Why These 4 Promising African Startups Failed After Elevating Over $180 Million

Why These 4 Promising African Startups Failed After Elevating Over $180 Million

The narrative of failed startups in Africa in 2023 offers essential insights into the challenges and realities of the startup panorama on the continent. Regardless of the surge of curiosity and funding in African startups, this 12 months marks a big downturn, with a number of promising startups closing their doorways.

Funding difficulties, operational sustainability, and market dynamics have been the nails that sealed the coffin for promising startups like Nigerian genomics agency 54Gene, Kenyan logistics firm Sendy, South African transport knowledge firm WhereIsMyTransport, and Ghanaian fintech Sprint.

As soon as celebrated for his or her modern approaches and potential to revolutionise their respective sectors, these startups have collectively raised over $180 million but confronted an premature demise.


Ghanaian fintech Sprint, as soon as a logo of innovation in African cross-border funds, is now a case research amongst failed startups in Africa. Launching in 2019 to attach cellular cash wallets and financial institution accounts throughout Africa, Sprint secured $86.1 million in Funding.

Sprint raised a powerful $86.1 million, together with a document $32.8 million seed spherical in 2021. Nevertheless, the corporate’s trajectory took a nosedive amid allegations of misrepresenting person metrics and monetary mismanagement by its founder, Prince Boakye Boampong. These accusations, compounded by a excessive burn charge and growth into a number of international locations, led to a monetary shortfall and the eventual shutdown of the startup in October 2023.

4 Failed Startups in Africa that Raised Over $180 Million in Funding


Sendy was a Kenyan logistics startup with immense potential however succumbed to market and operational pressures. Established in 2015, Sendy aimed to revolutionise how African retailers join with producers.

The corporate confronted extreme monetary constraints regardless of elevating $26.5 million and attaining a valuation of over $80 million. Efforts to safe $100 million in Funding fell brief, resulting in workforce reductions and the scaling again of operations. With buyers pulling again and operational prices mounting, Sendy’s journey led to August 2023, highlighting the fragility of startup sustainability in difficult financial climates.

ALSO READ: Billion-Dollar Tech Startups are Revolutionising the Continent


54gene, a Nigerian genomics startup, set out on a mission to place African genomics on the worldwide map however ended up on the listing of failed startups in Africa in 2023. Elevating $45 million throughout three Funding rounds, the corporate sought to bridge the hole in genetic materials used for world pharmaceutical analysis. Nevertheless, inner turmoil, frequent management adjustments, and authorized challenges overshadowed its scientific aspirations. The corporate’s monetary struggles turned obvious with the winding down of operations in July 2023, resulting in its closure in October. This underscores the complexities confronted by African startups in sustaining momentum and operational stability.


WhereIsMyTransport, a South African startup based in 2016, had a novel mission: mapping formal and casual public transport networks to enhance commuting experiences. The startup confronted a crucial Funding shortfall after elevating over $27 million and gaining important traction. Regardless of its modern strategy and partnerships with entities just like the World Financial institution, the startup’s incapability to safe new investments led to its closure. This case exemplifies the challenges startups face in scaling and sustaining momentum in the long run, particularly in specialised sectors like mobility knowledge.

What we are able to study from the failed African startups

1. Monetary Prudence and Transparency

Mismanagement of funds and lack of transparency, as seen in Sprint, can result in catastrophic outcomes.
Actionable Tip: Implement rigorous monetary administration practices. Common audits and clear reporting may also help preserve investor belief and guarantee monetary well being.
Reasonable Development and Scaling Methods:

2. Over-ambitious growth

As evidenced by Sendy’s expertise, this may pressure sources and result in failure.
Actionable Tip: Scale your small business methodically. Prioritize sustainable progress over fast growth. Assess market demand and operational capabilities earlier than coming into new markets.

ALSO READ: Startups in Africa Raised $4bn in 2021 despite COVID-19 Pandemic

3. Strong Management and Governance

Frequent management adjustments and inner disputes, as within the case of 54gene, it could possibly derail a startup’s focus and operations.
Actionable Tip: Set up a strong and steady management crew. Foster a tradition of collaboration and be sure that management transitions are clean and well-planned.

4. Adaptability to Market Adjustments:

The shortcoming to adapt to Funding challenges and market shifts, as seen with WhereIsMyTransport, can result in a startup’s downfall.
Actionable Tip: Stay versatile and attentive to market tendencies and challenges. Develop a enterprise mannequin that may stand up to financial fluctuations and shifts in investor sentiment.

5. Sustainable Enterprise Mannequin and Income Streams

Dependence on steady exterior Funding and not using a clear path to profitability can result in vulnerability.
Actionable Tip: Deal with constructing a sustainable enterprise mannequin. Diversify income streams and work in direction of self-sustainability to scale back reliance on exterior Funding.


The collapse of those 4 startups serves as a crucial lesson within the African startup ecosystem. It underscores the significance of economic prudence, lifelike progress planning, and sustainable enterprise practices. Because the surroundings for startups in Africa evolves, understanding and studying from these failures is significant for future success. The narrative of failed startups in Africa isn’t nearly loss; it’s about classes realized and paving the best way for extra strong, resilient entrepreneurial ventures.

ALSO READ: How African Artificial Intelligence Tech Startups are Gaining Traction

Read More

Read Previous

Nigeria: Blackout Looms As Nigerian Electrical energy Staff Be a part of Labour Unions’ Strike

Read Next

Trolley Credit Music Trade as ‘Instrumental’ to Rating on Deloitte’s Expertise Quick 50 and Quick 500 Awards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *