Afridigest Week in Review: A new addition to Africa's unicorn list
+A deal deluge +E-mobility +SME Neobanking +Product innovation strategies +Go-to-market fit & product-led growth +A global M-Pesa +News, podcasts, and more
The Afridigest Week in Review is a must-read weekly recap for Africa-focused founders, executives, and investors, as well as interested observers.
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Week 44 2021
📰 Deal of the Week
Chipper Cash, a pan-African cross-border payments company, raised a $150M Series C extension round led by cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX with participation from SVB Capital, Deciens Capital, Ribbit Capital, Bezos Expeditions, One Way Ventures, and Tribe Capital.
💡 Why it’s the deal of the week: With this round, Chipper Cash now has a formal, disclosed valuation just north of $2B making it the continent’s newest official unicorn, and (arguably) the most valuable Africa-focused startup at this point in time.
⛏️ Go deeper:
Traction: Chipper Cash says it processes ~80,000 transactions daily and has over 4 million users, with ~40,000 new users added daily.
Crypto angle: FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange valued recently at ~$25B, is one of the sexiest companies in the world right now, and Chipper Cash is its first Africa-focused investment. FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried is quoted as saying that the FTX interest in Chipper is to “accelerate the adoption of crypto within Africa and beyond.”
A look back: See one of the first public web mentions of Chipper Cash in 2017 from Co-Founder Maijid Moujaled here:
And watch this 2019 500 Startups pitch from Co-Founder & CEO Ham Serunjogi:
🔦 Other deals
A DEAL DELUGE
Twiga Foods, a Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform simplifying the supply chain between fresh food producers, FMCG manufacturers, and retailers, raised a $50M Series C led by Creadev with participation from TLcom Capital, IFC Ventures, DOB Equity, Juven, Finnfund Global, and Endeavor Catalyst Fund — Twiga has over 100,000 registered customers and delivers 600+ metric tons of goods to 10,000+ retailers daily; notably, the round included a $30M secondary sale, providing liquidity to early investors. The company is targeting a valuation > $1B within five years
Breadfast, an Egyptian online grocery & on-demand delivery platform utilizing the dark store/quick commerce model, raised a $26M Series A co-led by Vostok New Ventures and Endure Capital, with participation from JAM Fund, YC Continuity Fund, Shorooq Partners, 4DX Ventures, Flexport, and an unnamed Saudi Arabian fund — Breadfast offers over 2,500 SKUs to ~170,000 Egyptian households, with an apparent 65% m-o-m customer retention rate and 4x revenue growth from 2019 to 2020
PayHippo, a Nigerian SME financing platform, raised a $3M seed round from various angel investors, including Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, Chipper Cash co-founders; Flutterwave co-founder, Olugbenga Agboola; Bolaji Balogun, CEO of investment bank Chapel Hill Denham; and Hakeem Belo-Osagie, the founder of Metis Capital Partners — PayHippo has disbursed ~5,000 loans worth ~$1M since its 2019 launch, with a repayment rate of 97%; it’s currently growing 25% m-o-m
ShipBlu, an Egyptian provider of logistics infrastructure for e-commerce companies, raised a $2.4M seed round led by Nama Ventures with participation from 1984 Ventures, Orange Ventures, Starling Ventures, and others — The company, which fully launched just this August, participated in Y Combinator’s S21 batch
Appetito, an Egyptian dark store grocery delivery platform, raised a $2M pre-Series A led by Jedar Capital, with participation from Golden Palm investments, DFS Lab, and others — The company has grown revenue 6x since April and currently operates 7 dark stores across Cairo, with plans to expand to 150 stores by 2024
Bypa-ss, an Egyptian healthtech operating a leading digital health information exchange & clinic management platform, raised a $1M pre-seed from Magic Fund, Acuity Ventures, Launch Africa, Plug and Play, and others — The company operates in 6 cities across Egypt with a network of more than 3,000 healthcare providers and has grown its customer base 1.5x since the start of the year
Semicolon Africa, a Nigerian talent platform that trains individuals to become software engineers, raised a $1.2M seed round from Launch Africa, Consonance Investment Managers, and others
Shamba Pride, a Kenyan online-to-offline marketplace platform for farmers, raised ~$1.1M led by Seedstars Africa Ventures and Gray Matters Capital — The funding will support the company’s national expansion, empowering hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers to boost their income and productivity
Untapped Global, a provider of smart asset financing for emerging markets in Africa and elsewhere, raised a $1.05M equity round from a variety of accredited investors — The company has achieved $1M in annual recurring revenue and is experiencing 40% month-to-month growth; it’s also targeting an additional $1M via crowdfunding
Lemonade Finance, a Nigerian cross-border payments startup, raised a $725k pre-seed round from Y Combinator, Microtraction, Ventures Platform, Acuity Venture Partners, Zrosk, and others — Founded in 2020, the company participated in Y Combinator’s S21 batch and has processed over $1M in transactions
Kasookoo Communications, an omnichannel contact center as a service platform for African markets, raised a $500K seed round led by the South Southeast Angels Network and Launch Africa Ventures
Sympl, an Egyptian buy-now-pay-later checkout platform, raised an undisclosed amount from A15 — Founded just last month, Sympl is apparently led by a highly credible team and is targeting an initial market of over 40M bankcard holders
