MAY 20, 2022
7 min Read
African Tech Weekly Recap: May 16 to May 20, 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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🇪🇬 Egypt’s Instabug raises $46m Series B
- Egypt-founded and US-based bug reporting platform Instabug has raised a $46 million Series B funding round, led by Insight Partners with participation from existing and new investors.
- Founded in 2016 in Cairo, Instabug is a mobile monitoring, crash, and bug reporting solution for mobile teams. It aims to help developers better understand the performance of their mobile applications and their impact on user experience.
- Instabug counts DoorDash, Porsche, and Gojek among its clients, and the investment will be used to develop partnerships with even more enterprises.
Source: Disrupt Africa
As mobile-first solutions uptake by individuals and enterprises in Africa keeps growing, Instabug is strongly positioned to lead the nascent mobile app observability and monitoring space. The capital raise follows record growth in 2021, in which Instabug reached more than 2.7 billion mobile devices, and processed 110 billion mobile sessions and 4.2 billion issues.
🚀 Amazon acquires 4% of Egypt’s valU for $10m
- Amazon has agreed to acquire $10 million in EFG Hermes global depositary receipts (GDRs), with the option to replace it with future investment in valU.
- That translates to a stake of 4.255% of valU’s issued share capital, based on a current post-money valuation of $235 million.
- The transaction represents about 1% of EFG’s GDRs, which have a current market cap of $976 million. Upon the deal, valU will be listed as a payment method for Amazon.eg customers.
Amazon runs a widespread local logistics and operations network across Egypt, operating in the country since 2017 through Souq.com. Last July, it launched a dedicated platform called amazon.eg in the Arab world’s most populous country. With more than 3,500 points of sale, valU offers customisable financing plans and access to a wide network of retail and e-commerce providers across diverse sectors. Through the agreement, eligible customers who shop on Egypt’s Amazon domain will now have the option to buy now and pay later through a new consumer financing payment method offered by valU.
🌍 Pan-African healthcare startup CarePoint raises $10m
- CarePoint, a technology-driven healthcare startup, has raised a $10 million bridge round to accelerate its growth across Africa, as it seeks to make healthcare accessible to the masses.
- The startup recently entered Egypt, its fourth market in Africa, after Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. It is now eyeing North and East Africa, to continue its growth which is driven by mergers and acquisitions.
- CarePoint is in the process of setting up telemedicine centers in its facilities and building “micro-tech-enabled-clinics” targeting the masses. This will grow CarePoint‘s, formerly known as Africa Health Holdings, portfolio beyond in-person visits.
With significant venture capital funding pouring into the tech ecosystem, Africa is seeing a boom in the number of startups solving some of the most challenging health problems of the continent. These range from access to medical care, infant and maternal mortality, rapid diagnostics, and genetics. Last year, over $4 billion was invested in African startups; around $379.6 million of those went to 479 healthcare-focused companies, compared to the $90 million 180 companies received in 2020.
🇿🇦 Naspers backs fresh produce startup Nile in $5m round
- South Africa-based Naspers, through its early-stage tech investment vehicle Naspers Foundry, has announced a $2.5 million investment in Nile, an agritech company that connects farmers to buyers of fresh produce.
- The investment is part of a $5 million equity round that involved other investors Platform Investment Partners, Raba Capital, and Base Capital.
- Nile was founded in 2020 to provide farmers with digital solutions that can address various pain points inherent to food trading — including price transparency, quality verification, speed of payments, the traceability of the produce and food waste.
Naspers Foundry is one of Africa’s most notable corporate venture capital units. The investment in Nile marks its tenth investment since its launch in 2019 and forms part of Naspers’s $90 million commitment to grow South Africa’s tech ecosystem. Its portfolio includes the likes of SweepSouth, Aerobotics, Food Supply Network, The Student Hub, WhereIsMyTransport, Ctrl, and Naked Insurance.
🇰🇪 Kenya-based Victory Farms raises $5m for expansion
- Victory Farms, an aquaculture startup and farm for tilapia fish comprising hatcheries, nursery ponds, and deep-water cages, has raised $5 million in new funding.
- The investment was led by Ed Brakeman, a senior managing director at Bain Capital, and Hans den Bieman, founder and ex-CEO of Mowi, one of the largest salmon businesses globally.
- It is the startup’s first institutional investment following seven internal angel rounds from the same set of equity–and debt investors (it raised $40 million in debt last year). This funding will allow the Kenyan-based company to expand its business into Rwanda, DRC, and Tanzania.
With the huge strides made by startups like Victory Farms, Africa is fast becoming a global leader in the agritech space. Between 2016 and 2019, the industry grew by 44% year-on-year, and the continent has registered the highest number of agritech services in the developing world reaching more than 30 million smallholder farmers as of 2021. The global agritech sector will reach nearly $200 billion by 2025. How much value Africa can tap from the vast and dynamic market will be determined by how well startups and companies capitalize on the challenges in agriculture on the continent.
🏥 Zuri Health gets $1.3m to expand across Africa
- Kenyan-based health tech startup offering mobile-based healthcare has received $1.3 million in pre-seed funding from DOB Equity, Launch Africa, and Founders Factory Africa to expand across Africa.
- Zuri Health connects mass-market patients with healthcare services via SMS, WhatsApp, and a dedicated app. The company initially launched in Kenya in January 2021 but is now present in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
- The startup plans to use this recent investment to further build out its digital platform, grow its product offerings and launch operations in new markets.
Source: Company statement
Efforts to scale quality healthcare services affordably remain a challenge across Africa. The World Economic Forum reports that the continent bears 25% of the world’s disease burden but only has 2% of the world’s doctors. This highlights why innovation, led by startups like Zuri, is needed in Africa’s healthcare space. The company claims to have so far partnered with 16+ major mobile network operators in seven countries with over 400,000 SMS subscribers, over 300 doctors, 27 lab and diagnostic centers, and 15 pharmacies across its markets.
🇰🇪 UK’s BII pledges $220m towards high-quality internet in Kenya
- The United Kingdom has availed financing worth $220 million to improve access to high-quality internet in Kenya, according to British International Investment (BII) chief executive Nick O’Donohoe.
- The funding, meant to support digital transformation on the continent, will be provided to Africa’s largest telecoms company, Liquid Telecom, which is improving access to high-quality internet.
- O’Donohoe notes that the financing is part of BII’s drive to channel greater funding to, among others, help drive innovation and the digital economy.
Over the past decade, African countries working with various local and international partners have made huge strides in making the internet accessible for the continent’s 1.2 billion people. But with just 22% internet connectivity, the continent remains significantly behind other regions in the world. Africa has financing needs of between $70-$100 billion annually to address its existing infrastructure gap. This underlines the importance of capital injections from foreign partners like the UK’s BII.
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