Microtraction: 2021 in Review

The year 2021 will go down in history as one of the most remarkable years in recent times for the African tech ecosystem. African companies raised over $4B according to the African Investment Report 2021 by Briter Bridges. 5 African companies — Flutterwave, OPay, Wave, Andela, and Chippercash — became unicorns. We witnessed more $100m+ fundraises by African startups than ever before. There was an increase in African Female-led startups raising million dollar rounds. Our portfolio companies’ combined valuation grew by >4x. The list goes on.

In 2021, MT founders worked extremely hard to achieve outstanding results and we are honored to be part of these companies’ journeys. A few of them had to rethink their value proposition, many of them raised new rounds of funding, some got into global accelerators, a lot of them shipped new valuable products, and some of them landed unique partnership deals.

Despite a challenging year full of ups and downs, we couldn’t have been prouder of what MT companies achieved in 2021.

MT in Numbers — 2021

  • We came across 700+ companies via applications, outreach, referrals, partnerships. We saw companies across Fintech, Gaming, Media & Entertainment, Defi, etc.
  • We invested in 13 companies (Orda, InstantRad, Bumpa, HoneyCoin, Pivo & 8 unannounced). The MT family has now grown to 35 companies.
  • 38% of the companies we invested in are led by female founders/co-founders. 2 of the companies are led only by female co-founders.
  • We announced 5 investments (Raise, Bumpa, InstantRad, Lemonade Finance, and HoneyCoin).
  • 7 of our portfolio companies (Orda, Pivo, Evolve Credit, Lemonade Finance, Tix, Payday, Gradely) got into global accelerators (Techstars (2), ODx (2), YC (1), Google (1), Norrsken(1)).
  • In 2021, MT portfolio companies raised $56m+ (up from $23m+ in 2020). This brings the total funds raised by MT companies to date to $89m+ (up from $33m+ in 2020).
  • Currently, MT companies have a combined valuation of $653m+ (up from $147m+ in 2020)

MT Overall Stats

We welcomed 13 companies into the Microtraction family in 2021, forming 37% of our portfolio and almost doubling our investment activity in 2020. Our most recent investments cut across fintech, health tech, media, gaming, SaaS, trade tech, digital commerce, and DAO. Now 35-strong, it brings the total number of founders backed to 75. Our portfolio remains unintentionally skewed towards financial technology (fintech) with 45% falling into this category.

In total, 18 of our portfolio companies have gotten into global accelerators. 9 in YC, 3 in Techstars, 2 in 500 Startups, 2 in ODx, 1 in Norrsken Impact Accelerator, and 1 in Google. 82% of our portfolio companies have successfully raised funding post-Microtraction. Across 2 funds, our portfolio companies combined have raised a total of $89m+ and are currently valued at $653m+.

As we write this review, we have a presence in 4 African countries. We have made investments in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda. The goal is to continue to invest in as many African countries as possible especially with the help of our scouts.

Portfolio Companies in the News

MT Initiatives

Venture Scouts

The Microtraction Scouts Program was kickstarted with the aim to enable us to be truly pan-African. Our scouts are partly responsible for sourcing our non-Nigerian investments and increasing our interests in other parts of the continent to 20% in 2021.

With these Venture Scouts (welcome Maya), we look forward to further expanding our coverage in East, West, Scout, and North Africa in the new year.

Network Partners

With specialized skills across recruitment, growth marketing, software development and quality assurance, law, regulatory advisory, cap table management, etc, this elite network of individuals and companies serves as a huge value add for our portfolio companies.

We currently have 19 and are continually expanding the network. 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

Perks and Discounts

As part of our commitment to helping our founders succeed, we partnered with software service providers such as Raise, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Intercom, Mixpanel, Zendesk, Digital Ocean, VisibleVC, Freshworks, and Shopify. These partnerships grant our portfolio companies discounts on the services they offer. We are committed to partnering with more global and local service providers to continue to make the startup journey less difficult for our companies.

