Olugbenga Agboola, GB
Olugbenga Agboola, CEO, Flutterwave

By Adebayo Obajemu

Raising capital to start business in the country is very difficult, given the parlous state of the economy. But in spite of the cash crunch, there are some Venture Capitalist firms in Nigeria offering funding for startups.

Having great and interesting business ideas are not enough to make a breakthrough as a budding entrepreneur; without capital, such ideas will just remain ideas if there is no funding.

Sadly, lack of funding is a common reason why most startups in Nigeria fail. You have to know what you want, where to look, and also be prepared to do the work required to pitch your ideas to prospective investors to get started.

The silver lining on the horizon is that of recent times, the Nigerian Tech sector has gained a lot of traction in terms of funding. According to a report, foreign investors contributed $85.8 million out of the approximately $120.6 million that African startups raised in the year 2020.

Most us of don’t really understand what is meant by Venture Capitalist.

By way of explanation a venture capitalist is a person or company that invests in a business venture, providing capital for startup or expansion. Venture capitalists are defined by the large investments they make in a promising startup or young business.

As a young entrepreneur with big ideas without money to actualize your dream business, your dreams can still see the light of day if you are looking to raise money to start the business of your dream. Here are some Venture capitalist firms in Nigeria you can approach for funding of your startups.

FirstCheck Africa.

FirstCheck Africa, a female-focused angel fund, is making it.

easier for African women in tech to raise capital by writing “ridiculously early” first checks and creating pathways for more African women to invest in technology startups.

Started by Eloho Omame and Odunayo Eweniyi, FirstCheck is providing more opportunities for women & diverse teams to raise capital, and for more women to invest in tech. In Africa it will invest up to $25,000 in each woman that it supports, working to help raise a significant pre-seed round within 12 months.

Future Africa

Future Africa provides capital, coaching, and community for mission-driven innovators “building an African future where prosperity and purpose are within everyone’s reach.” Founded by Iyin Aboyeji, the platform connects mission-driven innovators and investors looking to turn Africa’s most difficult challenges into global business opportunities.

Some of the popular Nigerian startups in Future Africa’s portfolio include Andela, Chaka, Flutterwave, 54gene, bamboo, rise, Eden, evolve credit, and many more.

Greentree Investment Africa

Greentree is an investment company that invests in people who love what they do. The company is committed to the growth of the businesses they invest in, leveraging their extensive collective expertise to grow and add value to their portfolio companies.

Founded in 2014, the company has funded many startups, most notable of which include Paystack, Precurio, and Big Cabal Media.

Ventures platform

Ventures Platform is a Pan-African early-stage fund focused on supporting post MVP teams to grow their startups. Ventures Platform invests in seed and early-stage companies that are operating in markets that have existing positive offline indicators. It was founded by Kola Aina, an avid angel investor and startup mentor.

Some of the popular Nigerian startups in the Ventures Platform portfolio include Paystack, Tizeti, Thrive agric, Kudi, Piggyvest, Trove Finance, Brass, Mono.

Echo VC Partners

Echo VC is a technology-focused early-stage VC firm focused on unapologetically investing in women, under represented founders (particularly of African descent), and underserved POC markets, backing bold ideas and business models that harness the power of technology to deliver value to mass markets.

Some startups in their portfolio include Lifebank, Lori, hotels.ng, Migo, and Netplusdotcom.

TLCom

TLCom supports innovative entrepreneurs that leverage technology to find market solutions to significant challenges. They invest between $500k and $10m dollars in companies.
Some companies in their portfolio include Andela, kobo 360, autochek, uLesson, and ilara health.

Microtraction

Microtraction funds smart, relentlessly resourceful founders who are building high-growth, technology-driven businesses in billion-dollar markets. They typically invest $25,000 for 7%.

Startups in their portfolio include Cowrywise, Buycoins, Bitsika Africa, Thankucash, sendbox, and many more.

If you have a product or a business idea, you can leverage these VC firms to give your business the chance to live to its full potential. Interestingly, some of these top notch Nigerian tech companies raised significant seed capital for Nigerian startups in 2020

In general, African startups raised over $1 billion in funding in 2020, with Nigerian startups raising 17% of this amount – $55.37million in Q1 2o2o and $28.35million in Q2 2020, according to Techpoint.

