Key questions this article answers:

  1. Africa’s startup ecosystem hit a new funding milestone in February 2023. Does this development point to a recovery from the funding slowdown in 2022?

  2. A new African Unicorn was born in February. Where can you find this Unicorn, and how does this deal affect sectoral and regional funding performance?

“Don’t sleep, wake up, collect your money….” Kizz Daniel’s song aptly captures the startup funding situation in 2021, where African startups definitely collected their money and recorded a major milestone of $4.6 billion in funding.

However, 2022 was less soft. As Stears showed in an analysis of major trends in the African ecosystem last year, funding slowed. Rising interest rates in advanced economies attracted investors to safer assets—especially in the third and fourth quarters of the year contributed to 2022's slow funding in the ecosystem.

Despite the slowdown, we also highlighted in our 2022 summary that investors are piling dry powder (i.e. cash reserves available for investment) and are looking to allocate it, albeit more cautiously.

Thankfully, the Africa Big Deal database, compiled by Maxime Bayen and Max Cuvellier, allows us to track the funding data and the deals in the African technology ecosystem monthly. So, will funding fall to pre-2021 levels? Will Africa maintain the same momentum or have a breakout year? It is still too early to call, but in typical Stears fashion, we will stay on top of this to ensure our readers are up to date with the funding trends and developments as they unfold.

Today, we bring you the big themes and takeaways from the February roundup of the Big Deal database. Key insights for Feb 2023 include the fact that African startups achieved their highest February raise since 2019, fintech is still the darling for investors, and we can do better with funding diverse or women-only teams.

As you dive in, remember that this analysis is a snapshot