Capital Markets

Kenya start-ups raise Sh669bn in a decade


Kenyan start-ups have attracted venture capital funding in excess of $4.5 billion. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Kenyan start-ups have attracted venture capital funding in excess of $4.5 billion (Sh669 billion) in the past decade, led by fintech, clean technology, health and agriculture sectors.

Investment statistics compiled by the East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA), advisory firm I&M Burbidge Capital and research and intelligence firm Briter Bridges show that the disclosed value of VC investments in East Africa between 2013 and June this year stood at $5.5 billion (Sh806.6 billion).

Read: Puzzle of Kenyan startups in trouble after Sh34bn funding

Kenya accounts for more than two-thirds of the investments, mirroring its lead in attracting private equity finance due to a diversified economy and ample supply of quality skills.

“Within this panorama, Kenya emerges as a frontrunner, boasting a commanding lead in deal volumes at surpassing the $4 billion mark. This significant figure loosely equates to a staggering 83 percent of the cumulative totals within the region,” said EAVCA in its report, The Evolution of Private Capital in East Africa.

“From a volumetric standpoint within the sectors, there exists an equilibrium between fintech and cleantech, with both sectors accounting for nearly equal portions of investment activity. Health and agriculture sectors trail closely behind.”

On exits, the majority of VC investors prefer mergers and acquisitions, with an average timeframe of seven years before a company is sold.

“Within this framework, East Africa has seen over 24 publicly disclosed M&A transactions, overwhelmingly comprising acquisitions, which collectively contribute to a disclosed transaction value exceeding $830 million (Sh121.7 billion),” said EAVCA.

Read: Kenya fintech startups bag Sh25bn in funding

While the heavy investment in start-ups in the country reflects investors' optimism, there has been concern after several start-ups recently fell into financial difficulties.

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