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Nearly 70% Forecast the Value of Start-ups in Africa Will More Than Double in Five Years

African business leaders are predicting a boom in start-up businesses across the continent as the number of working-age people launching new firms expands,  new research for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.

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African business leaders are predicting a boom in start-up businesses across the continent as the number of working-age people launching new firms expands,  new research for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.

Start-ups across the continent are currently valued at around $7.6 billion – around 0.2% of the total $3.8 trillion value of start-ups globally** – but nearly seven out of 10 (69%) of senior African business executives believe that will more than double in the next five years.

The rise in the predicted value of start-ups will be driven by growth in the numbers of people starting companies, the study with African business leaders from companies with combined annual revenues of more than $6.75 billion found.

Before the pandemic around 22% of working age adults on the African continent started new businesses***. But the research among senior executives based in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania found they expect that number to grow.

More than two out of five (43%) business leaders believe around a quarter of working age adults will have started their own businesses within five years. Almost all (97%) questioned expect the rate to increase from the pre-pandemic 22%.

Business leaders worry new business creation could be blocked by cumbersome regulations and a lack of digital skills due to poor internet connectivity seen as the biggest issues ahead of limited funding and fragmented markets.

They are hopeful about improvements – 70% expect the regulatory issue to become less of a problem over five years while 60% believe the digital skills gap on the continent will close.

World Mobile is aiming to revolutionise internet connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa which is essential to improving digital skills.  It is already working with the government in Zanzibar where it is launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by low altitude platform balloons.

Its blockchain-based network vastly reduces capital expenditure and cuts prices compared to traditional telecom operators and World Mobile is in discussions to expand in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “The numbers of Africans starting their own businesses pre-pandemic was already very impressive and it is interesting to see that senior business leaders across the continent expect even more expansion.

“More than doubling the value of start-ups on the continent over the next five years will have a major impact on employment and standards of living and governments are working hard to make this happen by removing regulation and addressing the digital skills gap.

“We are focused on providing affordable and reliable internet connectivity and in addition we are going to work with governments to support projects such as providing free, unlimited internet access to schools across Zanzibar.”

World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.

The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application of its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigeria Leads African Startup Funding with $160 Million in First Quarter

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Despite challenges in the global economy and a slowdown in funding across Africa, Nigerian startups have demonstrated resilience by securing $160 million in funding during the first quarter of this year.

This shows Nigeria’s position as a key player in the continent’s vibrant startup ecosystem and highlights the potential for continued growth and innovation in the Nigerian tech sector.

A new report by Africa: the Big Deal noted that Nigeria, alongside Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt, accounted for 87 percent of all startup investments in Africa during this period.

The breakdown of funding among these four countries showed Nigeria leading the pack with $160 million, followed by Kenya with $108 million, South Africa with $72 million, and Egypt with $53 million.

This data underscores Nigeria’s dominance in attracting investment within the African startup landscape, cementing its status as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.

According to the report, the majority of investments were channeled to startups headquartered in these four countries, with Nigeria and Kenya capturing the lion’s share of funding.

Only a handful of other African nations managed to secure more than $5 million in funding during the first quarter, highlighting the concentrated nature of startup investment activity in Africa.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainties, African startups have continued to demonstrate resilience and adaptability. Many entrepreneurs have innovated and created new business models to navigate the evolving landscape, driving growth and attracting investor interest.

Prashant Matta, SP of Panache Venture, acknowledged the decline in funding as a global issue exacerbated by economic challenges. However, he expressed optimism about Nigerian startups, citing mega-deals such as the $100 million investment into Nigerian mobility fintech startup Moove. These mega-deals, fueled by investments from outside Africa, show the confidence of international investors in the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

The report highlighted that the logistics and transport sector emerged as the top recipient of funding in the first quarter, totaling $151 million from 14 deals. Nigerian startup Moove raised a significant $110 million during this period.

Following closely behind, fintech attracted the second-highest funding with $105 million, followed by agric and food with $50 million, energy with $49 million, and healthcare with $45 million. These sectors reflect the diverse range of opportunities and innovations driving growth in the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

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African Healthtech Shows Resilience with Mere 2% Decline in Funding While Broader Tech Ecosystem Plunges in 2023

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Healthcare consulting firm Salient Advisory has launched its latest Intelligence Report, presenting findings on funding activity, covering grant, equity, and debt investments for African healthtech startups in 2023.

