5 African startup founders to watch out for in 2023

Godfrey Elimian
This article makes a solid guess based on what occurred last year, which includes their raises, expansion drive, and lastly the product offering.
5 African startup founders to watch out for in 2023
5 African startup founders to watch out for in 2023

Alas, 2023 has begun, and startup founders are picking up where they left off in 2022. For some of these founders, the next step is to secure the necessary funding to expand their product offering and increase their market penetration.

Others are returning to the drawing board to reassess their strategy to satisfy investors who are breathing down their necks to start turning in profits and repaying the faith, in this case, the sizeable money invested in their ventures.

Whatever the situation, the African tech ecosystem provides innovators with a market to tap into thanks to its always-evolving demands and appeal to foreign investors who want to participate in the innovations the continent is producing.

Like last year, we anticipate many deals to be made, particularly in the startup space where foreign investors’ interests are still significant. Expectations are also high in relation to the launch of new products, business growth, and fundraising.

So the question is, which African startup founders can we anticipate to dominate in 2023? This article predicts that many founders will perform significantly in 2023 and lists only five based on what occurred last year, which includes their raises, expansion drive, and product offering. Some of them have already made moves in the first two weeks of the year,

Ladi Delano, Moove

Ladi Delano - Co-CEO _ Co-Founder of Moove
Ladi Delano – Co-CEO _ Co-Founder of Moove

Ladi Delano, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Moove, is a 40-year-old Nigerian serial entrepreneur who made his first million as a liquor entrepreneur while living in China. Last year, Ladi led Moove to a resounding year that saw the company raise over $120 million in funding.

According to Ladi, Moove initially started to solve a problem for Uber, which at the time had a lot of demand with people ordering trips, but there were few drivers with cars in Lagos. It has since moved to finance vehicles for logistics and deliveries.

“The business has just been phenomenal. From the demand side it has just been exponential since launch, pretty much every single month we have grown 50% month-on-month,” he told Reuters.

Currently operating in six Nigerian cities, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, Moove is on track to extending financing to buses, trucks and three-wheelers and is expected to maintain the same level of growth this year.

The company plans to have at least 30% of the vehicles it finances to be electric in 2023 and at least half of its customers be women in the future.

Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave

Flutterwave, chasing IPO, acquires Switching and Processing License
Olugbenga Agboola, co-founder of Flutterwave

To say Flutterwave, under the leadership of Olugbenga ‘GB’, Agboola has excelled might be an understatement considering the strides the company has made in recent years, despite the controversies surrounding it.

Flutterwave raised $250 million last year to become Africa’s most valuable startup. Its unrivalled $3 billion valuation, his desire to invest in other startups and his astute leadership make the 37-year-old Agboola one of Africa’s most well-known entrepreneurs.

The company has established itself as the top unicorn on the continent thanks to clever rebranding, partnerships, and acquisitions. These include the BNPL model, introduced last year, joining the Lipa Later advisory board, debuting in Tanzania, and partnering with SendSprint.

From various reports, Flutterwave has taken a giant step to go public and list on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. Last week, we reported that the company is part of a consortium looking to acquire the British fintech company, Railsr. The company has picked up where it left off in 2022.

Olugbenga is a reserved personality who gives few media interviews but is on several lists that highlight African progress, including Quartz Africa’s 2019 innovators, and lists by Fortune (2020), and TIME (2021).

Gregory Rockson, mPharma

5 African startup founders to watch out for in 2023
Gregory Rockson, mPharma’s Co-founder

 mPharma, co-founded in 2013 by Ghanaian entrepreneur Gregory Rockson is laying the foundation to become the number one e-prescription network in emerging markets, leading with Africa.

With Novartis and Pfizer, two of the prominent pharmaceutical giants, already clients after just one year of commercial operation, the company is making massive progress in the health tech space in Africa.

“When mobile communication networks were set up across Africa,” says Gregory Rockson, “telecom companies had to invest in towers before selling sim cards to consumers. Our application suite is the sim card that we give to doctors and hospitals, and we are building the towers that allow them to use the application”.

Since its launch, the company has gone on to raise about $90m in funding with expansion into other countries in the continent apart from Ghana, where it has its base. Last year, the company raised $35 million to build a chain of community pharmacies across Africa as it races to be the primary healthcare service provider for millions.

In a bid to consolidate its vision to build a pan-African healthcare provider to deliver drugs and improve patients’ health outcomes, the company led by Gregory Rockson in September acquired the majority stake in HealthPlus, a leading pharmacy chain in Nigeria.

Rockson said that acquiring the HealthPlus Pharmacy chain would go a long way in helping mPhama increase patient access to affordable and quality healthcare. There is no doubt that the company is on a path that will see it record success with its penetration into the Nigerian market this year.

Fehintolu Olaogun, CredPal

CredPal Could Become Nigeria's Biggest Credit Card Startup

Founded in 2017 by Fehintolu Olaogun and Olorunfemi Jegede, CredPal is the closest thing Nigeria has to a full credit card service. The technology platform allows consumers to buy anything from online and offline merchants and pay in instalments.

After a few years and enrollment in the YCombinator accelerator program, Fehintolu has guided CredPal to become one of the continent’s fastest-growing firms.

Last year, led by Fehintolu, the company with over 85,000 active customers and over 4,000 onboarded merchants, raised US$15 million in funding to expand its consumer credit offerings in Nigeria and scale across Africa.

Since it was founded, the company has raised about $16.7m in funding. The company’s BNPL offering has successfully helped it find useful partnerships, the latest being with ride-hailing giants Bolt.

The partnership is a conscious effort from Credpal to create easy credit financing solutions for customers and bolster its Buy-Now-Pay-Later products. Users can enjoy the CredPal Ride-on feature by signing up on the CredPal app and activating an option to pay for their Bolt rides at the end of the month or any convenient date when they are financially buoyant. 

With the new partnership, 2023 is looking to be an excellent year for Fehintolu and CredPal, as it will offer more exposure and access to Bolt’s customer base, which is quite substantial in the Mobility market in Africa.

Lanre Ogungbe, Prembly

Lanre Ogungbe, CEO and Co-founder Identitypass

Lanre Ogungbe is the co-founder and CEO of Identitypass by Prembly, which won the Fastest Growing KYC & Verification Company Award during the 2022 NBLA Awards organised by BusinessDay.

Identitypass by Prembly is Africa’s leading verification, compliance, and security infrastructure company which has been in existence since 2020. As a global firm, it offers compliance and security services based on the vision for a secured Africa.

The startup processes thousands of ID and data verifications daily for companies with African customers worldwide. Also, Identitypass processes an average of 1.5 million verification monthly and offers its services to companies outside Africa (India, the UK, the US, and Canada).

Led by Lanre, the company last year raised $2.8 million in seed funding months after graduating from Y Combinator. The round came a few months after the startup raised $360,000 in pre-seed investment, bringing its total funding to $3.1 million.

With over 1.2 billion people who do not still have any form of digital ID, 81% in sub-Saharan Africa, plans to deepen into data verification, more data points, security solutions, and spin-off into new business tools might launch the company further in the coming year.

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