Afridigest Week in Review: Asking Axian
+In The Hot Seat with Axian's Thibaut Picard +Estonia strikes back: Planet42's fundraise & Bolt's layoffs +The World Bank's digital business report +Good reads from Jamie, Hope, Jake, Rob +More
The Afridigest Week in Review is a weekly recap for Africa-focused founders, executives, and investors.
Welcome back, friends! The most clicked link last week was 'Three lessons for founders in Africa’s mobile-first economy.' And ICYMI, we published 'The untold story of Africa’s newest unicorn, MNT-Halan' over the weekend.
📌 I’d love to talk with more of you. If you’re free this Thursday for a quick chat, check out my Afridigest calendar and see if a time there works well for you.
If you’re new here: 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.
💡 'A cat in her house has the teeth of a lion.' — Somali proverb on home-field advantage 🇸🇴
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Week 8 2023: February 19-25
EQUITY DEALS ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇿🇦 Planet42, a South African/Estonian vehicle financing, ‘rent-to-buy’ car subscription platform, raised $15M in equity co-led by Naspers and ARS Holdings, with participation from Rivonia Road Capital and others.
🇰🇪 Jumba, a Kenyan B2B construction technology platform, raised a $4.5M seed round led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Enza Capital, Foundamental, Seedstars International Ventures, Logos Ventures, Speedinvest, First Check Africa and Alumni Angel Network.
🇰🇪 WorkPay, a Kenyan payroll, HR, and benefits solution for businesses, raised a $2.7M pre-Series A from Launch Africa, Saviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, Axian, P1 Ventures, and Norrsken.
🇿🇦 Envisionit Deep AI, a South African, a healthtech platform that uses AI for diagnostic imaging, raised $1.65M (ZAR30.2M) from New GX Ventures with an additional undisclosed raise from the GIIG Africa Fund.
🇹🇿 BioBuu, a Tanzanian tech-enabled company that transforms organic food waste into sustainable insect proteins using black soldier fly larvae, raised a $200K seed round from the GIIG Africa Fund.
🇿🇦 DigsConnect, a South African shared housing marketplace, raised an undisclosed amount from Student.com.
🇿🇦 Planet 42 also raised $10M in debt financing and secured a $75M credit facility.
🇷🇼 Jali Finance, a Rwandan digital microfinance provider focused on motorcycle asset financing, raised $3M in debt from Variant Impact Fund.
🇪🇬 Hollydesk, an Egyptian expense management platform, raised $1M in venture debt.
inDrive, a global ride-hailing & urban services platform with Russian origins, raised $150 million from General Catalyst in an innovative debt instrument that links repayment to the company’s performance. inDrive currently operates in seven African countries.
JSE-listed chemicals and energy company Sasol will invest $53M (€50M) over the next five years in Sasol Ventures, a VC fund focused on advancing Sasol’s decarbonization and net-zero ambitions.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a $10.5M investment in TLcom Capital’s Tide Africa Fund II. (See the Project Summary Note)
🔥🪑 In the hot seat with Axian Group's Thibaut Picard
ICYMI: Last week, Madagascar-based pan-African conglomerate AXIAN Group launched AXIAN Investment to oversee its investments in PE & VC funds and its direct investments in tech startups. Its VC fund investments include Partech and Disruptech, and its startup portfolio includes MaxAB, LipaLater, Djamo, and Jetstream. I caught up with Thibaut to shed some light on AXIAN’s activities.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
M&A as R&D in technology — A look at how Snap, Google, and other tech cos have used relatively small acquisitions to expand into new areas and serve as a form of R&D
How to size a market in 30 minutes — A solid guide
Revenue is easy, profit is harder — On positive unit economics, capital efficiency, payback periods, and profitability
The untold story of Africa’s newest unicorn, MNT-Halan — A #goodread on the origins and evolution of Egypt’s MNT-Halan from 2009 to present
👀 Visual of the Week
“Digital firms across the world are active in multiple product markets, highlighting the distinct feature of digital business models in facilitating the creation of product ecosystems due to economies of scope in product development. Firms in developing countries are using platform-based or data-driven business models to realize scope economies and create value, especially in e-commerce and fintech.”
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
Untapped Global launches Climate Action Initiative to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles across Africa
Netflix cut prices by up to 60% in close to 100 countries worldwide including Egypt & Kenya, but apparently not Nigeria or South Africa
Estonian ride-hailing platform Bolt lays off 17 of its 70 employees in Nigeria after pledging to invest $500M in Africa
Meet the 12 startups showcased at the Flat6Labs Cairo demo day
Vodafone completes sale of its 70% stake in Vodafone Ghana to Telecel Group
ESSAYS & OP-EDS
Jake Kendall, Co-Founder, DFS Lab writes ‘You gotta break bread to make bread’
The 249Startups team writes ‘Can Sudan generate unicorns?’
Rob Eloff, Managing Partner, Lateral Frontiers writes ‘5 places to escape to this investment winter: African tech can thrive in the new normal’
Jamie Roller, Associate Director, Growth Channels at Dr. Squatch, writes ‘Is B2B eCommerce the next big thing in consumer goods and retail in Africa?’
Hope Ditlhakanyane, Head of Venture Sourcing at FFA, writes ‘Who is really driving Africa's funding growth?’
Agent commerce: how e-commerce in Africa is changing (TechCabal)
How skilled teams from emerging markets can change the face of tech (Fast Company)
Presto Eat wants to be Libya’s introduction into Africa’s growing startup space (TechCabal)
🐤 Tweet of the Week
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
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.
Nigerian edtechs building solutions that address challenges across K-12, tertiary education, and vocational skills training are invited to apply before March 17th for the CcHub / Mastercard Foundation EdTech Accelerator
African startups(interested in) building on Stellar and/or Soroban are invited to apply before March 28th to the SCF Startup Camp from DFS Lab and the Stellar Development Foundation
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.
🙊 The last word
WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT
Fancy a chat with me this Thursday, March 2nd? Book a time here — I’d love to talk briefly. Many thanks! 🙏🏽
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