Issue #49: Smile Identity Raises $20 Million Series B Round, While 12 Early-stage Startups Get Accepted Into Accelerators Across the Ecosystem

The Baobab Network and TECA accepted a combined twelve early-stage startups to their cohorts this week, continuing the trend of accelerators and incubators announcing their cohorts. These startups, ranging from personal beauty marketplace to startups addressing climate change, will receive funding as well as venture building support.

We recorded twenty-four funding rounds in a week that proved to be incredible for the African startup ecosystem.


Famasi, a Nigerian healthtech startup, has raised a pre-seed round led by Microtraction. GetEquity SPV and a group of angel investors took part in the round.

Founded in 2021 by Adeola Ayoola and Umar Faruq Akinwunmi, Famasi is a digital health platform that allows customers to get prescriptions, have them delivered to their homes, automate monthly refills, get free follow-ups, and interact with healthcare professionals.

By the end of 2023, the company expects to have enrolled over 35,000 consumers from its pipeline and increased its supplier base from 229 to 1,000.

Pade HCM, a Nigerian HR-tech company, has received a $500,000 pre-seed investment from Zrosk IML, Zedcrest Capital, Microtraction, Expert Dojo, and Resilience 17, as well as several angel investors.

Founded in 2020 by Seye Bandele and Lekan Omotosho, Pade provides dependable HR management solutions in all areas, including onboarding, HRIS, payroll, compliance, performance management, asset management, disciplinary actions, and exit processes.

The startup will use the funds for expansion, growth, and product development.

BuuPass, a Kenyan transportation booking platform, has raised $1.3 million in a pre-seed round from Ajim Capital, Adaverse, Gullit, Founders Factory Africa, FrontEnd Ventures, and other investors.

Founded in 2016 by Sonia Kabra and Wyclife Omondi, BuuPass offers operators a bus management system (BMS) to help them manage their operations, inventory, and sales. It then connects them to its marketplace, where passengers can search, compare, and book tickets through various channels such as websites, apps, and USSD codes.

With the funding, the startup intends to invest in growth activities, increasing its market share in East Africa, with a focus on Kenya and Uganda.

Terraa, a Moroccan food distribution platform, raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round led by FoodLabs, with participation from UM6P Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, Musha Ventures, and DFS Lab.

Founded in 2022 by Youssef Benkirane and Benoit De Vigne, Terraa sources fresh food from farmers and distributes it to resellers.

Terraa will be able to improve its food supply operations across the country, grow its staff, improve its technology infrastructure, and expand its operations in Morocco’s major cities as a result of the investment.


Mobile Masr, an e-commerce platform based in Egypt, has raised a $500,000 seed round from a group of angel investors based in the UAE and Qatar, in collaboration with Intercap Capital Investment Bank.

Founded in 2021 by Wael El Ashry, Mobile Masr is a used mobile phone and electronics marketplace with a variety of payment options and nationwide delivery.

The funds will be used by the startup to scale its operations while expanding into new business categories and verticals.

Curacel, a Nigerian insurtech startup, has secured $3 million in a seed round led by Tencent, AAF Management, Elefund, Blue Point Capital Partners, Pioneer Fund, Olive Tree Capital, Y Combinator, and other strategic investors.

Founded in 2019 by Henry Mascot and John Dada, Curacel is an insurance infrastructure company that helps insurers and partners in Africa and other emerging markets expand the reach and functionality of insurance through cloud-based tools and APIs.

The new funding will allow the company to expand its services in North Africa, beginning with Egypt and Morocco, and to strengthen its presence in other parts of the continent.

Power Financial Wellness, a Kenyan microlending startup, has raised $3 million in seed funding from QED, Quona Capital, Zephyr Acorn, Norrsken Accelerator, and DOB Equity.

Founded in 2020 by Brian Dempsey, Power provides employees and independent contractors with short- and long-term loans, investment opportunities, and insurance products. However, it only lends to employees of businesses on its platform, lowering the risk of default and ensuring that borrowers have access to funds that they can repay.

Power intends to expand into at least ten African markets over the next three years.

Clinify, a Nigerian medtech startup, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Thin Air Labs, HaloHealth, and Calgary doctors.

Founded in 2020 by Michael Omidele, Clinify aids in the digitization and centralization of medical records throughout Africa’s healthcare system, thereby improving patient outcomes. This fall, the startup intends to launch its electronic medical record (EMR) platform in Africa, beginning with Nigeria.

The funds raised will be used for geographic expansion and product development by the startup.

Series A

Qotto, a cleantech startup with operations in Burkina Faso and Benin, has raised $8 million in a Series A equity-debt transaction led by the IBL Group. The Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI-OGEF), Cordaid, and Qotto’s existing investors also participated in the round.

