2019: Some remarkable moments in African technology.

For almost a decade now, technology has been a focal symbol for Africa’s development and gentrification. Young professionals and entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to innovate and build simple and affordable solutions that help everyday life in Africa less complex. Market-creating solutions are now providing jobs for millions, making payments and commerce more seamless, moving people and goods from one place to another, establishment of more tech hubs and also providing income for entrepreneurs and the government.

Every year since 2010, funding reports show the amount of investments heading into the continent’s tech ecosystem is on the rise, and 2019 was another groundbreaking year – ushering more global attention to Africa’s tech ecosystems than any previous years; including visits of tech giants (Jack & Ma), high profile IPOs and the Chinese triumphant entry.

MORE TECHNOLOGY HUBS
Communities foster startup and innovation culture, they play crucial roles for community, business incubation and ideation, their growth continues to fuel innovation on the continent. A few years ago, there were only a few hubs across the continent notably, today, there are over 500 hubs across sub Saharan Africa. In February, Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), one of the Nigeria’s pioneer innovation hubs, launched a design hub in Kigali, Rwanda. In September, CcHUB also acquired iHub, a leading Kenyan tech hub.

THE FINTECH TAKEOVER
It’s not a bubble, the biggest winners so far are the startups that have made it a mission to fix Africa’s underbanked and payment problems. Startups are building payment gateways to support businesses and everyday transactions, savings and digital lending apps to offer quick loans and access to credit without traditional assets as collateral and even cryptocurrency trading apps. Another important moment was when Visa co-led a $170 million investment Series C round in Branch in April and also invested $200 million for a 20% stake in Nigerian payments processor Interswitch, confirming the company’s status as Africa’s first fintech unicorn. MasterCard also invested in flutterwave and Jumia pay. Opay, a $120 million Chinese backed payments service platforms with operations in other verticals made rounds via an aggressive takeover. Flutterwave, and ChipperCash expanded globally and in more bureaus across the continent. Migo (formerly branded Mines) announced its expansion to Brazil on a $20 million Series B raise.

THE GRAND EXIT
Naspers, Africa’s most valuable company with investments in Supersport, MNet, Tencent-Wechat, Swiggy and Mail.ru was split into two, after which it listed its international internet assets (PROSUS) on the Amsterdam stock exchange creating Europe’s biggest consumer internet company. The reason was for a need to expand beyond the continent in pursuit more growth and profits. The African unit also appointed the first female and first black chief executive of the 104-year old company.

OKADA WARS
We cant talk about significant moment in tech without mentioning the rise of motorcycle ride-hailing startups – a market estimated to be worth $4 billion, a piece of cake waiting to be shared by MAX.ng, Gokada and Opera-owned ORide, Safeboda and even Uber and Bolt. These startups have attracted foreign investments and moved toward EV development. Max raised a $7 million series A round with participation from Yamaha and is currently testing renewable energy powered e-motorcycles.

REMODELING ANDELA
Africa-focused tech talent accelerator Andela laid off 400 junior engineers across Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, due to market demand for more senior engineering talent. Andela’s client-base is comprised of more than 200 companies around the world that pay for the African developers Andela selects and trains to work on projects. The layoffs came after the startup released first-time earnings figures indicating it will surpass $50 million in annual revenues for 2019.

FUNDING

African venture investments broke all the previous records to register USD 1.340 Bn in investments through 427 deals in equity and debt financing in 2019. The year was especially a great year for the Nigerian ventures that raked in USD 663.24 Mn, highest amount of venture capital money secured by a country in 2019. Kenya had a super growth year netting 283.64% growth over the previous year’s funding amount. South Africa took the third position in the top 3 countries as per funding amount.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

