Despite a mixed performance in 2021 so far, Kenya keeps punching above its weight
By popular demand - and after covering Nigeria and Egypt earlier this year - we are taking a closer look at Kenya’s ecosystem this week. Even though things have slowed down in 2021 (we’ll come back to this in a minute…), Kenya has been consistently punching above its weight when it comes to number of deals and amount raised. In 2019 and 2020, the country was ranking #3 in terms of number of $1m+ deals signed on the continent, behind South Africa and Nigeria; in terms of total funding raised, it was only second to Nigeria in 2019, and topped the list in 2020. 2021 tells a more contrasted story as the country dropped to #4 in terms of number of $1m+ deals and #5 in total amount raised (in particular due to Wave’s $200m round that projected Senegal into the top 4). Of the $182m raised by start-ups in Kenya so far this year, nearly half (47%) belongs to Gro Intelligence’s $85m deal in February. This is actually the only deal over $15m in the country so far this year, while there were 5 of those in 2020; South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria can already boast respectively 8, 9 and 15 such deals in 2021. Beyond DeepTech (47% of the total amount raised, driven exclusively by the Gro Intelligence deal), start-ups in energy & water (20%), fintech (13%) and agri & food (8%) are raising the most. On a positive note, thanks to the “Gro effect” - but not only -, Kenya is the only large ecosystem where the majority of funding is raised by female CEOs (59%) & gender-diverse founding teams this year. As discussed previously, CEOs of start-ups in Kenya are much more likely to have studied in Europe or in the US than in Africa. Finally, if smaller deals ($100k-$1m) are an indication of what is to come next, Kenya’s place in the ecosystem should remain high: in 2021 so far, the country is second in terms of the number of such 'smaller’ deals with 63 already, behind Nigeria (90), but ahead of Egypt (48) and South Africa (47).
There definitely seemed to be a lot of appetite for Kenya-related content, so we hope you’ll find this week’s post interesting and useful. If you want to dig more into the numbers, the database of deals from 2019 is still available at a discount. Oh, and we might have a small surprise for you in the coming days… Stay tuned!