Top 10 Startups in Nigeria 2021

Nigeria’s economy is hitting its growth spurt currently, meaning it is an ideal environment for new startups aiming to evolve and build a foundation for themselves for the future tech leaders for long-run startups in Nigeria. 

The country has a population of around 208.8 million individuals, so it comes as no surprise that startups are engaging massive funds to secure the market for themselves. This is especially obvious, since Nigeria has the fastest growing economy in Africa and an estimated 750+ startups, though it lacks in other elements, like keeping them functioning.

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Many startups are becoming popular in Nigeria since they are lending their services to the people. Many of them have gone worldwide as well, especially with the help of international accelerators. 

The basics of these companies’ functions can be understood through their names easily. Incubators help businesses “incubate” new ideas, whereas accelerators expedite the growth of an existing business using a minimum viable product, through a highly competitive application process. 

A few examples of such companies include Techstars and Y Combinator, both of which have had Nigerian startups become successful, especially those regarding tech careers in healthcare, like Healthtracka. 

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Autochek 

Autochek is a startup that allows users to buy and sell cars easily and in a safe way within Nigeria. This automotive tech startup also provides its users with car repair and maintenance services within the country, including specific services like tire services, car brakes, engine service, painting, car washes, and so on.

 The startup has acquired a $3.4 million pre-seed round having been co-led by TLCom Capital and 4DX, after having acquired Cheki, another car sales marketplace venture.

The company’s aim, according to CEO Etop Ikpe, is to birth a digital infrastructure using a new system to better coordinate sales, servicing, and vehicle records. 

Hotels.ng 

Hotels.ng is a startup founded in 2013 by Mark Essien, aiming to make tourism and travel more convenient, since, with Nigeria’s growing economy, it makes sense for a startup as such to become successful.

The site has over 7138 hotels from over 320 cities within the country and also received seed funds from other successful startups like Spark.ng, founded by Jason Njoku. It is estimated that hotels.ng is now worth around $3.75 million.

Paystack Payments Limited 

As of this year, Stripe, an Irish-American software, and financial service company will be acquiring Paystack. The company was originally founded in Lagos by Nigerian entrepreneur Shola Akinlade is co-founder and CEO.

The startup is a payments company that aims to provide a speedy way of integrating payments services into online and offline transactions using an application program interface. Its customer base amounts to over 60 000 businesses, larger corporates, fintech, and customers in general. 

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The company is rumored to be sold to Stripe for a total of $200 million, which amasses Stripe’s biggest acquisition as of date, and the biggest one coming out of Nigeria as well. 

Gradely 

Gradely is a startup founded in 2019 that thrives to enhance children’s learning experience. The company works with teachers, parents, students, and schools to keep track of a student’s progress and to fill in the gaps early on. This company makes for great jobs for former teachers.

 The main reason why this program is an asset to students is its way of showing customized performance and learning journeys for kids to follow. Not only that, but they also provide their users with real-time feedback and a section where students can get personalized lessons to catch up if they fall behind. 

Flying Doctors Nigeria 

This company was founded in 2007 by a British-Nigerian medical doctor named Olamide Brown. This ambulance service company aims to provide medical emergency services through air ambulance, medevac, remote site medical solutions, and infrastructural development and training. 

It is stated that they also have the largest network of ground and air ambulances in Nigeria, and are able to help individuals seeking medical aid within a short span of time. They also plan on raising $1 billion for a fund to invest into healthcare all across Africa. 

Farmcrowdy 

Farmcrowdy limited was founded in 2016 with the focus of connecting farm sponsors with real farmers and is the only agric tech company on this list. It also aims to empower small-holder farmers and make it easy for them to motivate food production. 

The way the company works is that they use their platform to help sponsors select what farm they want to fund, and from that money, they secure the land and the farmer, plant the seeds and ensure the farmer completes the full farming cycle and sells the harvest. Then the company pays back the sponsor a return on their sponsorship. 

Its biggest positive is the ability to constantly update sponsors using images, videos, and texts.

