Afridigest Week in Review: Africa Tech raised $6.5B in equity & debt last year
+In the Hot Seat with Launch Africa's Zach George +Layoffs at Naspers & Luno +Swvl's makes a move to avoid delisting +The true story of Wakanda +Look East, not West +A look at Gen Z from Rex
The Afridigest Week in Review is a must-read weekly recap for Africa-focused founders, executives, and investors.
Welcome back, friends! The most clicked link last week was Yux’s report on the State of User Research in Africa — thanks for checking it out 🙏🏽.
📌 Hi folks. I had some really interesting convos with Jasiel, Leo, Ikenna, Kola, & others last week, and Launch Africa's Zach George graciously accepted to participate in the Hot Seat feature below. Let me know what you think + who should we put in the hot seat 🔥🪑 next? Some housekeeping: trying something new this week — deal details & links are at the end of this newsletter and we kick things off with the Deal Activity table. (No deal of the week.) And for those who asked about subscribing to this newsletter with naira or other currencies, we’re working on it 🙏🏽
If you’re new, welcome 🙌🏽 — this Week in Review is sent on Mondays, the Fintech Review on Sundays, and from time to time, an original essay/article goes out on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
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💡 “If a bird does not fly, it goes to bed hungry.” — Akan proverb
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Week 4 2023: January 22-28
EQUITY FUNDRAISES ACROSS THE CONTINENT
ADJACENT EQUITY DEALS
German climate finance platform Senken raised $7.5M. (It also operates in South Africa.)
Kenyan e-mobility platform eWAKA announced ~$540K in debt financing.
🔥🪑 In the hot seat — with Launch Africa Ventures' Zach George
Thanks, Zach! Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
What Gen Z thinks about work, college, and the Internet — Index Ventures’ calls out a wrong take from McKinsey in his latest piece on zoomers: “This is why studying young people matters. ... What companies born today will ride the wave of Gen Z?”
How to compete against an incumbent: change the atomic unit (even in social) — Short, but thoughtful piece from Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel: “Trying to displace an incumbent with an atomic unit that smells too similar seems tough.”
Hot to get new ideas — Paul Graham’s latest. Short (only 2 paragraphs), but packs a punch: “The way to get new ideas is to notice anomalies”
African innovators should look East, not West, for business model inspiration — Oldie but goodie. The argument here is that instead of looking to Western ventures as many are wont to do, Africa-focused founders are better served by looking to the Global South.
How to cold email investors and actually get replies: Good stuff here: make it short, get to the point, shill your credibility, be clear, and make an ask.
Building your startup’s attention flywheel — NFX’s James Currier on startup PR: “Once you start getting attention, the more attention accrues to you. The more you get, the easier it is to bond talent, investors, customers, partners, and journalists to your company…Which in turn brings even more attention.”
👀 Visual of the Week
Partech released their 2022 Africa Tech fundraising report. It’s definitely worth a look as it’s the gold standard for Africa-focused fundraising reports/trackers. (Worth noting: it excludes equity/debt rounds under $200K.)
