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A new report released this week by tech publication Disrupt Africa puts the number of African fintech startups currently operating on the continent at 491.
However, it’s uncertain how accurate the figure is, as the report’s authors do not clearly define what a startup is.
The report, titled Finnovating for Africa 2019: Reimagining the African financial services landscape, was released on Tuesday (18 June). In 2017 the report’s authors put the number of African fintech startups operating on the continent at 301.
The report claims that the 491 fintech startups tracked in the report operate in 28 African countries and that South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya account for two thirds of all fintech firms on the continent, with 141, 101 and 78 ventures respectively.
Disrupt Africa retails the report for $150. This, while another version with an appendix containing the full dataset of the 491 startups is available for $800. It’s the 10th study released by Disrupt Africa.
Disrupt Africa does not use a strict definition of a fintech startup based on how old a firm is or how many people it employs
While Disrupt Africa co-founder Gabriella Mulligan told Ventureburn in an email yesterday (20 June) that the report defines African startups as companies either “headquartered in Africa or founded by Africans” and does not include startups currently in stealth mode — the report’s methodology does not use a strict definition of a startup based on how old a firm is or how many people it employs.
Rather, she said, Disrupt Africa considered whether to include a company as a fintech startup or not, on a “case-by-case basis”, which considers factors such as the growth potential of each firm, among other things.
It’s not clear then whether firms that have been operating for example for over 10 years with hundreds of employees are included in the report alongside firms that are only a year or two old with just a handful of staff.
Ventureburn requested a copy of the report but Disrupt Africa was only willing to provide a copy of the methodology page (see below image).