2021 wrapped up as a year when foreign investors saw tech startups in the country as viable platform to invest.
Nigerian tech startups have attracted an increased number of foreign investors who led funding valued at over $1,125,025,000 in 2021.
Infact in 2021, some Nigerian tech startups like Flutterwave, Opay and Andela joined the Unicons gang in the fintech space after reaching a valuation of $1bn.
This is coming as tech adoption by both consumers and the enterprise has accelerated beyond predictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
THE WHISTLER took a look at some tech startups that raised funds and attracted investments from investors in 2021. The figures were gathered from profiles of the Companies and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council.
OPay Valued At $2bn After Raising $400m
Opay received the largest share of tech funds among peers in 2021. In August last year, it raised $400m new Fund 2 financing led by SoftBank Vision Asia, Sequoia Capital China, Redpoint China and Source Code Capital.
The new financing for the mobile money and payment platform came two years after it announced two funding rounds in 2019. It raised $50m in June and a $120m Series B in November.
Founded in 2018, the company had an exclusive presence in Nigeria until 2020 when it expanded to Egypt.
Opay allows unbanked and underbanked customers in Nigeria to send and receive money and also pay bills through its agents.
Mainone Sold For $320m
Funke Opeke founded Mainone in 2010 to provide network solutions to businesses in Nigeria and West Africa.
In December, American multinational company, Equinix, acquired it for $320m, but Opeke’s team is not stepping aside.
Opeke, said the acquisition will speed up the company’s long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa.
Andela Raised $200m
Ian Carnevale, Nigeria’s Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jeremy Johnson, and Christina Sass founded the company in 2014.
Andela’s headquarters is in New York with operational campuses in Africa including Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya.
Andela is now valued at $1.5bn after securing a $200m Series E round in September. The financing was led by SoftBank’s Softbank Vision Fund 2.
Flutterwave Raised $170m
Olugbenga Agboola’s Flutterwave became a unicorn (valuation $1bn) in March 2021 after raising a $170m Series C round.
The round was led by New York-based private investment firm Avenir Growth Capital and U.S. hedge fund and investment firm Tiger Global.
Agboola, founded Flutterwave in 2016 as a Nigerian and U.S based payments company with offices in Lagos and San Francisco.
The company specializes in helping businesses build customizable payments applications through its APIs.
Kuda Bank Raised $80m
Nigerian digital retail bank, Kuda Bank which is only four years old, raised a total of $80 from investors, thanks to its vision of free digital banking service.
The Lagos and London based startup closed a Series B of $55m in August 2021.
Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha who co-founded the company in 2017 believed that the funding will help it improve service in Nigeria and also expand beyond the shores of Africa’s biggest economy.
The company is now valued at $500m. It had raised $25m dollars in a series B funding which was jointly Valar led by Ventures and Global.
Chika Nwobi’s Decagon, a tech startup which combines lending, training, and job placement to help people launch careers as software engineers, raised a $1.5m seed equity round from early-stage VCs and another $25m student loan financing facility from Sterling Bank.
The founder had said that Decagon has a target of addressing the under-representation of black people in technology globally with focus on Nigeria.
The company runs a six-month software engineering program and selects its candidates.
Moove Raised $23m
Moove was founded by Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi in 2019.
Moove, an African mobility company with a fintech that provides financing to mobility entrepreneurs that raised $23m in Series A to spread across the continent.
Moove is Uber’s preferred car financing and vehicle supply partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ulesson Got $22.5m
ULesson, a Nigeria edtech startup raised $7.5m in January 2021 and another $15m series B funding in December 2021.
It was led by Tencent, Nielsen Ventures, and existing investors Owl Ventures, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective.
Sim Shagaya founded Ulesson in 2019 to create high quality, interactive, affordable and accessible learning
The two-year old edtech startup saw a boom during the Covid-19 pandemic when schools were shut down for months.
With the funding, Ulesson wants to continue investing in product development and expand its core technology.
The Lagos based firm is also eyeing expansion into Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, it wrote on its website.
Mono Raised $17m
Nigeria’s Mono was launched in August 2020, to streamline various financial data in a single API for companies and third-party developers.
The company raised a total of $17m in 2021 to expand its operations.
Mono’s latest funding was a $15m Series A round, led by Tiger Global. Target Global (an investor in neobank Kuda), General Catalyst and SBI Investment also participated in the round.
In May, it raised $2m making it a total of $17.5m since launching in 2020.
Nigeria’s automotive company Autochek has secured a $13.1 million seed round.
Pan-African VC firms TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures led the round.
Etop Ikpe founded the company in 2020 to improve access to Auto loans, quality maintenance / after sales services, and warranty solutions.
Alerzo, a B2B e-commerce retail startup based in Ibadan raised $10.5m. The Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital.
Nigerian fintech Appzone raised $10M for expansion, while Verto B2B payments platform that allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make payments to their suppliers
Fintech and lending startup, Lidya in July 2021 announced that it has completed its $8.3 million pre-Series B funding round, while Eat N’Go, Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) raised $5m.
Releaf, a tech-enabled food processing company, secured $4.2 million; CapitalSage Technology Limited raised $4 million in August; Prospa, a software and financial services provider closed $3.8 million pre-seed investment in September.
Edtech platforms, EDUKOYA raised $3.4m for learning;, Cowrywise, a fintech startup raised $3m; Omnibiz, a Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce startup, secured $3million in August; Sparkle, a digital bank startup, raised a $3.1 million seed round in October and Definely, a London-based Nigerian legal technology startup, raised $3 million in pre-seed funding in September.
Also ReelFruit, a dried fruit company, announced a Series A investment of $3 million in September 201; Oneka Akuma’s Treepz raised a total of $2.8m to expand into other African countries. Bankly, a fintech startup digitizing cash for the unbanked, closed $2 million
Rooomxix, an urban streetwear fashion brand, announced an investment of $1.5 million in August; Sendbox in October raised $1.8 million seed; Chaka, a trading and investment platform, raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding round in July; MVX, a digital freight and hauling company, raised a $1.3 million and Payday, a fintech company, raised $1 million in October.
Edu-tech, an online school startup Edves that raised $575,000 seed funding round in October; Chekkit raised $500,000 pre-seed funding round in August 2021; Bitmama, a payment platform netted $350,000 pre-seed funding in October; Showlove raised $300,000 in pre-seed funding in August.
Others were Bumpa, an e-commerce startup that raised $200,000 pre-seed in September; Zowasel, Agritech startup, was funded with $100,000 and Jise, a food-only delivery platform that raised $100,000 angel funding in October.