/ July 2, 2021
Asaf Fybish

Asaf Fybish is a growth marketing professional. He likes all things organic, especially when it comes to growth. He's our Chief of Stash at StartupStash

Top South African Startups to Watch in 2021

When you first think of South Africa, you're much more likely to think about the beautiful natural ecosystems in the country, as opposed to its startup ecosystem. Despite the fact that the economy in the country is still developing, there are a lot of top startups to watch in South Africa. The country currently has a total of X startups, whereas it only has a population of 58.56 Million. This is an indicator of the growing entrepreneurial spirit in the country. We also have a selection of different top startup  lists, which are filtered by country.

The South African startup economy also saw $259 Million amount of investment funding during 2019, with the country being named as the A best startup ecosystem in the world. Naturally, the country has a long way to go before they match the larger ecosystems, however, they are on the right track.

1. Adumo

Year Founded: 2019

HQ: Bryanston, South Africa

Size: 251-500

Founder(s): Paul Kent

Adumo is a South African startup that is currently based in Branston, South Africa and currently works in the Fintech sector. The company operates an independent payment service provider and complete payment platform for businesses of all sizes. Despite the fact that the company has only been going for two years, it has seen solid growth and is looking to be an exciting South African startup for 2021.

Adumo has so far only received outside investment from a single source. This came in the form of a 225M ZAR investment from International Finance Corporation, which was gained in March 2021. The company has also had activity in the acquisitions market, striking a deal to take over fellow fintech startup Wirecard Solutions South Africa.

2. JUMO

Year Founded: 2015 

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 251-500

Founder(s): Andrew Watkins-Ball

Jumo is a South African Fintech startup that is headquartered in Cape Town and was founded in 2015. The company seeks to connect entrepreneurs in the world's growing markets with high-quality providers of financial products. As a result of this, these entrepreneurs have a higher chance of succeeding within a challenging business landscape. They are on a mission to drive economic growth in South Africa.

Jumo has already received a significant amount of startup funding, which illustrates the importance of their solution. So far, the company has managed to pull in a total of $156.7 Million in startup funding. This funding was achieved by a group of ten investors and among these investors, you can find the well-known banking giant, Goldman Sachs.

3. RapidDeploy

Year Founded: 2013

HQ: Austin, Texas

Size: 101-250

Founder(s): Brett Meyerowitz, Steven Raucher

RapidDeploy is a South African startup that has uprooted and moved to Austin, Texas, since being founded in 2013. The company provides a SaaS solution for emergency departments which allows them to decrease dispatch response times, therefore getting to the scene of incidents quicker, saving more lives. It's obvious why anything that can reasonably help the emergency services would be seen as incredibly valuable.

RapidDeploy has seen quite a lot of investment since being founded eight years ago, with the company picking up a cool $41 Million from a group of seven investors. Interestingly, one of the backs for this company is none other than Samsung NEXT.

4. Yoco 

Year Founded: 2013 

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 101-250

Founder(s): Bradley Wattrus, Carl Wazen, Katlego Maphai, Lungisa Matshoba

Yoco is one of the most promising startups in South Africa, with the fintech company making great strides since being founded in 2013. The company provides a series of financial products and solutions to ensure that currently, more than 100,000 small businesses are benefiting from being able to take payments in a variety of different ways.

Yoco has received an incredibly respectable amount of startup funding since being founded eight years ago. Specifically, the company has managed to raise $23 Million in venture funding from a group of fifteen investors, which is made up of a variety of different VC firms and accelerators.

5. GetBucks

Year Founded: 2010

HQ: Gauteng, South Africa

Size: 51-100

Founder(s): Louwrens Van Schalkwyk, Sarel Esterhuizen

GetBucks is the perfect example of an innovative South Africa startup, particularly in Fintech. Since being founded in 2010, the company has gone from strength to strength and is currently operating out of Gauteng, South Africa. The company is known for using its technological solutions to assist its customers with getting access to financial products that suit their needs.

GetBucks has gained a notable amount of startup funding in its decade and a bit of activity. So far, the fintech startup has raised $25 Million from a pair of investors. Despite the fact that this last round of funding was in 2016, the company is still going strong to this day and it won't be a surprise to see them continue its success.

6. Mobiz

Year Founded: 2014 

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Clark Lin, Greg Chen, Keelan Naidoo

Mobiz is a South African SaaS startup that was founded in 2014 and is currently headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. The company specializes in providing a marketing cloud that allows businesses to send out a multitude of personalized SMS messages to attract new customers. This helps companies to strengthen their marketing campaigns.