3 Comments

  1. […] Nigerian startups have continued to set the pace, taking giant strides in the African tech industry. Nigeria has multiple unicorns under its roof; Flutterwave, Interswitch, Opay and Andela. Nigeria’s booming digital payments companies facilitated transactions for the unbanked (Opay) and gateways (Interswitch and Flutterwave) and are each worth more than $1 billion. On the back of 2020’s global pandemic, the Nigerian tech industry received added attention from users and investors. Many people had to come to terms with the technology around them during the lockdown. Some Nigerian universities also adopted e-earning. Businesses and workplaces adopted online spaces. Stripes’ $200 million acquisition of Paystack in October was a major moment for Nigeria’s tech space. In March 2021, Flutterwave’s total disclosed funding was $225m. This came after the company announced a strategic partnership with Visa and Worldpay. Flutterwave had earlier raised $20m Series A in 2018, and in 2020 the company announced a $35m Series B. According to recent data, the company’s Series B round was closed at $40m.In August 2021, Opay raised $400million, led by Softbank, making it Nigeria’s latest unicorn with a $2 billion valuation. Andela attained unicorn status in September 2021 after raising $200 million from investors. Andela is a Nigerian startup that connects African software engineering talent to global companies. It is based in New York and is now valued at 1.5 billion.An honourable mention is Main One, the communications services company led by Funke Opeke was acquired by Equinix for $320 million. Nigerian Digital Bank Start-up, Brass Banking raises $1.7 Million Funding RoundNigerian Fintech Platform Kuda Bank, raises $55M at a $500M valuationGoogle Launches Africa Investment Fund and Plans To Invest Up To $50 million in African StartupsOdun Eweniyi & Eloho Omame Have Launched a FirstCheck To Help Fund Women in TechGovernment Regulation: The bane of Nigerian Startups’ ExistenceThe Nigerian Frenemies: Banks and FintechsGo-to Tech-platform for Home Services ‘Eden Life’ Raises $1.4 Million Seed RoundVendease, an Online Food Marketplace has Raised a Seed Round of $3.2 millionLAGOS vs OKADAS: A BIG CITY WITH BIGGER PROBLEMS.Okada Wars – The rise of the super apps2019: Some remarkable moments in African technology. […]

  2. […] Nigerian startups have continued to set the pace, taking giant strides in the African tech industry. Nigeria has multiple unicorns under its roof; Flutterwave, Interswitch, Opay and Andela. Nigeria’s booming digital payments companies facilitated transactions for the unbanked (Opay) and gateways (Interswitch and Flutterwave) and are each worth more than $1 billion. On the back of 2020’s global pandemic, the Nigerian tech industry received added attention from users and investors. Many people had to come to terms with the technology around them during the lockdown. Some Nigerian universities also adopted e-earning. Businesses and workplaces adopted online spaces. Stripes’ $200 million acquisition of Paystack in October was a major moment for Nigeria’s tech space. In March 2021, Flutterwave’s total disclosed funding was $225m. This came after the company announced a strategic partnership with Visa and Worldpay. Flutterwave had earlier raised $20m Series A in 2018, and in 2020 the company announced a $35m Series B. According to recent data, the company’s Series B round was closed at $40m.In August 2021, Opay raised $400million, led by Softbank, making it Nigeria’s latest unicorn with a $2 billion valuation. Andela attained unicorn status in September 2021 after raising $200 million from investors. Andela is a Nigerian startup that connects African software engineering talent to global companies. It is based in New York and is now valued at 1.5 billion.An honourable mention is Main One, the communications services company led by Funke Opeke was acquired by Equinix for $320 million. Nigerian Digital Bank Start-up, Brass Banking raises $1.7 Million Funding RoundNigerian Fintech Platform Kuda Bank, raises $55M at a $500M valuationGoogle Launches Africa Investment Fund and Plans To Invest Up To $50 million in African StartupsOdun Eweniyi & Eloho Omame Have Launched a FirstCheck To Help Fund Women in TechGovernment Regulation: The bane of Nigerian Startups’ ExistenceThe Nigerian Frenemies: Banks and FintechsGo-to Tech-platform for Home Services ‘Eden Life’ Raises $1.4 Million Seed RoundVendease, an Online Food Marketplace has Raised a Seed Round of $3.2 millionLAGOS vs OKADAS: A BIG CITY WITH BIGGER PROBLEMS.Okada Wars – The rise of the super apps2019: Some remarkable moments in African technology. […]

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