Discover more from Africa: The Big Deal
Start-ups with a female founder or a founding team made exclusively of women still attract barely any of the funding going to start-ups in Africa
Back in September, we analysed the funding raised by start-ups in Africa in 2021 based on the gender profile of the founding team. With less than three weeks to go until the end of the year, we thought we’d update the numbers, hoping the situation would have improved somewhat. Unfortunately, the progress we found was marginal, if any. Female single founders and female-only founding teams have raised less than 1% of the total raised on the continent this year so far, roughly one hundredth of what their male counterparts raised. Indeed, male single founders and male-only founding teams have raised over 81% of the funding this year so far across the continent. This share is lower in Kenya (67%) and Nigeria (76%), slightly higher in South Africa (84%) and reaches 98% in Egypt. From a sector point of view, 96% of fintech funding has been raised by male single founders and male-only founding teams. As we look for encouraging data points in this otherwise gloomy picture, a closer look at gender-diverse founding teams shows that nearly half (46%) of those who have raised in 2021 had a female CEO. These female CEOs raised 34% of the funding raised by gender-diverse founding teams. There is actually a big discrepancy depending on the size of the founding team in this instance: for founding teams of 4, only just over a quarter have a female CEO, and 90% of the funding raised went to male CEOs; for teams of 3, the proportion of female CEOs is comparable, but female CEOs raised close to half of the funding. The real positive news comes from founding teams made of one woman and one man (4% of the founding teams overall): in those cases, the majority (59%) have a female CEO, and female CEOs attract 75% of the funding. Finally, if we look at the number of deals (as opposed to amount raised), female single founders and female-only founding teams are doing slightly better, with 5% and 1.4% of the deals respectively. On the downside, it means that women are raising smaller tickets (we found no deal over $10m raised by a female founder or team of female founders in 2021), but on the upside it points to more activity in the earlier funding stages, which hopefully will translate into larger deals in the future.
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