Kenyan VC-Funded Startups 2021- Market Map

Published 25 January 2023
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Kenya is considered a major tech hub in Africa and has long attracted investor interest. The East African nation’s economy boasts one of Africa’s highest GDPs with an estimated $106.4 billion USD in 2021, according to Statista. Does the same reflect in the VC funding going towards start-ups in 2021?

In 2021, Kenyan start-ups secured $369.6 million USD over 67 disclosed funding rounds (excluding grants, prizes, and non-equity fundraises). This amounts to 7% of Africa’s total funding in 2021, which was $4.76 billion USD and 9% of the 493 disclosed funding rounds.

To compare with the other tech hubs, Nigerian start-ups secured over $1.8 billion USD over 118 disclosed funding rounds which is 38% of the total amount and 23% of the total African funding rounds.

South African technology companies also closed over $1 billion USD over 94 funding rounds, which represents 22% of the funding amount and 19% of the total disclosed rounds in Africa.

The North African tech hub, Egypt, secured $464.1 million USD in VC funding, over 101 funding rounds; 9.7% of the African total amount and 20% of the total disclosed funding rounds.

Fig 1. Market map of VC-backed Kenyan start-ups in 2021

Unlike the trend in Africa in 2021, and the years prior, FinTech was not the most dominant sector in Kenya’s VC-backed landscape, by amount. Agriculture start-ups attracted the lion’s share of VC funding in terms of amount, with AgTech start-ups in Kenya closing $147.1 million USD in funding (39.7%) over 6 funding rounds.

The next most popular sector was energy and utilities with $90.8 million USD closed over 6 funding rounds. Solar energy appears to best appeal to VC investors as 5 of the 4 of the 5 CleanTech companies that secured funding provided solar energy solutions; SunFunderd.LightSolarise Africa and Pawame.


In terms of funding rounds, however, FinTech start-ups did secure the most rounds (15) although that only amounted to 5% of the total amount raised by Kenyan technology companies, at $18.9 million USD.

Other sectors of note are Healthcare in which the technology start-ups raised $1.6 million USD over 4 rounds, and e-commerce, where the companies closed 6.73 million USD over 9 funding rounds.

The majority of the funding was early-stage, with 41 of the 67 disclosed rounds (61%) in Kenya being either Pre-seed, seed or pre-Series A funding rounds.

What trends do you hope to see in 2022?