Founded in 2016 by Fabrice de Gaudemaus, Jean-Baptiste Lenoir, Qotto manufactures and distributes standalone solar kits and lamps to people in Africa’s most underserved areas. It uses a pay-to-own strategy to make its products available to those in Sub-Saharan Africa who are off-grid due to insufficient national power grids.

The capital will be used by the startup to scale in existing markets and expand to Ivory Coast, where it plans to begin operations next month.

Series B

Naked, a South African insurtech firm, has raised $17 million (approximately R290 million) in series B funding led by IFC. The German Development Finance Institution (DEG), as well as Yellowwoods and Hollard, Naked’s original investors, are also participating in the funding round.

Founded in 2018 by Alex Thomson, Sumarie Greybe, and Ernest North, Naked is an AI-powered insurance platform that covers automobiles, content, homes, and freestanding products. Customers can manage their entire insurance experience online through the app.

Smile Identity, a leading provider of ID verification and KYC compliance for African faces and identities, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Costanoa Ventures and Norrsken22. Existing investors such as ValueStream Ventures, Intercept Ventures, Latitude, Future Africa, and 500 Fintech joined new investors such as Commerce Ventures, Courtside Ventures, and Two Culture Capital in the round.

Founded in 2017 by Mark Straub and William Bares, Smile Identity assists clients in reducing fraud and efficiently onboarding new customers.

The funds will be used to accelerate the development and adoption of its AI-powered identity verification technology, as well as to hire more people and expand into new markets, particularly in Francophone and Arab-speaking countries.


Right Now Response, a South African breakdown management startup, has raised $555,000 (ZAR10 million) from HAVAÍC.

Founded in 2019 by Wayne Witherspoon, RNR is an on-demand breakdown management and analytics platform that provides clients with live location tracing and tracking from acceptance to roadside and workshop repair.

The company intends to expand across South Africa and into other regions of the continent over the next five years.

The Baobab Network, a Nairobi-based accelerator that invests in early-stage technology companies throughout Africa, has announced its latest cohort of five startups, each of which receives $50,000 in funding.

Two of the selected startups are from Kenya, two are from Tanzania, and one is from Nigeria. Each company received a $50,000 cash injection as well as a program of bespoke and expert-led venture support. They will also gain access to leading angels and VCs in Africa and around the world through demo day. The members of the cohort are:

​Vutia, a B2B cosmetic marketplace that seamlessly connects informal retailers of cosmetic, beauty, and personal products with top brands and suppliers.

Tripitaca, a travel tech company that enables accommodation providers to increase their revenue by improving occupancy rates, as well as providing them with an operating system and access to affordable financial services.

Medikea is a patient-centric telemedicine platform that offers full patient autonomy via on-demand consultation, at-home tests and diagnostics.

Swahilies, an SME book-keeping platform that allows SMEs to record their transactions and manage their businesses as well as send and receive payments.

Messenger, a last-mile service providing end-to-end logistics and supply chain solutions for clients in cities across Nigeria.

Triggering Exponential Climate Action (TECA), a climate resilience venture launcher, has chosen seven startups to receive $55,000 in funding to advance their solutions for the African blue economy.

The TECA program was established to accelerate the development of climate-resilient solutions to protect and sustain the environment and vulnerable communities. It is managed by BFA Global and supported by FSD Africa.

Each startup will receive $27,500 in seed capital and $27,500 in hands-on venture building support to advance financial and tech-enabled solutions that improve the climate resilience of communities and ecosystems in and around Africa’s oceans, lakes, and rivers.

The current cohort’s seven startups hail from six African countries: Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, with ideas centered on bridging existing gaps in aquaculture, ecotourism, measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) in conservation, seaweed value chain, mangrove restoration and protection, and financial services for fisher folk. The startups and their solutions are as follows:

AquaTrack: a data-driven solution for sustainable aquaculture production. They aim to provide a water quality monitoring device for fish farmers seeking to increase production and efficiency in their farms.

Carboni Bank: a community-centered platform for tourists to offset their carbon emissions and support local climate initiatives.

ConserVate: utilizing innovative digital technology to build local capacity for monitoring reporting and credible verification (MRV) of conservation impact for both funders and implementers to reverse the effects of climate change.

Mwani Blu: building a seaweed marketplace with high-level traceability, providing women smallholder farmers with dignified and stable incomes.

RegisTree: empowering coastal communities to be agents of climate change mitigation by facilitating their role in mangrove restoration and protection.

Vua Solutions: a fintech company seeking to provide affordable and responsible financial services to people working in the blue economy.

Wezesha Aqua Farms: seeking to address the dwindling wild capture fisheries stocks that negatively impact the livelihoods and socioeconomic status of local fishing communities around the great lakes region in Eastern Africa.

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