Per Partech data, the ecosystem attracted $4.9B in equity last year, and $6.5B total including debt:
[A quick aside while we’re on the topic: If a deals report/tracker includes grants and M&A in its ‘fundraising’ figures, its methodology should be questioned. And if it relies on Crunchbase updates, it’s, um…, unreliable. 👀]
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
Swvl news: Swvl, which faced a potential Nasdaq delisting, saw it’s share price jump as its board approved a reverse stock split; The company also entered into an agreement to unwind its previous $40M acquisition of Turkey’s Volt
Layoffs: Naspers and Prosus to cut 30% of corporate staff in 15 locations, including South Africa; South African crypto exchange Luno to cut 35% of its global workforce
Nigerian mobility app Gokada turns to crowdfunding
Meet the 11 startups selected for the 2023 ASIP accelerator program
ESSAYS & OP-EDS
Dr. Kelle Howson, research associate at the University of Oxford’s Oxford Internet Institute, writes ‘African leaders who dilute workers’ rights for Uber’s digital empire harm Africa’
Ngozi Dozie, Co-Founder of Carbon, writes ‘Unshackling African entrepreneurs from the chains of foreign exchange & digital banking’
Bongani Sithole, Managing Director at Founders Factory Africa, writes ‘Healthtech can learn from Africa’s fintech revolution’
The Novastar team published ‘VC in Africa: Outlook for 2023’
Africa startups defy funding slump as debt financing fuels growth (Bloomberg)
Jumia’s investors rethink their stakes — for better and worse (Techcrunch)
Noor Sweid, Managing Partner, Global Ventures
Alina Truhina, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Founders Factory Africa
Olumide Soyombo, Co-Founder, Voltron Capital
Diego Arias, Investor, Plug and Play
Wallen Mangere, Managing Director of Zimbabwean digital services provider Tano Digital Solutions
Obi Emetarom, Co-Founder & CEO of Nigerian blockchain payments platform Zone (formerly AppZone)
Lanre Ogungbe, Co-Founder & CEO of Nigerian identity platform Identitypass
Ibrahim Maigari, Founder & CEO of Nigerian agtech platform RiceAfrika
🐤 Tweet of the Week
This thread from Alvative’s Ikechukwu Obi generated a lot of conversation (and it’s a good reminder to me to finally see Black Panther 2):
Bonus tweets: Some physics/startup advice from MFS Africa’s Dare Okoudjou, a good hypothetical from Wella Health’s Dr. Ikpeme Neto (it generated some interesting responses), and “you can copy the recipe, but the sauce will never be the same” — a thread from Patricia’s Hanu Fejiro Agbodje.
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
African and Africa-focused startups that have raised less than $500K are invited to apply to the MIT Africa Innovate Conference 2023 pitch competition, but the deadline is almost here: January 31st at midnight EST. Five finalists will be selected and three winners will receive $10,000, 5,000, and $3,000 respectively.
Africa-focused agtechs targeting smallholder farmers are invited to apply to the GSMA Agritech Accelerator before February 10th. The program doesn’t offer funding, but ten teams will receive technical assistance for two years.
Youth and student entrepreneurs (aged 18-30) in Nigeria, Morocco, Uganda, and Senegal are invited to apply to the AFRISE Challenge 2023 before February 26th. 30 founders will be selected for a free mentorship and leadership development accelerator & 5 will receive a week-long all-expenses paid trip to Montreal, Canada.
African cleantech & climatetech startups are invited to apply to the Ashden awards — particularly the Ashden award for integrated energy Africa — before March 8th. Win a a prize of up to £25,000.
Entrepreneurially-minded Ethiopian, Kenyan and Rwandan citizens are invited to apply to Cohort 4 of the Jasiri Talent Investor Program by April 23rd. Those selected will participate in a fully-funded 13-month program offering guidance with idea generation, validation, prototyping, market entry, and venture creation. Since its inception in December 2020, Jasiri has spawned 25 ventures.
Africa-focused startups are invited to apply to Norrsken’s 2023 Accelerator cohort. The accelerator offers a a $125K investment and its alumni include Kwara, Asilimia, Wella Health, and others.
Digital bank Umba is hiring a Nairobi-based Head of Sales — Umba’s $15M Series A was the deal of the week in Week 15 2022.
Global fintech platform Unlimint is hiring a Lagos-based Head of Nigeria.
Unchorlight Kenya is hiring a Head of Operations, a Head of Finance, and a Head of HR in Africa, all Kenya-based.
SecondSTAX is hiring a remote Senior Associate - Capital Markets Research.
Partech is hiring an Investment Analyst intern.
🙊 The last word
WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT
The next Afridigest Lagos meetup is being planned right now (targeting late February). If you’re interested in attending, ► kindly fill out this form. 🙏🏽
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