Afridigest Week in Review: A smile with a dash of deception
+Upcoming Lagos meetup with Nadayar +Massive Chipper Cash layoffs +A deal deluge +Fintech M&A +Axian's CVC arm is here +A solid breakdown of how ChatGPT works +On mimesis and 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 last week was Ben Evans' 'The New Gatekeepers.' And since last Monday, we published 'Three lessons for founders in Africa’s mobile-first economy.'
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📌 What a week. From deals to M&A to investor activity to layoffs, governance issues, & more — it was one of those weeks. Unfortunately, though, I clumsily had two tabs of the same draft open and Substack reverted back to the earlier version. So no deal of the week and no commentary on the Dash situation. But we move.
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 goes out on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
💡 'No matter how fat a crocodile is, it still hatched from an egg.' — Ewe proverb on humility & respect 🇹🇬 🇬🇭
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Week 7 2023: February 12-18
EQUITY DEALS ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇳🇬 Smile Identity, a British/Nigerian identity verification & digital KYC platform, raised a $20 million Series B co-led by Costanoa Ventures and Norrsken22, with participation from Commerce Ventures, Courtside Ventures, Two Culture Capital, Valuestream Ventures, Intercept Ventures, Latitude, Future Africa, and 500 Fintech.
🇿🇦 Naked Insurance, a South African digital insurance platform that helps consumers insure their cars and homes, raised a $17M Series B led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with participation from German Development Finance Institution (DEG), Yellowwoods and Hollard Group
🇧🇯 Qotto, a Franco/West African provider of solar home systems in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast, raised an $8M Series A (equity + debt) led by the IBL group, with participation from the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund, Cordaid, and others.
🇳🇬 Field Intelligence, a Nigerian healthtech digitizing the pharmaceutical supply-chain process, disclosed that it raised $6.7M (of a $10M target) in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
🇳🇬 Curacel, a Nigerian provider of embedded insurance and insurtech infrastructure, raised a $3M seed round from Tencent, AAF Management, Elefund, Blue Point Capital, Pioneer Fund, Olive Tree Capital, and Y Combinator
🇰🇪 Power Financial Wellness, a Kenyan employee financial wellness platform offering credit, savings, investment, insurance, and earned wage access solutions, raised a $3M seed round led by DOB Equity with participation from Bolt by QED, Quona Capital, Zephyr Acorn and Norrsken Accelerator.
🇿🇦 Lelapa, a South African B2B AI research & solutions provider, raised $2.5M from Mozilla Ventures, Atlantica Ventures, InstaDeep’s Karim Beguir, and others
🇳🇬 Clinify, a Nigerian/Canadian centralized electronic medical records (EMR) platform, raised a ~$1.5M seed round from Thin Air Labs, HaloHealth, and Calgary doctors
🇲🇦 Terraa, a Moroccan B2B food distribution platform raised a $1.5M pre-seed led by FoodLabs, with participation from UM6P Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, Musha Ventures, and DFS Lab.
🇰🇪 BuuPass, a Kenyan online bus, train, and flight ticketing platform that also offers an operating system for mobility providers, announced a $1.3M pre-seed from Founders Factory Africa, FrontEnd Ventures, Adaverse, Gullit, Five35, Renew Capital, Changecom, XA Network, Ajim Capital, Artha Ventures, Daba Finance, Google Black Founders Fund, and others. We previously covered undisclosed investments in BuuPass from Change Com and Founders Factory Africa in Week 46, 2022.
🇳🇬 Treepz, a Nigerian mobility platform with a recent focus on vehicle rental solutions for businesses, announced that it raised $1.2M over the past twelve months from GIIG Africa Fund, MoAngels, Roselake VC, Unpopular VC, Goodwater Capital, BKR Capital, ShockVentures, Winston Limited, Aston Investments, and Novum Actus.
🇿🇦 Right Now Response (RNR), a South African on-demand breakdown management and analytics platform for the trucking sector, raised ~$554K (ZAR10M) in a venture round led by HAVAÍC with participation from Capacitech. (HAVAÍC contributed 92% or ~$510K)
🇳🇬 Pade, a Nigerian HRtech/payrolltech SaaS platform that helps African businesses hire, manage and pay their team, raised a $500K pre-seed from Zrosk IML, Zedcrest Capital, Microtraction, Expert Dojo, Resilience 17, and others.
🇪🇬 MobileMasr, an Egyptian used-mobile-device ‘re-commerce’ platform, raised $500K.
🇳🇬 Dillali, a Nigerian financial bookkeeping platform, raised an undisclosed bridge round from Raw Ventures, Lemonade Stand, and DF Syndicate.
🇳🇬 Famasi, a Nigerian healthtech platform digitizing the distribution of pharmaceutical products, raised an undisclosed pre-seed from Microtraction and others.
The Baobab Network invested $50K each in five startups in its newest cohort.
We take pride in providing a comprehensive overview of Africa’s tech ecosystem week after week for your benefit. And that takes time, effort, and care.
Above, for example, you’ll find a number of deals that several popular media platforms / trackers / newsletters overlooked — including some that charge you for access. But here they are, compiled free of charge, for your benefit.
