Afridigest Week in Review: A super week for super apps
+Acquisitions and acqui-hires +The evolution of digital health, Saas, and embedded lending +A primer on the metaverse +Africa by tribal/lingusitic divides
The Afridigest Week in Review is a must-read weekly recap for Africa-focused founders, executives, and investors, as well as interested observers.
Welcome back, friends! Thanks for opening Afridigest today! This condensed newsletter covers events from Nov 28th through Dec 4th. (Week 49’s newsletter covering Dec 5th - 11th should be sent early next week.) With that said, let’s get into it.
Week 48 2021: November 28 - December 4
📰 Deal of the Week
ONE APP FOR EVERYTHING
Yassir, an Algerian ride-hailing and last-mile delivery super app platform, raised a $30M Series A from WndrCo, DN Capital, Kismet Capital, Spike Ventures, Quiet Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, FJ Labs, VentureSouq, Nellore Capital, Moving Capital, and others.
Founded four years ago, Yassir was the first Algerian startup to participate in Y Combinator and the company claims over 3 million users and 40,000 partners.
💡 Why it’s the deal of the week: It’s been interesting times recently for super apps across the globe. Grab, the Southeast Asian super app, completed its ~$40B SPAC IPO last week — the largest such deal ever; Indian super app Paytm went public with a $20B valuation a few weeks ago; Gozem, a super app targeting Francophone Africa, also announced its Series A; and influential NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway published a piece suggesting super apps are inevitable in the West. Yassir’s deal is the latest in the global super app movement, and with this round, it’s now among the most well-funded startups in the MENA region.
⛏️ Go deeper:
Shameless plug: Read How Africa’s super app landscape is evolving and get a sense of the various super app players on the continent
Use of funds: Yassir, which currently operates in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, will use the investment to grow in its existing MENA markets, expand to other strategic geographies like Francophone sub-Saharan Africa, and triple the size of its engineering team
🔦 Other deals
FRANCOPHONE AFRICA + SOUTH AFRICA + EGYPT + NIGERIA + MOZAMBIQUE
Gozem, a pan-African ride-hailing, e-commerce, and financial services super app platform focused on Francophone West & Central Africa, raised a $5M Series A from AAIC, Thunes (TransferTo), Momentum Ventures (SMRT), Innoport Ventures (Schulte Group), CMC Ventures (National Express) and Liil Ventures (Mobility ADO) — Gozem operates in 13 cities across Togo, Benin, Gabon, and Cameroon and has over 800,000 registered users; this takes its total funding to date to ~$12M
OfferZen, a South African talent marketplace, raised a $5.2M Series A from Base Capital — OfferZen has ~100,000 software developers on its platform and serves over 1,000 companies; the majority of its developers and company clients are in South Africa, the Netherlands, the U.K., and Germany
Raseedi, an Egyptian VOIP platform, raised an $850K pre-Series A from Samurai Incubate, with participation from 500 Global, EFG-EV, and Falak Startups — Raseedi’s app receives “over 10 million visits monthly” and it plans to onboard millions of underbanked Egyptian users masses to its credit solutions
Payourse, a Nigerian crypto infrastructure platform, raised a $600K pre-seed from Michael Ugwu, Flori Ventures, Voltron Capital, Allegory Capital, Marek Olszewski, Rene Reinsberg, Kola Aina, Angel Touch Holdings, and Oluwatobi Anisere — The company’s current offerings include Coinprofile, a crypto-fiat payment gateway, and Simpa, a no-code platform for launching crypto exchanges; there are currently over 5,000 Coinprofile users who process “millions of dollars” on the platform
Herconomy, a Nigerian women-focused financial services platform, raised a $600K pre-seed from Oui Capital, members of the Herconomy community, and a various angel investors — Herconomy’s community is currently 15,000 people strong, and 20% are paying members
Octamile, a Nigerian insurance-as-a-service platform, raised a $500K pre-seed led by EchoVC, with participation from Fiat Ventures, Kesho VC, Trade X, Verraki Partners, Dale Mathias, Kyle Daley, and others — In stealth mode prior to this fundraise, Octamile aspires to be the operating system for digital insurance in Africa
Flex Finance, a Nigerian expense management platform targeting SMEs and solo-preneurs, raised a six-figure pre-seed led by Sahil Lavingia (Gumroad CEO), LoftyInc, Berrywood Capital, Paradox Capital, Kairos Angels, and others — Notably, Flex Finance was born out of Accion Venture Lab’s Company Builder initiative
Bexel, an Egyptian inspection management platform, raised a six-figure round led by JH Investments Ltd, with participation from Flat6Labs, UI Investments, and others — Bexel helps quality control engineers check safety standards for equipment used in various sectors such as oil, gas, construction, and hotels, and has been widely used by clients in 14 different countries across the world including Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Germany’s TUV Rheinland, and Spain’s Applus Velosi
