The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem
The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem

Issue #61: Quro Health Raises $1.3M, Shara Acquires Maisha MFB, and more

Welcome to the latest edition of AU-Startups Ecosystem Insider, your go-to source for the latest updates on the African startup ecosystem and its funding activities.

From fintech to healthtech, cybersecurity to HRtech, let’s dive into the exciting funding rounds and acquisitions that are shaping the entrepreneurial landscape across the continent.


Pennee, a Nigeria-based fintech startup, has recently secured an undisclosed investment from First Circle Capital, an early-stage startup investment firm.

Founded in 2019 by Majero Emmanuella, Abolade Eniseyin, and Gideon Adeyemi, Pennee offers credit and cash flow management tools specifically designed to support the growth of Nigerian Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Port443, a South African cybersecurity startup, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding in a corporate round from Iziko2.0, a technology investment firm.

Established in 2021 by ML Conradie and Tony Walt, Port443 specializes in security automations and integrations through its software development solutions. The company’s custom platforms and OneView dashboards offer management and technical teams a comprehensive overview of their security infrastructure, enabling them to proactively address vulnerabilities and respond to breaches.

The funding obtained will be utilized to expand Port443’s presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. This will involve hiring key software development personnel and providing support for marketing, sales, and product enhancements.

Raise, an end-to-end fundraising platform based in Kenya, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Carta, a San Francisco-based company specializing in capitalization table management and valuation software.

Founded in 2018 by Marvin Coleby and Eugene Mutai, Raise’s platform aims to simplify cap table management for startups and companies operating within the African ecosystem. It offers a comprehensive solution for managing shareholding structure, both before and after fundraising, enabling businesses to prioritize growth and build a successful future.

With the funding received from Carta, Raise intends to introduce liquidity products and experiment with African currency settlements. It also plans to synchronize with syndicate platforms throughout the ecosystem to directly invest in equity structures and cap tables. Leveraging Carta’s API and the open cap table standard it is developing, Raise aims to provide its customers with top-notch ownership, equity, and security experiences.

Balad, a fintech company headquartered in Egypt, has successfully raised a seven-figure pre-Seed round of funding. The round was led by Acasia Ventures, with participation from Launch Africa, Future Africa, V&R, Magic Fund, First Circle, Sunny Side, and several family offices.

Launched in 2022 by Adham Azzam, Sally Asaad, and Mohamed Assem, Balad specializes in providing financial services driven by remittances, specifically targeting migrants and their families. The startup offers reduced transfer fees and ensures instant delivery of inward remittances through Balad prepaid cards.

The investment obtained will be utilized for the launch of Balad’s remittance platform, further development of its technology, expansion of the team through new hires, acquisition of necessary licenses, and seamless integration with its banking partner.

DigsConnect, a student accommodation platform based in South Africa, has recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from Intaba Capital as part of its ongoing Series A round.

Founded in 2018 by Alexandria Procter, Brendan Ardagh and Greg Ramsay-Keal, the DigsConnect platform facilitates the process of finding student accommodation. It enables landlords, estate agents, and property managers to list their properties, while students can search and filter through these listings to discover suitable accommodations that meet their requirements. Additionally, the platform allows students to connect with potential roommates.

The funding obtained from Intaba Capital will support DigsConnect in further advancing its services and expanding its reach in the student accommodation market.

Chezie, a Nigerian-founded HRtech startup, has successfully raised $775,000 in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by 2045 Ventures, with participation from Pax Momentum, Southern Equity, Acrew & Concrete Rose Angel Squad, Jones Trauber Capital, Westcove Partners, and various angel investors.

Founded in 2020 by Toby and Dumebi Egbuna, Chezie offers a software solution specifically designed to assist companies in creating, monitoring, and managing impactful employee resource groups.

The funding secured will empower Chezie to expand its product development efforts, as well as recruit new team members for key positions in product and engineering. Additionally, the funds will be utilized to invest in market research and user analysis, further enhancing Chezie’s understanding of the market and its user base.

Quro Medical, a healthtech startup based in South Africa, has recently secured $1.3 million (ZAR25 million) in funding from the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC).

Established in 2018 by Dr. Vuyane Mhlomi and Zikho Pali, Quro Medical specializes in providing hospital-at-home services to patients, aiming to enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare through the utilization of technology.

With the support of MIC, Quro Medical will be able to advance the development of its technology and extend its reach. This will contribute to improving healthcare outcomes and reducing costs for both patients and providers.


Shara Inc. has acquired a controlling stake in Maisha Microfinance Bank Limited (Maisha MFB) located in Kenya. This strategic acquisition by Shara will offer the essential resources for Maisha MFB to bolster its business growth and undertake a transformation of its business model in alignment with the vision set by the Central Bank of Kenya for the microfinance banking sector.

Shara, currently operating in Nigeria and Kenya, was established with the objective of providing affordable financing solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their associated value chains. The acquisition of Maisha MFB further strengthens Shara’s presence and positions the company to expand its reach in the microfinance banking sector while supporting the financial needs of SMEs.

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