Top 10 early-stage startup fundings in the Nigerian tech space 2021 (pre-seed and seed)

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The Nigerian tech industry experienced a large influx of funds this year. According to Nairametrics, startups operating across several sectors in Nigeria raised an estimated $248.6 million, an equivalent of N102.77 billion funding in the third quarter of 2021 alone.

Overall, the industry saw investments in all sectors, ranging from edtech to agritech and healthcare. Unsurprisingly, the fintech sector saw the bulk of the investments.

Below are the top ten early stage (pre-seed and seed) fundings in 2021.

1. Autochek

autochek

In October, Nigerian automotive trading startup Autochek raised $13.1m in a seed funding round. This came less than a year after it raised $3.4m in a pre-seed round in November 2020, thereby bringing the total amount of investments to date to $16.5m.

Autochek’s seed round was led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures with participation from Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, ASK Capital and Mobility 54 Investment SAS.

Founded in June 2020 by Etop Ikpe, the company helps users to buy, sell, service and finance car sales through its mobile app. the startup is operational across East and West Africa in 5 countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire.

The fresh funds will be used to improve its core auto loan processing platform and deepen its footprint across Africa, following its recent acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda. Cheki is East Africa’s leading online auto marketplace.

2. Busha

In November, Busha, a Nigerian crypto exchange platform raised $4.2 million in a seed round. The round was led by Jump Capital with participation from Cadenza Ventures, Blockwall Capital, CMT Digital, Greenhouse Capital and Raba Capital.

Founded in 2019 by Michael Adeyeri (CEO) and Chief Product Officer (CPO) Moyo Sodipo, the cryptocurrency exchange offers trading and management of cryptocurrency assets on the platform for all types of users.

Busha Founders

The startup says it has over 200,000 registered users and has executed over 1.5 million trades. The Busha app has over 100k downloads. Through it, users can buy coins for as low as N550. The platform also boasts 24/7 customer service support and zero trading fees. Users are also able to make recurring crypto purchases that allows them to automatically buy crypto.

Using the investment, Busha plans to boost product development, talent acquisition and facilitate its expansion into other African countries.

3. Prospa

Prospa, a startup helping small businesses manage their banking and business on a single platform, raised a $3.8 million pre-seed round in September. This is the largest pre-seed round recorded in Nigeria and Sub-saharan Africa with participation from Global Founders Capital and Silicon Valley-based Liquid 2 Ventures.

Founded in October 2019 by Frederik Obasi, Chioma Ugo, and Rodney Jackson-Cole, Prospa helps small and micro businesses manage their business with features like inventory and invoicing, employee management; and banking one platform.

With tens of thousands of businesses onboarded onto its platform, the startup says it has a 35% month-on-month growth rate. The company says it has managed over 150,000 product catalogs while small businesses have sent out 360,000 invoices on the platform.

The funding is intended to increase its customer base and hire more product and engineering talents. 

4. Edukoya

In December, Africa-focused online learning platform, Edukoya raised $3.5 million in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by Target Global. and angel investors like CEO and co-founder of Paystack, Shola Akinlade; founders of Kuda, Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha among others.

Led by Honey Ogundeyi, founder and CEO, the startup combines a data-enabled question bank, world-class teachers, innovative technology, and data science to deliver personalized learning across grades.

The $3.5 million funding represents the largest pre-seed round for an African EdTech platform to date, The funding is expected to help accelerate its product and technology as well as expand its online curriculum content coverage and on-demand tutoring feature for secondary school learners.

5. OnePipe

In November, OnePipe, an API infrastructural platform, raised $3.5m in a seed round. The seed round was led by Atlantica Ventures, Tribe Capital and V&R associates. Canaan Partners, Saison Capital, Norrsken, The Fund and Two Culture Cap also participated in the round. Further contributors were Chris Adelsbach, Techstars, Ingressive Capital, Acquity, P1, Raba and DFS Lab alongside a few angel investors.

OnePipe team

Founded in 2018 by Ope Adeoye, the fintech collaborates with banks and non-financial institutions to launch and provide financial services such as credit, accounts and payments within their offerings. This is in line with its vision to help facilitate the distribution of digital services.

The startup says it has processed more than 6.3 million transactions worth over $46.3 million. It says it operates over 1 million individual accounts and over 138 businesses, ranging from FMCG and retail to lending and agriculture.

