The year 2019 has been on a high note for the African startup ecosystem with the increase in the number of VC’s, angels, corporates, accelerators, funds, and incubators interested in the African startup space with Andela leading the way.
Software developer training and outsourcing company, Andela also announced a $100 million Series D round this year.
It’s one of the largest ever single rounds raised by an African-focused tech company, keeping pace with Andela’s track record of big-ticket rounds.
The round is led by Generation Investment Management—an investment firm co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore, with participation from existing investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures), Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital.
It brings the total venture funding raised by Andela to $180 million.
Andela’s large funding round continues a trend which has seen African startups raise bigger amounts in later stage rounds.
It’s the latest leap for Andela, founded in 2013 on the premise of training African software developers and hiring them to global companies as demand for engineering talent continues to rise across the world.
Headquartered in New York, the company has grown its Africa operations from a single campus in Nigeria to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Andela says it will focus on expanding across Africa and doubling the size of its engineering talent pool this year.
Andela’s model is based on admitting developers on a four-year contract through a highly selective process—it has so far taken only 1,000 of its 100,000 applicants—and training them. It then generates revenue when it pairs developers with global companies in need of their services.
That model of promoting distributed teams and remote work largely won the conviction of Al Gore’s sustainability-focused Generation Investment Management known for backing companies with operations based on low-carbon emissions.
OPay, an Africa-focused mobile payments startup founded by Norwegian browser company Opera, has raised also $50 million in funding.
Lead investors include Sequoia China, IDG Capital and Source Code Capital.
Opera also joined the round in the payments venture it created.
OPay will use the capital (which wasn’t given a stage designation) primarily to grow its digital finance business in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.
It will also support Opera’s growing commercial network in Nigeria, which includes motorcycle ride-hail app ORide and OFood delivery service.
Opera founded OPay in 2018 on the popularity of its internet search engine. Opera’s web-browser has ranked No. 2 in usage in Africa, after Chrome, the last four years.
In addition, funding activities in the continent are still concentrated majorly across Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa with Egypt startup scene also rising up.
Fintech remains the most attractive and highest-funded sector for investors.
Ride-hail startup Gokada also raised a $5.3 million Series A round to grow its two-wheel transit business.
Gokada has trained and on-boarded more than 1,000 motorcycles and their pilots on its app that connects commuters to moto-taxis and the company’s signature green, DOT– approved helmets.
The startup has completed nearly 1 million rides since it was co-founded in 2018 by Fahim Saleh — a Bangladeshi entrepreneur who previously founded and exited Pathao, a motorcycle, bicycle and car transportation company.
For Gokada’s Series A, Rise Capital led the investment, joined by Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners and Illinois-based First MidWest Group.
Coinciding with the round, Nigerian investor and Jobberman founder Ayodeji Adewunmi will join Gokada as co-CEO.
Gokada will use the financing to increase its fleet and ride volume while developing a network to offer goods and services to its drivers.
“We’re going to start a Gokada club in each of the cities with a restaurant where drivers can relax, and we’ll experiment with a Gokada Shop, where drivers can get things they need on a regular basis, such as plantains, yams and rice,” Saleh explained.
Lagos based online lending startup OneFi also bought Nigerian payment solutions company Amplify for an undisclosed amount.
OneFi took over Amplify’s IP, team, and client network of over 1000 merchants to which Amplify provides payment processing services, according to CEO Chijioke Dozie.
Through its Visa partnership, OneFi will also offer clients virtual Visa wallets on mobile phones and start providing QR code payment options at supermarkets, on public transit, and across other POS points in Nigeria.
Founded in 2016 by Segun Adeyemi and Maxwell Obi, Amplify secured its first seed investment the same year from Pan-African incubator MEST Africa.
The startup went on to scale as a payments gateway company for merchants and has partnered with banks, who offer its white-label mTransfers social payment product.
Here is a list of other start-ups: