THE YCEO: Here is a List of Africa’s Hottest Startups Who Have Raised More Than US$5M in 2018

The year 2018 has been on a high note for the African startup biological community with the expansion in the quantity of VC’s, angels, corporate, accelerators, assets, and incubators keen on the African startup space.

24 new businesses have raised more than US$5 million in endeavor financing absolutely US$586 million. Moreover, financing exercises in the landmass are as yet focused significantly crosswise over Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa with Egypt startup scene likewise ascending.

Out of the aggregate financing raised for deals above US$5 million, 70% of this has been raised by 7 new companies.

Today we take a look at the startups that have pulled in more than US$5 million in subsidizing in 2018.

***“Startup is a state of mind,” – Adora Cheung, Co-founder and CEO of Homejoy.



#1 Webuycars
Year Founded: 2001
Country: South Africa
Founder/CEO: Faan and Dirk van der Walt
Industry: E-Commerce
Funding in 2018: US$94M
Funding Stage: Unknown
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: OLX Group (Naspers)

Webuycars is a used car marketplace in South Africa offering a specialized car buying services to sellers.

#2 Off-Grid Electric (Zola Electric)
Year Founded: 2012
Country: Tanzania
Founder/CEO: Xavier Helgesen, Joshua Pierce
Industry: Energy
Funding in 2018: US$75M
Funding Stage: Series D
Funding Type: Debt Financing
Investors: Helios Investment Partners LLP, GE Ventures, SunFunder

Off Grid Electric (Zola Electric) designs renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology and distributes using PAYGo micro-finance leasing and mobile money payments. To date, the company has powered more than 180,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana.

#3 Branch International
Year Founded: 2015
Country: Kenya / USA
Founder/CEO: Matt Flannery, Daniel Jung
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$70.3M
Funding Stage: Series B
Funding Type: Debt, Equity
Investors: Trinity Ventures, Victory Park, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, Commercial Paper(Barium Capital)

Branch uses data science approach to determine creditworthiness via customers’ smartphones enabling a fair, secure and convenient path for customers to build capital and save for the future.

#4 JUMO
Year Founded: 2014
Country: South Africa
Founder/CEO: Andrew Watkins-Ball
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$55M
Funding Stage: Unknown
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Proparco, Goldman Sachs, Finnfund, Vostok Emerging Finance, Gemcorp Capital, and LeapFrog Investments

JUMO provides financial infrastructure and products designed to reach part of the population underserved or excluded from the traditional financial services.

Since its launch in 2014, more than 9 million people have saved or borrowed on the JUMO platform, with nearly 70% of these being micro and small business owners processing over USD$700 million in loans on its platform and managing over 25 million customer interactions per month.

#5 Cellulant
Year Founded: 2004
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Bolaji Akinboro, Ken Njoroge
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$47.5M
Funding Stage: Series C
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: The Rise Fund, Endeavor Catalyst, and Satya Capital

Cellulant’s digital payments platform delivers connected, flexible payment options for consumers and businesses, and works with financial institutions, governments, and mobile network operators to increase transparency and expand their reach in Africa.

Building on a business model that first debuted in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, the company has since expanded its services across 11 African markets serving over 40 million people with roughly 12% of Africa’s mobile consumers using its solutions.

#6 Wakanow
Year Founded: 2008
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Obinna Ekezie
Industry: E-Commerce / Travel
Funding in 2018: US$40M
Funding Stage: Private Equity
Funding Type: Private Equity
Investors: The Carlyle Group

Wakanow is Africa’s one-stop-shop for cheap flights, hotel reservations and airport pickups. As the largest Nigerian travel portal, Wakanow.com continually helps travelers research, plan and purchase trips.

#7 SWVL
Year Founded: 2010
Country: Egypt
Founder/CEO: Mostafa Kandil
Industry: TransportTech
Funding in 2018: US$8M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: BECO Capital, DiGAME, Silicon Badia, Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, Esther Dyson (EDventure Holdings)

Swvl is a premium alternative to public transportation platform that offers fixed rate affordable rides with no surge pricing.

Through an app, one can book affordable, quality, convenient and reliable everyday bus rides.

#8 Twiga Foods
Year Founded: 2014
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Grant Brooke, Peter Njonjo
Industry: E-Commerce / B2B Supply
Funding in 2018: US$17M
Funding Stage: Series B
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: TLcom Capital LLP, International Finance Corporation, Wamda Capital, DOB Equity, 1776 ,Adolph H Lundin

Twiga Foods sources quality produce from thousands of farmers around Kenya, providing them with a ready guaranteed market, and through their mobile-based supply platform, vendors can order fresh and high-quality groceries and vegetables and Twiga reliably deliver to their shops at below market prices.

#9 Yoco
Year Founded: 2015
Country: South Africa
Founder/CEO: Lungisa Matshoba, Bradley Wattrus, Katlego Maphai, Carl Wazen
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$16M
Funding Stage: Series B
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Partech, Orange Digital Ventures, FMO (The Dutch Development Bank), Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund (Quona Capital), Velocity Capital.

Yoco is an African technology company that builds tools and services to help small businesses accept card payments and manage their day to day activities.

The company partners with small businesses by providing payments solution including point of sale software, business intelligence, accounting integrations, and working capital financing.

#10 Mines
Year Founded: 2014
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Ekechi Nwokah, Kunle Olukotun, Adia Sowho
Industry: Fintech /Credit Platform
Funding in 2018: US$13M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: The Rise Fund, X /Seed Capital Partners, Western Technology Investment, Velocity Capital Private Equity, Trans Sahara Investment Corporation, Singularity Investments, Nyca Partners, First Ally Capital

Mines offers a digital Credit-as-a-Service platform to domestic banks, mobile operators, retailers, and payment processors in emerging markets. It is the leading provider of consumer credit in Nigeria and counts mobile operators Airtel and 9mobile and payment processors Interswitch and NIBSS, and several banks, amongst its key partners.

#11 Vezeeta
Year Founded: 2012
Country: Egypt
Founder/CEO: Ahmed Badr, Amir Barsoum
Industry: e-health
Funding in 2018: US$12M
Funding Stage: Series C
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Saudi Technology Ventures, BECO Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Silicon Badia, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures (UAE)

Vezeeta is a digital healthcare booking platform and practice management software in MENA. Patients are able to search, compare, and book the best doctors in just 2 minutes. The company is pioneering the shift to an automated physician, clinic, and hospital bookings making healthcare easily accessible across the region.



#12 M-Kopa
Year Founded: 2011
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Jesse Moore, Chad Larson, Nick Hughes
Industry: Energy / On Demand
Funding in 2018: US$10M
Funding Stage: Unknown
Funding Type: Equity
Investors:  FinDev Canada, CDC, Generation Investment Management, LGT Venture Philanthropy

M-Kopa provides pay-as-you-go” energy services for off-grid customers across emerging markets.

Through its proprietary, patented technology platform that combines embedded GSM + mobile payments, the company had already connected 600,000 homes across Africa, providing 75 million hours of kerosene-free lighting each month with its battery-powered systems that come with lights, phone-charging, and a solar-powered radio.

#13 Paga
Year Founded: 2009
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Tayo Oviosu, Jay Alabraba
Industry: Fintech / Payments
Funding in 2018: US$10M
Funding Stage: Series B2
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Global Innovation Fund, Goodwell, Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Unreasonable Capital

Paga has built a digital payment ecosystem that enables people to digitally send and receive money, and creating simple financial access for everyone through their mobile phones on both Android, iOS and USSD. The company makes money on merchant payments, bank to bank transfers, and selling airtime and data.

It is the leading mobile payment company in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.

#14 Flutterwave
Year Founded: 2009
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$10M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, Raba Capital

Flutterwave provides technology, infrastructure and services to enable global merchants, payment service providers and Pan African banks accept and process payments on any channel.

Its solution enables banks and merchants to replace multiple payment integrations with one simple API, which enables processing of any form of payment anywhere in Africa.

#15 Africa’s Talking
Year Founded: 2010
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Samuel Gikandi, Eston Kimani
Industry: I.T / Developer APIs
Funding in 2018: US$8.5M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: IFC Venture Capital Group, Orange Digital Ventures, Social Capital

Africa’s Talking is a mobile solutions firm integrating reliable two-way SMS, voice, and USSD functionality across mobile providers in Africa.

The firm offers bulk SMS, shortcodes, and premium SMS, USSD, MMS, and customized mobile messaging solutions for individuals, businesses, and developers.

#16 Paystack
Year Founded: 2015
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Shola Akinlade, Ezra Olubi
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$8M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Stripe, Visa, Tencent Holdings, Y Combinator

Paystack provides a payment platform for businesses in Africa by making it easy for businesses to accept secure payments from multiple local and global payment channels, and then provide tools to help them retain existing customers and acquire new ones.

#17 Kobo360
Year Founded: 2017
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Ife Oyedele ll, Obi Ozor
Industry: Logistics / On-Demand
Funding in 2018: US$7.2M
Funding Stage: Seed
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Western Technology Investment, Verod Capital Management, International Finance Corporation, Silicon Valley investors WTI, Y Combinator, and African institutional investors Cardinal Stone Partners, Chandaria Capital, and Tlcom

Kobo360 is an on-demand logistics platform that allows SME’s to easily access a large pool of trucks with real-time tracking at affordable and flexible rates. Drivers conveniently find loads they want, are paid instantly and get reverse goods.

The extensive data gathered through the Kobo platform provides integral insights into driving efficiency to supply chain operations of medium and large enterprises.

#18 SureRemit
Year Founded: 2017
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Adeoye Ojo
Industry: Fintech / Cryptocurrency
Funding in 2018: US$7M
Funding Stage: Unknown
Funding Type: Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
Investors: Hashed

SureRemit is a non-cash remittance platform using blockchain technology to help immigrants earmark and send funds home.

SureRemit leverages on the merchant network of SureGifts and her global partners, to enable immigrants to send e-vouchers that can be used to purchase goods and services at several quality merchants and pay bills globally.

Read: SA Fintech JUMO Closes USD$52M Funding Round Led By Goldman Sachs To Drive Expansion

#19 Lidya
Year Founded: 2016
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Tunde Kehinde, Ercin Eksin
Industry: Fintech
Funding in 2018: US$6.9M
Funding Stage: Series A
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Omidyar Network, Alitheia Capital (via the Umunthu Fund), Bamboo Capital Partners, Tekton Ventures, Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital

A leading platform for small & medium business lending in emerging markets, Lidya uses mobile-first technology, fantastic customer experience, and proprietary credit scoring algorithms to help African businesses and individuals open an account online in 15 minutes, manage funds, and access credit needed to grow their businesses and plan their futures.

#20 Lori Systems
Year Founded: 2016
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Josh Sandler, Jean-Claude Homawoo
Industry: Logistics
Funding in 2018: US$6.2M
Funding Stage: Seed
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: FJ Labs

Lori Systems is a startup building the cutting-edge logistics infrastructure for trucking in Africa. The startup is tackling a massive issue – $180 billion is spent annually on haulage across Africa, which means that up to 75% of a product’s cost is due to logistics (compared to 6% in the US).

Lori’s tech-enabled and operations-driven marketplace efficiently connects transport to cargo. The supply chain management system brings transparency and has pushed significantly improved flexibility, reliability, and cost savings (savings upwards of 18%).

#21 BasharSoft (Wuzzuf)
Year Founded: 2009
Country: Egypt
Founder/CEO: Ameer Sherif
Industry: Online Recruitment
Funding in 2018: US$6M
Funding Stage: Series B
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD), Vostok New Ventures, Endure Capital, Kingsway Capital

Wuzzuf is an online Jobs Site in Egypt serving more than 300,000 job seekers each month and more than 3,500 of Egypt’s top employers actively posting jobs and searching for talent.

#22 Wefarm
Year Founded: 2015
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Kenny Ewan
Industry: AgriTech
Funding in 2018: US$5M
Funding Stage: Seed
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: True Ventures, Skype, WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg, Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan, LocalGlobe, Accelerated Digital Ventures, Atomico Founder Niklas Zennström, Norrsken Foundation.

Wefarm is the world’s largest digital farmer-to-farmer network that allows  small-scale farmers to connect with one another to solve problems, share ideas and spread innovation through online and over SMS

Wefarm helps farmers produce a higher quality product, increase yields, gain insight into marketing pricing, tackle the effects of climate change, source the best seeds, fertilizer, and loans, diversify agricultural interests, and much more.

#23 Terragon Group
Year Founded: 2009
Country: Nigeria
Founder/CEO: Elo Umeh
Industry: Marketing / Analytics
Funding in 2018: US$5M
Funding Stage: Unknown
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: TLcom Capital LLP

Terragon Group is a data and marketing technology business that unlocks value for businesses using insight to reach the mobile audience in Africa.

Terragon creates and strengthens the connections that bonds people to brands by delivering services and solutions borne out of our 6 core business capabilities- Digital Solutions for Business Transformation, Consumer Access, Data and Intelligence, Mobile Payments, Digital Content Management, and Technology to our clients.

#24 Bitpesa
Year Founded: 2013
Country: Kenya
Founder/CEO: Amy Ludlum, Charlene Chen, Elizabeth Rossiello
Industry: Fintech, Bitcoin, Financial Exchanges
Funding in 2018: US$5M
Funding Stage: Series B
Funding Type: Equity
Investors: Sompo Holdings

BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform that leverages blockchain settlement for fast, cost-effective payments to and from Africa.

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