Happy New Year from all of us at Future Africa. We trust you are well and staying safe.
Last year was extraordinary. Our Assets Under Management hit $30 million, up from $600,000 in 2017. African startups raised more than $4 billion in venture funding, 15x that of 2015, the year with the continent’s first official VC funding figures. We also saw multiple unicorns, two of which – Flutterwave and Andela – are our portfolio companies. The other three are; Wave, Opay, and Chipper Cash.
At Future Africa, we are gearing up for an even more phenomenal 2022 after a transformative 2021. In January 2021, I outlined our focus areas in our new year message titled ‘The Obstacle is the Way’, which you can read here. But, with the ecosystem maturing, there is so much that needs to be said. This time around, we are sharing the new year message in the first edition of the Future Africa Review, our end of year report, launching on January 25, 2022. It gives a condensed overview of our fund and portfolio performance and examines the startup ecosystem’s notable themes in 2021. You can sign up to attend the virtual launch event here.
In the first section of the report, you will see that last year we invested $4.3 million into 43 companies across a broad range of industries we believe will shape Africa’s future, from Education to Healthcare to Media and more. Financial Services remained our top sector and made up 55.7% of our investment value, dominating the investments we made. Our 2021 investments bring our portfolio size to 75. These companies now collectively employ over 2,400 people as of the end of 2021.
Overall, our portfolio companies raised over $290 million in follow-on funding in 2021 and have all cumulatively raised over $630 million in lifetime aggregate funding and are valued at slightly over $3.5 billion – including Andela, valued at $1.5 billion.
In furtherance of our pan-African drive, we expanded our geographical reach and made our investment debuts in Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia in 2021. Through these investments, Future Africa’s presence is now in 6 African countries, including Nigeria and Kenya.
At the start of 2021, we committed to ensuring that at least $1 million of our capital would go to female innovators. We delivered on this, investing over $2 million in companies with female founders. In total, we have 152 founders in our network, and 1 in 3 of our portfolio companies have a female co-founder, including Lami, Kwara, and Knabu, led by female CEOs.
Our community of angel investors – the Future Africa Collective – grew from 160 to 257 members as of the close of 2021, investing over $2 million compared to $780,000 in 2020. This feat makes us one of the largest organised networks of active investors across the continent. You can also join us to invest in Africa’s fastest-growing startups and learn more here.
In the second section of the Future Africa Review, we identify, highlight and add context to the defining themes of 2021. Although much happened, we believe these four themes – talent shortage, the dominance of fintech, the emergence of name-brand VC and soaring valuations – stood out. We point out why they are significant for the ecosystem’s future. We offer insights into overcoming the talent shortage in the short and long term and how to attract funding to other industries and more.
Future Africa’s vision is to build an Africa where prosperity and purpose are within everyone’s reach. Our mission is to build the future in Africa by investing early in mission-driven founders solving hard problems in large markets. Therefore, we are demanding that we do even more this year by leading with courage, doing the hard things, and helping others prosper. I firmly believe that these guiding principles apply to the entire ecosystem, and we are open to leading by example.
I hope that the Future Africa Review will spark difficult but meaningful and transparent conversations about Africa’s future. I hope it will inspire others to offer a transparent and candid overview of their journeys and thoughts about building an African future. Because, by all indicators, 2022 is the year of scaling impact by continuing to identify, fund and support founders that are doing the hard things and providing solutions to Africa’s most difficult problems and, as a result, shaping the continent’s future.
Yours in service,
Join the Future Africa Collective to invest in African startups. With your $300 quarterly subscription fee or $1000 annually, you get access to invest a minimum of $2,500 in up to 20 African startups annually or up to 5 startups quarterly.