoko – US$1.35million
Pan-African provider of corporate information and market intelligence Asoko Insight completed a US$1.35 million fundraising round in November.
Launched in 2013, Asoko has research bases in Accra, Lagos and Nairobi, assisting more than 1,000 businesses in those three countries.
The round was led by international media investment group North Base Media (NBM) and CRE Venture Capital, an investment firm focused on technology-enabled businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa, with the two companies joining a group of prominent angel investors as shareholders.
With the funds, Asoko said it plans to extend operations across the region’s most dynamic economies, and build out the technology behind its digital platform.
BitPesa – US$1.1 million
Bitcoin has made waves this year in Africa, and Bitcoin remittance startup BitPesa has been leading the way, reflected by its exciting US$1.1 million funding round raised within a year of launching.
BitPesa allows individuals to remit money in Bitcoin that the company then converts into physical currency.
The funding round took the startup’s total investment to over US$1.7 million, with the new round led by Pantera Capital Management with support from Crypto Currency Partners, Stephens Investment Management and existing shareholders such as the Bitcoin Opportunity Corporation and Future/Perfect Ventures.
The startup initially launched in Kenya and Ghana, and quickly expanded to Tanzania on the back of the funding. In November it announced launches in Nigeria and Uganda, although the Ghanaian operations were quietly retired.