African Startup Inflows Seen Hitting Record $5 Billion This Year

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Fund raising by African startups is set to reach $5 billion in 2021, a higher amount than the figure raised in the previous three years combined, according to an industry forecast.

A few more deals before the end of the year will increase inflows from about $4.8 billion currently, said Dario Giuliani, a director at Briter Bridges Intelligence, a London-based company that tracks investments into African startups. 

The jump partly reflects greater interest in Africa from investors in the U.S. and China as well as institutional bankers, according to Nina Triantis, global telecoms and media head at Standard Bank Plc, who spoke at the Africa Tech Summit in London this week. 

“We are seeing the coming of age of the ecosystem, it is really a function of time,” said Kola Aina, an investor with Lagos, Nigeria-based Ventures Platform, speaking at the conference. 

The increased inflows, partly due to investor interest in financial-technology businesses in Africa, helped deliver at least four so-called unicorns, companies worth more than $1 billion, in Africa this year. They include Andela, Flutterwave and OPay.

However, it still remained harder for women to sign financing deals, said Odunayo Eweninyi, a co-founder of Nigerian startup PiggyVest.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.