Week in Review: Releaf re-ups
+Happy IWD +February equity deals +Good reads on app growth +Startup decoupling & Power law mathematics +Clever credit +Google's Black Founders Fund in Africa +More
The Afridigest Week in Review is a weekly recap of what happened across Africa's tech ecosystem for Africa-focused founders, executives, and investors.
Welcome back, old & new friends 👋🏽! The most clicked link from last Monday’s newsletter was 'How to Size a Market in 30 minutes.' And here’s the link to yesterday’s Fintech Review ICYMI.
📌 Happy International Women’s day in advance! We published a teaser infographic last Friday, and if you’re here because of it, we'll publish the associated article later this week. Also: special thanks to Belinda, Khalil, Kwamina, and Adam for the great conversations last week 🙏🏽 And thanks to everyone who shared feedback on the MNT-Halan story — folks really seemed to like it and more like it is coming soon.
If you’re new here: welcome — this Week in Review is sent on Mondays, the Fintech Review on Sundays, and an original essay occasionally goes out on Saturdays. For past essays and digests, visit the archive.
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Week 9 2023: February 26 - March 4
EQUITY DEALS ACROSS THE CONTINENT
🇬🇳 YMO (formerly YMoney), a Franco-Guinean digital payments platform, raised a ~$3.2M (€3M) seed round from Breega, INCO Ventures, and others.
🇲🇦 Koolskools, a Moroccan online learning platform digitizing educational processes & school management, raised ~$960K (MAD10M) from Azur Innovation Fund.
🇳🇬 Releaf, a Nigerian agtech platform that develops proprietary technology for food processing, raised $250K from Plesion Capital. Releaf’s pre-Series A and my conversation with Plesion’s Ben Finlay both appeared in Week 2 2023.
🇳🇬 InfiniteUp, makers of a financial super app starting in Nigeria/Kenya, raised $150K as a part of SOSV’s Orbit Startups program. It’s the latest from Barrett Nash, formerly of CanGo Africa/SafeMotos.
South African captive insurance provider Guardrisk announced its ~$2.8M (ZAR50M) Launchpad initiative to invest in African insurtechs. Guardrisk is looking to co-invest in insurtech scale-ups & compelling insurtech startups.
Middle East Venture Fund IV, a $150M MENA-focused fund from Middle East Venture Partners, announced that it received a $27M commitment from the European Investment Bank and $5M from ISSF. MEVP’s Egypt portfolio includes MNT-Halan, Instabug, MoneyFellows, and Yodawy.
📚 Quick hits
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
How Duolingo reignited user growth — A deep dive from Jorge Mazal (former CPO of Duolingo) on product bets, gamification, and data science done right.
How to benchmark your social app — a16z’s Bryan Kim: “After years of leading growth at Snap and two years making investments at a16z, I’ve formed a different view about why certain products take off: growth, engagement, and retention.”
Startup decoupling & reckoning — Elad Gil: “Many companies that raised in the heyday of 2021 are currently worth the most they will ever be worth over all time.
Clever credit: How African startups are using data & distribution to de-risk lending — Africa-focused innovators can learn from the examples of three Nigerian companies that leverage unique data and distribution strategies to lend intelligently.
African startups raised over $400m in equity in February —We tracked forty-one startups across Africa’s tech ecosystem that publicly disclosed equity funding rounds totaling over $400 million cumulatively last month.
Cash management for early-stage startups — “Focus on four key pillars which I call the ARGO framework: Acquire more cash. Reduce costs and push them back. Grow revenue and pull it forward. Optimize operations.”
Attempting to untangle the messy math behind the "Power Law" — Long read from a VC with a PE background: “Given ownership dynamics/incentives…, businesses need to initially raise money at a valuation that is completely disjointed from any real business fundamentals or financials. From there, the clock is on to see if they can grow into their valuation.”
👀 Visual of the Week
🕵️♀️ In case you missed it
Africa's biggest TV operator, MultiChoice, is partnering with US-based Comcast's NBCUniversal and UK-based Sky to create a pan-African streaming service — NBCUniversal is acquiring a 30% stake in Showmax as part of the deal
African watchdog forces Jumia to review its terms in push to protect consumers
Ethiopian talent marketplace Gebeya and the Mastercard Foundation announced a $48M partnership to support entrepreneurs in Ethiopia with their own multi-sided gig marketplaces
ESSAYS & OP-EDS
Arielle Molino, Sub-Saharan Africa Lead at the Sankalp Forum writes ‘Savannah Valley need not copy Silicon Valley’
Michael Kimani Kioneki, Co-Founder & Head of Growth at Fonbnk, writes ‘Digital currencies may break the US Dollar’s hold over Africa’s cross-border trade’
Future Africa published its ‘Fund II in Review’
🐤 Tweet of the Week
Happy IWD in advance!
We’re publishing our article on this later this week.
Kindly get in touch if we missed someone — Powered by People’s Ella Peinovich should be listed, for example — or if you have other comments here.
And if you missed it, here’s our article on founders that raised over $1M in Francophone Africa in 2022.
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
Acumen West Africa is hiring a Lagos-based Associate Director for Investing
VivaTech and the IFC invite climate-tech, fintech, and healthtech startups that have raised a minimum of $200K and a maximum of $10M to apply for the AfricaTech awards before March 12th.
Applications are open for Google for Startups: Black Founders Fund in Africa until March 26th.
African edtech founders are invited to apply to the WISE Edtech Accelerator before April 13th.
📅 UPCOMING EVENTS
Africa Agri Tech 2023 - Pretoria, South Africa - March 14-16
Afridigest Lagos Meetup - Lagos, Nigeria - March 15
African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2023 - Mountain View, CA - March 22-24
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