More than 300 African tech startups have raised over $1.1bn so far in 2021

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More than 300 African tech startups have raised more than US$1.1 billion combined so far in 2021, the first time the sector has broken the US$1 billion mark – and with four-and-a-half months of the year still to come.

Up to and including August 11, 2021, a total of 303 African tech startups have raised a combined US$1,184,220,000, up 69 per cent on the US$701,460,565 banked over the entirety of 2020.

This is according to figures being compiled by Disrupt Africa in advance of the release of its flagship funding tracker in January 2022. The report, which was the first of its kind upon its inaugural publication in 2016 and is now preparing for its seventh edition, tracks investment into the continent’s startup space, and highlights growth in funding for African tech ventures.

The African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020 was for the first time open-sourced and made available to all, for free, by Disrupt Africa in partnership with Catalyst Fund, RTB House, Quona Capital, 4Di Capital, Villgro Africa, Lateral Capital, and Otundi Ventures. The next edition will be made available to everyone in the same manner, with Disrupt Africa to shortly announce its first batch of partners.

The next edition of the report will detail a 2021 in which records have been smashed with only barely half the year gone. The 2020 funding figure was surpassed months ago, and the sector recently passed the US$1 billion investment mark for the first time. With 303 startups having raised so far, last year’s tally of 397 funded startups is also set to be comfortably beaten if things continue in the same manner for the rest of the year.

Nigeria is leading the way, with rounds for the likes of Flutterwave, Kuda, TeamApt, FairMoney and Moove major contributors to the impressive funding total, but there have also been key rounds for the likes of MaxAB (Egypt), Trella (Egypt), Yoco (South Africa) and LifeQ (South Africa).

Both the number of startups to secure funding and total investment have continuously increased since Disrupt Africa began publishing its annual funding report. In 2015, only 125 startups secured investment. This figure grew to 146 the following year, 159 in 2017, and 210 in 2018. The number leapt in 2019 to 311, and climbed to 397 in 2020.

The amount of funding going to African startups has increased year-on-year for the past five years (with a decrease from 2015 to 2016 preventing the clean sweep). When Disrupt Africa records began in 2015, the continent’s startups raised a combined US$185,785,500. This total declined 30.5 per cent to US$129,113,200 in 2016. Thereafter began the growth – in 2017, total funds raised were up 51 per cent at US$195,060,845; soared a further 71.5 per cent in 2018 to reach US$334,520,500; grew 46.7 per cent again to US$491,623,400 in 2019; and increased 42.7 per cent to US$701,460,565 in 2020.

Records are again tumbling in 2021, and now the question is whether or not 2021’s total investment can double the amount raised in 2020 – quite an achievement indeed! 

Any parties interested in partnering on the open-sourcing initiative for the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021, due for release in January 2022, can email [email protected] or [email protected]

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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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