Chinese investors double down on African startups

Three fintech startups; OPay, PalmPay and East trucking logistics company Lori Systems, closed large fundraises this year. On their own, the deals aren’t particularly notable, but together, they expose a new trend within the startup ecosystem.

This year, those three companies brought in a total of $240 million in venture capital funding from 15 different investors, who’ve become increasingly active in Africa’s tech scene. TechNews  reporter Jake Bright, who covers African tech, writes that 2019 marks “the year Chinese investors went all in on the continent’s startup scene” particularly its fintech projects. Why?

“The continent’s 1.2 billion people represent the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population which makes fintech Africa’s most promising digital sector,” Bright notes. “In previous years, the country’s interactions with African startups were relatively light compared to deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. Chinese actors investing heavily in African mobile consumer platforms lends to looking at new data-privacy and security issues for the continent.”

Active Chinese investors in Africa include Hillhouse Capital, Meituan-Dianping, GaoRong, Source Code Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, BAI, Redpoint, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Crystal Stream Capital, GSR Ventures, Chinese mobile-phone maker Transsion and NetEase .

If you like this newsletter, you will definitely enjoy Equity, which brings the content of this newsletter to life in podcast form! Join myself and Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm every Friday for a quick breakdown of the week’s biggest news in venture capital and startups.

This week, we discussed Weekend Fund’s new vehicle, Cocoon’s new friend-tracking app and the unfortunate demise of a startup called Omni. You can listen here.

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