Microtraction: 2020 in Review

2020 was a year that required a rethink. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world experienced a transformation that changed our approach to everyday living. For many, if not all of us, normal day-to-day activities became almost alien. Companies and humans alike had to adapt very quickly to the changing economic outcome of the pandemic.

Though very challenging and despite all that happened, 2020 presented significant progress and achievements for our portfolio companies and Microtraction as a whole.

From day one, our major goal has always remained the same — to be the most accessible and preferred source of pre-seed funding for remarkable African technology entrepreneurs building companies and products that solve important challenges being faced on the African continent. This goal remains our focus and now, more than ever, we are committed to achieving it.

Our founders are the pillars of our organization — without them, there would be no Microtraction. During these difficult and uncertain times, one thing became abundantly clear — there is strength in unity. We back our entrepreneurs and partner with them throughout their journey — during good, bad, or uncertain times.

The resilience, focus, adaptability, and ingenuity that our founders showed through the pandemic was unmatched by anything we had seen before. We cannot express enough how grateful and proud we are to partner with these amazing individuals. Furthermore, we thank our LPs, advisors, scouts, network partners, community, and team members for their support and for another amazing year.

MT in Numbers — 2020

  • We came across over 600 companies via applications, outreach, referrals, partnerships. We saw companies across Fintech, logistics, E-commerce, gaming, agri-tech, etc.
  • We announced 4 investments (Gradely, Chaka, Evolve Credit, and Plentywaka).
  • We invested in 7 companies (Gradely, Plentywaka, & 5 unannounced). The MT family has now grown to 21 companies.
  • 4 of our portfolio companies (Termii, Festival Coins & 2 unannounced) got into global accelerators (Y Combinator (2), 500 startups (1), and Google for Startups Accelerator (1)).
  • In 2020, MT portfolio companies raised $23m+ (up from $6m+ in 2019). This brings the total funds raised by MT companies to-date to $33m+ (up from $9.5m+ in 2020)
  • Currently, MT companies have a combined valuation of $147m+ (up from $51m+ in 2019)

MT Companies

We welcomed 7 companies into the Microtraction family in 2020. We are excited about these companies and are glad to be joining them on their journey.

In total, we have invested in 21 companies made up of 45 founders across multiple sectors (e.g. fintech, crypto, health-tech, SaaS, ed-tech, mobility, etc.). Of the 21 companies invested in so far, 33% of them are women-led startups. We aim to increase this in 2021.

When the pandemic hit, we were rightfully worried about some of our companies and how they would navigate this new challenge. The first 2 months of the pandemic were the hardest as companies grappled with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Many of our companies quickly went into survival mode, devising strategic contingency plans based on multiple scenario analyses. Then a mere 6 months later, as companies were finally hitting their stride in the new normal, the End SARS protest movement started and threw yet another wrench into the curveball that was 2020. Most of our companies saw the significant impact from the unrest that ensued, most contributing their resources in the fight to end police brutality.

By the end of 2020, our companies had survived two economic disruptions against the backdrop of the country’s worst economic recession in over 30 years (the true definition of resilience!). Furthermore, most of our companies did not only survive, but they also thrived — with some of them raising capital under such difficult circumstances.

Our portfolio companies raised a combined $23m+ in 2020 (up from $6m+ in 2019). Four of our portfolio companies got into Y Combinator (2), 500 Startups (1), and Google for Startups Accelerator (1).

One of our highlights of 2020 was 54gene’s $15M Series A raise. As one of the first checks in the company, we are proud of what they have been able to achieve so far and the immense value they have brought to the health-tech industry in Africa. Furthermore, we are proud of the impact and contribution they made in Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19.

Below are some other noteworthy press mentions of our portfolio companies:

As always, if you are an investor or a potential partner looking to explore collaborative opportunities, please feel free to reach out to us and we will happily connect you to them.

MT Scout Program

As a pan-African fund, we understand how important it is to identify, support, and back the very best founders regardless of geography. To this end, in 2019, we launched the Microtraction Scout Program — an initiative that empowers individuals to identify and invest in high potential startups across the African continent.

In 2020, we selected and announced in February and July a total of 12 Venture Scouts, comprising 7 males and 5 females covering East, West, and South Africa.

We are excited to be working with these Venture Scouts and are optimistic about achieving our pan-African goal of supporting the next wave of entrepreneurs building technology businesses in multiple sectors across Africa.

Microtraction Network Partners

Running a startup is very challenging. Our job as investors, beyond providing financial capital, is to further bolster, strengthen, and improve our value-add by making the journey less difficult for our portfolio companies.

The Microtraction Network Partner initiative is an elite network of individuals or companies with specialized skill sets that are interested in supporting and providing their services to the next wave of entrepreneurs who are building technology businesses across multiple sectors in Africa.

Currently, we have 18 Network Partners at the fingertips of our portfolio companies. We have seen the bulk of our companies make use of these services and are confident in our Network Partners’ ability to assist our companies in traversing challenges that may arise as they scale.

If you are a service provider and you would like to work with us to provide services to our portfolio companies, please reach out to Thonia

Community Events

One of our major goals has been to connect with our community through events and this year we hosted two events. Pre-COVID, we hosted a physical Fundraising clinic for female tech founders in Nigeria to connect with investors. We also hosted a webinar that addressed how startups could survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking ahead…

Microtraction was founded in 2017 to be the most accessible and preferred source of pre-seed funding for remarkable African technology entrepreneurs. We are still very dedicated to this cause and we are constantly on the lookout for companies that are building the future of Africa.

We’re excited and look forward to the new success stories that will emerge from the African continent in 2021 and beyond.

From all of us at Microtraction, we wish you a Healthy, Prosperous, and Happy New Year!

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