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Kenyan fintech Hisa among 9 African startups selected for the second batch of €7.5 million Startup Wise Guys fund


Kenyan fintech Hisa is among the nine African startups selected for the €7.5 million Startup Wise Guys fund. 
 
Selected startups for the fund are each eligible for €65,000 support for up to a 12% equity stake, as well as an intensive five-month accelerator program. They also have the chance to pitch for follow-on funding of up to €250,000. Startups were eligible to apply from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, with the first successful applicant from Tanzania in the new batch.
The program, the first-ever African, B2B SaaS-focused accelerator, opened to applicants in October 2021, with the first batch of successful participants graduating in June 2022. The second round generated almost 500 applications. SWG selects and works with approximately 10 startups per batch, with plans to invest in 30 startups through 2023. 

The nine startups selected to join batch two come from a wide range of industries including Fintech, Proptech, Data analytics and Retailtech.

Despite a high media profile, Startup Wise Guys says meaningful support programs remain thin on the ground for very early-stage African startups with mainstream funding still focused on scale-ups. In contrast, SWG is focusing in Africa on its central mission – startups still in the very early stages of business evolution with a B2B business model. Its strategy is to be startups’ “first believers” and also a catalyst for ecosystem development.

To date, SWG’s total investment in African start-ups, including follow-on investments, already exceeds €1.2 million. The accelerator has trained 102 startups from the continent in acceleration and pre-acceleration programs, benefiting an estimated 6,100 people. SWG is actively working with six startups from Nigeria, six from Kenya, two from Ghana, and one each from Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ivory Coast.

“Africa presents the most exciting potential for digitalization on the planet. About two-thirds of the predicted growth in global population between 2020 and 2050 will take place here”, said Program Managing Director Eliud Mungai. “Startup Wise Guys’ presence in Africa means we see the business opportunity from supporting startups, and we can also see the benefits for Africa. The portfolio startups in our Africa acceleration program will be leveraging digital technology to support the continent’s growing population with Fintech, Healthtech and Retailtech, and catalyze sustainable business growth to provide jobs and prosperity.”

Startup Wise Guys’ investment in Africa is part of a larger initiative, years in the making. SWG has a long-term vision and strategy in which Africa plays a big role. This stems in part from the experience of some of its managing partners, including global CEO Cristobal Alonso, who was a co-founder of MOBOfree, General Partner Franziska Kolk, who has built a Cleantech startup in Morocco, and General Partner Petra Wolkenstein, who has run investor readiness trainings on the continent. Other Venture Partners for the Africa program include Chika Nwobi (Nigeria), Adia Sowho (Nigeria, MTN Nigeria CMO), and Ambassador Samuel Amanor (Ghana).

Other selected startups for the second batch of SWG’s Africa fund are Built Financial Technologies, Tunzaa Fintech, DT2 Technologies, Sortika, Naivera, Bunce, Zemo Card, Shipbubble.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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