Kepple Africa Ventures, the most active VC company in the African tech space in 2020, is having an even better year in 2021, having backed 22 startups in the first seven months.
Kepple Africa Ventures, founded by Ryosuke Yamawaki and Takahiro Kanzaki in December 2018, has offices in Nairobi and Lagos and makes seed investments in early-stage tech startups on the continent ranging from $50,000 to $150,000, with an average of $100,000.
In December, the company announced that it would invest in 36 African tech startups in 2020, making it the continent’s most active firm in terms of startup numbers funded, and it has followed up with another 22 investments in the first seven months of 2021.
Kepple now has 92 companies across 11 markets in its portfolio as a result of these investments. It co-invested with other investors in the majority of the deals, with some of them becoming public and others still to be announced.
Seven of Kepple’s 2021 investments are from Nigeria, including fintech startups TeamApt, Buycoins and Bitnob, as well as e-commerce fulfilment platform Sendbox, mobility platform Moove Africa, sports news and content studio ATHLST, and Sudo, an API platform that enables developers to issue physical and virtual debit and credit cards.
Egypt accounts for a further five, two of which are fintech startups – NowPay and MoneyHash. The other three are waste collection platform Taggaddod, browser-based shopping service Wasla Browser, and Minly, which helps celebrities connect with their fans.
Data collaboration startup Omnisient and fintech platform FloatPays represent South Africa, while logistics startup Paps and fintech startup CoinAfrique are from Senegal. Also backed by Kepple so far in 2021 are Kenyan Wi-Fi service Mawingu Networks, Ivory Coast-based e-commerce platform Afrikrea, Chinese content service Transsnet, remote team collaboration tool PingPong, and fintech startups PawaPay (UK) and WapiPay (Singapore).
Kepple is largely focused on seed-stage opportunities and is tech-oriented but sector neutral. It is primarily focused on East and West Africa. It does, however, occasionally participate in bigger rounds, as in the case of Kenyan logistics company Sendy, which it assisted in raising funds from Japanese investors such as Yamaha and thus gained the opportunity to contribute to its recent bumper investment, and the TeamApt round it co-invested in this year.