MAY 10, 2022

5 min Read

African Tech Weekly Recap: March 21 to March 25, 2022

Welcome to our fourth weekly recap where we share the most important news of the week in the African Tech Ecosystem 🌍 🌾

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🇳🇬 ThriveAgric raises $56.4m debt funding for pan-African expansion

Image from Disrupt Africa

Highlights

  • ThriveAgric, a Nigeria-based agritech company, has raised $56.4 million in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors. The raise also included a co-investment grant of $1.75 million from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment.
  • Founded in 2017 (and fully operational since 2018), ThriveAgric empowers farmers in Nigeria to produce high-quality grains, store harvest in its 450+ warehouses, and sell their products to FMCGs and food processors.
  • The new investment will enable the company to grow its 200,000+ farmer base, and expand into new African markets, including Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya.

Source: Disrupt Africa

Our Takeaways

The global agritech sector is expected to reach nearly $200 billion by 2025. How much value Africa can tap from the vast and dynamic market remains to be seen after an unfortunate string of mishaps involving agric tech companies over the past 2 years, especially in Nigeria where Thrive Agric operates. After pivoting from a crowdfunding model, the startup’s latest fundraising — which follows the $9m it raised in 2020 — attests there’s still much potential to be captured in Africa’s agritech space.

🇰🇪 Softbank, Chan Zuckerberg lead $40m investment in Apollo

Image from Apollo Agriculture

Highlights

  • Kenya-based Apollo Agriculture, which helps farmers access high-quality farm inputs, financing, and markets has secured $40 million in Series B funding in the equity round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2.
  • Launched in 2016, the startup works with a network of agents, who recruit farmers and retailers to its platform, and uses the satellite imagery data of farms and AI to rate the creditworthiness of farmers.
  • After the investment, Apollo plans to double the number of farmers it is serving by the end of 2022 and introduce other products that deliver more value per acre of land.

Source: Bloomberg

Our Takeaways

With the huge strides made by startups like Apollo in Kenya, Africa is fast becoming a global leader in the agritech space. Between 2016 and 2019, the industry grew by 44% year-on-year, and the continent has registered the highest number of agritech services in the developing world reaching more than 30 million smallholder farmers as of 2021.

🇪🇬 Egypt’s Lucky raises $25m to grow its rewards app

Image from MENAbytes

Highlights

  • Egypt-based fintech app Lucky, which also operates in Morocco, has raised $25 million in a Series A round led by the recently-launched fintech VC fund Nclude.
  • Founded in 2018, Lucky is a digital rewards app offering cashback and credit products such as save now pay later. The app allows users to rack up and redeem points for discounts on purchases from over 20,000 local and international brands
  • The company claims to have over 8 million registered users. It plans to use the funds to shore up its credit capabilities and expand its geographical presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Source: Wamda

Our Takeaways

Lucky’s fundraising is Egypt’s largest fintech Series A round so far and with it, the startup is positioned to revolutionize how consumers in the MENA region — where many have not traditionally had access to credit — shop, pay, and save. Per official data, the company has seen 250% year-on-year growth in gross merchandise value (GMV).

🚀 Meaningful Gigs gets $6m to help Africans get remote US jobs

Image from Tech Crunch

Highlights

  • Meaningful Gigs, a go-to marketplace for freelance designers in Africa looking to earn a living by taking on assignments from multinationals in the U.S, recently raised $6 million in seed funding.
  • With the funding, the DC-based startup is set to accelerate its growth by signing up more designers on its platform after raising.
  • In addition, it is planning an aggressive campaign to get at least 100 corporates on board over the next year, from the current 40 (17 being major enterprises) currently using its platform.

Source: AITN

Our Takeaways

Since the coronavirus pandemic began late 2019, the gig economy has been on an upward trajectory. More than two years on and the booming economy is not showing signs of a slowdown, including in Africa. According to research, the sector is expected to reach $455 billion global market value by 2023, double the value in 2018 and a 17% CAGR. As opportunities within this space increases, so do the platforms linking workers with remote jobs.

🇬🇭 Ghanaian diagnostics startup Yemaachi raises $3m seed round

Image from TechHawk

Highlights

  • Ghanaian cancer research and diagnostics company Yemaachi Biotech has closed a $3 million seed round to advance its mission of diversifying precision oncology globally.
  • Founded in 2020, Yemaachi uses cutting-edge immunogenomics, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence to accelerate the development of cancer detection and cure strategies that have high efficacy regardless of ethnicity.
  • Last year, Yemaachi was one of 15 African companies to be selected for the S21 batch of the Y Combinator accelerator and was also recently named a recipient of a $1 million grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Source: Technova GH

Our Takeaways

With significant venture capital funding pouring into the ecosystem, Africa is seeing a boom in the number of startups solving some of the most challenging health problems of the continent. These range from access to medical care, infant and maternal mortality and rapid diagnostics and consistent, convenient monitoring of critical health care needs. Last year, over $4.77 billion was invested in African startups; around $379.6 million of those went to 479 healthcare-focused companies, compared to the $90 million 180 companies received in 2020.

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African Tech Weekly Recap
Chan Zuckerberg
daba
dabafinance
Egypt
Ghana
Lucky
Meaningful Gigs
Nigeria
Softbank
Startups
ThriveAgric
Yemaachi

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