Rising African venture investment powers fintech, cleantech bets in 2020


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As a turbulent week in the capital world, we’re taking a look at something a bit slower-moving: venture capital trends in Africa during 2020.

The Exchange has long explored quarterly and yearly data regarding the North American, European and Asian venture capital markets, along with data on particular startup categories. From today, we’ll also provide regular examinations of what’s happening in Africa.

As an aside, we’re sorry The Exchange didn’t come out yesterday. The world went mad and we had to tend to breaking news. We’re back! 

To dig into African venture capital results, we’re looking at a report concerning 2020 data from Briter Bridges, a research group that focuses on the continent’s private capital market. The Exchange also interviewed report author and Briter director Dario Giuliani about the collected data.


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What emerges is a generally growing venture capital scene, but one that had mixed results in 2020 compared to 2019. However, if we control for an outsized investment or two, things smooth out rather nicely.

Let’s check the top-line figures, get insight from Giuliani concerning where the capital is flowing most rapidly, and wrap with a look at which startup categories are seeing the most investment in Africa today.

Africa’s 2020 venture capital results

During my time at Crunchbase News, I helped lead a team that generated acre-feet of reporting on the global and domestic venture capital markets. It’s difficult work that involves making decisions on what counts, what doesn’t and how to handle rounds that have not been disclosed publicly.

Over time, I’ve also become comfortable with venture data from PitchBook and CB Insights as well, and am now adding the Briter dataset to the trusted cohort.

During my chat with Giuliani, it became clear that his team is doing the hard and valuable work of carefully collating and sorting information. I say all of that simply to let you know that we now have a regular source for trustworthy information (compiled in concert with seventy different investing groups) on Africa that we’ll use regularly to keep tabs on the continent. This is a win.

So, what does the data say? We have to parse it some, as historically Briter has collated mega-deals — which it counts as investments of $90 million or more — and M&A in the same bucket. So, tracking just the dollar volume of African deals smaller than $90 million gives us the following set of results:


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