In 2016, the continent’s start-ups attracted $ 367 million, a 33% increase from 2015, according to investment fund Partech Ventures.
More and more courted by investment funds, African digital nuggets are reaching a new stage. Attracted by the media “hype” around “African tech”, international investors are now actively engaged in financing start-ups on the continent, according to data released by the venture capital fund Partech Ventures, based in France, the United States and Germany.
According to Partech, 77 African start-ups raised $ 366.8 million from investors in 2016, a net increase of 33% from 2015 ($ 276 million). To establish these figures, Partech Ventures only used fundraising above $ 200,000, investments below this floor being difficult to track. Partech Ventures also believes that as soon as a start-up innovates and creates value in the African market, it must be considered African even if its head office is located outside the continent. The investment fund cites the example of Flutterwave, a pan-African payment solution founded by a Nigerian entrepreneur, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, but headquartered in the United States.
Lagos, Cape Town and Nairobi by locomotives
A great leap forward, firstly driven by Nigeria, whose technology companies attracted $ 109 million in 2016. We now speak of a “Yabacon Valley”, around the Yaba district, in the suburbs of Lagos, where start-up incubators are concentrated. After Nigeria comes South Africa, which received $ 96.7 million in 28 fundraising events. Kenya, for its part, climbed to third place on the African podium, with $ 92.7 million raised by 21 start-ups from “Silicon Savannah”.
Capital raised by country
“These three leading countries still attract the vast majority of tech investment to the continent. The other countries, which are engaged in an equally structuring digital innovation, remain under-represented and therefore constitute a still untapped opportunity for investors, ”explains Cyril Collon, general partner at Partech Ventures and co-author of the study alongside by Tidjane Deme, former director of Google in French-speaking Africa and also general partner within the same fund since 2016.
Lagging behind the three big English-speaking brothers, French-speaking Africa is nonetheless starting to appear on the radar of investors. Cyril Collon: “five French-speaking countries (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Tunisia, Morocco) attracted more than 10% of total investment in 2016, or $ 37 million against only 2% in 2015 (6 million dollars). This reinforces our conviction that this part of the African ecosystem is also called upon to produce its champions in the years to come “.
Key sectors: finance and energy
As for sectoral trends, African “Fintech” (contraction of financial technology) seem to be experiencing their heyday, with 19% of investment flows recorded in 2016. Far, very far ahead of the “Edtech” sector (digital technology at the service of education), with 8% of flows recorded, and even further ahead of the “HealthTech” sector (only 2.5%).
But the real surprise comes from the so-called “off-grid” sector, where innovations combining solar and digital energy are multiplying, with an investment volume representing 36.6% of the continent’s total fundraising. . A boom that can be explained by the rise of applications that democratize access to energy. This is the triumph of agile solutions called “pay as-you-go” (the user only pays for the amount of energy he consumes day to day), offered to their customers by M-Kopa in Kenya, MobiSol in Rwanda or Arnergy in Nigeria. Their growing success is thrilling investors looking for new disruptive models that can be transposed to other emerging regions facing the same energy access issues, such as Asia.
Samir Abdelkrim, entrepreneur and consultant with StartupBRICS. com, a blog on innovation in emerging countries, is a columnist for Le Monde Afrique. Since 2014, he has traveled around twenty African start-up ecosystems with #TECHAfrique.
Samir Abdelkrimchroniqueur Le Monde Afrique
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