Startups Weekly: Chinese investors double down on African startups

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Hello and welcome again to Startups Weekly, a weekend publication that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and enterprise capital information. Before I bounce into as we speak’s matter, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Airbnb’s points. Before that, I famous Uber’s new “money” staff.

Remember, you possibly can ship me suggestions, solutions and suggestions to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you’re new, you possibly can subscribe to Startups Weekly right here.


China’s pivot to Africa

Three African fintech startups; OPay, PalmPay and East African trucking logistics firm Lori Systems, closed massive fundraises this yr. On their very own, the offers aren’t significantly notable, however collectively, they expose a brand new development throughout the African startup ecosystem.

This yr, these three corporations introduced in a complete of $240 million in enterprise capital funding from 15 completely different Chinese investors, who’ve develop into more and more lively in Africa’s tech scene. TechCrunch reporter Jake Bright, who covers African tech, writes that 2019 marks “the year Chinese investors went all in on the continent’s startup scene” — significantly its fintech tasks. Why?

“The continent’s 1.2 billion people represent the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population — which makes fintech Africa’s most promising digital sector,” Bright notes. “In previous years, the country’s interactions with African startups were relatively light compared to deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. Chinese actors investing heavily in African mobile consumer platforms lends to looking at new data-privacy and security issues for the continent.”

Active Chinese investors in Africa embrace Hillhouse Capital, Meituan-Dianping, GaoRong, Source Code Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, BAI, Redpoint, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Crystal Stream Capital, GSR Ventures, Chinese mobile-phone maker Transsion and NetEase .

Here’s extra of TechCrunch’s latest protection of Africa startup exercise:


VC Deals

It was a brief week (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way in which). But right here’s a fast have a look at the highest offers of the previous few days.


M&A (VR version)

Last week, Facebook introduced it was shopping for Beat Games, the sport studio behind Beat Saber, a rhythm sport that’s equal elements Fruit Ninja and Guitar Hero. Heard of the corporate? Maybe if you happen to’re a gamer, however if you happen to’re readying this article due to your curiosity in VC, this firm might not have come throughout your radar.

Why? It’s one in all digital actuality’s greatest successes as we speak, however it’s simply an eight-person staff with no funding.

“I’m really proud that we were able to build the company with this mindset of making decisions based on what is good for the game and not what is the most profitable thing,” Beat Games CEO instructed TechCrunch earlier this yr. Read about Facebook’s acquisition right here and an in-depth profile of the small staff right here.


Equity

If you want this article, you’ll undoubtedly take pleasure in Equity, which brings the content material of this article to life — in podcast type! Join myself and Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm each Friday for a fast breakdown of the week’s greatest information in enterprise capital and startups.

This week, we mentioned Weekend Fund’s new car, Cocoon’s new friend-tracking app and the unlucky demise of a startup known as Omni. You can pay attention right here.

Equity drops each Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all of the casts.