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Eden 

Eden is a company that focuses on elevating the lives of the 20 million tightly packed residents of Lagos. It does so by taking over household chores that most busy professionals in metropolitan cities can’t uphold without falling into suboptimal living standards. 

The company sends out trained staff they call “Gardeners” to customers’ homes for them to deliver services and chores for example grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry, whilst customers are able to continue their lives and jobs for a monthly fee depending on what services you need to be provided.

Konga 

Konga is an e-commerce company that allows users to use it as an online mall. Customers are able to buy anything from books to electronics to groceries. Originally founded in 2012, it has finally become even more popular due to the online shopping craze that has swept nations this past decade.

Essentially, the company is a third-party marketplace found online, and ever since they partnered with Nigerian commercial banks to create KongaPay, they gained even more trust and customers from the convenience of being able to instantly and safely pay for ordered products on their website. 

Another product line they came out with is Konga Mall which allowed regional businesses to showcase their products online conveniently. After its success came Konga Marketplace, allowing roadside merchants to join the trade, and lastly the Konga Self-Fulfill Model, allowing merchants to have shipping agreements negotiated by Konga with reputable courier partners.

Life Bank 

Life Bank was founded in 2015 by Temie Giwa-Tubosun to highlight and ease the blood shortage crisis within Nigeria. The startup consists of an app connected to hospitals and clinics, helping cement quick access to blood supply from blood banks. 

They also supply medical supplies like medicines and oxygen to those who need medical care. 

Thus far, they have worked with over 700 hospitals and have delivered 28 000 vital medical supplies to those who needed them, with a total of 1 400 lives saved. 

uLesson 

This company is an ed-tech startup that aims to help students broaden their horizons through affordable and accessible means. It also gives a comfortable platform for students to learn beyond their academic years and grasp opportunities to learn more.

uLesson sells its digital curriculum to its students using SD cards, which ended up becoming a massive opportunity for them when remote learning became popularized last year, allowing for the company to gain even more customers, especially with Nigeria’s elevation in young individuals within the population.

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The company has raised $7.5 million through Series A funding overall.

Though these startups help increase the quality of life of the population and have also made Nigeria see a rise in GDP of 6.9%, though it isn’t as easy as it seems. With Nigeria having the highest density of startups in all of Africa, the country’s total of startups only managed to amass $64.1 million, compared to for example South Africa’s $241 million raised in 2020. 

Citations: 

  1. Bright, J. (2020, November 18). Nigeria’s Autochek raises $3.4m for car sales and Service Platform. TechCrunch. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/18/nigerias-autochek-raises-3-4m-for-car-sales-and-service-platform/. 
  2. Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, September 30). Hotels.ng. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotels.ng. 
  3. Shola Akinlade: The inspiration behind Paystack’s success. Nairametrics. (2021, April 4). Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://nairametrics.com/2021/04/04/shola-akinlade-the-inspiration-behind-paystacks-1bn-valuation/. 
  4. Lunden, I. (2020, October 15). Stripe acquires Nigeria’s paystack for $200M+ to expand into the African continent. TechCrunch. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/15/stripe-acquires-nigerias-paystack-for-200m-to-expand-into-the-african-continent/. 
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  7. Flying Doctors Nigeria – Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding. Crunchbase. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/flying-doctors-nigeria. 
  8. Farmcrowdy – Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding. Crunchbase. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/farmcrowdy. 
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  11. Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, September 21). Konga.com. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konga.com. 
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  14. Admin, & Admin. (2021, April 17). 30+ Top Startups in Nigeria to watch out for in 2021. StartupHR Toolkit. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://nigeria.startuphrtoolkit.com/top-startups-in-nigeria/. 
  15. Olasoji, T. (n.d.). Nigeria has the most startups in Africa but falls short on other critical metrics. Quartz. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://qz.com/africa/2012780/nigeria-ranks-first-in-african-startups-but-faces-challenges/. 
  16. Unsplash. (n.d.). Beautiful free images & pictures. Unsplash. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://unsplash.com/. 
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