Fintech Selpal Acquired by FNB, South Africa’s Startups Were 283% More Funded From 2019 to 2020 (29 March – 2 April)

Updated on 29 March 2021

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Fintech Selpal Acquired by FNB

FNB has acquired 100% of Selpal – a financial technology solutions (fintech) company that operates specifically in townships and rural sectors of the economy.

Selpal is a technology start-up that has developed an integrated system connecting informal retailers such as spaza shops (community grocery stores) with fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) suppliers, wholesalers and brands.

The user-centric platform was designed and built using direct observations, engagements and understanding of the pain-points that various users experience along the entire FMCG value chain in the informal sector, from manufacturer to consumer

Gordon Little, FNB Business CEO says “As part of our broader strategy, we are dedicated to help support small businesses that are predominantly cash-based and operate in a less formal manner. Our latest acquisition and integration of Selpal complements the significant milestones we have reached in executing on this strategy. Selpal already has a footprint supported by an integrated system that connects informal retailers such as spaza shops with FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Their user-centric digital platform, was designed and built using direct observations, engagements and understanding of the pain-points that various users experience along the entire FMCG supply chain in the informal sector, from manufacturer to consumer.”

From a business user experience perspective, Selpal merchants are equipped with a Selpal POS (Point-Of-Sale) device that enables them to view, order, and pay for and sell stock (including various value-added services such as airtime) without the merchant needing to leave their shop.

Considering the cash-intensive nature of this market, FNB is leveraging its collective current cash handling infrastructure to enable Selpal to seamlessly facilitate payments between stakeholders in the supply chain. This further solves a large challenge of security and convenience for all participants along this supply chain.

SEE ALSO: Township-based Businesses to Benefit from Latest FNB Collab with Selpal

South Africa’s Startups Were 283% More Funded From 2019 to 2020 (Study)

Global startup funding rose 42% in 2020, against 2019 figures. That indicates a bold attitude towards reinventing the world post-pandemic, according to a report by

But which industries and countries benefited most from this investor confidence? analysed Crunchbase data and visualised how startup funding changed from 2019 to 2020 in a series of animated cartograms available here:

According to this study, South Africa’s startups were 283% more funded from 2019 to 2020.

Data is based on venture capital funding rounds that took place from 1st of January 2019 through 31 December 2020. The figures are taken from Crunchbase for all venture capital funding rounds, including seed, pre-seed, and angel rounds, but excluding IPO, Debt Refinancing, Credit Note, Crowdfunding, and other types of funding rounds.

Only companies with known non-zero funding amounts declared were included. Only companies that were privately owned, i.e., not publicly traded at the time of funding were included.

Country totals were calculated based on locations of company headquarters, as they appear in Crunchbase. Industry figures were computed based on industry tags, as listed against each of the qualifying companies on Crunchbase. The totals for all industries may not match the totals for a given year due to each company being tagged with multiple industries at the same time.

See the full research behind this study here:

Key Findings

  • Startups received 42% more funding in 2020 than they did in 2019. • 10,468 startups received venture capital (VC) funding, which is only 83 more than 2019.
  • The average funding round in 2020 raised $28m, a 57% increase on the 2019 average.
  • The top 3 countries by % growth in startup funding were Estonia (+1346%), Chile (1058.4%) and Colombia (941.9%).
  • The bottom 3 countries that saw their startups get less funding were Argentina (-91.2%), Lithuania (-87.4%) and Nigeria (-74.4%).
  • The US has the biggest investment rise dollar-for-dollar, raising $35,594,999,900 ($35.6bn or 79.0%) more in 2020.
  • The big three industries for startup growth in 2020 were Science and Engineering (+329.7%), Biotech (+187%), and Manufacturing (+113%) – all areas with a stake in the fight against Covid.

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