Angel Investors, Vishal Agarwal an investment banker, and Raj Kulasingam, a corporate lawyer have stated plans to list Africa-focused SPAC targeting only tech startups in the continent.
A report from Bloomberg said the two early-stage investors have been funding African startups since 2017, invested in over 50 startups, and so far made fivefold returns on their investment. They were also part of Acuity Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund with stakes in Flutterwave Inc. and Paystack before the firms attained unicorn status.
Vishal and Raj saw the successful investment strategy of Swvl Inc. a Dubai-based ridesharing company merging with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a blank-check company. The two investors believed that listing an African-focused SPAC will provide funds for startups needing capital to expand operations in the continent.
Vishal affirmed that investors have developed a keen interest in Africa, he said, “as there is more interest in Africa, we want to give founders a route to market. A SPAC gives acceleration to our founders and is overall a good thing for the ecosystem.”
The growing interest in African startups has been asserted by Briter Bridges in the 2021 African Investment Report, which released data showing that African startups secured $4.69 billion in estimated funding in 2021, where the tech companies dominated the space by gulping $2.9 billion or 62 percent of the total funding.
However, data from SPAC research revealed that less than 1 percent of the 600 New York-listed SPACs are African-focused.
The biggest investment success recorded by Vishal and raj was with Kuda Bank, the African challenger bank, where they invested $600,000 and exited with 14.5 fold gain or $8.7 million in 20 months. Kuda Bank, a unicorn startup is valued at $500 million and has so far raised $91.6 million in funding.
Vishal said, “when we do dealmaking, we are influenced not only by being able to get in at the right price, but being able to come out, We are very conscious about that, and it’s not always straightforward to come out.”
Dario Giuliani, director of Briter Bridges said, “2021 was a year of recognition, where the newly-available resources and the increasing number of international investors shifting mandates to include Africa met hundreds of promising entrepreneurs to support”.
Vishal and Raj just like every investor identified a growing economy in Africa and the increasing tech-savvy youth population, but also the lack of financial infrastructure. The duo plans to fill this gap by investing in about 20 African startups this year.
Google To Fund 60 African Start-ups With $4 Million
Google’s Head of Start-up Ecosystem, Africa, Mr Folarin Aiyegbusi has revealed that the company aims to fund 60 African Start-ups with a total of $4 Million. He made the statement during the opening of applications for Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund for Africa.
Following the success of the first cohort, the implementation is said to commence in the second cohort of Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund (BFF).
According to Folarin, Nigeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are all eligible for FF Africa.
While the 13 countries were given priority because of their active tech and start-up ecosystems, he noted that good submissions from other African countries will also be evaluated.
Furthermore, Folarin explained that start-ups that assist the Black community and are based in Africa, as well as those with a diverse founding team, including at least one Black founder, were all considered.
“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovations in underserved areas.
“Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment; that is why we are committed to helping them thrive to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region.
“The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led start-ups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Africa.
“We are hopeful that the support received by the Black founders will enable them to grow their businesses and, in turn, drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities,” he said.
Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitment.
Here are The 23 African Startups for YCombinator W22 Batch
Silicon Valley accelerator programme, Y Combinator has named eight more African startups for its winter 2022 batch – bringing the total number of African Startups for this batch to a total of twenty-three.
The accelerator programme has become an integral aspect of growth for many startups globally. Y Combinator plays an important role in bootstrapping and accelerating many startups in early-stage funding as well as connecting them to various opportunities to scale.
Y Combinator played an important role for a number of startups like Coinbase, Dropbox, Airbnb, e.t.c. The Winter Batch 2022 Demo Day is set to kick off next week and a total of 23 African startups will be present for this season’s round of accelerator programmes.
Y Combinator had early announced a number of startups since January and adding to the list, the eight new startups to join already listed startups are crypto platform Payourse, data-free internet service provider Simplifyd, on-demand clean meat provider Sendme, payments startup Vendy, open-source cloud-native webhook service Convoy, insurtech startup Curacel, and payment API provider Plumter and Sudanese fintech platform Bloom. The first-seven mentioned startups are all originating from Nigeria.
According to the accelerator programme, participants will receive seed funding to accelerate or bootstrap their companies as well as further investment opportunities at the demo day.
Investors King also gathered that the preceding season of the programme, the S21 edition, had only 15 African participants – a record that was higher than previous slots given to African startups. However, with the additional eight, this is another record to score the most slots for African startups.
Here are the 23 African Startups for The W22 Batch
Of the entire 23 startups, 18 are from Nigeria while the remaining five are from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.
Nigeria: Dojah, Moni, Topship, Identitypass, Touch and Pay, EaziPay, Remedial Health, Hay Food, Plumter, Grey Finance, Lenco, Vendy, Sendme, Simplifyd, Payourse, Curacel, Convoy, and Duplo.
Ethiopia: beU Delivery
Investor King also gathered that the accelerator programme has also increased its deal size to US$500,000 from the previous US$125,000 for seven per cent equity it usually invested in the past. However, under its new deal, the Silicon Valley accelerator programme will also invest an additional US$375,000 on an uncapped SAFE with “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) terms.
Five Nigerian Startups Secures €120,000 From Orange Corners Innovation Fund
Five Nigerian Startups will benefit from a fund provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency following their breakthrough at the Orange Corners Innovation Pitch Competition.
The startups will go back to their businesses with €120,000 cumulative capital comprising a 75% grant and 25% loan.
The startup founders emerging winners from this competition include Oyewale Akintonde (founder of Agristi), Anita Dafeta (founder of Origho Lagos) and Israel Alabi, who founded Farmspeak Technology), Victoria Udoh (founder of Vudoh) and Tunder Adeyemi (Founder of D’Olivette Global Enterprise).
The pitch competition is an initiative of the Netherlands that was launched in Nigeria in 2019 and executed by FATE Foundation. The Orange Corners Incubation Programme claims to supports 20 entrepreneurs with enterprise development knowledge, mentoring, access to market, networking and funding every six months.
Investors King gathered that the programme has cumulatively supported over 100 entrepreneurs with funding valued over ₦250,000,000 for prototype development and testing.
The competition which was held in December saw participants assessed by an expert jury consisting of Investment Manager, Orange Corners Innovation Fund, Tolulope Owolabi; Head Commercial Controlling and Financial Planning, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Omitogun Olalekan and Business Development Manager, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ekundayo Adedoyin.
The event was also attended by Oge Nnaife who heads the StartUp and Youth Enterprise FATE Foundation.
Congratulating the emerged winners, Nnaife said: “You are pitching today to access funding to scale up your business, but you must remember that the knowledge received during the six-month Orange Corners Nigeria Incubation programme is invaluable. You must, therefore, ensure that you practicalise your learning as you journey on this road called entrepreneurship. Though the Nigerian business environment is harsh, porous and unfriendly, it is still evolving and we will continue to contribute to ongoing policy conversations to create an enabling environment so that your businesses can thrive and not be stifled. We have designed the Orange Corners Incubation Curriculum in such a practical and experiential way.”
Nigeria continues to be one of the top hubs for technology products targeted at solving everyday issues in Africa. The country alone is responsible for a large position of investment funds in the continent year-in-year-out. Founders are emerging all over the country with brilliant ideas that are tested to solve many issues in the country.
However, one thing that many of these founders lack is funding and investments opportunities and most importantly, little or no involvement by the Nigerian government to show interest or support to scale their ideas. Thankfully, a number of incubator and accelerator programmes have sprung up both locally and internationally to aid these founders not only bootstrap their products but also scale in the startup ecosystem.
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