OnePipe is currently only operational in Nigeria but it is set to expand into other countries. It is expected that this recent funding would power its expansion drive into other markets.

6. Kippa

Kippa, a Nigerian fintech that uses its money management software to enhance the life cycle of small businesses acquired $3.2 million in pre-seed capital in November. The funding round was led by Target Global, with participation from Entrée Capital, Alter Global, Rally Cap Ventures and angel investors.

Kippa was founded in February 2021 by CEO Kennedy Ekezie, along with co-founders Duke Ekezie and Jephthah Uche. Kippa is a simple tool that allows small business owners to keep track of their daily revenue and spending transactions, make invoices and receipts, manage inventory, and debt recovery.

The company says its accounting and financial software has grown at a monthly rate of 126 per cent on average since its inception in June.

The company also claims to have logged more than $300 million in sales in the last five months, with over 130,000 active companies ranging from small kiosks and street corner stores to high-end retailers utilizing the app.

7. Vendease

In October, Nigerian food technology company, Vendease announced the closure of a $3.2m seed funding round. The round was led by San Francisco-based venture capital firm Global Founders Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Hustle Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, Hack VC, Soma Capital and Magic Fund.

Founded in January 2020 by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Wale Oyepeju and Olumide Fayankin, VendEase is an online marketplace that lets restaurants and other businesses involved in the food industry in Africa, order directly from farms and food manufacturers.

The startup says it has moved 100,000 metric tonnes of food, processed $12.9 million in transactions and has made $1.2 million in annual recurring revenue.

The company will use the funding to expand into other cities and countries, improve its technology stack and secure partnerships with some payment platforms and banks.

8. Sparkle

Sparkle, a Nigerian neobank, secured $3.1 million in a seed funding round. The round was led by Leadway Assurance with participation from Trium Network and unnamed angel investors.

Photo by: Kelechi Amadi-Obi (www.kelechiamadiobi.com)

Sparkle was founded in 2020 by Uzoma Dozie, a former CEO of Diamond Bank, before its merger with Access Bank. It is a digital bank with common features such as savings, bill payments, top-ups, requesting or sending funds etc.

The digital bank says it has already accumulated over 40,000 customers on the individual banking side. On the business side, about 2,000 businesses have reportedly been onboarded to this platform. The company’s goal is to provide financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians.

With the new funding, Sparkle will be building robotic process automation to help with mundane and repetitive processes, then talent acquisition across engineering, finance risk and marketing.

9. PayHippo

Credit startup, Payhippo closes $3m seed raise, to improve access to finance for small businesses in Nigeria
Credit startup, Payhippo closes $3m seed raise, to improve access to finance for small businesses in Nigeria

In November, credit startup,  PayHippo raised $3 million in seed funding shortly after it raised $1m pre-seed back in July. The round was led by influential African fintech founders and financial leaders Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, co-founders of Chipper Cash, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, founder Flutterwave, Bolaji Balogun, CEO Chapel Hill Denham, and Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Founder Metis Capital Partners.

Founded in 2019 by Zach Bijesse, Chioma Okotcha, and Uche Nnadi, PayHippo gives small businesses access to instant financing. The fund is to be used for talent acquisition, improved technology, and enhancement of lending offerings.

The startup says it has disbursed more than 5,000 loans to small businesses across Nigeria. In September 2021, the company earned $64,000 in revenue from $900K disbursed, experiencing 25% monthly growth with a 97 per cent repayment rate on loans.

COO, Chioma Okotcha says the new funding will allow the startup to invest in hiring more engineers and data scientists to improve its technology and enhance its lending offerings as it continues to address the persistent financing gap for small businesses in Nigeria.

10. Klasha

Klasha

Klasha, a Fintech company building borderless payments for e-commerce announced that it raised $2.4 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Greycroft with participation from Seedcamp, Berrywood Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, Practical VC, Plug and Play, First Round VC, Expert Dojo, 2.12 Angels, MiLA Capital and angel investors.

Founded in 2018 by Jessica Anuna, Klasha enables African consumers to pay foreign merchants using their local currencies. The startup says it has onboarded more than 10,000 customers and has already processed more than 20,000 transactions across Africa with an average monthly growth rate of 366%.

Klasha is currently available in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. With its latest investment, the startup will expand its technology to help international B2B and B2C businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon or Zoom to receive payments seamlessly online in African currencies from consumers across Africa.


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