So far, Mobiz has managed to attract a healthy amount of startup funding since being founded seven years ago. This investment has totaled to an amount of $2 Million and this was achieved from a duo of investors. The latest of these funding rounds came in June 2020. Their solution makes them one of the most interesting startups in South Africa. 

7. Planet42

Year Founded: 2017

HQ: Gauteng, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Eerik Oja, Marten Orgna

Planet42 is a South African startup in the fintech sector which was founded in 2017 and is currently based in Gauteng, South Africa. The company is on a mission to improve mobility for people that don't get assistance from the banks. This is achieved due to the fact that the company offers personal vehicles through a subscription service, making vehicles much more accessible.

Planet42 has caused quite the investment buzz in South Africa. Specifically, the company has managed to raise a collective total of $20.2 Million in funding from a group of seven investors. The company's last funding round was in December 2020, meaning the company is one of the more active South African startups in terms of getting investment.

8. Syft Analytics

Year Founded: 2017

HQ: Newark, United States 

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Matt Stephanou, Vangelis Kyriazis 

Syft Analytics is a company that has swapped the sweltering heat for a headquarters in Newark, USA. The SaaS company provides a solution that allows businesses to easily create financial reports and insights through the use of organizational data. This helps these businesses to make the right decisions and so far more than 25,000 businesses are using their products. This shows that they're doing something right.

As it stands, the company has not yet received any outside investment funding. This is not a concern at this time as there have been no indications that the company is currently seeking startup funding to further its growth.

9. SNAPnSave

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Mark Bradshaw 

SNAPnSave is a South African shopping startup that was founded in 2014 and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company operates a solution where users get cashback when they shop in certain stores. They are different in that they give real cashback, as opposed to tokens, tickets, coupons, or anything of that sort.

So far, SNAPnSave has appeared on the radars of a number of investors. The company has managed to drum up a nice $1.5 Million from a quarter of investors in order to further their growing business. This investment came exclusively from venture capital funding, as opposed to angel investors.

10. The Sun Exchange

Year Founded: 2015

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Abraham Cambridge, Larry Temlock 

The Sun Exchange is a solar technology startup that was founded in 2015 and is currently headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. The company is the first to provide a P2P solar leasing marketplace, where businesses, schools, and even some individuals can benefit from the use of solar power, without paying the potentially crippling installation fees themselves. Owners of the solar cells that lease them to these groups will then make money back from their investment.

So far, the concept of the Sun Exchange has been enough to capture the interest of seven investors. Collectively, these investors have pledged a total of $7.7 Million to the project. One of these investors includes the well-known bank, Barclays and an angel investor has even decided to put money into the company.

11. hearX Group

Year Founded: 2015

HQ: Pretoria, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): De Wet Swanepoel, Herman Myburgh, Nic Klopper

HearX Group is an AI-powered healthcare startup that was founded in 2015 and is currently based in Pretoria, South Africa. The company specializes in providing affordable solutions for people to care for their hearing, with a digital twist. This means that their solution can be used from a device, anywhere, and at any time.

The mission of HearX to provide high-quality hearing care at affordable prices has spurred a large amount of investment. So far, the company has managed to raise a total of $19.8 Million to further its development and this was raised from a trio of investors.

12. Valenture Institute

Year Founded: 2019

HQ: London, United Kingdom

Size: 51-100

Founder(s): Robert Paddock

Valenture Institute is an education startup that was initially founded in South Africa in 2019 and has since moved to the British capital, London. The company provides a world-leading online private school experience. This ensures that all of the school's students have their individual needs catered to in a way that isn't commonly seen in many online education providers. This is what makes them an example of an exciting South Africa startup.

To further fuel the company's success and to drive additional growth, it sought out startup funding and achieved it in September 2020, when the company managed to gain a total of $7 Million from GSV Ventures.

13. SweepSouth

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Sandown, South Africa

Size: 51-100

Founder(s): Aisha Pandor, Alen Ribic

SweepSouth is a home improvement and e-commerce startup that was founded in 2014 and is currently based in Sandown, South Africa. The company provides a platform for individuals to get into contact with local cleaners in their area, through the use of an online booking system. This makes things more convenient for the customer and helps to bring more business to the cleaners, which means everybody wins.

You may be surprised to know that the cleaning company has managed to attract a significant amount of investment since being founded seven years ago. In total, the company has managed to raise $6 Million from a total of 13 different investors. The most recent of these funding rounds was conducted in July 2020.

