…As African female-led startups raised >>> $200m between 2019 and 2023

In the dynamic and rapidly evolving African tech ecosystem, a wave of trailblazing female founders is making remarkable strides, breaking barriers, and leaving an indelible mark. Despite numerous challenges, African female founders are defying the odds and securing substantial funding to fuel their innovative ventures.

According to a recent report by TechCabal Insights, female-led startups in Africa raised over $200 million in funding between 2019 and 2023, a significant achievement that underscores the growing recognition and support for women-led businesses. According to Disrupt Africa, 40% of venture capitalists (VC) investing in African startups between January 2022 and April 2023 had at least one female founder, partner, general partner, or managing partner. Among the Africa-based VCs active, this number goes up slightly to 47.8%.

While the funding figure represents only 1.54% of the total funding raised by startups during the same period, it highlights the immense potential and untapped opportunities for female entrepreneurs on the continent.

The fintech sector emerged as the most funded area for female-led startups, accounting for 27% of the total funding received. This trend reflects the growing demand for digital financial services and the innovative solutions these startups provide to address the continent’s unique challenges.

Geographically, East Africa has emerged as a hub for female-led startups, with Kenya leading the pack, attracting over $92 million in funding between 2019 and 2023. Nigeria, Tanzania, and Egypt also stand out as countries where female founders have secured significant investments, collectively accounting for nearly 80% of the total funding raised by women-led startups during the same period.

Notable startups led by female founders have made remarkable strides, raising substantial funds to scale their operations. Anu Adasolum’s B2B e-commerce platform, Sabi, secured $59 million, while Lesley Marincola’s software startup in Kenya, Angaza, raised $29.5 million. Other notable female-led ventures include Aisha Pandor’s home services platform SweepSouth ($20 million), Miishe Addy’s logistics startup Jetstream ($16 million), and Hilda Moraa’s fintech company Pezesha ($12.6 million).

Despite these remarkable achievements, the report highlights the persisting funding gap faced by female founders, particularly in certain regions like Central Africa, which received only 0.7% of the total funding during the period under review.

As Maya Horgan Famodu, Founder and Managing Director of Ingressive Capital, aptly stated, “The most important work that investors and stakeholders can do is to stop focusing on women as a group that needs to be helped, aided, or in some way considered incompetent… If we just focused on performance metrics and removed all other distractions, it would be a lot more of an egalitarian and equitable investing, entrepreneurial, and hiring ecosystem.”
The African tech ecosystem stands at a pivotal juncture where embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment for female founders is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business decision. By championing and investing in these trailblazers, the continent can unlock its full potential, drive innovation, and create a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

As we continue celebrating African women, TechCabal Insights invites you to a live event on Wednesday, March 27, where we discuss ways to drive digital gender inclusion in Africa. You can preregister for the event by visiting this link.

See you soon!

Stephen Agwaibor Content and Project Associate

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox