Wednesday, October 20

Start-ups

Google sets up $50M fund to invest in African startups
Africans in Tech, Start-ups

Google sets up $50M fund to invest in African startups

Google plans to invest up to $50 million in African early and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund, ramping up efforts to support more businesses on the continent. Google made known its plans today in a virtual event where CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa. These initiatives range from improved connectivity via Google’s subsea cable Equiano to investments in small businesses and startups. Until now, Google had fulfilled its obligations in the latter through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program and the recently launched Black Founders Fund. Continue reading Image: Getty Images
YC-backed Amenli raises $2.3M to provide insurance to Egyptian consumers
Africa, Start-ups

YC-backed Amenli raises $2.3M to provide insurance to Egyptian consumers

The average penetration rate for insurance in Africa is between 3% to 5%. South Africa makes up a large bulk of it; without it, the continent is on a 1% to 2% rate even with other developed technology and financial markets like Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt. The insurance market is still one of the industries least disrupted by technology on the continent. The reasons vary, from bad experiences and poor satisfaction on the part of consumers to high distribution costs for providers. Recently, some startups such as Lami, Ctrl and Naked have sought to take on each regional market by storm, armed with the necessary capital to scale. Y Combinator Summer 2021 graduate Amenli is taking its operations up north and is announcing a $2.3 million seed round to provide insurance services for Egyptian...
Nigerian telemedicine startup, iWello, is making healthcare available to people living on less than $1 per day
Health Tech, Start-ups

Nigerian telemedicine startup, iWello, is making healthcare available to people living on less than $1 per day

In 2008, Ismail Adejonwo’s mother experienced a troubling stomach ache. The family had no money and was hesitant to take her to the hospital. But as the clock kept ticking, the pain became unbearable. At this point, he had no choice but to take his mother to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor informed them that they had brought her late. She was diagnosed with appendicitis, which was treated successfully with a simple surgery. Entirely unrelated, Dr Fatima Ajayi, Adejonwo’s pregnant family friend, fainted during a ward round in 2019 after working a 12-hour shift. Sadly, her boss dismissed her for the day without further concern about her well-being. Adejonwo decided not to overlook these events. Continue reading Image: techpoint.africa
How Nigerian edtech startup, Tuteria, is connecting learners to tutors in Nigeria
Nigeria, Start-ups

How Nigerian edtech startup, Tuteria, is connecting learners to tutors in Nigeria

Over the years, education has evolved from self-education through self-directed play and exploration, acquiring a vast knowledge of plants and herbs for agricultural purposes to teaching certain expectations and behaviours to children. In recent years, education has changed into a tool for children to learn and apply their talents or skills and for young people and adults to understand the competitive nature of the workforce. Similarly, with the advancement of technology, students are no longer restricted to the four walls of a classroom to learn a new course, acquire a skill, or advance in a specific field of interest. Globally, technology is rapidly transforming education. While edtech in Africa is moving slower due to power shortage and low Internet penetration, some African e...
Africa’s 5 Unicorn Startups – Which Has the Highest Valuation?
Start-ups

Africa’s 5 Unicorn Startups – Which Has the Highest Valuation?

Recently, global engineering talent outsourcer Andela reached the highly exalted status as a unicorn startup – a startup with a valuation of $1-billion or more. Andela joins an exceedingly exclusive group as one of Africa’s 5 startup unicorns currently operating. The first startup in Africa to achieve a ten-figure valuation was Jumia. The Nigerian-founded company is now a pan-African retail leader and an e-commerce powerhouse, but its valuation dropped below $1-billion in 2019 due to its volatile share price. Interestingly, 4 of 5 current unicorns are from Nigeria – the African country that saw the most VC investments in 2020, according to Statista. The other unicorn is from Senegal, which doesn’t even chart on Statista’s list of top African country’s for VC. Another interesting ...
VertoFX picks up $10M for cross-border payments play in emerging markets
Africa, Start-ups

VertoFX picks up $10M for cross-border payments play in emerging markets

VertoFX, a global B2B payments platform that allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make payments to their suppliers, today announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A funding. Quona Capital, an emerging fintech-focused venture capital firm, led the round. Other firms also participated, including The Treasury, founded by Betterment’s Eli Broverman and Acorns’ Jeff Cruttenden; Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP); U.K.-based TMT Investments; Unicorn Growth Capital; Zrosk Investments; and P1 Ventures.  The lack of interoperability between African currencies is primarily behind why a Kenyan business owner who wants to pay an invoice to another business owner in South Africa with either shillings or rands ends up using the dollar — the currency that powers almo...
Flat6Labs closes $10M seed fund for Tunisian startups
North Africa, Start-ups

Flat6Labs closes $10M seed fund for Tunisian startups

Regional seed and early-stage venture capital firm, Flat6Labs, has finished raising $10 million for its seed fund targeted at Tunisian startups, according to a statement released by the company. The seed fund, called Anava Seed Fund (ASF), at first sought a close of $3 million but instead closed 3.3x of the initial figure. The fund represents the increasing investments in early-stage African startups, mainly North African ones. In May, Flat6Labs completed the close of its Egypt-based fund — Flat6Labs Accelerator Company fund (FAC) at $13 million. Continue reading Image: Getty Images
Zola Electric closes $90M funding round to scale technology and enter new markets
Africa, Start-ups

Zola Electric closes $90M funding round to scale technology and enter new markets

Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and emerging markets continue to live without access to electricity. Some reports peg these numbers between 500 million and 2 billion people despite the prevalence of renewable energy providers in these regions. Zola Electric, one such provider, is announcing today that it has closed $90 million in new funding to enter new markets and drive distributed renewable energy. When Zola Electric was launched in 2011 by Erica Mackey, Xavier Helgesen and Joshua Pierce, the company provided solar home solutions to off-grid rural communities in Tanzania. Continue reading Image: ZOLA
How edtech startup, Stranerd is connecting Nigerian students to tutors
Education, Nigeria, Start-ups

How edtech startup, Stranerd is connecting Nigerian students to tutors

At all levels, education in Nigeria is in dire need of intervention. On the supply side, there are more students or prospective students than there are schools. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 10.5 million children in Nigeria between the ages of 5-14 are out of school, and one in every five out-of-school children in the world is in Nigeria. According to a study of public and private schools in Lagos State by Elaine Unterhalter, a professor of education and international development at University College London, there are 1,200 primary school-aged children for every public school place available. With governments unable to provide adequate options for education in the country, individuals are picking up the slack. Continue reading Image: techpoint.afri...
FinTech Startup Chipper Cash Launches its Free App in SA
Apps, Fintech, Southern Africa, Start-ups

FinTech Startup Chipper Cash Launches its Free App in SA

Yesterday, Chipper, one of the fastest growing African fintech start-ups that facilitates free peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers and instant cross-border payments in Africa, officially launched Chipper Cash to offer domestic P2P money transfers in South Africa. Chipper Cash will enable South Africans to enjoy free unlimited instant domestic money transfers, invest in cryptocurrencies, and buy and send airtime and data to anyone. Chipper was founded in 2018 by Ham Serunjogi (CEO) and Maijid Moujaled (President) and it is headquartered in San Francisco, USA. Continue reading Image: Tech Cabal