Afridigest Week in Review: It's raining money for Ramani
+Lagos meetup next week +Market exits, layoffs, & a possible delisting +Some of my favorite reads +FTX fallout +South Africa's top apps +Congrats to the new Africa Business Heroes +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 'Demystifying financial leverage' from Stripe’s Patrick Mckenzie. And if you missed yesterday’s Fintech Review, it’s available here.
📌 While BNPL has received a lot of attention this year, another innovative form of alternative finance has flown largely under the radar: earned wage access (EWA). EWA platforms operate at the intersection of fintech, payroll tech, and the on-demand economy, and have proliferated worldwide in recent years. To get you up to speed, I published a primer on EWA over the weekend. Take a look & share your thoughts — your feedback is warmly appreciated. Being back in the writer’s seat, I also took the opportunity to play around with Lex, a word processor with AI functionality (thanks, Nathan 🙏🏽) — my first direct foray into the world of 'generative AI.' My reaction: 🤯, very impressive stuff! I see now what the hype is about. (If you want to play around with Lex and need an invite, ping me — I have a few left.)
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 (which is on a temporary hiatus right now). And from time to time, an original essay/article goes out on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
Week 47 2022: November 20-26
📰 Deal of the Week
🇹🇿 Ramani, a software company building an ecosystem of procurement, inventory, and financing solutions for the CPG supply chain across Africa, raised a $32M Series A round (undisclosed mix of equity & debt) led by Flexcap Ventures and Jared Schrieber, Founder of American consumer insights company Infoscout (now Numerator).
About Ramani: Founded in 2020, Ramani connects various players across Africa’s CPG supply chain, with a focus on micro-distribution centers (MDCs). Large CPG companies use MDCs for last-mile distribution but often lack timely data due to offline processes in certain markets. Ramani digitizes MDC processes, helping stakeholders gain real-time sales insights and inventory visibility via software solutions like its POS app for sales data, its warehouse management inventory tracking solutions, and its procurement offerings.
Thanks to a newly acquired lending license from the Central Bank of Tanzania, Ramani also leverages MDC data to provide financing products to clients across its ecosystem. It now offers a short-term inventory financing product and plans to launch revolving lines of credit & other solutions in the near future. ~100 MDCs actively use Ramani today and they sold ~$72M in GMV through the platform last year.
Iain Usiri, CEO
Calvin Usiri, CTO
Martin Kibet, COO
Andrew Vigneault, Co-Founder & General Partner, Flexcap Ventures
Jared Schrieber, angel investor
In the founder’s words: “Our big vision is to create a cloud network of micro-distribution centers all across Africa as we have built software to help support Africa’s trillion-dollar CPG supply chain… We’re currently focused on leveraging financial services in order to monetize because we provide our software for free… By stitching together all the real-time inventory and unifying it into a single brand view, brands are able to manage their networks better and they can see downstream where their products are being sold. It informs production and marketing plans too.” — Iain Usiri
⭐ THE AFRIDIGEST MEETUP IN LAGOS IS NEXT WEEK - SIGN UP HERE ⭐
🔦 Other deals
OTHER FUNDRAISES ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇨🇮 Djamo, an Ivorian digital bank, raised $14M in a venture round co-led by Partech, Enza Capital, and Oikocredit, with participation from Janngo Capital, P1 Ventures, Axian, Y Combinator, and Launch Africa.
🇿🇦 Revio, a South African API-driven payments orchestration, revenue recovery, and automated billings platform, raised a $1.1M seed round led by SpeedInvest, with participation from Ralicap, The Fund, Two Culture Capital, and others.
Taktile, an American automated decisioning platform that helps fintechs & insurtechs make AI-driven lending & underwriting decisions at scale, raised a $20M Series A, co-led by Index Ventures and Tiger Global. According to the company’s Head of Marketing, Taktile “[has] customers in Nigeria and [is] looking to continue expanding our presence across Africa.”
Nigeria-based VC firm LoftyInc Capital announced the final close of its LoftyInc Afropreneur Fund 3 (LAF3) at $14.3M.
Egypt-based accelerator Flat6Labs partnered with a construction company and an engineering consultancy to launch Makers, a pre-acceleration program focused on construction-tech innovation.
American VC firm Modus partnered with USAID to launch MV Builder II, a venture builder in Egypt.
Goodwell Investments announced the launch of a new fund, uMunthu II, targeting €150M. The fund which will focus on financial inclusion (35%), food and agriculture (25%), and mobility and logistics (15%), with a secondary focus on healthcare, education and energy, has received €50M in commitments to date and will be co-managed by Alithea Capital.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
This week, I’m highlighting some oldies but goodies — classic reads that I return to regularly:
Friction — a somewhat contrarian article that argues that (some) friction is good in today’s world of convenience & frictionlessness.
Why history’s greatest innovators optimized for interesting — another semi-contrarian article that explains how/why not actively pursuing productivity might be the best strategy for productivity/effectiveness.
📝 Earned wage access, explained: The on-demand economy meets fintech & HR tech — a steppingstone to real-time ‘streaming salary’
👀 Visual of the Week
According to a survey of 60,000+ South African MoyaApp users, WhatsApp & SHAREit are the most common apps in the country.
Pair with: The top smartphone apps in Africa.
🥰 Like this newsletter? You can now support Afridigest with a paid subscription:
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
South African home services platform SweepSouth shut down its Kenyan and Nigerian operations
Nigerian crypto exchange startup Quidax trims workforce by 20%
Nigerian food procurement platform Vendease lays off 9% of its workforce
Iyin Aboyeji responded to reports of layoffs & a new venture studio model at Future Africa
Nigerian mobility platform MAX (Metro Africa Xpress) ‘plans to raise $100 million’
Egyptian-born shared mobility platform SWVL embarked on a new round of layoffs and is at risk of being delisted from Nasdaq
ESSAYS, REPORTS, & LISTS
Monica Brand Engel, Ganesh Rengaswamy, and Jonathan Whittle, Co-Founders and Managing Partners at Quona Capital, write ‘A hidden driver of financial inclusion: Why enabling regulation is essential to fintech success in emerging markets’
The HAVAÍC team published ‘2022 in Review: HAVAÍC investments by numbers’
Amazon of Africa’ Jumia restructures after ousting co-founders (FT $)
The story of Paystack (The Realistic Optimist)
How African cities can create digital jobs (BCG)
How the FTX contagion infected Africa’s crypto markets (Semafor)
FTX processed billions monthly in Africa before going bust (TechCrunch)
The FTX crash will have a lasting impact on the African crypto community (TIME)
How did SBF convince West Africans crypto was their future? (NYMag)
K50 Ventures’s Ryan Bloomer on investing in Africa
Maya Horgan Famodu, Founder & Partner at Ingressive Capital
Co-founder and CEO of Egyptian fintech WaffarX Ezz Fayek
Senior Public Policy Manager for West and Central Africa at ride-hailing platform Bolt Weyinmi Aghadiuno
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
⭐ The Afridigest Lagos meetup is next week — sign up now ⭐
African startups working on climate solutions are invited to apply before January 2023 for up to $100K in equity-free investments from the UNICEF Venture Fund
Nigerian edtech platform Klas is hiring a Software Engineer.
Congrats to the winners of the Jack Ma Foundation's Africa’s Business Heroes competition.
Thanks for reading Afridigest 🙌🏽
Please share this newsletter with friends, colleagues, and Africa Tech enthusiasts in your network.