KlickIt, an Egyptian payments management & collection platform focused on the education sector, raised an undisclosed amount from EFG Finance and Camel Ventures (dfin Holding) — KlickIt serves more than 55,000 Egyptian public schools and over 230 private institutions; since its 2017 inception, it has processed over EGP500M (~$32M)
ShapShap, a Nigerian logistics platform, raised an undisclosed amount from GreenTec Capital — The company has processed more than 30,000 orders for more than 4,000 users and works with over 100 vendors
Dataphyte, a Nigerian media, research, and data analytics organization, and Zitamar News, a Mozambican investigative news platform, raised undisclosed amounts from MDIF Ventures
SwitchPay, an alternative payment solutions provider for consumers both in-store and online, was acquired by Adumo, a South African payments provider, for an undisclosed amount —Adumo operates in 14 African countries and has over 50,000 active clients, from large multinationals to informal traders; it raised $15M from the IFC earlier this year
Quench, a South African digital shopping and last-mile delivery platform, was acquired by The Foschini Group (TFG), a South African fashion retailer, for an undisclosed amount — Launched in Stellenbosch in 2016, Quench began as a liquor delivery service before pivoting into the delivery of groceries and other essential products on-demand at the height of COVID-19-led lockdowns
Dado, a South African platform for hiring remote engineers, was acqui-hired by Yoco, a South African mobile points of sale (mPOS) platform — Dado’s team of eleven joins Yoco which raised an $83M Series C led earlier this year in Week 30
GRANTS & PRIZES
MyDawa, a Kenyan online pharmacy, was awarded a $1.2M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
DXwand, an Egyptian conversational AI platform, MarketForce, a Kenyan B2B retail distribution platform, and PricePally, a Nigerian fresh food group-buying platform, each received $150,000 as part of their selection into SOSV’s cross border program
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The Afridigest Week in Review is a weekly recap for Africa-interested founders, executives, investors, and observers. Share it with someone who should be reading it. 🙏
📚 Quick Hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
The new go-to-market playbooks for digital health startups — On the evolution of digital health, and how and why the digital health GTM has changed and what the new GTM looks like
The evolution of SaaS companies — On the evolution of SaaS companies and business models through the embedding of financial services
Embedded lending — Thomvest Ventures’ thesis on the future of lending and the market opportunity for embedded lending due to innovation in distribution, data sources, and product
The rise of vertical banks — why a vertical approach may be the way to create enduring business-focused neobanks
Starting your fundraising pitch deck — An early-stage startup may not yet generate revenue, but it must generate conviction. Instead of thinking in terms of slides, separate the pitch into three basic “acts”: Act I: Make your case. What are you building? What can it become? Why now? Why you? Act II: De-risk your approach. What have you done to increase your odds of success? Act III: Broaden your case. What does success mean to you, your investors, and the world?
Going outside is highly overrated: A metaverse primer (PDF) — a research report from US investment bank Jefferies that explores the metaverse: what it is; why it's not here; how it’ll eventually be everywhere; and who’s best positioned to benefit
🙈 Visual of the week
AFRICA IS NOT A MONOLITH
In a week where this map created a bit of buzz on social media, here’s a somewhat outdated but nonetheless interesting look at the African continent — if its borders were drawn by historical ethnic/linguistic divides.
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
The real reason China is pushing “digital sovereignty” in Africa (Rest of World)
Why broken African phones are shipped to Europe (BBC)
Don’t treat street hawkers as a nuisance – they feed the city’s poor communities, cheaply and efficiently (Daily Maverick)
Welcome to Yabacon Valley: What Nigeria’s tech town is learning from Israel (Calcalis Tech)
How start-ups can position and benefit from global acquisition (The Independent)
Nigeria Launches Africa’s first CBDC, but can it deliver? (Forbes)
South Korean travel and hospitality tech unicorn Yanolja and Yanolja Cloud close to a partnership or acquisition deal in Africa (Web in Travel)
Africa is due for a telemedicine boom, but is it ready? (Ventures Africa)
🗣️ Community Corner
I see you, friends!
Congrats to OO Nwoye and the Techcircle team for another successful Oya Make We Groove event in Lagos
Thanks for reading 🙌 And thanks in advance for sharing this Week in Review across your social networks.