Titled “2023 RoundUp: Investments in African HealthTech”, the report provides analysis on funding trends in African healthtech ecosystems.

It provides insights for key stakeholders across governments, investors, donors and global health institutions, and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

While investments in African startups plummeted last year, mirroring global trends, healthtech showed resilience, experiencing only a 2% dip compared to a staggering 39% decline in the broader ecosystem.

The number of deals in African healthtech rose by 17% year-over-year (YoY) to 145, with total funding of $167 million and an average ticket size of $1.1 million. In total, 114 innovators received funding in 2023, with 23 receiving multiple investments in the year.

The number of deals for women-led companies remained relatively steady (26 in 2022 vs. 33 in 2023), however, the amount of funding saw a dramatic shift as the gender gaps significantly narrowed: women-led companies secured $52 million in funding –31% of all investments in 2023. This represents a 2000% YoY increase compared to the $2 million (1.4%) they received in 2022.

Online pharmacy solutions attracted the majority of investor capital, capturing 38% ($63 million) of all funding raised, driven by Series B funding rounds by Kenya’s Kasha ($21 million) and MyDAWA ($20 million), alongside Egypt’s Yodawy ($16 million).

Electronic medical records solutions were the second-best funded category, driven by Helium Health’s $30 million Series B funding round.

Equity investments accounted for 91% of total funding with an average deal size of $3.2 million. This significantly outpaced grants, which only contributed 7% of capital with an average ticket size of $168,000.

However, grants continue to play a crucial role in enabling access to early-stage funding for innovators to test and validate their business models. Debt funding remains rare as only one debt-based investment was tracked in 2023.

While still rare, merger and acquisition activity doubled in the past year with four key transactions. The prospect of future funding also appears strong as, despite broader economic headwinds which suggest a slowdown in funding for technology startups, over $600 million in new funding was announced by investors with an interest in African health systems.

Speaking on the launch of the report, Yomi Kazeem, Engagement Manager at Salient Advisory, commented:

“The resilience of African healthtech innovations shines through in the findings of this report. Amid difficult headwinds, these innovations continue to demonstrate commercially viable models that have the potential to improve access to healthcare and deliver impact at scale. The increased funding for women founders is a high point and, in coming years, investors must prioritise sustaining strategies that ensure equitable funding across founders.

Dr. Analía Porrás, Deputy Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also commented: “African healthtech has proven resilient over the past year, with innovators receiving investments to test, validate and scale solutions that have the potential to transform health systems across the continent. We are pleased to be playing a role by providing innovators with risk-tolerant capital through the Investing in Innovation program and hope to see the current resilience translate into increased confidence and funding from investors and donors.”

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Nigeria Loses Startup Investment Crown to Kenya as Foreign Investments Plunge by 65.83%

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Nigeria has lost its coveted crown as the top destination for startup investments to Kenya, according to the latest report ‘Africa: The Big Deal’.

Foreign investments in Nigerian startups declined by 65.83% year-on-year from $1.2 billion in 2022 to $410 million in 2023.

During the same period, Kenya raised $800 million to emerge top destination for investments in Africa while Nigeria dropped to the fourth position in terms of total startup investments.

However, the Big Four African nations, including Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria, continued to dominate the startup funding scene in 2023 and attracted 87% of the total foreign investments on the continent.

The report highlights Nigeria’s pivotal role in this shift, noting that while the country still boasted the highest number of startups raising $100,000 or more (146, constituting 29% of the continent), the total funding amount experienced a drastic threefold decrease year-on-year.

The research firm observed that “Nigeria is the country where the most dramatic change happened in 2023.”

Despite maintaining a high number of startups, the total funding for Nigerian startups plummeted to $410 million, compared to $1.2 billion in 2022 and $1.7 billion in 2021.

Consequently, Nigeria’s share of Western African funding declined to 68%, down from 85% in 2021 and 77% in 2022.

This decline in startup investments emphasizes the changing dynamics of Africa’s tech ecosystem with Kenya emerging as a formidable player in the startup funding arena.

As Nigeria grapples with this setback, stakeholders are left pondering the reasons behind this significant shift and exploring avenues to revitalize the country’s startup investment landscape.

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