The African tech startup scene has continued to deliver some truly exciting developments since the start of the year and we’ve loved seeing some of the recent wins announced across the continent. In our latest review of the biggest news in the ecosystem, we look at some of the stories that had everyone talking in the last month. We also include news you may have missed, spotlighting some of the smaller deals that are also exciting because of the sheer innovation on offer by the startups.
Flutterwave, an African unicorn connecting businesses with payment solutions
Africans truly hold the key to solving some of the development challenges faced on the continent and the current crop of founders definitively demonstrate that with the right backing, the numerous ideas locked in African minds can be brought to life.
Just a week into March, one of the biggest success stories in African innovation, Flutterwave, had us all cheering wildly with the news of its $170m Series C fundraise, which has now brought the company’s total valuation to over a billion dollars. Globally, 1,387 companies have evolved into unicorns since the term was coined, and only three of these have been from Africa - Interswitch, Jumia, and Flutterwave. The continent lags way behind in the level of investment poured into startups globally and despite this, Flutterwave’s incredible success not only sets a benchmark, it also demonstrates to international investors that African innovations are commercially viable on a global scale.
Not satisfied with becoming Africa’s newest unicorn, Flutterwave then announced that it had secured a partnership with Paypal to widen e-commerce payments for Africa’s many retailers. Paypal is used worldwide but to date hadn’t been an option on African ecommerce platforms. This has been a huge hinderane for businesses who sell internationally.
Through this partnership, African businesses can now connect with the more than 377 million PayPal accounts globally and overcome the challenges presented by the highly fragmented and complex payment and banking infrastructure on the continent.
African startups backed by Y Combinator
Some of the most successful companies in the world such as Stripe and Airbnb were first put through their paces at Y Combinator. The platform doesn't just offer a guaranteed seed funding of $125,000 but also offers access to a wide range of mentors in different fields, investors, resources and a large network of Y Combinator alumni. Most African startups believe that being a Y Combinator alumni makes it easier to progress to accessing funding from international VCs, to enable rapid growth and expansion. At least this has been true for Flutterwave, and Paystack who was acquired by global payments platform, Stripe earlier this year.
In March, it was announced that 10 startups from Africa were present at Y Combinator’s demo day to pitch their startups to investors. This is a small fraction of the cohort of 319 startups from 41 countries, looking to etch their names in the history books as the latest global success story. We wish each of them the very best!
Here is round up of other news stories from the continent in March:
What else are we reading:
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