It has been a tough past year in many respects, but the African startup space has shown great strength and tenacity in the face of adversity, and we’ve had a constant stream of positive news stories coming from startups continent-wide throughout 2020.
But who impressed us the most over the past year? Who should you be keeping an eye out for? Well, here are the top six (6) African startups to watch in 2021.
Egypt’s food-delivery startup Ordera hit the ground running with its launch in 2019, promptly getting among 20 companies picked for the Saudi Arabia-based accelerator program run by 500 Startups and Misk Innovation. By mid-2020, Ordera was announcing a six-figure seed funding round to help it expand its team and launch in new cities.
With the startup saying it witnessed an uptick in the number of users and orders as well as the number of restaurants and outlets listed on its platform since the COVID-19 pandemic, Ordera will be one of the big positive news stories emerging from the tribulations of 2020.
With Africans having access to less than 40 percent of the world’s top 10 dating apps, Nigeria’s Vybe has decided to take matters into their own hands, launching a dating app designed by Africans, for Africans in 2019.
The market has proven keen – over 10,000 users across 65 countries have joined the platform, available in English and French. And, the startup was one of 12 startups selected for the 2020 edition of Disrupt Africa’s Pitch Live, which took place virtually at Africa Tech Summit Connects in October.
With the world more in need of online networks to forge connections than ever before, we’re excited to see what’s up next for Vybe in 2021.
Ugandan fintech Eversend has been gaining momentum for a couple of years with its multi-currency e-wallet, but in 2020 it hit the headlines with the only notable crowdfunding round of the year. The startup pulled off an oversubscribed Seedrs campaign, securing EUR897,000 (US$1.015 million) in investment.
Over the last 19 months, Eversend has been selected to take part in the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme; the Google Launchpad Africa accelerator; the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa program; and won the Helsinki-based Slush startup competition at the end of 2019.
Tunisian venture Onboard has been around for a few years already, but 2020 saw things pick up pace and we think the momentum will keep on rolling. The startup offers a SaaS platform transforming customer experience management for hardware providers, with 3D smart manuals.
In May, Onboard was picked for the Flat6Labs Tunis accelerator programme, receiving US$65,000 in funding; followed by a further US$175,000 funding boost from Kepple Africa Ventures and two local entrepreneurs.
2020 saw a private beta, the launch of a 1.0 version of the platform, and the announcement of plans for European expansion.
Kenya’s Amitruck launched its P2P trucking logistics marketplace in 2019, intent on disrupting the country’s difficult and inefficient road transportation network by connecting transporters directly with cargo owners, skipping out middlemen, and making pricing more competitive.
We’ve seen impressive growth in the startup’s first year; with its customer-side mobile app downloaded more than 10,000 times, and revenues growing by 300 percent over 12 months.
Amitruck has made it into a number of accelerators, most recently the Africa Transformative Mobility Accelerator, and secured funding and company building support from GreenTec Capital Partners. We’re betting on these guys to have a great 2021.
Zambian micro-lending platform PremierCredit has had a whirlwind of a time since launching in 2019. The startup – which offers micro-loans to Zambian entrepreneurs and small-scale traders, primarily women – has already launched operations in Zimbabwe in partnership with a local bank, providing affordable bicycles, smartphones and solar equipment on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis.
In December, we heard the news that PremierCredit had secured US$650,000 in funding from Enygma Ventures, to support further expansion across the SADC region.
This female-owned business has a bright 2021 ahead of it, and we look forward to watching the growth.
The startup won’t be slowing down in 2021, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next steps in the race to be West Africa’s first super-app.
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