Afridigest Week in Review: Proptech is heating up
+54gene: 2022's first significant down round? +Lessons to learn from a LatAm post-mortem +Device ownership in Nigeria +An update on Capiter +More
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 from last week was Equal Ventures' 'Companies build capabilities before they build moats.' And if you missed yesterday’s Fintech Review, it’s here.
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If you’re new, welcome 🙌🏽 — you're among thousands of readers who receive this Week in Review on Mondays, the Fintech Review on Sundays, and (for those who've opted in) the French-language Revue de la Semaine on Wednesdays. And from time to time, an original essay/article goes out on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
Week 43 2022: October 23-29
📰 Deal of the Week
🇪🇬 Seqoon, an Egyptian proptech startup facilitating fractional ownership of vacation properties, raised a $500K pre-seed round via Banque Misr’s pilot program for Egyptian startups, with participation from various angel investors.
About Seqoon: Founded earlier this year, Seqoon helps Egyptian consumers invest in & own luxury real estate and vacation homes more affordably via shared ownership.
In the Founders words: “We want to revolutionise the way people perceive real estate in Egypt, making it more accessible & paving the way towards a sustainable approach to home ownership… With the global markets heading towards an economic downturn, we all need to rethink our choices. Seqoon aims to disrupt the traditional real estate market in MENA through co-ownership, providing the choice of luxury living but in a smarter and more sustainable way.” — Eldessouky & Elkhatieb
A bit of context: Proptech seems to be attracting an unusual amount of attention across the continent right now when compared with previous years. In Egypt, we covered the pre-seed raise of Partment, another platform for fractional ownership of vacation properties, in Week 39’s Week in Review. (And Egypt’s Nawy also raised a sizeable seed earlier this year, for example.) In Nigeria, Estate Intel and Spleet both announced fundraises in recent weeks. And with the recent launch of the Techstars Lagos accelerator which will focus on proptech and fintech, it’s safe to expect more activity in the sector going forward — a departure from years past.
🔦 Other deals
OTHER FUNDRAISES ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇿🇦 Omnisient, a South African data security & collaboration platform, raised an undisclosed amount led by Buffet Investments and KLT, with participation from Shoprite, One5, ENL, Investec, and Nedbank.
🇿🇦 Tractor Media Holdings, a South African digital outdoor advertising platform, raised an undisclosed amount from Hlayisani Capital.
The following startups announced their participation in the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Winter ‘22 batch. (Techstars offers $20K in exchange for a 6% equity and an optional $100K convertible note.)
🇪🇬 KarmSolar, an Egyptian solar energy company raised ~$2.4M (EGP 47M) in debt funding from Qatar National Bank Alahli.
Satgana, a climate tech VC firm focused on Africa and Europe, announced the first close of a targeted ~$29M (€30M) fund. Its portfolio includes Kenyan electric motorbikes and a battery-swapping platform Mazi Mobility.
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📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
Startup post mortem: Neta — Nicolás Abad on lessons learned from building (& shutting down) a group-buying business that was digitizing Mexico’s informal retail sector: "The base of the pyramid only cares about price, they don’t care about convenience."
The hype cycles of venture capital — “Aren't we, as investors, supposed to identify the current thing and invest behind it? But that's sort of my point. There is a fine line between being obsessed with investing in the current thing and the next thing.”
The crypto story — Bloomberg’s Matt Levine tackles crypto
Earnings and cash flows: A primer on free cash flow — Aswath Damodaran’s latest longread
Return on talent for tech companies — Tanay Jaipuria highlights per-employee operational efficiency metrics in Big Tech
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Nigerian genomics startup 54gene recently raised a bridge round (with 3-4X liquidation preferences) that sees its valuation reduced to ~$50M from ~$170M as of last year’s Series B. This is perhaps the first significant down round in Africa Tech made public this year. Co-Founder Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong resigned from his CEO role, and after 54gene’s latest round of layoffs, the roughly three-year old company, which has raised north of $40M, now has a headcount of under 40 people.
Flourish Ventures launched Madica, an Africa-focused pre-seed investment platform.
Safaricom launched commercial 5G in Kenya, the first in East Africa.
ESSAYS, REPORTS, & LISTS
Empowerment Capital’s Bongumusa Makhathini, Anton Baumann, and Mark Fitzjohn write ‘Why blockchain is critical to SA’s VC investment landscape’
Swahilies’ John Haule writes ‘African SMEs need more than business management tools’
Shared-Use Mobility Center’s Benjamin de la Peña writes ‘Assets not problems’
The European Investment Bank’s Déborah Vouche and Michael Steidl write ‘4 keys to African venture capital’
Grindstone Accelerator’s Will Green writes ‘How robust ecosystems enable economic advantages’
GIZ Tunisia’s Zeineb Chabchoub writes ‘Would the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos be Tunisian?’
Natasha Netha, Employee Experience (EX) Director, MFS Africa writes ‘How African tech companies can retain top talent’
Mobile World Live and the UK’s Department for International Trade published the report, ‘The rise of Africa’s digital economy: Tackling the usage gap to create a thriving market for mobile services’ (PDF)
Dispute between founders and board leaves Capiter in arrears to employees and creditors (TechCrunch)
When will Africa start building for the world? (TechCabal)
Meet the Founder: Bola Bardet, Founder & CEO of Ivorian digital healthcare & insurtech platform Susu (video)
Meet the Investor: Bassem Raafat, Principal at early-stage investment firm A15
👀 Visual of the Week
Did you know? According to a recent survey of 5,000 Nigerians, most consumers in the country own smartphones & laptops, but there's a steep device drop-off afterwards.
Be smart: Owning an internet-enabled device is not the same as having affordable, reliable, & high-speed internet access.
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🐤 Tweet of the Week
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
Congrats to Ventures Platform’s Kola Aina on his selection to the 6th fellowship class of the the Aspen Global Leadership Network’s Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa.
Catalyst Fund is hiring an Investment Principal, Africa, preferably based in Nairobi or Lagos.
The Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) is hiring a Lagos-based Head of Investments.
Topship is hiring a Lagos-based Product Manager.
Startups operating in Francophone African countries are invited to apply to Digital Africa’s Fuzé program and receive up to ~$48,000 (€50,000) in equity funding.
Applications are now open for the Jobtech Alliance’s Catalyst Job Accelerator and the Jobtech Innovation Lab.
African startups with plans to run their infrastructure on the cloud are invited to apply to AWS Startup Loft, a virtual, equity-free accelerator.
Catalyst Fund is looking for folks interested in climate/tech/VC and based in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, or Zambia to become Catalyst Climate Champions.
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