14. Kalido

Year Founded: 2014 

HQ: London, England

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Ashvin Sologar, Sanjay Varma, Vikas Sagar 

Kalido is another example of a South African startup that has moved to London, with the company originally being set up in South Africa in 2014. The company provides an AI platform that helps companies to match the internal skills of their workforce with individual jobs, teams, and projects. This helps businesses to make better use of their human capital, which is a massive priority for a number of businesses.

Unsurprisingly, Kalido has managed to achieve a good amount of startup funding to further its growth and development, even if it has come from a single source. The company raised a total of $12.1 Million over the course of four different funding rounds, with the last of these being conducted in 2019.

15. Contro

Year Founded: 2020 

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 1-10

Founder(s): Alex Schmid

Contro is a South African healthcare startup that was founded in 2020 and currently operates from Cape Town, South Africa. The company operates an online prescription dispensing and delivery service, which helps people to get the medication they need in a much more convenient manner. Specifically, the company focuses on selling products that are key to sexual confidence and health, with one of these being contraceptives.

Despite being founded only last year, the company has already managed to achieve a moderate sum of startup funding. So far, the company has managed to raise a total of $41,000 from a Seed Funding round which took place in June 2021.

16. VALR

Year Founded: 2018

HQ: Johannesburg, South Africa

Size: 1-10

Founder(s): Badi Sudhakaran, Farzam Ehsani, Theo Bohnen 

VALR is a blockchain and cryptocurrency startup that was founded in 2018 and is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company operates a cryptocurrency trading platform with one of the widest asset varieties on the market. Their seamless and secure transactions, along with its local presence make it the perfect cryptocurrency exchange for many South Africans.

So far, VALR has received a surprising amount of investment for a crypto startup in Africa, with the company raising a total of $4.9 Million to fund future growth and development. This amount came from a total of five investors, which included a mix of venture capital and angel investment.

17. Every1Mobile

Year Founded: 2010

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Algy Williams 

Every1Mobile is a South African social network startup that was founded in 2010 and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company uses the power of mobile social networks to help build key facilities for youths in South Africa. There is a focus on healthcare, education, and entertainment among others.

So far, Every1Mobile has managed to attract investment from a single source. Overall, the company managed to gain a total of $4.5 Million in startup funding, with the most recent round of funding being gained in 2017.

18. Naked Insurance

Year Founded: 2016

HQ: Johannesburg, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Alex Thomson, Sumarie Greybe 

Naked Insurance is a South African insurance startup that was founded five years ago and is currently operating from Johannesburg, South Africa. The company provides short-term retail insurance to its customers, differentiating on price, which makes insurance more accessible. Their online platform also makes the whole process much more convenient.

So far, the company has managed to achieve a notable amount of investment since being founded in 2016. Overall, the company has raised a total of 50 Million ZAR from a duo of investors.

19. Names & Faces

Year Founded: 2016

HQ: Palo Alto, USA

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): Paul Galatis, Richard Arscott 

Names and Faces is a South African startup that has ditched the warm weather of one country, for the warm weather of Palo Alto, USA. The company aims to make companies feel more inclusive and human by giving them the tools to create customized and appealing directories for their employees. This also helps these businesses to promote more real-world interactions between their employees.

So far, the company has managed to achieve a respectable amount of startup funding since being founded five years ago. In total, the company has managed to raise $3.1 Million in startup funding from a pair of investors. Interestingly enough, one of these investors includes the well-known accelerator, Y Combinator.

20. CapeRay

Year Founded: 2010

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 1-10 

Founder(s): Kit Vaughan, Tania Douglas 

CapeRay is a medical manufacturing startup that was founded in 2010 and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company specializes in the manufacturing of imaging equipment that can help patients and medical professionals to provide rapid and accurate breast cancer screening. With cancer becoming a much bigger problem in the modern world, their technology is needed now more than ever.

Investors have also agreed with the previous assessment, as the company has made a total of $3 Million from outside investments. The first of these was conducted in 2010 and the second was conducted in 2015.

21. ThisIsMe

Year Founded: 2013

HQ: Cape Town, South Africa

Size: 11-50

Founder(s): David Thomas, Juan Furmie, Nadeem Shahid 

ThisIsMe is a South African cloud-computing startup that was founded in 2013 and is currently headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. The company provides a digital environment for users to securely store and manage their personal identity through the aforementioned cloud-based system. This makes identity management much more convenient for users and also makes it more secure.

So far, investors have shown some faith in the offering and business model of the company. This has culminated in the South African startup raising $2.5 Million in startup funding since being founded nine years ago.

Top South African Startups to...
Asaf Fybish

Asaf Fybish is a growth marketing professional. He likes all things organic, especially when it comes to growth. He's our Chief of Stash at StartupStash

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