Afridigest Week in Review: The attractiveness of automotive tech
+Majority stake acquisitions +The value of brands +Investment patterns +Real-Time Payments +DAOs +Community corner comments +Videos, podcasts & 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 43 2021
📰 Deal of the Week
ELIMINATING FRICTION IN THE AUTOMOTIVE MARKETPLACE
Autochek, a Nigerian/pan-African automotive marketplace & solutions provider, raised a $13.1M seed round co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures, with Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, ASK Capital, and Mobility 54 participating. The company raised a $3.4M pre-seed in November 2020.
💡 Why it’s the deal of the week: The $13M seed round is a large one for the continent. (Recall that Nigerian digital bank Kuda’s $10M seed round last November was marketed as the largest seed round ever to be raised in Africa.) Due to investor interest, Autochek apparently closed at twice its initial target raise.
⛏️ Go deeper:
Traction: The company now has 70 bank partnerships, up from 12 a year ago, and has processed over 46K loan applications to date, up from 10 a year ago; It’s now present in five markets with more than 15,000 financeable vehicles and 1,200 dealerships connected on its platform
An interesting history:
Autochek went live last year after the company acquired Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana from Ringier One Africa Media
And this year, the company acquired Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda from Ringier One Africa Media
🔦 Other deals
NIGERIA + ZAMBIA + SOUTH AFRICA + EGYPT + KENYA
Vendease, a Nigerian B2B food procurement platform, raised a $3.2M seed round led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, Hustle Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, Hack VC, Soma Capital, Magic Fund, and others — Vendease has moved 100,000 metric tons of food since launching ~18 months ago, revenue has grown 17x since last year, and the platform has given over $3M in supply chain finance to over 1,000 businesses
Union54, a Zambian card issuing platform, raised a $3M seed round, led by Tiger Global, with participation from Runa Capital, Ace & Company, Todd & Rahul Angel Fund, Vibe VC, and others — Union54 exited stealth mode earlier this month, with four companies live in production & issuing virtual cards to their customers; an additional 50 companies are currently in Union54’s API sandbox environment. Union54 is Tiger Global’s fourth investment in Africa this year, alongside Flutterwave, FairMoney, and Mono
Stitch, a South African open banking infrastructure provider, raised a $2M seed extension from existing investors Raba, Firstminute Capital, CRE, Village Global, 500 Fintech, Future Africa, & Norrsken, and a variety of new investors including Monzo Co-Founder Tom Blomfield, Coinbase COO Emilie Choi, and others — Stitch raised a $4M seed round in 2021 and notable clients include Chipper Cash, Paystack, Yoco and Flexclub
RecoMed, a South African online doctor booking platform, raised a $1.5M venture round led by Vunani Fintech Fund with participation from AAIC, Growth Grid Venture Capital Partners, and Kenyan-based Push Ventures — RecoMed disclosed that it currently generates ~200,000 bookings per month, has over 1M annual customers, and has integrated 2,500+ health providers on the platform.
Jise, a Nigerian food delivery platform, raised $100K from Backroom Capital, Winston Capital, and others — Jise has integrated 40+ restaurant menus in Lagos
Zuru, a Kenyan car rental platform that connects travelers with car owners, raised an undisclosed pre-seed round from angel investors — Zuru currently operates in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Thika, Kisii, and Eldoret
Kuzlo, an Egyptian B2B platform connecting small FMCG retailers with wholesalers, raised an undisclosed seed round from Nama Ventures — Kuzlo was founded in March 2021
mSwali, a Kenyan platform offering learning games for mobile devices, raised an undisclosed pre-seed round — founded in July 2020, mSwali’s flagship product is a USSD-based quiz game
mPharma, a Ghanaian pharmacy & health-tech platform, acquired a 55% stake in Uganda’s Vine Pharmacy for an undisclosed amount — mPharma will use the Vine platform to scale its business in Uganda and across East Africa
Emerging Africa Group acquired a majority stake in Nigerian digital bank Fundall — Since launching in October 2020, Fundall has acquired over 22,000 retail customers and 200 small businesses who have successfully processed 100,000 transactions valued in excess of US$3 million; the objective of the deal is to build ‘Africa’s first financial super app’
📚 Read of the Week
BRANDS = UNDERAPPRECIATED ASSETS
Sparkline Capital’s Kai Wu dives deep into the value of brands as intangible assets.
