You are Here > Home > My Investments > The top African tech unicorns worth watching

The top African tech unicorns worth watching

Oct 1, 2021

The experts at CMTrading take a look at some of the African tech unicorns that have reached the $1 billion mark, and what has made them worthy of the title.

The top African tech unicorns worth watchingFor those unfamiliar with online trading or venture capital terminology, the term “unicorn” is used to describe a privately held startup company worth over $1 billion.

Many tech unicorns have emerged in recent years, and the Covid-19 pandemic tech boom has accelerated growth even more.

From revolutionising the money markets to providing better access to education for millions, African tech unicorns have carved out their niche.

Flutterwave , Interswitch and Go1 are among the African tech startups that have reached unicorn status, and their success has come at a time of great difficulty for many other companies.

Here, the words of the late tech pioneer Steve Jobs ring true: “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.”

In a world that is becoming ever more tech driven, tech unicorns are “coining it”, and there are a few logical reasons for why this is the case.

Daniel Kibel, co-founder of CMTrading says, “Despite negative sentiment and the ongoing pandemic, a select few astute entrepreneurs have seen opportunities and seized them. While emerging economies are, by and large, struggling to bounce back from the crisis, there is always opportunity in challenging times for creative risktakers.

“We have seen an unprecedented number of these brave entrepreneurs emerge during the pandemic.”

Go1: riding the edtech train

Go1 was funded in 2015 by South African Melvyn Lubega and Australian Andrew Barnes, who met at Oxford and capitalised on a gap in the enterprise training market.

Go1 recently received an astonishing $200 million in Series D funding (Series D refers to the fourth stage in the seed-stage financing cycle), bumping the company’s value up to more than $1 billion.

Go1 is now the world’s largest corporate education hub for online training resources, reaching 3.5 million learners globally.

Co-founder Barnes says that he plans to use the funding to expand into additional markets. This is probably likely to go well, as Go1 has consistently increased its user base by more than 300% year on year.

Flutterwave: the mobile money giant

Nigeria’s Flutterwave, founded in Lagos in 2016, was valued at over $1 billion after raising $170 million in Series C funding (the third stage in the seed-stage financing cycle) in April.

Flutterwave facilitates international payments for major companies operating in Africa, including Facebook and Uber. Its latest batch of funding was raised by US-based private equity firms Tiger Global and Avenir Growth Capital.

With more than 140 million transactions totalling $9 billion, Flutterwave is attracting major investors. The company now enables receipts of international payments from the US and Europe, pushing its growth even further.

Interswitch: mobile accounts pioneer

Interswitch, founded in 2002, became Africa’s second unicorn in 2019, when Visa bought a 20% stake in the company worth $200 million. Interswitch has supplied 22 million debit and credit cards and has more than 190 000 clients using its platform to process financial transactions.

The company has been growing exponentially for a long time but has gained sudden momentum due to recent changes in the digital and technology landscapes. Today, Interswitch is a giant in the mobile payment sector.

Fawry: payment solutions in a nutshell

Fawry, founded in 2008, is an Egyptian e-payments company that facilitates payments using mobile wallets as a means to bypass Egypt’s complex financial payment system.

It was listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange in 2019, and in 2021 announced that its valuation had reached $1 billion. As of 2021, more than 29 million people use Fawry’s app.

In terms of investments, Fawry has attracted millions from major companies including Helios Investment Partners and IFC Venture Capital Group.

Unique opportunity

Kibel concludes, “A $1 billion valuation remains an elusive proposition for many startups. But accessing funding and creating deeper innovation to tap into the continent’s growing diverse markets offers a unique opportunity for eagle-eyed investors.

“For the unicorns, investment is speeding up valuation and scaling operations. The pandemic has somewhat stunted growth in many markets, especially on the African continent, but there is definite opportunity if you know where to seek it out.”

This post was based on a press release issued on behalf of CMTrading, which is the brand name of Global Capital Markets Trading Ltd.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

Previous Articles

SARS issues guidance on crypto assets

On 27 August 2021, SARS provided further guidance on the correct tax treatment of crypto assets and how this must be declared in people’s tax returns. SARS published a document on its website entitled Crypto Assets & Tax. The publication should perhaps best be...

High-risk land investment leaves angry investors out of pocket

Many South African investors who bought UK property developments through SA-based property marketing company SJ Capital, have seen no returns for over 11 years. Investigations have found that the investment is extremely high risk and that investors were not fully...

Listen: Creating a passive income with shares

In this podcast, Maya (@mayaonmoney) chats to money blogger Brett (@ETFenthusiast) on how blogging helps keep him on track financially, his plans in working towards financial freedom, and which investments he is using to provide a passive income in the future.

You don’t need a lot of money to start investing

Many people feel they need to have a lot of money in order to start investing. In fact, the opposite is true. Investing small amounts every month actually provides the best risk-return scenario when it comes to longer-term investing. Investing via a monthly debit...

Retirement planning is not a once-off event

Jaco Prinsloo, Wealth Manager at PPS Wealth Advisory, has some sensible advice around retirement planning. As a wealth manager, I have observed that there are two typical clients. Some dread retirement, while others look forward to it. Those who dread it are the ones...

Four signs that could predict a market crash

Pieter Hundersmarck, fund manager at Flagship Asset Management, wants us to learn from history when it comes to the factors that could trigger a market crash. While the future is unlikely to be an exact repeat of the past, history is full of valuable lessons. These...

Removing the rand from the offshore investment equation

Kyle Wales, fund manager at Flagship Asset Management, says that we should consider offshore investment for the right reasons, not simply because we fear rand weakness. Many investors base their decisions to invest offshore purely on their subjective assessment of the...

Habits that set successful investors apart

When investing, sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing. Having the ability to block out the noise, and look through the cycle, are some of the cornerstones to investment success over the long term. Nomi Bodlani, head of strategic markets at Allan Gray,...

Listen: Why institutions are taking bitcoin seriously

If you want to understand bitcoin, blockchain and the related crypto-asset world, listen as Chris Becker, blockchain technologies specialist at Investec Private Bank, unpacks the world of blockchain technologies and explains why we are just at the start of a...

Move away from exchange control

South Africa is moving from a framework of exchange control to capital-flow management, but what does that mean for the ordinary South African investor? Over the last few years, exchange control for individuals has been incrementally lifted, making it easier for South...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This