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Semafor LogoAlexander Onukwue
Alexander Onukwue
africa

Funding for African startups broke new records last year

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African startup funding broke new records in 2022 — reaching $4.8 billion, according to data from startup tracker, Africa: The Big Deal. Startups raised $4.6 billion in 2021 itself a record year.

The biggest tech hubs kept their strong leads with Nigeria and Kenya each topping a billion dollars in funding. Nigeria’s fintech unicorn Flutterwave and Kenya’s B2B retail platform Wasoko each raised over $100 million for the top spots on the leaderboard.

Egypt remained the destination for venture capital in North Africa, as a $50 million round led by PayPal Ventures in fintech startup Paymob showed. But Algeria and Tunisia also feature in the top 10, the former boosted by a $150 million round by Yassir, one of a few African startups aiming to build a WeChat-like super app.

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Startups in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa continued to lag their counterparts in the larger Anglophone markets but did attract more interest. Senegal is the region’s leading tech hub, with the $112 million raised by its startups being twice more than the next best countries DR Congo and Côte d’Ivôire.

Dakar-based Mobile money provider Wave became the first Francophone African startup to be valued at over a billion dollars in 2021 on the back of a $200 million raise but cut its staff by 15% in a challenging 2022.

There were notable milestones outside the top 10, like in Sudan where  payments platform Bloom became the country’s first startup to participate in the Y Combinator accelerator program, subsequently raising $6.5 million seed money in a round co-led by payments giant Visa.

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  • Watch the Africa Startup Machine panel discussion at last month’s Semafor Africa Summit featuring Iyinoluwa ‘E’ Aboyeji of early stage investor, Future Africa, Juliet Anammah, Chief Sustainability Officer & Chairperson of online retailer Jumia Nigeria; and Steven Grin, Managing Partner at venture fund Lateral Capital.
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