Big Investment in African Tech Set to Continue in 2020
By Ventures Africa
2019 was the year that dealmaking on the continent got serious. Very serious. In November alone, indeed one specific seven-day period in the month, investors announced over $400m for various fintechs on the continent. This was the wildest week the sector had ever witnessed. And no, it wasn’t a flurry of announcements for modest rounds, but in fact a succession of big-ticket deals for fintech companies, both old and new.
Interswitch, the godfather of Nigerian payments, secured $200 million led by Visa, ahead of the company’s plans to IPO in 2020 whilst also bringing the company’s valuation to the $1 billion mark. Next, relatively new PalmPay, a mobile money transfer platform, secured $40 million led by China’s Transsion Holdings to launch in Nigeria. The same week, OPay, the fintech platform from Opera (that is aggressively moving into the ride-hailing market across Nigeria with ORide) secured $120 million Series B investment from Chinese investors. There were more, and we can bet that more deals are ongoing currently.
In Silicon Valley and across Europe and in Asia, these ticket sizes are common. Perhaps even on the low side. On the continent, they are colossal even by last year’s deals, and the raft of fintech announcements purged any thoughts or discussions from the African tech Twitterati that fintech was slowing down. Investors have spent 2019 investing in Africa to make money move seamlessly.