African tech startups raised at least US$185.7 million in funding in 2015, and the signs are that 2016 is set to be another big year.
Startups are being backed by both overseas and domestic investors each day, and a plethora of new funds have been launched this year alone.
Not sure where to look for investment? We’ll make it easy for you with this list of 25 good places to start.
South African venture capital (VC) firm 4Di Capital, which counts amongst its investors the likes of the Reinet Fund, E Oppenheimer & Sons, and Convergence Partners, recently announced a first close of ZAR256 million (US$16.8 million) in initial commitments for a new technology VC fund.
Already very active in Africa, Village Capital looks set to scale up its activities after announcing the close of a US$17.7 million fund by its investment arm VilCap Investments, with investors such as Jean and Steve Case, Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, Jim Sorenson, and Bob Pattillo backing the fund.
The Egyptian government
Good news for Egyptian startups too. The country’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) announced earlier this year it will launch a US$100 million venture capital (VC) fund, in a bid to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the country’s ICT sector.
Social Innovation Fund
Nigerian incubator Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) partnered Venture Garden Group, Omidyar Network and the Bank of Industry to launch the NGN1 billion (US$5 million) Social Innovation Fund, which will back young entrepreneurs with solutions to local problems.
Silvertree Internet Holdings
Got an e-commerce startup? Well, Cape Town-based Silvertree Internet Holdings may have an interest in you. The company has plans to invest US$10 million in South African tech startups during 2016 on the back of its strongest year so far.
Back in June, Capria Accelerator announced the launch of a US$100 million fund that will invest in equity and debt funds targeting early-stage impact businesses across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
LIFT Challenge Fund
If you’re a logistics entrepreneur in East Africa, this one’s for you. The Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund supports innovators and entrepreneurs in the logistics and transport sector, and provides grants of up to US$1 million to winning proposals.
Another South African VC firm set to be busy is Knife Capital, which launched KNF Ventures, a ZAR100 million (US$6.4 million) fund dedicated to investing in innovative startups with proven traction.
An unusual one, but UNICEF has launched a US$9 million Innovation Fund for startups in emerging markets developing solutions with the potential to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. It will invest in open source technologies for children.
Naspers and Tencent-owned mobile messaging and communication company WeChat Africa late last year launched a ZAR50 million (US$3.5 million) fund for tech startups on the continent, aimed at providing financial support for startups so they can enter the market on the WeChat platform.
MIT Ventures launched United+ as a way of combining resources and building lean companies using a unifed framework. Managing partner Neils Ellegard announced the launch of a US$50 million fund for Africa earlier this year.
It is certainly busy in South Africa, where Niveus Investments has launched VC fund Niveus Ventures, which will back local tech startups by filling the gap between angel funding and private equity.
North Africa startups are set to benefit from the launch by United States (US)-based accelerator and seed fund 500 Startups of 500 Falcons, a US$30 million fund for investing in startups from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
VC firm Grovest launched the GroTech VC fund earlier this year, and it has already raised ZAR62 million (US$4 million) for investments in disruptive South African tech startups with a significant injection of capital by Caleo Capital. Is aiming for ZAR200 million (US$12.8 million).
If you’re a Nigerian student entrepreneur, you could do much worse than reaching out to Venture Kinetics, which has partnered Passion Incubator to launch the FastForward Student Innovation Fund, an impact investing fund focused on innovations of students or recent graduates of Nigerian universities.
CrossBoundary Energy Fund
Solar is big business, and to tap into the opportunities CrossBoundary Energy has announced the first close of CrossBoundary Energy Fund I, a dedicated fund for commercial and industrial solar that will deploy over US$25 million in solar solutions to power African enterprises.
City of Johannesburg
Even cities are getting involved. The City of Johannesburg and Standard Bank of South Africa have announced a ZAR250 million (US$16.8 million) Working Capital Fund (WCF), to boost entrepreneurs and aid the city’s development.
Tanzanian startups are getting in on the action as well, with ICT sector development project TANZICT launching an innovation fund allowing local startups to apply for up to TZS20 million (US$9,200) in funding.
Investments in agri-tech are on the rise, and Aurorae, an agri-focused fund backed by AXA Ventures, is at the heart of it. Director Ellen van den Broek announced a US$10 million fund earlier this year.
mLab Southern Africa
Even more funding was announced for South African startups in May when tech accelerator mLab Southern Africa and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have launched a new fund aimed at assisting local mobile, sensor or wearable app startups in developing their concepts with grants of up to ZAR500,000 (US$35,000).
Flat6Labs already has operations in Cairo, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi, and has now expanded to Tunisia in partnership with new startup hub Le15, backing local startups with investment of up to TND600,000 (US$280,000).
South Africa-based diversified financial services group MMI Holdings this year launched Exponential Ventures, which invested in digital tax assistant TaxTim in March. It then partnered United Kingdom-based digital financial services investment and advisory firm Anthemis Group to invest in early and growth stage financial wellness companies.
Entrepreneur support organisation Seed Afrika is on the lookout for startups within the energy, water, healthcare and financial services sectors that are seeking funding this year.
If you’re struggling for more traditional funding, why not pop over to Malaik, an impact-focused equity crowdfunding portal that aims to help connect businesses with investors.