Kenyan tech start-ups raise billions from foreign investors

Kenyan tech start-ups attracted more funding from international investors compared to peers in the sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, a new report shows.

Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa remain the most popular investment destinations, accounting for 76 per cent of total funds raised by start-ups in the region. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa remain the most popular investment destinations, accounting for 76 per cent of total funds raised by start-ups in the region.

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Kenyan tech start-ups attracted more funding from international investors compared to peers in the sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, a new report shows.

The country’s 27 tech firms received a total of Sh14.7 billion ($147 million) and were only surpassed by South Africa, which received Sh16.79 billion ($167.9 billion) for its 42 start-ups.

The latest report on mobile economy in sub-Saharan Africa by Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA) said there were 355 active tech hubs across sub-Saharan Africa and nearly half of them are in four countries — South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

“Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa remained the most popular investment destinations, accounting for 76 per cent of total funds raised by start-ups in the region,” the report stated.

However, the report said there was a downward trend in the combined share of investments for the three markets, from more than 80 per cent in 2015 and 2016, which shows growing investor appetite for other markets particularly Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda.

This year has already seen a number of high-profile funding, including a Sh350 million ($3.5 million) investment in a Nairobi-based customer feedback platform mSurvey to fund its expansion into Nigeria and South Africa.

Also, local mobile solutions start-up Africa’s Talking raised Sh860 million ($8.6 million) through a series A funding, led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), alongside Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital.

Last year, 124 tech start-ups across Africa raised a total of $560 million (Sh56 billion), a 53 per cent increase over the previous year.

Of this, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about $515 million (Sh51.5 billion) in more than 100 deals.

The report said the range of tech start-ups funded as well as the growing size of deals reflect the accelerating development of the ecosystem.

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