Tenacious and persistent to the very core, Africa’s tech entrepreneurs have pulled yet another smashing year out of the bag, despite the economic fragility impacting the world. If 2021 is anything to go by, the coming 12 months will be filled with startup successes. Here’s our list of 12 African startups to watch; please enjoy the fireworks.
Our list kicks off with Tunisia’s Lamma, which has had a busy ride since launching in 2020. Initially started as a carpooling service, Lamma operates a B2C last mile delivery service, offering delivery within 45 minutes.
The startup took part in the Flat6Labs Tunis accelerator early in 2021, and followed up with funding from Orange Ventures towards the end of the year.
With plans for international expansion – starting with Morocco – we’re looking forward to watching where this venture goes in 2022.
Egyptian e-health startup Bypa-ss closed 2021 with a US$1 million pre-seed round intended to fund a host of product improvements and expansion plans, which makes us excited for the coming year.
Bypa-ss has developed an end-to-end health information exchange (HIE) platform called HealthTag where healthcare professionals and patients are able to securely access medical records stored in a cloud-based database.
With backing from the likes of Magic Fund, Acuity Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures Ventures, and Plug and Play, we’re certain the startup has news to offer in 2022.
Egypt’s Minly has created a quirky offering for the MENA region, allowing users to buy personalised video messages and shoutouts from their favourite celebrities.
Launched in 2020, Minly has experienced rapid organic growth, with more than 50,000 registered users on the platform, along with an impressive list of tier A regional celebrities.
In 2021, the startup closed an oversubscribed US$3.6 million seed round, amid ambitions to extend its products and services to become a full-stack passion economy platform. We can’t wait to see the journey unfold.
Kenyan startup Lami is addressing the lacklustre insurance market across Africa, with its B2B and B2B2C insurance-as-a-service platform. Launched in 2018, Lami enables partner businesses to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API.
It’s been a strong past year for the venture, joining the eighth cohort of Catalyst Fund’s inclusive fintech accelerator, and securing US$1.8 million in seed funding.
With plans to improve its offering, hire more people, and expand to new markets, we’re keeping our eyes on this company in 2022.
Also from Kenya, we’re impressed by Wowzi’s innovative solution for social media influencers. The startup’s self-serve online platform allows brands of any size or industry to create and manage massive, distributed messaging campaigns utilising thousands of real, everyday customers.
In December, Wowzi announced it had raised US$3.2 million across pre-seed and seed funding rounds to help it scale its influencer marketing platform across the continent. And we’re looking forward to seeing it happen.
Rwandan startup Viebeg completes our East African picks, with its data-driven logistics platform helping healthcare providers to better manage procurement.
Launched in 2018, the startup has already established a commercial presence in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), served more than 400 customers, and secured pre-seed funding in 2021 to scale further.
We have a good feeling about this venture, particularly given Africa’s booming e-health space.
South African API fintech startup Stitch has caught our (and investor!) attention in 2021, and we’re betting the next 12 months will be bright for this venture.
The Stitch API allows developers to connect apps to financial accounts within minutes, allowing their users to share their transaction histories and balances, confirm their identities, and initiate payments.
The startup announced a US$4 million seed round in February 2021, but upped the stakes to US$6 million by the end of the year, and announced it was launching in Nigeria. What’s next?
It was hard not to pick this second South African fintech venture for our list. Akiba Digital uses alternative datasets to provide inclusive credit scores that allow lenders to score people and small businesses that cannot be reached by traditional credit bureaus.
Doing such pivotal work, the startup is already growing its revenues by 5X month-on-month, and in 2021 secured US$1.1 million in pre-seed funding to enable it to expand its market share.
And with plans to be in 10+ African markets in two to three years, this is definitely a hot African startup to watch.
Botswana’s insurtech startup AlphaDirect is our third Southern African pick, making it three-out-of-three for the fintech sector (apt, for Southern African entrepreneurs love a good fintech venture). AlphaDirect offers “value-for-money” business and personal insurance products directly to customers.
Although founded in 2014, 2021 was the year AlphaDirect really started to gain in momentum. The startup revealed it had made US$4.8 million in revenues over the preceding year, closed an oversubscribed pre-Series A bridge funding round, trailed a much larger Series A round on the horizon, and set out plans to expand into Zambia and South Africa.
With a solid team behind it, we’re expecting big things from AlphaDirect over the coming year.
Nigerian startup GetEquity launched in 2021 with pre-seed backing from GreenHouse Capital. The startup operates a venture-funding platform connecting startups and investors, with anyone able to buy equity in a listed startup for as little as US$10.
The company aims to democratise access to startup funding, and expand the pie for previously underfunded and underserved startups. And with the six-figure pre-seed funding it has, we think the coming year will be an exciting time for GetEquity as it gets off to a flying start.
Very fresh to the market, Nigerian ed-tech venture Edukoya launched in beta in December, swiftly announcing a US$3.5 million pre-seed funding round to enable it to transition from beta to live in the coming months.
Edukoya connects African students with digital curriculum content and on-demand teachers for real-time online learning. The startup aims to democratise access to high-quality education in Africa.
Backed by Target Global and a host of African and European founder-turned-angels, the funding enables the startup to go live, expand its team, grow its user base and build out further technologies. It’s going to be a big first year for Edukoya.
Ghana’s Jetstream gets the last spot on our list for 2022. Founded in 2018, Jetstream develops digital solutions for cargo owners and logistics providers at the continent’s ports and borders, with the aim of streamlining – and accelerating growth in – cross-border commerce.
It has been an important last year for the startup, having reported over 500 per cent annual revenue growth in March, then pivoted slightly to refocus on logistics aggregation rather than its initial freight-forwarding service. In July, the startup announced an oversubscribed US$3 million debt and equity seed round.
As Africa’s cross-border trade corridors begin to grow in volume under newly enacted free trade initiatives, Jetstream has a busy year ahead.