FinMeUp, a South African financial education startup, raised an undisclosed seed round from ZAQ Ventures — The startup has ~7,000 active users on its (pilot) platform within one year of launch and a ‘co-creating community’ of ~18,000 members
InstantRad, a Ghanian on-demand teleradiology platform, raised an undisclosed amount from Microtraction & others
Errand360, a Nigerian bicycle-based delivery platform, raised an undisclosed pre-seed round from Tekedia Capital
Ampersand, a Rwandan builder of electric motorcycles and charging systems, secured a $9M loan facility from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) — The startup raised ~$4M in equity from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) and TotalEnergies earlier this year
Opibus, a Swedish-Kenyan producer of electric vehicles, raised a $7.5M pre-series A including $5M in equity (led by At One Ventures, with participation from Factor[e] Ventures and Ambo Ventures) and $2.5M in grants — the round is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest-ever electric mobility fundraise, according to Opibus
BasiGo, a Kenyan electric vehicle startup focused on public transportation buses, raised a $1M pre-seed from Climate Capital, Third Derivative, and others — The startup plans to sell locally assembled electric buses using parts from a Chinese EV manufacturer
E-Settlement, a Nigerian mPoS & agent banking platform, agreed to acquire QuickCash, an Ivorian electronic payment and money transfer focused on Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo, for an undisclosed amount — The deal expands E-Settlement’s footprint across the continent and will grow the group’s agent banking network to 200,000 agents by the end of 2022; QuickCash will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary
Net1 UEPS Technologies, a publicly-traded South African fintech company listed on the NASDAQ and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, agreed to acquire Connect Group, a South African fintech company, for ~$242M — The deal gives Net1 which focuses on the formal sector, access to 35,000+ informal MSMEs
📚 Read of the Week
SMALL BUSINESS BANKING
An exploration of Africa’s SME space that looks at SME characteristics across the continent, their banking needs, the value of building out SME-focused banking capabilities, and what it will take to win in this space.
“Whereas the 20th century was the century for corporations, … the 21st century will be the century of smaller businesses and solo businesses. … Stepping into the fray are new Fintechs that are building around this global trend.”
🥇 “SME Neobanking in Africa” by Samora Kariuki
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📚 Quick Hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
Six product strategies to catalyze your second act — Building and maintaining scale requires constant product innovation to expand an initial core market beyond the first act and further cement category dominance
A guide to finding go-to-market fit and achieving product-led growth — An introduction to the foundational principles of go-to-market strategies - what they are, why they are important, and how they have developed over time
Drive innovation with better decision-making — More efficient decision-making approaches can lead to breakthrough ideas
DAOs: absorbing the internet — DAOs may become the constituent pieces of our emerging web3 society; here’s what’s happening, and why it matters
What to look for when you’re hiring a Head of Growth — Growing users & revenue is so critical that it makes sense to hire someone to run it, and “Growth Teams have sprung up from Facebook and LinkedIn to Uber, Slack, Dropbox and others
How to grow yourself to grow the company — Start with self-awareness, encourage & collect better feedback, turn feedback into action
Re-organizing the world’s information: Why we need more search engines — The opportunity in search isn’t to attack Google head-on, but instead to build boutique search engines that index, curate, and organize things in new ways
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Suren Ayriyan, Managing Partner & CEO of Tempo Payments writes ‘What we can learn from Sub-Saharan African FinTech infrastructure’ (Tech Financials)
Angel investor Aadil Mamujee writes ‘A Global M-Pesa’ (Aadil.blog)
Amadou Daffe, Gebeya CEO & Co-Founder, writes ‘Winning talent wars in Africa’ (Linkedin article)
Stéphan Eloise-Gras, Executive Director of Digital Africa, discusses the potential of Francophone tech and France’s €130M plan to support African startups on the African Business podcast
Martin Nielsen, Mdundo CEO & Co-Founder, joins the Chini ya Maji podcast
The Afrobility podcast discusses how Safeboda is delivering mobility services across Africa
Juliet Anammah, Chairwoman of Jumia Nigeria; Wiza Jalakasi, VP, Global Developer Relations at Chipper Cash; Nkebet Mesele, Senior Director at Visa Sub-Saharan Africa; and Khadijah Abu, Head of Product Expansion at Paystack discuss the future of commerce in emerging markets
Africa’s fintech firms vie for domination (The Economist $)
South African students are selling school Wi-Fi passwords for lunch money (Rest of World)
How tech and agriculture can help Africa’s pandemic recovery (Quartz)
Nestcoin plans to make crypto in Africa mainstream (Quartz)
Beyond remittances: unlocking the true value of the African diaspora (Linkedin presentation - Dr. Akintoye Akindele)
The rise of the African fintech platform (Linkedin presentation - Ali Hussein Kassim)
YC Interview Guide For African Startups (Future Africa Blog)
🗣️ Community Corner
I see you, friends!
Congrats to Angela Homsi on the launch of the Rwanda Innovation Fund 🥳
Congrats to Yele Bademosi on the public launch of Nestcoin platform and congrats also to David Adeleke, who now leads Nestcoin’s media arm, Breach 🥂
Congrats to Tayo Oviosu and the Paga team on the launch of the Doroki platform 🎉
Thanks for reading 🙌 And thanks in advance for sharing this Week in Review across your social networks.