This week was a great week for the African startup ecosystem, with approximately $450 million raised in funding and 18 startups raising funds. The year’s first African unicorn was minted, and 12 early-stage startups received funding through ARM Labs’ new Techstars Accelerator in Lagos. Overall, it was a fantastic week.
Let’s get into the details.
Gwala, a Moroccan fintech startup, has secured an undisclosed pre-seed round.
Founded in 2022 by Mossaab Abaouz, Gwala has transformed how Moroccan employees access their earned earnings by providing real-time access to their salary without the need to wait for payday.
The funds will be used to scale the startup’s product, hire talent, and expand in its home market.
Founded in 2020 by Sara Sebti and Sawsen Rezig, ShareID specializes in fast official identity verification, ensuring businesses have real-time, accurate access to their customers’ and users’ identities while remaining compliant with international data privacy and protection laws.
With this investment, the startup will be able to expand its AI skills center in Morocco and continue deploying its solution in the United States.
SunFi, a Nigerian cleantech firm, has raised a $2.3M seed round led by Factor[e] and SCM Capital Asset Management, with participation from Voltron Capital, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Ventures Platform, and Sovereign Capital.
According to the company’s CEO, the investment will help SunFi expand its operations and strengthen its capacity to offer customers the best systems at the lowest cost.
Lulalend, a South Africa-based digital lender, has secured $35M (R600 million) in a Series B round led by Lightrock, with participation from DEG, Triodos Investment Management, and Women’s World Banking Asset Management. Existing investors like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Quona Capital also participated in the round.
The startup said in a statement that the funding will be used to meet the growing demand for the fast access to working capital that it provides businesses, as well as to accelerate the rollout of Lula, its digital banking offering for SMEs.
Founded in 2013 by Joakim Vincze, Mawingu builds fast internet networks in rural areas using high-performance low-cost wireless technology and solar power.
The company, which currently operates in 15 Kenyan counties, claims that the latest capital infusion will enable it to expand to an additional 25 counties, with a focus on rural areas.
MNT-Halan, an Egyptian fintech, has raised $400 million in a mix of equity and debt financing from local and global investors, at a valuation of $1 billion.
The round was made up of $260 million in equity financing and $140 million in debt financing secured through two securitised bond issuances. Chimera Investments, which provided about $200 million in equity led the round.
Founded in 2017 by Mounir Nakhla and Ahmed Mohsen, MNT-Halan connects customers and merchants to a variety of financial and non-financial services, such as microloans, BNPL, consumer finance, and payments, as well as on-demand logistics and e-commerce..
MNT-Halan intends to expand internationally following its success in Egypt and progress on the swap agreement between Halan and the Netherlands-based microlending platform MNT Investments.
ARM Labs has invested $1.2 million in 12 African startups accepted into its first Techstars Accelerator in Lagos. The program is aimed at early-stage fintech and proptech startups with an African presence.
Each of the selected companies will receive up to $120,000 in funding as well as access to Techstars’ extensive network of 7,000+ mentors, 20,000+ investors, alumni, and corporate partners. In addition, they will receive specially curated startup programming.
The startups include alphabloQ, CDCare, Cladfy, Flick, Keble, Keza Africa, Salad, Sidebrief, Towntalk, Vittas, Oystr Finance, and peppa.io. Two are from Kenya, and ten are from Nigeria, with female CEOs accounting for half of the total.