Usually, ecosystem reviews come at the end of the year, where various news outlets publish reports on trends observed throughout the year. TechCabal’s EoY report is an example. But we understand that executives are a key part of our audience, and they read these reports to keep abreast of evolving trends in the tech ecosystem and more importantly, to make timely decisions. If the only time they have these reports is at the end of the year, then most of the insights in it would probably have gone stale.
Our quarterly ‘State of Tech In Africa’ report caters to these audiences and you can get both the Q1 report and Q2 report for free. That said, while the Q3 report is brewing, let’s have a quick run-down of the African tech ecosystem for the first-half of the year.
In 2016, the African tech ecosystem barely raised $400 million in total venture capital. Four years later, the continent was doing 4x its 2016 funding numbers. To a large extent, that makes funding a big deal and an important metric for the African tech ecosystem.
In Q1 2022, $1.5b was raised in 102 deals and by Q2, funding was down by 15% to $1.2b, raised in 180 deals. One way to think about the sharp drop in funding could be that it is due to a trickle-down effect from the global venture capital melt-down. However, Olanrewaju Odunowo (Head, TechCabal Insights), thinks that “most of the deals we saw in the previous quarter (Q1) were likely already in motion in late 2021 but were finalised in 2022. Once these deals closed out, funding announcements were bound to hit a plateau.”
Currently, we can’t discuss acquisitions in Africa without mentioning South Africa. In 2020, the country accounted for 28% of startup acquisitions on the continent. In 2021, 32 tech acquisition deals were closed across Africa, with South Africa accounting for 28% of the deals. Of the 14 acquisitions closed in Q1 2022, either the acquirer or the acquired startup came from South Africa or Egypt.
Another interesting insight on Africa’s tech startup acquisition is that a good number of the deals are between African startups. Of the 26 acquisitions deals by the end of H1 2022, 16 of them were deals between African startups. This a really good growth metric for the ecosystem as smaller startups consolidate to gain market share and healthy competition is bred between companies.
Expanding without an acquisition is a brave business move. We say ‘brave’ because it requires having to start building from scratch unlike in acquisitions where boots are already on the ground and the initial effort would be directed towards ensuring a smooth merger of operations.
Here are a few expansions that happened in Q2 2022:
It’s hard to track startups that are just starting out because in the early-stage, most startups are focused on building and iterating and do not necessarily seek attention from the media. This borders on the founder’s decision to either build in public or iterate privately till a solid product fit for market adoption can go live.
In Q1 2022, we tracked about 10 newly-launched startups. Our approach then was to focus on those who were building and iterating publicly. For Q2 however, we decided to dig further with the aim of giving the first shot of media-air to the unicorns of the future.
Other important trends
- Amazon’s full-blown presence in Africa
With over $27.9 billion generated in revenue by online shopping platforms, e-commerce in Africa is still not a profitable venture with indigenous players like Jumia struggling to break-even. The sector is however set to take a new turn as Amazon is set to begin full-blown operations in Africa by 2023.
It is worthy to note that Amazon’s entry into Africa is not entirely a new operation. Back in 2017, the e-commerce giant made a $580 million acquisition of Souq, a United Arab Emirates company which had operations in Egypt. When the acquisition was completed, Egypt’s arm of the business changed its website to “Amazon.eg”. What Amazon’s e-commerce operation means for indigenous companies in the sector remains to be seen.
2. Africa’s tech talent
2022 has been a rollercoaster for African tech talent. In Q1, a major part of the discussion was about the shortage of tech talent, specifically senior-level. By Q2, the discussion had switched to layoffs and how tech startups are managing funds to survive the global VC funding draught.
3. Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Africa
In our Q1 and Q2 report, we traced the advent of EVs into Africa, explaining the operations of startups operating in the space — including Roam (formerly OpiBus), BaxiGo and Max. We also explored their funding status, product offering and tried to answer the big question on whether Africa is ready for the adoption of electric vehicles.
For more insights, you should take a dig deep into our State of tech in Africa reports for Q1 2022 and Q2 2022. The reports are structured to give you succinct insights that matter without unnecessary background stories.
If you think there are other trends or insights we should track that we are not already doing, I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an email – Fikayo@bigcabal.com.