Report Says African Startups Raised $1M Every Two Hours In 2021

India had eight unicorns in 2018, nine in 2019, and 11 in 2020. Last year, the country celebrated 42. Similarly, it took China five years to reach five unicorns between 2010 and 2015, but then saw 21 unicorns in 2016 – and 91 unicorns in 2019.

While Latin America has followed a similar trajectory, raising $14.8 billion in 2021 – more than it had raised between 2014-2020 combined – and minting nine of the region’s 17 unicorns.

Now Africa, once a continent that was lagging behind in the investment race, is reportedly seeing $1 million raised every two hours. Fueled by a young rapidly urbanizing population, Africa is not only the fastest-growing continent on the planet, it’s the only region on the globe where more women than men choose to become entrepreneurs.

According to a report published by ‘Africa: The Big Deal’s’ Max Cuvellier – startups in Africa have raised over $4.3 billion in 2021 through 818 $100k+ deals.

This is said to be equivalent to an average raise of $1m every 2 hours and 2.5x times the amount that had been raised in 2020. The report states that 30 out of 54 countries recorded at least one $100k+ deal during the year, yet 81% of the funding was raised in one of the ‘Big Four’ (NG, ZA, EG & KE); start-ups in Nigeria alone raised more than $1.5b. 

Nicole Dunn from Founders Factory Africa, said in a Linkedin post that “The Big Deal Africa deal database indicates a growing number of international investors participating in Seed and pre-Series A rounds, and anecdotally at Founders Factory Africa, we’re seeing African startups attract global accelerators, angels, and investors at early stages of traction.

“Lastly, the war for talent will intensify. Any founder in Africa will tell you that talent is hard to find. With demand for technical skills currently exceeding supply, many early-stage startups cannot afford to hire the people they need, or team leads are quickly poached by multinationals and well-funded scale-ups.

“To avoid stunting growth, public and private sector actors must focus on building a robust talent pipeline, and platforms are needed to make cross-country hiring more feasible (a Deel for Africa, please!).

“Investors must develop the networks and capabilities to support portfolio talent acquisition and retention, and help founders nurture junior talent into senior leadership. Without this, momentum will slow, and wealth will continue to exit the continent to global experts and development houses.”

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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