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African Tech Startup Investment Fell by 28% to $2.4bn in 2023 as Global “funding winter” Begins to Bite

Disrupt Africa releases open-sourced African Tech Startups Funding Report 2023 in partnership with leading industry stakeholders.

Story Highlights
  • A total of 406 African tech startups raised a combined total of US$2.4 billion over the course of 2023.
  • Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya remain Africa’s “big four” from a funding perspective, securing a larger share of total funding between them than in 2022.
  • The fintech sector was, yet again, the most attractive to investors in 2022, with more startups securing funding than any other sector.
  • Disrupt Africa partnered with Flourish Ventures, AAIC Investment, and Atlantica Ventures to release the Africa Tech Startup Funding report.

Total investment into the African tech startup ecosystem fell by 27.8 percent to US$2.4 billion in 2023 as the impacts of the global capital shortage began to make themselves felt on the continent, according to the ninth edition of the annual African Tech Startups Funding Report released by Disrupt Africa.

The report is available free online as part of an open-sourcing initiative in partnership with Flourish Ventures, AAIC Investment, and Atlantica Ventures.

While the African tech space had an impressive 2022, bucking global trends to see total funding increase to beyond the US$3 billion mark for the first time on record, 2023 signified a reset of sorts. A total of 406 startups raised a combined total of US$2.4 billion over the course of the year.

Though still the third-best year on record in terms of funded ventures, and the second-best for total capital secured, this represented a significant decline in 2022. The number of funded ventures was down 35.9 percent on the 633 that were raised in 2022, while the combined total of US$2.4 billion was down 27.8 percent. In addition, the number of active investors fell by almost 50 percent, and M&A activity also witnessed a significant decline.

This is the first time the sector, which has expanded so exponentially in the last few years, has declined since 2016, though a fall in the funding of less than a third is an improvement on projections from earlier in 2023 when a decline of 50 percent was deemed likely. Africa, like the rest of the world, has been affected by the global “funding winter”, with venture capital drying up and several leading startups forced to cease operations or significantly restructure their operations.

Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya remain Africa’s “big four” from a funding perspective, securing a larger share of total funding between them than in 2022. Nigeria, however, saw funding decline tremendously, by 59 percent to just shy of US$400 million. That pushed it into fourth position overall, behind Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa, though it still had more funded startups than any other market. Startups secured capital in 22 other countries.

The fintech sector was, yet again, the most attractive to investors in 2022, with more startups securing funding than any other sector and a combined total that dwarfed all others. Yet, as with most other sectors, it saw a steep decline in investment, down 33.4 percent to US$964 million in 2023.

The fintech sector was the most attractive to investors in 2022, with more startups securing funding than any other sector. Yet, as with most other sectors, it saw a steep decline in investment, down 33% to $964m in 2023. Pictured; Chipper Cash Founders; Ham Serunjogi (R) and Ghanaian Majid Moujaled sharing a light moment together. (PHOTO: Chipper Cash)
The fintech sector was the most attractive to investors in 2022, with more startups securing funding than any other sector. Yet, as with most other sectors, it saw a steep decline in investment, down 33% to $964m in 2023. Pictured; Chipper Cash Founders; Ham Serunjogi (R) and Ghanaian Majid Moujaled sharing a light moment. (PHOTO: Chipper Cash)

Aside from providing a full list of the funded startups, who invested in them, and, where possible, the amount raised, from the previous year, the annual reports also provide deep dives into investment trends within key startup geographies and verticals, as well as data on African startup acquisitions.

“On the face of it, 2023 was a very bad year indeed for African tech from a funding perspective, with the difficulties in obtaining funding quantified by this report borne out by events on the ground, with companies of all stages battling — and some failing — to stay afloat in this ‘funding winter’,” said Gabriella Mulligan, Co-founder of Disrupt Africa. “Yet, it must be remembered that this is not a phenomenon unique to Africa, but rather the result of global headwinds, and the numbers are certainly not as bad as it was looking like they would be back at the end of Q1 or Q2.”

Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson said “winter” would soon “turn to spring”, with investment inevitably rising again in the coming 12-to-18 months, though perhaps not immediately to the levels of 2022.

“African tech is still at an early stage of its journey, with plenty of room to grow, and one relatively bad year from a funding perspective does not change that,” said Jackson. “The key thing, for now, is for startups to adjust to this ‘new normal’, by plotting a path to more sustainable growth while also ensuring good governance is enshrined within their organizational structures.”

Jackson further added that “Funds are being raised, capital is being disbursed, and for the best ventures — and the ecosystem as a whole — 2023 should prove to be little more than a blip on the growth curve.”

For this year’s report, Disrupt Africa partnered with Flourish Ventures, AAIC Investment, and Atlantica Ventures, with whose support Disrupt Africa will be distributing the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2023 to as many ecosystem stakeholders as possible.

“As long-term backers of African founders, we are optimistic about the future of the tech ecosystem across Africa and are particularly encouraged by its performance in a globally difficult year,” said Ameya Upadhyay, venture partner at Flourish Ventures. “We are delighted to partner with Disrupt Africa to present the 2023 edition of the African Tech Startups Funding Report to all stakeholders.”

Hiroki Ishida, principal (Africa) at AAIC Investment said, “For the sustained growth of the African startup ecosystem, continuous dissemination of information is indispensable.” Adding, “We are pleased to contribute to the efforts of Disrupt Africa, aiming to foster long-term development.”

Aniko Szigetvari, founding partner at Atlantica Ventures also commented, “We are delighted to partner with Disrupt Africa on their 2023 startup funding report, which is an essential source of industry insights and funding trends for both emerging technology startups and investors in the region.”

Previously available for sale, the African Tech Startups Funding Report was purchased each year by leading tech companies from Africa and the rest of the world; from consulting firms, banking & fintech leaders, venture capital firms, supranational investors, and international trade bodies. Now, Disrupt Africa releases the publication for free, making it accessible to those for whom the information is most valuable — African entrepreneurs.

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