So far, 2018 has been an excellent year for Kenyan start-ups as according to a report by Weetracker, a research and publishing firm, out of the 10 companies to receive the highest amount of capital in Africa, 5 were from Kenya.
The first half of 2018 saw an influx of Sh16.9 billion ($168.6 million) being spread across 120 deals into African start-ups. The record saw a massive increase compared to 2017 where the annual funding mark stood at Sh16.8 billion ($167.7 million). The top 10 list included the following firms; Cellulant, Branch, M-Kopa solar, Africa’s talking, We-farm, SureRemit, Swvl, Lidya, Terragon Group and BasharSoft which got 74% of the total funding – Sh12.4 billion ($123.9 million) out of the total.
Kenya’s Cellulant came out on top as the firm that recorded the highest investment, Sh4.8 billion ($47.5 million). The other Kenyan start-ups were not far off, with Branch getting a funding of Sh2 billion ($20 million), M-Kopa Solar Sh1 billion ($10 million), Africa’s talking Sh853.4 million ($8.5 million) and We-farm receiving Sh501.7 million ($5 million).
In overall, 2018 is looking up for African start-ups as not only has the half-year funding shadowed that of the whole 2017 but has also seen a 3.5times increase in terms of the amount invested. The half-year results of 2017 recorded that only $47.23million had been invested across 72 deals in African start-ups.
According to the Weetracker report, fintech start-ups were still the most popular among investors as they got a majority of the deals, 25, followed by health-tech 13, agritech 10 and e-commerce 9. In terms of countries, Nigeria came out on top as the country with the most deals, with 31 of its start-ups acquiring a piece of the funding. Kenya, Egypt and South Africa were not close behind with each getting 23, 21 and 19 respectively.
However, even though Nigeria saw a large number of its start-ups receiving funding, their total amount of funding only stood at Sh2.95 billion ($29.41 million) while that of Kenya which had a smaller number of start-ups receiving funding was higher standing at S8.32 billion ($82.86 million).
Apart from an increasing investment, the half year also saw the establishment of various funds such as AFDB fund, African Guarantee Fund, Goodwell Investments and A24 media which all have an aim of spurring the development of start-ups in Africa.