But there was some dynamism to the investors that fueled the mega round rush. Aggressive American hedge fund Tiger Global co-led Flutterwave’s $170 million raise. Stripe helped make Wave, a mobile money startup, the first unicorn from Francophone Africa. TradeDepot’s $110 million round was led by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, arguably the continent’s most influential investor in non-fintech startups. Only MFS Africa’s round was led by an investment fund based in Africa – AfricInvest’s Financial Inclusion Vehicle.

Will $100 million be a new benchmark?

None of these startups raised $100 million as seed funding. Andela’s was its 10th round since 2014. Chipper has raised two rounds every year since 2019. MFS Africa had been on an acquisition spree before joining the mega round party. This gives an idea of the kind of startups that could be expected to continue the trend in the coming year. Sendy, a Kenyan logistics startup that has raised $20 million to date, is seeking a mega raise for its expansion.

Will SoftBank and other investors evoke more $100 million rounds for non-fintech African startups? That is one among many things to watch, including how many such rounds go to female-founded or led companies. Female-only founding teams have raised only 1% of this year’s $4.2 billion largesse, per The Big Deal.

Africa is in mega round kindergarten compared to other regions. North America, Asia (China), and Europe had 293, 158, and 66 such rounds last year alone. But going from two to eleven in two years with a pandemic in between suggests a rising wave in Africa, one that could evolve unexpectedly in the coming years all things being equal.

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