Further partners announced for Disrupt Africa’s open-sourced funding report

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Startup-focused news and research company Disrupt Africa has announced MFS Africa and MEST Africa as additional partners in the open-sourcing initiative that will make its flagship annual funding report free to all when it is released next month.

Every January since 2016, Disrupt Africa has released the African Tech Startups Funding Report, which quantifies investment into the African tech space over the course of the previous 12 months and analyses key trends and themes.

The report has tracked the extraordinary progress made by the continent’s startup ecosystems from an investment perspective since 2015, with the sixth edition – released in January – detailing a record-breaking 2020, as 397 startups raised an impressive US$701.5 million in total funding. 

Previously available for sale, the report was purchased each year by leading tech companies from Africa and the rest of the world, Big Four consulting firms, banking and fintech leaders, venture capital firms, supranational investors and international trade bodies. 

The most recent edition, however, was open-source for the first time, to make it accessible to those for whom the information is most valuable – African entrepreneurs. It has so far been downloaded thousands of times, and Disrupt Africa will make the seventh edition of the African Tech Startups Funding Report, due for release in January 2022 and set to tell the story of a year in which funding records have already been toppled, free to all once more.

The first batch of partners – Africa-focused VC firms  Novastar Ventures, Quona Capital, 4Di Capital and Future Africa – were announced back in August, and a further two have now been confirmed. They are MFS Africa, a leading pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent; and MEST Africa, an Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training programme, internal seed fund, and network of hubs.

Gabriella Mulligan, Disrupt Africa co-founder, said the company was delighted to partner with major ecosystem players to make the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021 available to everyone, anywhere, for free.

“Our partners understand the challenges faced by African founders in accessing capital, and also vital information around who is providing that capital, to whom, and why,” she said. “We are extremely grateful for their support in this initiative and looking forward to working with our partners across the ecosystem to ensure the next edition of the report lands in as many entrepreneurs’ inboxes as possible.”

MFS Africa founder and CEO Dare Okoudjou said the African tech ecosystem had experienced unprecedented growth, breaking records year after year. 

“It’s the clearest indicator that we are reaching an exciting inflection point in our sector. In the last quarter of 2021, we raised US$100 million in Series funding to accelerate our growth as we make borders matter less. As such we understand the importance of the right funding to build the fundamental infrastructure needed to facilitate interoperability across payment schemes, borders, and currencies. Accurate and informative reports about the ecosystem raise the profile of our sector beyond Africa, and that interest helps to channel much-needed investments in impactful startups. We are absolutely thrilled to support Disrupt Africa on this important project,” he said.

Ashwin Ravichandran, managing director of MEST Africa, said he was excited to partner Disrupt Africa on this initiative because of the “massive opportunities” it draws to the continent, thereby enabling innovators to do more

“Because of the work of organisations like Disrupt Africa, there has been a promising and encouraging increase in the data and insights on investments in Africa. This data shines a light on Africa’s burgeoning tech ecosystem while pointing the various ecosystem players towards better and more innovative ways of supporting local businesses to thrive,” he said.

Disrupt Africa continues to welcome partners to help it increase the scale of this open-sourcing initiative. For more information on partnering, or to find out more about the annual funding report, please email Gabriella on [email protected], or Tom on [email protected]

About Disrupt Africa

Disrupt Africa is the one-stop-shop for all news, information and commentary pertaining to the continent’s tech startup – and investment – ecosystem. With journalists roaming the continent to find, meet, and interview the most innovative and disruptive tech startups, Disrupt Africa is a true showcase of Africa’s most promising businesses and business ideas. Its research arm releases in-depth reports on various aspects of the African tech startup ecosystem. Details here.

About Novastar Ventures

Founded on the belief that the most valuable companies are those that address our biggest challenges, Novastar is a venture capital firm dedicated to helping founders build innovative businesses for the common good. Novastar partners with entrepreneurs who have the character, capacity, and ambition to transform markets and sectors. They are innovating business models to widen access, improve quality and lower cost for aspiring mass market consumers and producers in Africa. With offices in Nairobi, Lagos and London, Novastar is one of the largest platforms dedicated to financing and supporting early- and growth-stage businesses on the continent.

About MFS Africa

MFS Africa is a leading Pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent. Connected to over 200 million mobile wallets in Sub-Saharan Africa, MFS Africa offers its partners unparalleled reach for scale across the continent. We allow merchants, banks, mobile operators and money transfer companies to leverage the ubiquity of mobile wallets as a safe, convenient, and cost-effective transaction channel. MFS Africa works in close partnership with players across the ecosystem to bring simple and secure mobile financial services to un- and under-banked customers. For millions of customers in Africa and beyond, we make borders matter less.

About Quona Capital

Quona Capital is a scale-up stage venture firm focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets. Quona partners have deep experience as investors and operators in both emerging and developed markets, and look for entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to provide outstanding financial returns and promote breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion. To date, Quona has supported more than 30 financial technology companies expanding access for underserved consumers and small businesses in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The firm has offices in Washington D.C., Bangalore, Mexico City and Cape Town. For more information, visit quona.com.

About 4Di Capital

4Di Capital is an independent venture capital fund manager based in South Africa’s “Silicon Cape”, specialising in high-growth technology venture opportunities, at the seed, early-and growth-funding stages. The fund manager has offices in Cape Town, South Africa and Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. and funds are managed by the GP partnership team of Anton van Vlaanderen, Erik van Vlaanderen, Justin Stanford and Laurie Olivier.

About MEST Africa

MEST is an Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training programme, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for technology startups in Africa. For young aspiring and established African entrepreneurs, MEST Africa provides the skills, mindset, and experiences to build a globally successful tech company. Beyond tech and entrepreneurial skills training, MEST Africa provides a real-world advantage to entrepreneurs through funding, business incubation, and access to a global tech network.

About Future Africa

Future Africa is a fund that connects investors to mission-driven startups turning Africa’s most difficult challenges into global business opportunities. Our mission is to build a future where purpose and prosperity are within everyone’s reach.

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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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