Afridigest Week in Review: Blockchain-based remittances that abstract away crypto
+Remember to stare into the abyss +A couple of Egyptian M&A deals +A visual on misaligned founder-VC priorities +We're all winners but coffee's still for closers +Watch me discuss super apps in Africa
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 'Own the problem, not just the solution' from Lux’s Bilal Zuberi. And if you missed yesterday’s Fintech Review, it’s available here.
📌 Hope you had a great Christmas, dear reader. 🎅 This is the last WIR that you’ll receive in 2022, but you may receive a Saturday newsletter to end the year. Wishing you a fantastic 2023 in any case. ✨ But before then, you can watch my thoughts on super apps in Africa here.
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.
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Week 51 2022: December 18-24
📰 Deal of the Week
About Centbee: Founded in 2017, Centbee is a blockchain-based digital wallet.
In addition to storing value in the wallet, Centbee users can send money to friends and family overseas using a remittance service that runs on the BSV blockchain but abstracts away crypto complexities.
Co-Founder Lorien Gamaroff explained in 2019: “What we’ve created is a new product where the customer doesn’t have to know they are actually buying Bitcoin. They go into a local retailer and say they want to now send money home to a family member in Nigeria, they use a Centbee remit app that we have now, they then hand over the cash. Immediately, what will happen then is that we will send the Bitcoin value to a different country, and then convert it and settle into bank accounts, and also into mobile money, at a greatly reduced cost.”
Angus Brown, Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Calvin Ayre, Founder of Ayre Ventures
In the founders’ words: “Consumers around the world are looking for better, easier ways to pay, and our blockchain-based payment wallet does just that.” — Lorien Gamaroff
“Centbee has a suite of digital cash products and services that make payments easy, even cross-border. Our cross-border remittance service, Minit Money, enables people to move money simply and cheaply across borders to support family and friends and has already processed over 35,000 remittances into Africa.” — Angus Brown
In the investor’s words: “My faith in Centbee has been rewarded through Angus and Lorien’s ongoing commitment to making Bitcoin – the original protocol in the form of BSV – easily usable and accessible to everyone. Unlike other blockchains, BSV is focused on utility, not speculation, and Centbee is working hard to further Bitcoin’s adoption as a true peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” — Calvin Ayre
Go deeper. Watch this 2018 presentation by Lorien Gamaroff:
🔦 Other Deals
FUNDRAISES ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇰🇪 Ecodudu, a Kenyan tech-enabled company that transforms organic food waste into sustainable insect proteins using black soldier fly larvae, raised $540K in a round led by Truvalu, with participation from GreenTec Capital Partners, ShEquity, and Opes-Lcef. South Africa’s Inseco does something similar if you recall — it announced a $5.3M seed round in Week 19.
Egyptian open banking platform Underlie was acquired by Emirati open finance platform Fintech Galaxy for an undisclosed amount.
Egyptian healthtech platform CheckMe acquired a majority stake in Egyptian doctor booking app DoctorOnline for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition deal was done through Exits MENA, which raised a $1 million pre-seed round in Week 38.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
Staring into the abyss as a core life skill — Another banger from Wave Mobile Money CTO Ben Kuhn: “Staring into the abyss means thinking reasonably about things that are uncomfortable to contemplate… The first time I learned what really exceptional abyss-staring looks like, it was by watching Drew, the CEO of Wave.”
Finding traction without a product: Our process — An interesting read that offers a real-world answer to the question: how do I validate my idea before I build a product?
The localization index — From
The rise of digital bazaars in India — A report from Bain & Accel on marketplaces in India
Platforms, livelihoods, and inclusive finance (PDF) — A report from Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion on platforms in ‘emerging markets and developing economies’
👀 Visual of the Week
“We asked founders what their most important considerations were when selecting an investor to lead their next round; we asked VCs what they thought allowed them to win competitive deals this past year. The results were quite different.”
To what degree are there similar founder-VC ‘priority gaps’ in #AfricaTech?
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
The Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) signed an MoU with a consortium of foreign firms to support and promote the development of satellites and drones in Nigeria
Andrew Carruthers, co-founder and managing partner at Novastar Ventures, writes “Africa can lead the world on tackling climate change but it needs finance”
Ahmed Elmurtada, Managing Partner at 249 Startups, writes “From 249 to the world: Launching a VC out of Sudan”
Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner at Egypt’s Algebra Ventures on what 2023 holds for Egypt's venture capital market (podcast)
Mark Mwangi, Co-Founder & CEO of Kenya’s Amitruck
Tim Steel, CEO of Kenya’s Copia
Sarah Dusek, GP of South Africa’s Engyma Ventures (video)
🐤 Tweet of the Week
That said, second prize is a set of steak knives.
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
African startups with innovative health solutions are invited to apply for Making More Health Business Accelerator before January 13.
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.
Leaders of early-stage Africa-focused startups looking to apply advanced connectivity and processing technologies are encouraged to apply to Qualcomm’s Make in Africa Startup mentorship program before Feb 28 2023.
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