Wednesday, October 20

West Africa

Shared mobility startup, Plentywaka raises $1.2 million seed round, acquires Stabus Ghana
Start-ups, West Africa

Shared mobility startup, Plentywaka raises $1.2 million seed round, acquires Stabus Ghana

Toronto-headquartered shared mobility startup, Plentywaka has announced a $1.2 million seed raise a month after completing the Techstars Toronto Accelerator program in July 2021. On the back of this raise, the company also revealed that it had acquired Ghanaian mobility startup, Stabus as it looks to expand its African operations, starting with West Africa. The round was led by Toronto-based VC, The Xchange. Other participants include China-based VC, SOSV; US-based VC, Shock Ventures; Nigeria-based Argentil Capital Ventures; and Nigeria-based ODBA & Co Ventures. Techstars Toronto also made a follow-on investment. Continue reading
Explained: Can the Nigerian government really spy on your WhatsApp messages?
Apps, Cybersecurity, Nigeria, Telecommunications, West Africa

Explained: Can the Nigerian government really spy on your WhatsApp messages?

Barely a month after blocking access to Twitter, the Nigerian government allocated ₦1.93 billion ($4.6 million) to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for a “WhatsApp Intercept Solution”. An interception solution for WhatsApp would allow an external party (the government, in this case) to access, monitor, or block communications (calls and chats) carried out by users via the app. The move is reportedly aimed at protecting Nigeria from cybercrime and terrorism perpetrated through such messaging platforms. However, it is seen by media stakeholders and activists as yet another attempt to restrict civil liberties. Continue reading
Meet Julaya, a startup solving payment frictions for the World Bank in Ivory Coast
Fintech, West Africa

Meet Julaya, a startup solving payment frictions for the World Bank in Ivory Coast

Grace Kouassi, an Ivorian construction retailer, goes through a lot of hassle when she has to pay employees their monthly salaries. Her challenges are not due to a lack of cash but stem from how best to disburse the funds. She has three options – use bank transfers, mobile money, or cash. In countries like Nigeria or South Africa, the first option, to an extent, is effective for business payments but not in Ivory Coast. Charges on real-time gross settlement (RTGS) interbank transfers can be as high as CFA17,000 ($30) and most times, the transfers take longer than expected – up to three days instead of a few hours – while also being prone to transaction issues. Continue reading
Alerzo raises $10.5M Series A to bring Nigeria’s informal retail sector online
ecommerce, West Africa

Alerzo raises $10.5M Series A to bring Nigeria’s informal retail sector online

The process of digitizing the operations of mom and pop stores in Nigeria is serious business right now. In fact, it might be the second-best thing after fintech at the moment. Today’s news is from Alerzo, a little-known B2B e-commerce retail startup based in Ibadan, Nigeria. The company is announcing a $10.5 million Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital. FJ Labs and several family offices from the U.S., Europe and Asia, including Michael Novogratz’s, participated in the round. In total, Alerzo has raised more than $20 million since its launch. Early investors include the Baobab Network, an Africa-focused accelerator based in London, and Signal Hill, a Singapore-based fund manager that participated in its $5.5 million seed round last year. The company also said it c...
A leaked bill for Nigerian startups reveals a theme of licenses, fees, fines and sentences
Start-ups, West Africa

A leaked bill for Nigerian startups reveals a theme of licenses, fees, fines and sentences

For a while, there have been talks about revamping the outdated 2007 Act of Nigeria’s information and technology body, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The bill, which established NITDA as the agency to oversee Nigeria’s technological transformation, is quite outdated. This past decade, Nigeria has arguably become Africa’s most attractive destination for venture capital. It is also home to two unicorns (Flutterwave and Jumia) and billion-dollar fintech company Interswitch. Continue reading (Image Credits: Getty Images)
Netflix’s first original Nigerian series builds on a hugely popular political drama set in Lagos
Streaming, West Africa

Netflix’s first original Nigerian series builds on a hugely popular political drama set in Lagos

The official trailer for Nigeria’s first original Netflix series opens with a dramatic question, put by a reporter to fearless political operative Eniola Salami, the show’s lead character: “Madam, why do they call you the King of Boys?” he asks. The answer was first set up in King of Boys, a hugely successful 2018 movie produced by Nigerian filmmaker Kemi Adetiba. In it, Salami is a businesswoman who belongs to a clique of plunderers. The movie portrayed the dark behind-the-scenes machinations of politics in Nigeria, and resonated with viewers in the months leading up to the 2019 general elections. It became even more popular after becoming available on Netflix in September that year. Continue reading (Image Credits: qz.com)
African Development Bank Coding for Employment program marks milestone: 130,000 users across Africa
Education, West Africa

African Development Bank Coding for Employment program marks milestone: 130,000 users across Africa

The program’s online platforms offer in-demand technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing – for free ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 13, 2021/APO Group/ --  On International Youth Day, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) announces the enrolment of 130,000 users in its Coding for Employment digital skills program. The milestone comes as Coding for Employment works to equip African youth with information and communication technology, entrepreneurship and soft-skills training to compete in a digital economy. The program’s online platforms offer in-demand technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing – for free. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in lockdowns and schoo...
Nigeria to lift Twitter ban soon, minister says
Social Networks, West Africa

Nigeria to lift Twitter ban soon, minister says

ABUJA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Nigeria will soon lift its ban on Twitter (TWTR.N) after resolving some of its differences with the social media platform, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Wednesday, signalling the end of a policy widely condemned as an affront to freedom of expression. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter on June 4 after it removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists. Some telecoms companies subsequently blocked access to users in Nigeria. "The ban on Twitter will soon be lifted as we are getting close to reaching full agreement," Mohammed told reporters after a cabinet meeting. "We have agreed on some areas. Hopefully in the next few days or weeks we will conclude." Continue reading (Image Cre...
Nigerian eCommerce startup, Omnibiz, secures $3m seed to expand across West Africa
ecommerce, Start-ups, West Africa

Nigerian eCommerce startup, Omnibiz, secures $3m seed to expand across West Africa

Nigeria-based Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce startup, Omnibiz has announced securing $3million in a seed round. It plans to expand into other cities in West Africa and participate in Seed Stars’ accelerator program. Led by V&R Africa, Timon Capital and Tangerine Insurance, this seed round also saw investments from Launch Africa, Sunu Capital, Musha Ventures, Rising Tide Africa, and Lofty Inc. Swiss-based emerging markets investment company, Seed Stars also joined the round. Founded by Deepankar Rustagi — CEO — in 2019, Omnibiz connects manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) with local retailers using a mobile app, WhatsApp and a phone number. This enables direct communication between manufacturers and retailers. Continue reading (Ima...
Moove Raises $23 Million Series A Funding to Democratize Vehicle Ownership in Africa
Fintech, Start-ups, West Africa

Moove Raises $23 Million Series A Funding to Democratize Vehicle Ownership in Africa

African mobility fintech start up provides revenue-based vehicle financing, empowering individuals across Africa to own their own vehicle LAGOS, Nigeria--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moove, an African mobility fintech, today announced that it has raised $23 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Speedinvest and Left Lane Capital, with participation from DCM, Clocktower Technology Ventures, thelatest.ventures, LocalGlobe, Tekton, FJ Labs, Palm Drive Capital, Roka Works, KAAF Investments, Spartech Ventures, Class 5 Global, and Victoria van Lennep, co-founder of Lendable. Africa specialist, Verod Kepple Africa Ventures, and one of Moove’s existing lenders, Emso Asset Management, also joined the round. This brings Moove’s total funding to $68.2 million, including $28.2M in equity and $40.0M...