10 South African Tech Startups That Attracted Significant Investment In 2017

By Peter Pedroncelli AFKI Original Published: January 3, 2018, 4:50 am
Significant investment - Institutions in Africa are now offering programs that teach fintech skills. Photo - Student Brands - Fintech spaceOnline edtech startup GetSmarter was acquired by U.S. company U2 in 2017 Photo - Student Brands

The tech startup landscape in South Africa is growing steadily, with many companies attracting significant investment during the last year, indication their worth as viable and successful businesses.

The end of the year is upon us, and soon 2017 will give way for 2018. With this in mind, we thought it may be a good time to look back on some of the major investment deals that positively impact South African tech startups.

Here are 10 South African tech startups that attracted significant investment in 2017.

Sources: Techsmart, Coindesk, VentureburnFin24, IOL.

Drone Technology

Aerobotics conducts data analytics for the agricultural industry. Photo: wiki.usask.ca


Cape Town-based startup Aerobotics is a data analytics platform that assists farmers with optimization of yields and cost-reduction through aerial data. It was recently selected for the Launchpad initiative by Google, and earlier in the year it received a $600,000 funding round from SA venture capital company 4Di Capital and the Savannah Fund in Kenya.

The legal profession is beginning to get a tech makeover in Africa. Photo - National Society for Legal Tech

Legal platform Libryo received investment in 2017. Photo – National Society for Legal Tech


Cape Town and London-based legal platform, Libryo, was able to secure a substantial $1 million seed round of funding in October. The investors involved included European seed fund Seedcamp and Nextlaw Labs as part of their partnership for early investment in legaltech startups.

Community health workers display their mobile phones and solar chargers.
Photo: World Vision Sierra Leone

The Sun Exchange

Stellenbosch based blockchain startup, The Sun Exchange, allows anyone in the world to own or lease solar panels used to power African businesses and communities; earning them a solar powered income. The exchange allows for collaborative solar finance using blockchain, with $1.6 million invested by SA venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners, Network Society Ventures, BoostVC, TechStars and Powerhouse.

Transport mobility - WhereIsMyTransport provides data on formal and informal transport. Photo: rnw.nl

WhereIsMyTransport provides data on formal and informal transport. Photo: rnw.nl


WhereIsMyTransport is an open digital transport mobility platform founded by students of the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The startup raised investment of $1.5 million from the Global Innovation Fund (GIF), Goodwell Investments and Bombardier during 2017. The startup won the 2017 Promising Transport Innovation Award at the annual summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany last year.


CarZar.co.za is an online market for cars based in Cape Town. Photo: Carspopular


The online car market place based in Cape Town received a boost in May last year when Sweden-listed investment firm Vostok New Ventures made a $1.5 million investment in the CarZar.co.za.

kenya mobile

Mobenzi provides a mobile interface for frontline workers in education, health and other sectors. Photo: Andrew Cunningham/unicefstories.org


Another South African startup that saw significant investment was Cape Town-based Mobenzi. The startup, which provides a mobile interface for frontline workers, received a $1.2 million investment from the Vumela Fund, which took a minority stake in Mobenzi.

SnapnSave saves users money while they shop in-store. Photo: Thinkstock


Cape Town shopping community SnapnSave is another of the South African startups that managed to attract investment in 2017, with SA venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners and retail solutions company the Smollan Group SA committing $1 million to the company in August.

Xineoh is a marketing startup in South Africa. Photo - Twitter

Xineoh is a marketing startup in South Africa. Photo – Twitter


Xineoh is a tech startup in Bloemfontein which developed a series of algorithms that connect buyers and producers through predictions regarding potential purchasing behaviour. The startup secured a $2 million investment from Canadian bank King and Bay West in June.

South African bitcoin exchange Luno expanding into Europe.

South African bitcoin exchange Luno expanding into Europe. Image: bbc.co.uk


South African bitcoin exchange, Luno, has expanded into Europe while attracting an additional investment of $9 million in a round of funding that took place in September. The bitcoin exchange enjoyed a successful Series B funding round led by London-based venture capital firm Balderton Capital, with South African companies AlphaCode and Digital Currency Group involved.

GetSmarter was acquired by U.S. company U2 in 2017. Photo - GetSmarter

GetSmarter was acquired by U.S. company U2 in 2017 for a significant investment. Photo – GetSmarter


The biggest South African tech startup investment of the year was in Cape Town-based edtech startup, GetSmarter. In May the company announced that it been acquired by U.S. firm 2U in a deal worth $103 million, with the agreement potentially including an earn-out provision of up to $20 million in cash.

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