Below are the top 10 rankings of the highest fundraisers for 2020:

Flutterwave

The startup provides digital payments infrastructure and services which enable global merchants, payment service providers, and pan-African banks to accept and process payments across various channels.

It raised a $35M Series-B round led by US venture capital firms Greycroft and eVentures in January 2020. The funding was invested in technology and business development to grow market share in the countries it operates in.

54gene

The startup is equalizing precision medicine by including underrepresented Africans in global genomics research. It raised $15M in a Series A funding round in April 2020 led by Adjuvant Capital – a life sciences fund backed by the International Finance Corporation, Novartis, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

These new funds will be used to address the gap that exists in precision medicine for people on the African continent.

Aella Credit

The startup is a one-stop app for all your financial needs. Aella makes it super easy for anyone to borrow, invest, and make payments. It secured a $10 million debt financing round from a Singaporean company – HQ Financial Group.

Hotflex

The new capital raised from Singapore is expected to facilitate the credit company’s effort to provide financial inclusion to many more of the people who are currently unbanked across Nigeria, West Africa, and other emerging markets.

Helium Healt.

The startup has become the leading provider of full-service technology solutions for healthcare stakeholders in Africa. It raised a $10 million Series A round in April 2020.

Global Ventures and Africa Healthcare Master fund (AAIC) co-led the investment round. Helium plans to use the latest funding round to hire and expand to North and East Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Morocco.

Kuda Bank

The startup provides a full banking service on your smartphone. It secured a US$10 million seed round in November 2020 – the biggest seed round ever to be raised in Africa, led by Target Global with participation from Entrée Capital and SBI Investment.

The funding will be used to help accelerate its growth plans and keep up with customer demand. Specifically, funds will be used for key hires, product development, and to expand operations across Africa.

Trade Depot

The startup is a Nigerian B2B e-Commerce Company that utilizes an end-to-end distribution platform aimed at connecting the world’s top consumer goods companies directly to retailers in Africa.

It raised $10-million in a pre-Series B equity round co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), and MSA Capital in July 2020.

The new investment will enable Trade Depot to continue connecting international brands with small businesses in Nigeria expand into other African cities, launch a suite of financial products, and credit facilities aimed at supporting its retailers.

Field Intelligence

The startup is helping governments and businesses make good on the promise of healthcare in the fastest-growing parts of the world by making the pharmaceutical supply chain radically simple, affordable, and easily accessible.

It raised a $3.6 million Series A round in March 2020, led by Blue Haven Initiative, with investors including Newtown Partners via the Imperial Venture Fund and Accion Venture Lab.

The investment will be used to scale Shelf Life expansion throughout Nigeria and Kenya, as well as the development of additional services for Shelf Life clients and their patients.

MedSaf

The startup connects suppliers to hospitals and pharmacies directly to make the pharmaceutical supply chain more efficient. The health start-up raised $3.5M in a seed funding round in December 2020.  It will use this funding to expand to other African countries.

Auto Chek

The Company is an automotive technology company that aims to build solutions for the African market. It raised $3.4 million in pre-seed funding round in November 2020, co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX with inclusion from Golden Palm Investments, Lateral Capital, Kepple Africa Ventures. Auto Chek will use the investment to grow its Nigerian and Ghanaian markets, invest in its tech, and grow its team. Despite the ravaging impact of Covid-19, Nigerian tech start-ups raised millions of dollars in funding. We hope to see more investors in the first quarter of 2021.

Rensource Energy

The startup allows qualifying companies throughout Nigeria and West Africa to start selling Power-as-a-Service (PaaS) to their customers.

It raised $3 million from Proparco, with the support of the European Union under the Africa Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility (ARE Scale-Up). The funding will be used to contribute to facilitating energy access in the context of a significant and growing energy gap in Nigeria and support the development of innovative solar energy solutions.

Flutterwave, One pipe, and funding raised by Nigerian Tech startups African tech startups raise over $700 million in 2020 despite pandemic Nigeria Fintechs take lead in Africa, attract $122 million fund in 2019.

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