MAY 10, 2022
6 min Read
African Tech Weekly Recap: April 4 to April 8, 2022
Welcome to our weekly recap where we share the most important news of the week in the African Tech Ecosystem 🌍
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🌍 Africa-focused daba wants to connect startups and retail investor
- daba is a simple financial services platform that allows everyone to invest in some of the most promising companies in Africa through a mobile app.
- On the platform, which is currently in beta, investors of all levels can discover, find, and invest in vetted high-growth opportunities on the continent.
- At the other end of the spectrum, capital seekers (from early-stage to growth-stage startups) can raise funding, build community, and secure alternative financing options, all through the platform.
African startups may have secured a record $5 billion in venture funding last year but most companies on the continent still have an incredibly difficult time raising capital and accessing funds. At the same time, many investors that are willing and able to invest in these promising ventures can’t due to a lack of information and scarcity of resources available to invest safely. There’s a massive opportunity in bridging this gap — and daba is built for that.
🇳🇬 Nigeria-based mPOS provider ZirooPay raises $11.4m Series A
- ZirooPay, a mobile POS supplier based in Lagos, has secured $11.4 million in a Series A round-headed by Zrosk Investment Management, a Lagos-based venture capital firm.
- IroFit, ZirooPay’s parent organization, pitched its “Internet-free” technology as a mobile platform for small companies to receive card payments via a mobile app and EMV-certified card reader in locations where there is no data access, especially in emerging economies.
- The new funds will be used to develop ZirooPay’s payment infrastructure, accelerate expansion, and increase its personnel.
The amount of POS points and payments in Nigeria has expanded dramatically over time, with the former increasing from 150,000 in 2017 to 543,000 in April 2021 while transaction volume reached more than 500 billion in May 2021. Alongside this, ZirooPay has also witnessed commendable growth with over 15,000 merchants who leverage its POS terminals and mobile application processing up to $500 million across 10 million transactions.
🇳🇬 Nigerian fintech startup ImaliPay raises $3m
- ImaliPay, a Nigeria-based one-stop-shop financial services platform for gig workers, has closed a $3 million seed in debt and equity round. This comes after it raised an $800,000 pre-seed round in 2020.
- The startup was launched in late 2020 by Tatenda Furusa and Oluwasanmi Akinmusire after Furusa noticed the challenges ride-hailing drivers faced when accessing working capital or emergencies like running out of fuel in Nairobi.
- The investment will go into expanding its 50-man team, amping up its technology, and exploring new markets like Ghana and Egypt.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began in late 2019, the gig economy has been on an upward trajectory. More than two years on and the booming economy is not showing signs of a slowdown, including in Africa. According to research, the sector is expected to reach a $455 billion global market value by 2023, double the value in 2018 and a 17% CAGR. As opportunities within this space increase, so do the platforms linking workers with remote jobs.
🇿🇦 SA HR startup SmartWage raises $2m seed round
- South Africa’s SmartWage, an HR and communications technology startup, has raised a $2 million seed round to support its vision of transforming Africa’s workforce through digital inclusion, particularly for frontline employees.
- Founded in 2019, SmartWage started off by allowing companies to provide their employees with instant access to a percentage of their salaries and wages for work they have already done. It has since expanded beyond that, giving enterprises a simple yet effective way to digitize their most time-consuming HR processes.
- The product gives employees without email the ability to receive company-wide communication, access their payslips, request leave and get access to financial wellness products, all via WhatsApp.
Source: Venture Burn
SmartWage is one of the many startups digitizing the administrative stack for companies in Africa and on the continent, they have a big market opportunity considering the growing appetite for cloud computing solutions by organizations small and large. The Middle East and Africa’s cloud computing industry is expected to grow to $31.4 billion by 2026, from $14.2 billion in 2021.
📦 UPS partners with Jumia to expand delivery network in Africa
- The first African technology company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Jumia has announced a partnership with UPS.
- UPS will leverage Jumia infrastructure to offer its customers an extended range of delivery solutions, including door-to-door package delivery and collection, with a variety of payment options.
- The collaboration will initially cover Kenya, Morocco, and Nigeria, with initial plans for expansion to Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Small and medium-sized businesses in Africa make up 90% of all businesses on the continent and are essentially the backbone of the continent’s economy but they still struggle with the logistics and delivery side of things, especially for exporting businesses, due to a number of factors. The UPS — Jumia partnership offers a pathway for businesses to bypass these challenges and connect to customers around the world through the former’s global network, potentially accelerating their revenue growth.
🚀 Visa unveils first innovation hub in Africa
- Global digital payments giant Visa has opened up an innovation studio in Kenya, its first in Africa and sixth globally, after posts in Dubai, London, Miami, San Francisco, and Singapore.
- The studio will bring together developers, Visa’s internal and external clients, and other partners to co-create payment and commerce solutions.
- Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including a collaboration with Nigerian Fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology.
Visa has been a key player in the growth of digital payments adoption in Africa, working with mobile money players like Nigeria’s Paga and Kenya-based mPesa. As the region’s digital ecosystem grows, with an increasingly tech-savvy population, the new innovation hub is vital to Visa deepening its collaboration to develop solutions designed around the unique needs of Africa. More so, the decision of the US giant to double down on efforts in Africa further validates the region’s huge growth opportunity for investors willing to bet on it.
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