In 2018, I was working on the Africa VC report for WT when the name Cellulant caught my eye. This fintech company from Kenya had raised an impressive USD 47.5 M in Series C funding, while most startups that year only secured an average of USD 50 K. During that time, accelerators and grants were the most vibrant sources of funding.
I have a clear recollection of this event, as there was much discussion following the release of our report regarding whether or not Cellulant could be classified as a startup. Interestingly, those who were active on Twitter at the time were advocating for MFS Africa to be recognized as a startup.
Cellulant was already established in 11 countries and valued at over USD 100 M at the time of closing that Series C round. This was the second-largest startup funding round for an African tech company at the time, with the exception of Jumia's. Co-founders Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro seemed to be making significant strides towards building a unicorn.