Buhari legacy

African female founders get only 3% of funding in 8 years

While investments into Africa’s booming tech ecosystem have recently been on the increase, startups owned by female founders have only been able to get a fraction of all the funds.

According to Briter Intelligence, data from 2013-2021 shows that three percent of all the fundings that was invested into African startups went to female-owned startups, while 76 percent of the total funding during the 8-year period went to startups led by males.

Female tech startup founders are fewer in certain sub-sectors other than the fintech space, which is known to attract the most investor funding. The few female tech founders typically prefer to operate in sub-sectors like edtech and healthtech which do not receive a lot of attention from investors.

The report also shows that female startup founders are less confident in both their ability to pitch to investors and in their startups’ ability to grow.

“Most female startup founders shy away from raising money because of bad experiences of theirs or people they know or have heard of. A well funded startup will figure out the market dynamics faster, attract and hire top talent to build a better product, and ultimately perform better than a startup with lesser funding,” Keturah Ovio, founder and CEO, Dukka, said.

Although investment activity into startups has increased significantly in recent years with Nigeria seeing the most recent, it has disproportionately done so to all male-led startups. However, Mo Durosinmi-Etti, Director of programs at Bulb Africa told BusinessDay that efforts are being made by women supporting women in tech to change the narrative in the next couple of years.

“Right now there are a lot of funding opportunities targeted specifically for women especially being a minority. A lot of tech initiatives and mentorship programs centered around women development including ‘tech4dev’ among others are beginning to spring up to create a safe space for women to grow their skills confidently and be eligible for funding,” Durosinmi-Etti said.

One similar feature that all these female-led startups share is that they are usually bootstrapped, hence they prefer bank loans due to the difficulty in securing funding. However, some women-led startups have managed to raise funding against these odds.

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Edukoya is an online learning platform that connects African learners with the digital curriculum content and on-demand teachers for real-time online education. Founded by Honey Ogundeyi in 2021, the startup secured $3.5 million in a pre-seed round. This is the most funding an African EdTech platform has ever raised in a pre-seed round to date. Edukoya will utilize the new funds to move from beta to live launch in 2022, as well as to hire more people, grow its user base, and improve the technology behind its learning platform, including support for its Pan African and European developer hubs.


Okra is an application programming interface (API) platform founded by Fara Ashiru Jituboh in 2019. Okra’s API empowers companies and developers to build products with seamless access to inclusive financial data and secure payments. The startup raised $3.5 million in a seed round which will be utilized to develop the company’s data infrastructure across Nigeria, as well as to carry out a pan-African expansion into Kenya and South Africa. Before starting Okra with David Peterside, Fara worked with JP Morgan, Fidelity Investments and Daimler Mercedes Benz. In total, Okra has raised $4.5 million in two rounds ($1m in pre-seed).


Reelfruit, a premium dried fruit company founded by Affiong Williams in 2012 and recognized for its high-quality healthy snacks, raised a $3 million Series A investment. With this funding, the company aims at establishing a new factory to help expand its production capacity. Reelfruit distributes its nutritious dried fruit and nut snacks all around the country. Apart from the domestic market, the company also sells its goods to West African nations and abroad. Fruits including mangos, coconuts, and cashews are used to make the products.


Klasha is a technology company that builds cross-border commerce solutions for African consumers and international businesses wanting to sell into Africa. Its mission is to make consumer goods and services online more accessible to customers across the continent. Founded by Jess Anuna in 2017, it raised $2.4 million in a seed funding round to build technology infrastructure for cross-border commerce in Africa. With this funding, the company will be able to develop its technology to assist worldwide business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumers (B2C) businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon, and Zoom in receiving payments in African currencies from customers all over Africa.


Bankly, a Nigerian fintech startup founded in 2018 by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams to digitize cash for the unbanked, raised a $2 million seed round. Bankly digitizes financial services for people in the informal sector, mostly small-scale traders who save through rotating savings and credit unions referred to in Nigeria as “ajo” or “esusu.” The company intends to address some of the issues that exist in the offline world of group savings with its latest funding.