Afridigest Week in Review: Global capital continues to commit to the continent
+Big week for Francophone Africa +Tech talent shortage +Startups actively fundraising +Growth of the middle class +Understanding LTV & CAC +Introducing the community corner
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! After speaking with many of you over the last several weeks, I’m introducing a new 'Community Corner' section in the weekly digest — feel free to ping me if you have any news, notes, links, events, etc. to share. (Also, some good news: we have a new intern who'll make some great contributions soon…exciting times ahead 🤗 )
If you’re new, welcome 🙌 — you’ll receive a weekly digest like this one every Monday and, generally (but not always), an original essay/article on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
Week 40 2021
📰 The Big Story: Global capital continues to commit to the continent
At the Google for Africa event last week, CEO Sundar Pichai noted, "Increasingly we are seeing innovation begin in Africa, and then spread throughout the world." He cited mobile money as one example and added, "This momentum will only increase as 300 million people come online in Africa over the next five years."
In fact, there’s an acceleration already underway — this year has been a particularly strong one for innovation across the continent.
Over the first three quarters of this year, four new unicorns have been minted across Africa, and startups focused on the continent have attracted an estimated ~$3B in venture capital so far, shattering previous records — and with a full quarter left to go.
Moreover, globally recognized names are increasingly pursuing opportunities on the continent:
For example, Dragoneer Investment Group, the fabled San Francisco-based investor that counts Square, Nubank, Klarna, and other global household names among its portfolio companies, made its first African investment in July
And Tiger Global backed Flutterwave and FairMoney earlier in the year
Plus two weeks ago, Softbank, the famed Japanese investor, announced its 3rd investment on the continent this year (via various vehicles).
Also, just last week, Juven, a new investment vehicle spun off from Goldman Sachs' Africa principal investing unit, announced that it’s "looking to commit up to $50M" in African startups.
And all this is in addition to Google's own announcement last week of a new $50M 'Africa Investment Fund' targeting African innovation.
💡 In a nutshell: While it's still early innings for Africa’s startup ecosystem, the flurry of activity from global players and the accelerated momentum across the continent are certainly welcome…and indicative.
When I left the US to participate firsthand in 2015, I thought then (perhaps a smidge early) that the continent was at an inflection point, and it's exciting to have a front-row seat as this all continues to unfold now.
Callback: “Africa is going to be the fastest growing and most important market over the next coming decades for many companies. I think people are realizing how big the market opportunity is and how much value is going to be created and we’ll see a lot more things like this happen.” — Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator
🔦 Other deals
BIG WEEK FOR FRANCOPHONE AFRICA + WOMEN-LED STARTUPS
Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce platform, raised a $5M seed round at a $70M valuation. Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital and P1 Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Plug and Play, Village Capital/MetLife Foundation, Orange Ventures, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity, and others — Chari has ~15,000 merchants on its platform and a monthly transaction volume of ~$2.5M, suggesting a valuation that’s 2.33X annual run rate GMV
Kamtar, an Ivorian digital logistics platform, raised an undisclosed Series A co-led by Sendy and Mobility 54, with Saviu Ventures participating — While the amount raised was undisclosed, Kamtar previously disclosed it was looking to raise a ~$3.5M Series A in Q4 2020; Kamtar has 5,000+ truck drivers across Côte d’Ivoire & Senegal, and Arthur Thuet, Saviu Ventures Co-Founder, is also Co-Founder & CEO of Kamtar. He disclosed the vision “to combine the best of both companies [Sendy & Kamtar] to become the No. 1 freight and logistics provider in the Francophone region”
Klasha, a Nigerian fintech provider focused on the cross-border e-commerce space, raised a $2.4M seed round led by Greycroft, with participation from Seedcamp, Berrywood Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, Practical VC, Plug and Play, First Fund, Expert Dojo, 2.12 Angels, MiLA Capital — Klasha has ~10,000 customers across Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya and has processed more than 20,000 transactions across the continent since its May relaunch; it was founded by Jessica Anuna
Amenli, an Egyptian digital insurance brokerage, raised a $2.3M seed round led by P1 Ventures, GFC, and Anim Fund, with participation from Costanoa VC, Liquid2 Ventures, Cliff Angels, and others — Amenli is the first licensed digital insurance broker in Egypt and participated in Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 batch
Ejara, a Cameroonian/French platform for investing in cryptocurrency & other assets, raised a $2M seed round led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group, with Mercy Corps Ventures, Lateral Capital, LoftyInc Capital, NetX Fund, and others participating — Ejara has 8,000+ users across Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Senegal, as well as Europe, Asia, and the US; it was founded by Nelly Chatue-Diop and Baptiste Andrieux
Pair with: Why We Invested: Ejara (Anthemis)
Biware, a Tunisian consultancy focused on data management & AI-powered analytics, raised a ~$1.2M seed round from CDC Gestion and Zitouna Capital — Founded in 2011, Biware employs ~30 engineers and has ~50 B2B customers across Africa and Europe
Fleeti, a Senegalese/French fleet management platform, raised a ~$1.1M seed round from Newfund NAEH, Janngo, Groupe Clim, Skalepark, Mapinvest, and others
PayDay, a Nigerian payments platform, raised a $1M pre-seed round from LoftyInc, Microtraction, Magic Fund, Ventures Platform, Voltron Capital, CcHub Syndicate, Helicarrier Inc, Greencap Equity, Midlothian Angel Network, Emergence Capital, and others — Payday has 5,000+ users and processed over $1.4M in transactions within 3 weeks of its July launch
BitMama, a Nigerian cryptocurrency exchange, raised a $350K pre-seed round led by Flori Ventures, with participation from Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital, and others — BitMama has recorded over $6M in transaction volume so far in 2021, with users in Nigeria and Ghana; it was founded by Ruth Iselema
Lamma, a Tunisian quick-commerce & last-mile delivery platform, raised an undisclosed amount from Orange Ventures — Lamma works with 150+ merchants, offers 1,000+ SKUs, and operates 2 dark stores in Tunis
Stone Three, a South African industrial IoT platform, raised an undisclosed amount from Knife Capital — previously self-funded, the startup is entering a new phase of expansion; Co-Founder & CEO Derick Moolman previously sold CSense to GE Intelligent Platforms
Yahshud, a Nigerian platform for (Shariah-compliant) real estate investment, raised an undisclosed amount from Platform Capital
South African proptech-focused venture builder, Castle One, secured an undisclosed amount from HL Hall and Sons Holdings
📚 Reads of the Week
ON LOCAL TALENT & TALENT NETWORKS
A worthwhile read on the problem of local tech talent in today's global marketplace that also covers Andela, the continent’s latest unicorn.
“Founders and investors point out an unfortunate confluence of factors making things uniquely difficult in African tech hubs. On the one hand, there’s a shortage of experienced local talent to help grow the market; on the other, when there is talent, market forces dictate that the best ones find jobs and move abroad or only work with international companies remotely.”
🥇 “The truth about Africa’s tech talent shortage” by Yinka Adegoke
EXTREMES LEAD TO EXTREMES + COMPOUNDING IS MAGIC
A quick read from a thoughtful writer on investing lessons from nature.
“Extreme events in one direction increase the odds of extreme events in the other. And isn’t it the same in the stock market? And in business?”
“Nature shows how this all works” by Morgan Housel
ON NEW OWNERSHIP MODELS AND MICRO-BEHAVIORS OF WEB 3.0
An accessible longread to help understand what’s coming.
“Emerging technologies…represent a paradigm shift around how businesses operate and how consumers live. Think technologies like the internet, mobile, and cloud, which have given rise to the likes of Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Uber. We believe crypto is poised to follow suit. … Just as the market cap of Web 2.0 surpassed the peak market cap of Web 1.0, we think Web 3.0 can dwarf Web 2.0 based on the new incentive models that crypto models create.”
“Crypto and the Consumer: The Road Ahead” by Latif Peracha and Mark Grace
Pair with: “Why Web3 Matters” by Chris Dixon
📢 Today’s a good day to be generous. Share this with a colleague.
The Afridigest Week in Review is a must-read weekly recap for Africa-focused founders, executives, investors, and interested observers. Send it to someone who should be reading it.
📚 Quick Hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
The skill of org design — Organizational design is a design problem. Like all design problems, the nature of the problem is a search for form-context fit. In other words, you are attempting to find some ‘form’ that allows you to achieve some set of goals, given the specific constraints in which the org operates.
Remystifying supply chains — We think supply chains are old and well-understood parts of the world, but they’re not. Supply chains as they exist today are as young and mysterious as the internet. And we won’t take supply chains seriously enough until we ‘remystify’ them.
How Twitter applied the “Jobs to Be Done” approach to strategy — Defining an organization from the perspective of the customer jobs it exists to solve often leads to valuable new insights about the competitive environment, risks, and opportunities, while expanding the possibilities for growth and innovation.
How to understand LTV and CAC once and for all — An explainer on the metrics used to define the Lifetime Value of a customer, how to measure customer acquisition costs, and what good performance looks like.
The secret sauce to building a category-defining startup: Meesho’s Founder & CEO shares his recipe — Accumulate the necessary insights directly from the end-user, otherwise it’s difficult to be intuitive and judge the product’s value.
The complete guide to bootstrapping your startup (The Jotform story) — Jotform grew rom a simple web tool into a product that serves more than 10 million users while competing with Google – without taking a dime in outside funding.
How Miro navigated explosive growth to 20 million users — A standard approach for conducting product discoveries and retrospectives called the ‘Product Alignment Framework.’
Unbank the banked — The issue is not banking the unbanked, but serving the underserved. And there is no reason to imagine that banks are, or should be, the solution.
