West Africa VC Funding Market Map – H1 2021

Published 23 August 2021
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VC-funding in West Africa has already got off to a quick start in Q3 2021. Alerzo, a Nigerian start-up digitising informal retail supply chains, just announced a $10.5 million USD Series A funding round. Of the 19 funding rounds in Q3 so far, 12 have been disclosed as 6-figure tickets ranging from seed to Series B funding rounds. 

Total funding across the West Africa region in Q3 2021 has already reached $186 million USD, bringing the total raised in 2021 to $841 million USD. However, while the median amount raised per quarter has almost doubled from $69.2 million USD in 2020 to $129.4 million USD in 2021, the median number of deals per quarter has halved from 39 in 2020 to 19.5 in 2021.  

Figure 1: Median investment per quarter across West African technology companies since 2018

The top 5 funding rounds over H1 2021 West Africa have totalled $392 million USD. FinTech start-ups have dominated these rounds, with Kuda Bank securing the 3rd and 5th biggest raises of $55 million USD and $25 million USD respectively. 

Leading was Flutterwave, securing $170 million USD in a Series C funding round.  The number 2 spot goes to Chipper Cash, raising $100 million USD in a Series A funding round. The fourth was Fair Money, with a $42 million USD Series B funding round. 

Steady growth in 2021

Currently, African technology companies have secured over $2 billion USD across 296 funding rounds.  

Figure 2: Total investment in Africa’s technology companies to date (August 20th 2021)

The proportion of funding rounds secured by West African start-ups has been constant at 27% in 2019 and 2021. The proportion of the deal value has fallen from 35% in 2019 to 24.5% in 2021 (a total of $491 million USD in funding across 82 funding rounds). 

Figure 3: Total investment across West Africa’s technology companies to date (August 20th 2021)

Investment in Q2 2021 dipped both in terms of the total amount raised and the number of funding rounds.  

In Q1 2021, West Africa’s technology start-ups recorded a total of $578 million USD in funding across 58 funding rounds. This fell to $140 million USD in total funding raised across 38 funding rounds. Jumia’s raise of $341.2 million USD in a corporate funding round bolstered the value of deals in Q1. Flutterwave also closed a $170 million USD Series C funding round in March, adding to the number we see in Q1. 

Figure 4: Quarterly investment into West African technology companies since 2018 (Q3 data as of August 20th 2021)

Early-stage funding going strong 

To date, West African technologies have secured a total of $47.9 million USD across 50 early-stage funding rounds in 2021. Comparatively, in 2019, cumulative funding secured by West African technology companies at the Pre-seed or Seed stage equalled $34.1 million USD across 95 funding rounds. 

Figure 5: Proportion of Early-stage funding rounds secured by technology companies per region

Likewise, the proportion of early-stage deal value secured by West African technology start-ups has also risen in H1 2021 relative to the rest of the continent, going from 34.6% in 2019, to 36.9% in 2020.

Figure 6: Proportion of total amount raised across early-stage funding rounds by technology companies per region

A big year for FinTech? 

Across Africa, technology companies in the financial services sector have had more success than most, with an average of 23.17% of all funding rounds going to FinTechs. In 2021 so far, $724.6 million has been secured by Fin Techs over 76 funding rounds. 

Figure 7: Proportion of funding rounds secured by West African technology companies in 2020 and H1 2021 by sector

In the region, the number of funding rounds secured by FinTech companies increased from 31% in 2020 to 35% in 2021. There was a 2% drop across the board for the healthcare sector, transport and logistics and e-commerce and retail companies in 2021 as compared to 2020. The agriculture and education companies maintained 4% of each funding rounds going to West African technology companies from 2020 to 2021. 

What is next for the region? 

Nigeria, being one of the “big 4” tech hubs in Africa, secured 67.5% of all reported* funding rounds in the region in 2021. Ghana came next with 16.2%, followed by Senegal with 7.5% of the deal count in West Africa. 

Figure 8: Number of funding rounds secured by West African countries in 2021

We continue to watch the region and hope to see numbers pick up for more nascent markets in West Africa, like Senegal, which passed a Start-Up Act to develop the technology company landscape late in 2019.