“Having a well-defined brand personality is necessary, it is not sufficient. Brands also need to differentiate from competitors in a crowded field. Business is game theoretic. Strong brands must be both well-defined and unique.”
🥇 “Brand in the Influencer Era” by Kai Wu
📢 Today’s a good day for magnanimity. Share this with a colleague.
The Afridigest Week in Review is a must-read weekly recap for Africa-interested founders, executives, investors, and observers. Send it to someone who should be reading it.
📚 Quick Hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
15 of Ensemble Capital’s favorite investment patterns — 15 attributes that make a business special
An LP team assessment framework for emerging managers — A 4-factor framework to help emerging managers understand how their team will be evaluated
Archaeology of 0 to 1: Mailchimp breakdown — How a now well-established product like Mailchimp was able to emerge in the market in the first years of its life
Recruiting outside of your personal network — A Stripe recruiter explains how to recruit new employees after you’ve exhausted your personal network.
🙈 Visual of the week
REAL-TIME ENABLES THE NEXT FRONTIER OF PAYMENTS
“Real-time Payments are transforming the payment landscape for use cases served inefficiently with existing payment infrastructures, but more importantly providing the infrastructure for brand new uses cases and business models that could not have been imagined without Real-time Payments.”
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
David Thomas, editor at African Business Magazine, writes ‘Are more unicorns about to emerge in Francophone Africa?’ (African Business)
Teju Adeyinka, Head of Growth at Sendcash writes ‘Why DAO?’ (Mirror blog)
The GetEquity team writes ‘Venture DAOs: A Complete Guide’ (Medium blog)
Yvonne Johnson, MD & Co-Founder, Indicina joins the Chini ya Maji Media podcast
Aaron Fu of Catalyst Fund & Sherpa Ventures joins the Meb Faber podcast
The Flip covers last-mile logistics, technology, & infrastructure
Adesoji Solanke, Director of Frontier / SSA Banks & Fintech, Renaissance Capital interviews Adédèjì Ọlọ́wẹ̀, CEO of Nigerian venture builder Trium about open banking
Appruve CEO Paul Damalie & Curacel CEO Henry Mascot discuss raising funds from the perspective of an African founder
Lavanya Anand of VestedWorld and Ashwin Ravichandran of MEST Africa discuss investing in African startups
Watch the replay of Sahara Sparks 2021 (see, for example, Firas Ahmad at the 41m30s mark or John Kamara at the 1h25m15s mark)
A Big Tech talent war threatens Kenya’s start-ups (Financial Times $)
Where is the money for Uganda’s tech startups? (Daily Monitor)
TecCabal interviews Kepple Africa’s Satoshi Shinada (TechCabal)
Cash vs. Stocks: How Nigerian ‘Tech Bros’ want to be paid (Ventures Africa)
Nigerian start-ups digitise local food supply chain (Reuters)
The Rise of technology in Africa and a marketplace for tech talent (Tech Times)
Cryptocurrency ownership in Nigeria, Malaysia highest in the world (The Hindu)
The challenges of servicing low-volume mom-and-pop shops (Strategic Marketing for Africa, PDF)
Does Nigeria need digital banks? (Stears, PDF)
The Egyptian Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 from Disrupt Africa (Gumroad PDF)
🗣️ Community Corner
I see you, friends!
Hats off to Wiza Jalaski & co for a great fintech meetup in Lagos — enjoyed meeting several of you in person there for the first time, let’s do it again soon? 🥂
Congrats to Olumide Ogunsanwo and the Afrobility team for launching the Adamantium Fund 🥳
Congrats to Andile Masuku and the African Tech Roundup team for receiving a Celo community fund grant 🥳
Congrats to Nubi Kayode and Joe Kinvi for the new HoaQ milestones & the coming evolution 🎉
Congrats to Benjamin Dada for his new role as Nigeria Country Manager at Stitch 🥳
Work with Doc Olumide Olusanya & build PayPecker in Ghana — they’re hiring a Country Manager in Accra
Work with Kola Aina, Biola Alabi, & others at the Lagos Angel Network — LAN is hiring an Executive Director
Thanks for reading 🙌 And thanks in advance for sharing this Week in Review across your social networks.