Out of several global venture capital firms investing in African startups, we curated a list of the 11 ones that are active.
African startups have attracted an impressive amount of funding in the last few years. Rather than wait, African entrepreneurs are using technology to digitise traditional industries in Africa.
In 2021 for the disclosed deals, African startups raised more than $4 billion in funding, which was significantly higher than the amount raised in 2020 ($1.3 billion).
But it’s still day one for the continent. To harness the tremendous opportunities of the world’s fastest-growing population, there need to be an intersection of technology, talent and capital.
Foreign investments have played a huge part in the funding African startups have raised since 2015. And it’s not slowing down soon as more foreign investors consider the continent the next hot spot for technology advancement.
Here are 11 global venture capital firms that are investing in African startups. Some of these venture capital firms are sector focused, while others are not. The venture capital firms are Tiger Global, Y Combinator, Flourish Ventures, Owl Ventures, Quona Capital, Polychain Capital, Bamboo Capital Partners, Century Oak Capital, Lightrock, Accenture Ventures and Target Global.
Tiger Global is an investment firm focused on public and private companies in the global Internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries. The New York-based investment firm invests in high-quality companies that benefit from high growth trends and is led by excellent management teams.
Tiger Global was founded in 2011 by Chase Coleman III. Some African startups in its portfolio include; Flutterwave, IRokotv, Float, Cassava, Thndr, Wasoko, Union54 and Jabu.
Y Combinator is an American technology startup accelerator launched in March 2005. The Silicon Valley-based company has invested in more than 95 African startups since 2015 when it invested in its first African startup.
Startups that get admitted into the accelerator program receive an investment of $500,000 on standard terms. However, YC Continuity is the investment fund of the company dedicated to helping founders (both YC alumni and occasionally non-YC companies) scale their companies in subsequent funding rounds. African startups in YC’s portfolio are Paystack, 54Gene, Aella, Anchor, Bamboo, and Chowdeck.
Flourish Ventures invests in entrepreneurs whose innovations help people achieve financial health and prosperity. The investment firm targets startups whose solution is built around consumer and SME lending, Data & Analytics, Debt Management/Personal Finance, Challenger banks, Digitising Money, Regtech and Infrastructure, Insurtech and Ecosystem building.
Flourish Ventures was founded and funded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay in 2019. Some African startups in the investment company’s portfolio include FairMoney, Flutterwave, Paga, and Lidya. Flourish is currently running an Africa-focused pre-seed investment program.
Founded in 2014, Owl Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on the education technology market with over $2 billion in assets under management. The Silicon Valley-based firm invest in companies at all stages from seed, early, growth, and later stages and across all geographies around the world.
Owl Ventures was founded in 2018 by Tory Peterson. The African startup in its portfolio is uLesson.
Quona Capital invests in fintech innovators who are advancing inclusion in emerging markets. Ganesh Rengaswamy, Jonathan Whittle, Miguel Herrera, and Monica Brand Engel founded the investment firm in 2015.
The DC-based firm, which has a total fund size of $203 million, has African startups in its portfolio. Notable among them are Cowrywise, Sokowatch, Capiter, Wasoko and Luleland.
Polychain is an investment firm committed to investing in blockchain technologies and the new digital asset classes. The American investment firm based in San Francisco, California was founded by Olaf Carlson-Wee in 2016.
Polychain Capital participated in the Series B $40M funding round of Pan-African Crypto Exchange, Yellow Card.
Bamboo Capital Partners is an impact investing platform which focuses on startups in emerging markets that are serving the needs of low and middle-income populations, thus catalysing lasting impact. The Luxembourg-based firm targets startups in four sectors – financial inclusion, access to clean energy, access to healthcare and agribusiness.
African startups in the investment platform founded in 2007 by Jean-Philippe de Schrevel include Lidya, Accion Microfinance bank, Kopo Kopo and Pan-African Savings & Loans.
Century Oak Capital is a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage investments in Europe and Emerging Markets. The private investment company based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein focuses on investing in the following verticals: ride-hailing/transportation, fintech, insurtech, AI-based travel tech, food delivery, Q-commerce, healthcare, circular economy, Edtech and others.
Century Oak Capital was founded in 2020 by Andrey Lobanov. African startups in its portfolio includes Alpha Direct, Charger, Finaccess, Kuda, MVX, Payhippo, Trove Finance, and TruID.
Lightrock is a private equity platform that backs purpose-driven entrepreneurs tackling the world’s biggest challenges. The firm invests in startups solving problems in food and agriculture, healthcare, financial services, education, mobility, logistics, renewable energy, and technology sectors.
Lightrock, founded in 2007 by Prince Max von Liechtenstein, is based in London, United Kingdom. Some African startups in its portfolio include M-Kopa, TeamApt, Max, and Ascent.
Accenture Ventures is a venture capital firm that delivers innovative solutions with strategic partnerships and investments. The platform is the corporate venture capital arm of Accenture, based in San Francisco, California.
Founded in 2015, Accenture Venture launched the Black Founders Development Program. The program helps black entrepreneurs grow their enterprise technology businesses through greater access to venture capital, corporate mentorship, and strategic connections with Accenture’s business partners, clients, and people. Okra is an African startup in its portfolio.
Target Global is a technology investment firm that nurtures innovative companies into global success stories. The company provides investment, strategic advice, and practical support from concept through to exit.
Target global was founded in 2012, by Alex Frolov, Mike Lobanov, Yaron Valler, and Shmuel Chafets. The Berlin-based firm focuses on startups in the fintech, healthtech, consumer-enabled SaaS, mobility, and edtech sectors. African startups in its portfolio include Edukoya, Kuda, Kippa, Mono, and Migo.