Pariti, a Kenyan community-led marketplace that builds digital infrastructure for emerging market startup ecosystems, has secured $2.85 million in initial funding, the company announced today. Harlem Capital, located in the United States, led the round. It is the first deal in Africa for the diversity-focused firm, which just raised $134 million for its second fund. Better Ventures, Accelerated Ventures, Diverse Angels, AVG Basecamp, and New General Market Partners were among the other investors that took part.
“We’re ecstatic to be collaborating with Harlem Capital,” said Yacob Berhane, co-founder, and CEO of Harlem Capital. “Their focus on data, process, and assisting underrepresented ecosystems completely matches with our goal, making them an incredible partner to work with.”
Pariti, which links innovators in underdeveloped markets to resources, talent, and money, had just finished discovering product-market fit when featured in March.
Yacob Berhane and Wossen Ayele created Pariti in 2019. The firm has risen 795 percent in the last year, according to CEO Berhane, who attributes this success to the epidemic and how the African digital ecosystem has reached an inflection point, minting half a dozen unicorns in the process.
“The pandemic was a Black Swan event since our platform experienced a significant increase in activity.” Remote staffing and investment have exploded in popularity. Berhane told, “This was a gamble we made a long back but clearly couldn’t predict what was coming.” “After over 10 years of searching for Africa’s first unicorn, we were able to declare six in less than six months.” This sparked a surge in interest in African businesses from both domestic and foreign investors.
Pariti now has over 880 enterprises on its platform, spread across 42 countries, up from 500 earlier this year. Berhane, on the other hand, does not provide any more figures to represent the progress made since reported in March on the 100 freelancing specialists and 60 investors. According to BCG research, Africa looks to be on the verge of a startup revolution, with the ecosystem “expanding at a 46 percent annual rate, six times faster than the world average.”
However, with some entrepreneurs in need of help now more than ever in an inefficient environment plagued by trust difficulties, platforms like Pariti will become essential for founders and investors to negotiate on neutral ground. Pariti’s main product is the Recommendation Engine, which allows entrepreneurs to submit their businesses for assessment and comments from Pariti’s experts. The engine then recommends customised next actions for the founders in areas where the firm requires assistance.
The Kenya-based marketplace also assists talent in monetizing their abilities, as well as VCs and angel investors in locating, vetting, and closing transactions. Pariti’s pitch evaluation and recommendation engine, according to Berhane, includes some predictability elements that allow the platform to forecast how startups would do in terms of funding.
“So we looked at the firms that we’re able to raise money after submitting the Pariti pitch evaluation, and companies that score over 70 on a Pariti score have a 50% chance of effectively engaging with investors,” the CEO added. “However, organizations with a score of 78 or above have an 8x chance of getting funding, which is rather significant.”
According to a few startups who talked anonymously to after using the platform, Pariti also assisted them in getting into major accelerators such as Y Combinator and Techstars. Pariti has helped five firms get into Y Combinator, according to Berhane. Kenyan neobank Fingo, which featured in a previous piece and received a $250,000 pre-seed investment in March, is one of the startups.