2021 has been an eventful year. The year saw many startup growth, with lots of fintech startups breaking records with amazing fundraisers.
Many startups also took giant innovative strides, and recorded success stories. On the gloomy part, some not-so-pleasant news also broke to break our hearts.
Let us take a tour down some of the news that graced our screen in 2021.
The year started with the controversial disappearance of Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma. This threw the tech world into a frenzy, especially because of the tussle his company – Ant Group – had with the Chinese government. Good thing he is fine.
Also in January, RAB-Microfluidics, a Scottish-based Research and Development firm which was founded by Dr. Rotimi Alabi, bagged £1.24M funding for its Laboratory-on-chip project.
Sim Shagaya-led edtech company, uLesson, was also in the news. The company completed its series A funding, raising $7.5m. South African-based startup, Aerobotics, was not left out, as the company raised $17m to develop technology that would help farmers manage their farms.
Still in January, Kenyan insurtech service provider, Pula, raised US$6 million in its Series A fundraising. Cowrywise was also in the news for raising $3m in its pre-series A funding round.
Kicking off February, Nigerian-based online vending platform, 1app, launched a USSD channel to improve user experience on its platform. 1app’s USSD channel can be accessed by dialing *347*59#.
Cryptocurrency platform, Binance, suspended deposits in Nigerian naira. This was in response to CBN’s order instructing local banks to identify, and close every accounts tied to cryptocurrency platforms or operations.
The news was followed by Tesla’s move to invest $5 billion in cryptocurrency.
One of the interesting news of 2021 is the creation of a new lifeform called Xenobots. Xenobots were made form stem cells and with the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology, it became the first living robot.
We also reported that Nigerian-based fintech platform, Crowdyvest, had a change of leadership. Tope Omotolani became the CEO, taking over from Onyeka Akumah.
In Fintech, one of the biggest news involves Flutterwave attaining Unicorn status after raising $170m in its series C funding round. The Fintech company, which is being led by Olugbenga Agboola, also announced a partnership with PayPal.
Months after the shocking murder of Fahim Saleh in his apartment, logistics company, Gokada, announced Nikhil Goel as the new CEO.
Nigerian-based digital bank, Kuda bank, threw the Fintech world a curve when its raised $25m in its series A funding. This came four months after the digital bank raised $10m in its seed round. Fintech company, Bankly, also closed a $2m seed funding round.
Ugandan-based asset finance startup, Tugende, also secured an additional $3.6m equity funding to close off its Series A round. This brought the total amount of equity capital Tugende has received to $9.9m.
Nigeria’s Digital learning provider, ScholarX, also broke the news when it was announced among nine grantees for the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion. ScholarX stood out among the 598 applications received from start-ups and SMEs in 44 countries across the world.
African-focused VC firm, Atlantica Ventures, also made the news with its $50 million fundraise. The VC firm says it plans to invest the funds in tech and tech-related businesses – from seed stage onwards.
The highlight of social media came in June, when Nigerian government placed restrictions on the micro-blogging site, Twitter. The Nigerian government, through the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said fake news is one of the reasons Twitter was restricted. A lot of back and forth has gone down, but Twitter still remain banned, although people still access it via Virtual Private Network (VPN).
In another news, Africypt, a cryptocurrency investment platform founded by two South African brothers, disappeared with Investors’ Bitcoin funds worth $3.6 billion. The brothers disappeared with about 69,000 coins, which was worth more than $4 billion when Bitcoin peaked at $65,000 – making it one of the biggest-ever dollar loss in a cryptocurrency scam.
Africa’s classified marketplace, Jiji, also closed the acquisition of automotive vehicle trading platform, Cars45. Jiji’s co-founder, Vladimir Mnogoletniy, explained that the acquisition is a strategic move, and is expected to consolidate the success already recorded in the vehicle listing category of Jiji.
Fintech startup, FairMoney, also made the news with its series B fundraise that raked in $42m. Digital payment platform provider, Payoneer, also went public, and now trades under the ticker symbol, PAYO.O
To close the year, Metro Africa Xpress Inc. (MAX), secured $31m in its series B funding round. The Nigerian-based mobility startup plans to fund its expansion to Ghana and Egypt, as well as East African countries.
With 2021 closing with a bang, we can only hope for an awesome 2022.
We wish you a prosperous 2022.