By: David Van Dijk
Startup funding in Senegal has been making the headlines lately. And for the right reasons. With $222m raised in 2021, the country ranks 5 on the continent, punching way above its weight compared to its population (17) or GDP rankings (23). 16 start-ups have raised $100k or more in Senegal in 2021, including 7 which raised over $1m; as a comparison, only one start-up had raised over $1m in 2019, and in 2020. More than 25 investors have been active in at least one deal in Senegal in 2021. Including international investors such as Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital next to leading local investors such as Launch Africa Ventures (5 investments in Senegal in 2021!!), GreenTec Capital Partners and Kepple Africa Ventures (…from Japan-with-love).
This is not an overnight success. Creating an environment for entrepreneurial success has been on the Presidents agenda for the last 5+ years as part of the “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy. And it is paying off. Innovative government funding via “La Délégation Générale à l’Entreprenariat Rapide” (aka DER) launched in 2018 and the creation of a startup-act (2019) has had a catalysing effect. Next to the great work by pioneering local investors such as the Dakar Network Angels (DNA), Teranga Capital, WIC CAPITAL, Brightmore Capital and Partech and the support from organisations including the AfriLabs, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and Digital Africa.