Community Events

Throughout the year, we organized a webinar, 2 IG Live sessions, a couple of ‘Meet the Company Series” and a fireside chat. Below are the details:

1. Meet the Company Series with Carma, Raise, Schoolable, and Termii

2. Other events:

a. Female Startup Funding Challenges and how to overcome them

b. IG Live Session — Let’s Talk with BuyCoins co-founder Ire Aderinokun

c. IG Live Session — Let’s Talk with Cowrywise co-founder Razaq Ahmed

d. Acquiring your First 100 paying customers with Bili Sule, Emmanuel Gbolade, and Feranmi Ajetomobi.

What excites people about 2022

Wiza Jalakasi — VP, Developer Relations, Chipper Cash

I’m most excited about the potential of blockchain for enterprise B2B and B2G use cases and I’m looking forward to more development of commonsense regulatory frameworks that enable the same.”

Adeleke Alex-Adedipe — Managing Partner, Duale, Ovia and Alex-Adedipe (DOA Law)

The depth of expansion in the ecosystem is thrilling, the level of products and funding both by foreign investors, local Angel and VCs and most interestingly by investing Founders tells a story of growth in the ecosystem.”

Jude ‘MI’ Abaga — Award-winning artiste, Founder & CEO, TASCK Agency

“I’m very excited about the intersection of blockchain technology (and all its implications and expressions, NFT’s, Crypto, The Metaverse) and music.

I have observed that while our creatives are slowly coming alive to the NFT world, we have participated as consumers generally.

As the global appetite for African culture increases, I am hoping that we can participate in a wholistic way, and start to own our production and distribution in each of these spaces”.

Koromone Koroye — Managing Editor, TechCabal

“I am excited to learn more about other sectors that exist in other parts of Africa. I am also excited about more women getting into tech and the funding opportunities coming to African female tech entrepreneurs”

Odun Eweniyi — Co-Founder PiggyVest & FirstCheck Africa

“I am still bullish about the emergence of more collaborations, mergers, and acquisitions within the ecosystem. More startups are going to find that they have more in common than not, and more importantly, a collaborative relationship, either a partnership or an all-out merger is the way to go. And of course, the obvious, Nigerian startups are going to attract more funding this year than 2021 and 2020 combined as our ecosystem matures.”

David NandwaFounder, HoneyCoin

“We have an unprecedented number of amazing founders all building impactful products with investors and founders/angels who are willing to back them and their daunting visions. It almost makes you emotional to think that not only is the market ripe but the resources are there for those willing to take the path less walked on and build a better future for others.”

Nkiru Amadi-Emina Co-founder & CEO, Pivo

“This year I’m super excited about the Metaverse and the endless possibilities that can be harnessed with it. The idea that one can build an alternate reality and make money at the same time is pretty cool.”

Temi Marcella Awogboro — Executive Director, Evercare & Co-founder Magic Fund

“In 2022 excited to see the proliferation of use cases for crypto/blockchain technology on the continent and the emergence of founders increasing accessibility of these products to everyone”

At Microtraction, like all of our portfolio companies, we are always evolving and experimenting. We are never satisfied with whatever we have achieved. Ultimately, we strongly believe we can always do better and of course, always want to be the best.

Very importantly, Microtraction will not exist without the founders that we back. We continue to be in awe of them and are always excited about the things they are building. Also, we will not be where we are today without the unwavering support of our LPs, advisors, scouts, network partners, the community, ecosystem stakeholders, and our team members.

We will like to give a big shout-out to our ex-Managing Partner, Chidinma Iwueke for her outstanding contribution and commitment to the growth of Microtraction and its portfolio companies. She recently just moved back to the United States and joined the folks at QED. We wish her all the best and look forward to future collaborations.

In Conclusion

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 have big plans for 2022 and we will continue to provide remarkable African tech entrepreneurs with the right backing and support to improve their chances of outstanding success. If you’re building something interesting, we’d like to hear from you.

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

Sign up for Opentraction, our newsletter where we share actionable insights and real-world advice from founders & operators who are building venture-backed startups in Africa

🚀 Have or know a tech product I should be aware of? Let’s talk

💰 Are you a founder of a startup? Apply for funding

💭 Just want to give us feedback? Please reach out

🐦 Don’t want to miss Microtraction news, updates? Sign up for Opentraction