Is 2021 off to a good start?

Start-ups in Africa are rocking Q1 🚀

Now the March is over, let’s look back at Q1-21, Shall we? Though some may argue what Africa really needs is zebras, an African start-up reaching ‘unicorn’ status is always a cause for celebration. If 2020 ended on a high, with Stripe’s USD200m acquisition of Nigerian fintech Paystack, 2021 started with a bang, as Nigerian fintech Flutterwave (do we see a pattern here?) raised $170m in early March and is now also valued at over USD1bn. Beyond this mega deal, Q1 has been a pretty extraordinary quarter for the African tech ecosystem: Adumo, DayStar Power, Gro Intelligence, Kuda, Mubawab, Planet42, SunCulture, Tymebank and WeFarm for instance all raised north of USD10m, while Yuppiechef was acquired by Mr Price for USD30m+. Overall, the amount raised through disclosed deals USD1m & over in Q1-21 is 73% (!) higher than in Q1-20. Of course, due to the pandemic Q1-20 had seen early signs of a slowdown (check out Q2-20…), but the pandemic is dragging out unfortunately, yet Q1-21 was extremely strong. Remarkably, Q1-21 numbers are higher than Q4-20, which is pretty unusual, as Q4s tend to see a surge in investments as investors rush to close deals before year end. So, in many ways Q1-21 was a pretty spectacular quarter… Will the rest of 2021 live up to it?