Issue #35: Browser-based super app Phoenix raised $100M in Series A, while BaaS startup Maplerad raises $6M in seed funding, and more

This week was especially slow, with only about six raises and one acquisition. However, we witnessed two mega-deals; talking about Phoenix’s $100M Series A round and MaxAB’s $30M Pre-Series B round. Fintechs dominated the rounds, as is becoming customary, accounting for 50% of the closes.

Let’s dive into the details.



Kenzz, an Egypt-based mass e-commerce startup, has raised $3.5 million in a seed round led by Outliers Venture Capital, HOF Capital, Foundation Ventures, Samurai Incubate, and some angel investors.

Founded in 2022 by Ahmed Atef, Mahmoud AlSilk, and Moataz Sami to help platforms digitize the offline experience, its business model entails sourcing products directly from manufacturers and importers and providing deeper discounts to customers who share/buy with friends and family.

The funds will be used to hire new employees, expand product categories, invest in technology, and launch a new app

Maplerad, a Nigerian BaaS provider, has raised $6 million in seed funding led by Valar Ventures, with participation from Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Fintech Fund, Armyn Capital, Dunbar Capital, Strawhat Investment, Polymath Capital, Unpopular Ventures, MyAsiaVC, Michael Vaughn (ex-COO of Venmo), Babs Ogundeyi (CEO of Kuda), and Sean Mahsoul

Founded in 2020 by Miracle Anywanwu and Obinna Chukwujioke with the goal of assisting users in making international payments by providing cross-border payment solutions in fiat and cryptocurrency, it has since evolved into a self-described all-in-one finance product that allows users to receive, hold, and make payments in multiple currencies, as well as create virtual and physical cards and pay bills.

The funding will be used to increase client acquisition, obtain new licenses, expand its staff, and solidify its position across Africa, according to the company.

Bumpa, a Nigerian social commerce startup, has raised a $4 million seed round led by Base10 Partners, with Plug & Play Ventures, SHL Capital, Magic Fund, Jedar Capital, DFS Labs, FirstCheck Africa Angel Program, E62 Ventures, Club 14 and Fast Forward Ventures also participating.

Founded in 2021 by Kelvin Umechukwu and Adetunji Opayele, Bumpa began by assisting businesses in managing inventory, engaging customers, and recording sales. It is now looking to broaden its product offering by incorporating more social commerce solutions for the growing number of African SMEs in need of digital solutions.

In the coming months, the startup will expand access to its product into new African markets, as well as expand its team with a focus on marketing, engineering, and business roles.

Series A

Phoenix, a browser-based super app, has raised $100 million in Series A funding. An unnamed sovereign fund joined previous strategic investors such as top internet companies and tech-focused funds in the round.

Since its late-2019 launch in Nigeria, the company has served over 400 million users in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with an in-app search engine, content feeds, productivity tools, and a variety of localized in-app features. The company uses AI-powered algorithmic personalization to serve users highly curated content based on their preferences.

With the new round of funding, the team hopes to improve the recommendation engine, refine in-app functions, provide better marketing services, and prepare for global expansion.

Pre-Series B

MaxAB, an Egypt-based B2B e-commerce platform for food and groceries, has closed a $40 million pre-Series B equity round led by Silver Lake, British International Investment (BII), and DisruptAD, with participation from existing investors Beco Capital, 4DX Ventures, Flourish Ventures, and Africa Platform Capital.

Founded in 2018 by Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim, MaxAB is a B2B e-commerce platform that connects suppliers with underserved traditional retailers and provides a variety of finance solutions.

The new investment will support MaxAB’s plans for further geographic expansions, with the goal of having complete geographic coverage of Morocco by the end of 2023 and entering Saudi Arabia. It will also be used to fund additional growth in the company’s e-commerce and fintech divisions.


Nexta, a fintech startup in Egypt, has received a $3 million investment from eFinance Group, a state-owned provider of digital payment solutions. This follows Nexta’s announcement of a $2 million pre-seed round in March, led by Egyptian early-stage VC Disruptech.

Founded in 2021 by Ahmed Hisham, Nexta aims to disrupt the Egyptian fintech scene with its “next-generation banking” app and card. According to the company, the Nexta card will aggregate users’ existing payment cards, making it easier to transfer money and track spending, among other things.


valU, an Egyptian fintech has acquired a minority stake in the social payment app Kiwe, for an unknown amount.

Founded in 2018 in Egypt by Omar Kamel, Fatma Ibrahim and Mohamed Khalifa, Kiwe allows young users to collect, send, and spend money. It also provides a digital payment platform to small businesses and startups, with the goal of alleviating the daily financial struggles that young entrepreneurs face.

The acquisition will help valU’s mission of promoting cashless transactions and expanding its client base of young people.

AU-Startups Highlights

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari signs the Nigeria Start-up Act into law

Nigeria’s ShapShap wins mobility and smart city challenge at GITEX 2022

SBC AfriTech scouting for start-ups disrupting key verticals

CBN sells Polaris Bank to Strategic Capital Investment Limited for N50 billion

MTN talks to buy South Africa’s Telkom said to have stalled

50 tech founders join forces through Pando DAO

Interesting Finds

Founders’ resource: What to look for in a startup lawyer

Breaking down funding terms: what do equity, debt and hybrid financing mean?

Events, Opportunities and Jobs

Click here for this week’s curated list of jobs and opportunities, with 12 fresh opportunities for you, 2 tech events  and 15 job openings across 5 companies.

And that’s a wrap on this week’s AU-Startups African funding review. Remember to share with your friends and colleagues if you received any value at all.

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