If you use Afridigest professionally/commercially or value what we do, I ask you to support our work by upgrading your subscription:
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Crypto exchange Blockfinex acquired Nigerian B2B crypto infrastructure provider, Fluidcoins for an undisclosed sum in a distressed sale.
Africa-focused payments service provider Cross Switch acquired a 50% stake in Moroccan payments platform Vantage Payment Systems, a subsidiary of Moroccan holding company Equity Invest.
Madagascar-based pan-African conglomerate AXIAN Group launched AXIAN Investment to oversee its investments in its Private Equity and Venture Capital funds and its direct investments in tech startups. Its VC investments include Partech and Disruptech and its startup portfolio includes MaxAB, LipaLater, Djamo, and Jetstream.
Startup Wise Guys announced the ~$27M (€25M) first close of a targeted ~$48M (€45M) for its accelerator and direct investments in underserved geographies, from CEE to sub-Saharan Africa. We last covered SWG’s African B2B digital SaaS accelerator companies in Week 45 2022.
Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub (Cc-Hub) launched a $15M accelerator to support 70+ startups across Nigeria and Kenya over the next three years.
The AfricaGoGreen Fund, an Africa-focused fund providing debt instruments to Africa-focused businesses in the fields of e-mobility, green buildings, and battery energy storage, secured $47M in equity from the IFC, the African Development Bank, the Nordic Development Fund, and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.
Morocco’s UM6P Ventures is actively looking to expand its Israeli portfolio.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
What is ChatGPT doing … and why does it work? — Good read from Wolfram|Alpha’s Stephen Wolfram on the mechanics of ChatGPT.
Defensibility and competition — Solid read on moats & more from Elad Gil.
Why smart people believe stupid things — “While unintelligent people are more easily misled by other people, intelligent people are more easily misled by themselves. They’re better at convincing themselves of things they want to believe rather than things that are actually true.”
Three lessons for founders in Africa’s mobile-first economy — “Act online, think offline.”
PUBLIC BOOKMARKING - PRESENTATIONS GALORE
How to write essays that spread — Good thoughts here from Nathan Baschez
👀 Visual of the Week
~40% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa aged 18 and over enjoy mobile internet connectivity, according to the GSMA.
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
Prince Boakye Boampong, Founder and CEO of Ghanaian digital wallet & unified payments network Dash, was placed on ‘indefinite administrative leave’ pending a forensic financial audit
Pair with Ngozi Dozie’s On diligence, Dash, and deception
Fintech unicorn Chipper Cash laid off more than 100 employees, >1/3 of its workforce (this is in addition to December 2022’s layoffs); and Jumia laid off over 900 employees across its 11 markets in Q4 2022
Estonian ride-hailing platform Bolt announced plans to invest ~$535M in its operations across the African continent over the next two years.
ESSAYS & OP-EDS
Peter Oriaifo, Principal at Oui Capital writes ‘The Quest for Venture Returns in Africa’
Ugo Nwankere, Client Solutions Manager at AdDynamo, writes I launched a failed startup’
Andy Obuoforibo, Product Lead at Founders Factory Africa, writes ‘You can’t fight cash’
High cost to women as African apps spread gospel of gig work (Context)
Why African EV startups are struggling (Rest of World)
Rwanda builds an ecosystem for innovation (Bloomberg)
Can Africa’s remittances be put to long-term work? (African Business)
MBA case study: fixing pharma in Gabon (Financial Times - $)
Mouloukou Sanoh, co-founder of Cassava Network on driving Web3 adoption in Africa
Youssef Benkirane, Co-founder and CEO of Morocco’s Terraa on Terraa’s operations
Sherine Shohdy, Head of Egypt and Coverage Director of North Africa at BII on BII’s strategy in Egypt
Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures on what 2023 holds for Egypt's venture capital market (podcast)
🐤 Tweet of the Week
A banger of a thread from Big Chief on mimesis — “It’s time to admit that the emperor has no clothes and many are dancing naked”
Bonus tweets: More from Victor: the fear of Nigeria is the beginning of wisdom, and a random but good thread on cross-industry innovations.
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
African startups who are preparing to raise capital are invited to apply before February 24th to the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub Investment Readiness Program.
Agtech startups building solutions that support farmers and other agriculture stakeholders in mitigating the effects of climate change are invited to apply before March 1st to the World Food Programme’s Agricultural Innovation for Climate Resilience Program.
Startups in Africa that apply Web3 and blockchain technology to build solutions for underserved populations are invited to apply before March 31st to Mercy Corps Ventures’ Crypto for Good Fund II.
Smile Identity is hiring a Commercial Director, Francophone Africa.
🙊 The last word
WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT
Two quick points.
1) I’m giving away a detailed case study on Warner Music Group that boils 30+ hours of research into actionable insights. To get your copy, share an Afridigest newsletter on social media, take a screenshot, and send it to me.
2) Assuming no delays, the Nigerian elections will hold on the 25th, and it’s the talk of the town. Some good content on this: The Economist, the New York Times, Brookings (podcast). It’ll be a close one and I’m hoping that the youth vote shows up & shows out.
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