• AfricArena

These African startups have raised more than $150m in the last 3 years. What is their common point?



Amidst the difficult times facing the world, it is progressive to acknowledge advances made, wherever they may be. AfricArena is proud to present its list of African tech startups that have raised funding during and/or after their AfricArena pitch. Going into its fourth year, AfricArena has the privilege of operating in three key spheres that underpin Africa’s economic landscape. These being: tech startups, corporations, and investors (i.e. angel investors, VCs, CVCs and other institutional investors). Through open innovation challenges, in partnership with corporations, we aim to bring together these 3 spheres, to foster co-investment and collaboration that can move the economies and people of the continent forward.


Among the startups that have raised, around 75% of the funding went to startups raising Series B or plus. In a continent where 95% of its pre-series A startups are either non-funded or under-funded, this observation agrees with the point we were raising a few weeks ago through our weekly infographic. A breakdown by country shows us that the 3 leaders are in accordance with the different funding reports which put Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as the recipients of more than 75% of the VC funding in Africa.




AfricArena collaborates with corporations to launch and run “open innovation challenges” — whereby African-based startups are given the opportunity to present their innovative solutions to the corporate in response to their needs. Through its network of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and innovation hubs, AfricArena scours the continent to find suitable candidates who then apply on an online portal. The hundreds of applications are screened by the AA team and its partners validate their business model and fit for the challenge, after which 3 are selected as finalists and are invited to pitch at the AfricArena Summit in Cape Town. Normally one startup is selected by the corporate for a partnership — whether it be staging a proof of concept, incubation, an outsourced service, or general mentor-ship, among other things.


To date, AfricArena has deployed 30 open innovation challenges with these corporations: Air France KLM Group, Sanofi, Vinci Energies, Engie, BNP Paribas, RCS, Schneider Electric, Leroy Merlin, Saint-Gobain, Old Mutual, Fantom Foundation, and the SA SME Fund. Here are some of the challenges:



The challenges attracted hundreds of applications from across Africa and hundreds have pitched throughout our annual Summits and Tour events across Africa. Open innovation has been an ongoing trend among corporations seeking “outside” solutions. At the same time, open innovation has provided a few startups the opportunity to gain market access (and sometimes capital) through the pipeline of the corporate. It is no secret that capital access is what keeps many young businesses from reaching their full potential. With this in mind, AfricArena traced the funding developments made by our alumni of startups that have showcased at our annual Summit.


Consideration for the list is exclusive to companies registered and/or operating in Africa and have pitched at any of the AfricArena conferences between 2017 and 2019 (for any challenge, may it be an open innovation challenge with a corporate, or more general categories of challenges). Lastly, consideration is given to companies that raised either during the course of the Summit or afterwards. By no means does this initiative aim to take credit for the successes of these ventures, nor discredit the validity of past participants who do not appear. Rather, we wish to re-emphasise the incredible talent inherent in this continent and the incredible things that can be achieved through co-investment and collaboration.


Here is the full list of our alumni that have received funding: READ NOW.

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