💰 Actively Fundraising
CAPITAL FOR GROWTH — Interested? Contact us for an intro or contact the founders directly
WeMove, a Nigerian tech-enabled logistics startup, is currently raising a $450K pre-seed at a $3M valuation (View the deck)
Bongalow, a Nigerian home financing platform, is currently raising a $1M pre-seed extension at a $5M pre-money valuation (Read more)
🙈 Visual of the week
THE EMERGENCE OF THE GROWTH MARKETS MIDDLE CLASS
Sub-Saharan Africa alone is projected to contribute 5% of the growth in the world’s middle class this decade.
Source: Q4 2021 Guide to the Markets, JPMorgan (PDF)
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
African pension funds have grown impressively ($) — “Local pension funds…collectively manage around $350bn of assets in sub-Saharan Africa […] and ‘some of them want to dip their toes in the [PE/VC] waters but they’re just scared,’ says Abi Mustapha-Maduakor, the chief executive of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.”
FinX announces a new collaborative fintech pilot in Rwanda — Can a trusted last-mile distribution partner (Sokowatch), tangible business incentives (inventory discounts), and new financial technologies (DeFi systems) be combined to increase merchants’ income and stability?
Interswitch, one of Africa’s unicorns, is developing Blockchain-powered infrastructure services in partnership with Interstellar — Ongoing initiatives include a Pan-African payment ecosystem powered by a private permissioned blockchain network
Google will invest $1 billion in Africa over 5 years across various initiatives— “The investments [focus on] four key areas: Enabling affordable access and building products for every kind of African user; Helping businesses with their digital transformation; Investing in entrepreneurs to spur next-generation technologies; and supporting nonprofits working to improve lives across Africa.”
TymeBank to launch 600 new kiosks and other banking services in Foschini stores — TymeBank’s partnership model with retailers, which has been an integral part of its strategy to acquire customers and drive usage, has significantly contributed to its success since launch. [Agent networks as a vector for value creation.]
Moulaye Tabouré, Co-founder and CEO of Afrikrea writes ‘An African e-commerce innovator connects women creators with global customers’ (Next Billion)
David Adeleke writes ‘How to think about Africa’s creator economy’ (Communiqué)
Pardon Mujakachi, head of strategy and partnerships at Chipper Cash Africa, joins South Africa’s TimesLIVE Podcast
Ronit Ghose, Global Head of Banking, Fintech and Digital Assets for Citi Global Insights, talks Digital Money 2.0 on the African Tech Roundup podcast
Tosin Enolorunda, TeamApt Founder & CEO, Mathias Léopoldie, Julaya Co-Founder & CEO, and others discuss the contours of cash (& going cashless) across Africa’s fintech landscape on The Flip podcast
The Afrobility podcast covers BIMA Health and insurance & medical services across emerging markets
Hanu Fejiro Abodje, Co-Founder of cryptocurrency platform Patricia, spoke with Techpoint
Simon Schwall, Founder & CEO of OKO gave a talk on ‘The Business Case for Inclusive Finance’ to the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology
Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder of digital agriculture platform Farmcrowdy & bus sharing platform Treepz, (formerly Plentywaka) spoke with NdaniTV
Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, and others spoke at the Google for Africa event
Financial inclusion in Africa should continue to be explored — a chat with Accion Venture Lab’s Ashley Lewis (Pymnts.com)
Insurtech, on the heels of a fintech boom, heats up in Africa (Techcrunch)
Senegal rides the wave of tech success (African Business)
Ham Serunjogi on how to build an African Fintech (Kangye Writes)
Munya Chiura, Flutterwave’s Head Of Growth - Rest Of Africa, on the recent partnership with MTN Mobile Money (Business Insider Africa)
Case Study: SweepSouth and Newtown Partners (Africa Angel Academy - PDF)
In Search Of Equity: Exploring Africa’s Gender Gap in Startup Finance (World Bank & Briter Bridges - PDF)
🗣️ Community Corner
I see you, friends!
Congrats to Mark Karake on launching From Here Ventures (good luck with the roadshow & fundraising!) 👩🏾🚀
Congrats to Ikenna Nwezi on his selection as one of the top 10 finalists from 12,000+ applicants for the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes program established by the Jack Ma Foundation (good luck!) 🦸🏽♂️
Congrats to Hilda Moraa, Uche Onuora, Henry Mascot, Delali Adiamah, Onyeka Akumah, Vivian Nwakah, Jackson Dyora, and Marvin Coleby for their selection as recipients of non-dilutive funding from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Africa 💸
Congrats to Idris Bello, Steven Grin, and Mikael Hajjar on their investments last week 📈
Congrats to Justin Norman on the launch of the third season of the Flip podcast (And sponsored by MFS Africa too!) 🎙️
Thanks for reading 🙌 And thanks in advance for sharing this Week in Review across your social networks.