Investor Updates: January 18 2022
3 min Read January 18, 2022 at 10:59 PM UTC
Story 1: Nigerian restaurant SaaS Orda raises $1.1m pre-seed
- Nigeria-based Orda, which offers a cloud-based restaurant operating system to small chefs and food business owners, has closed a $1.1 million pre-seed round led by pan-African investor LoftyInc Capital to scale its software across Africa.
- Founded in 2020 and formerly known as StarKitchens, Orda’s full-stack and end-to-end service helps restaurants manage their business processes online while integrating local payments, logistics, inventory management, and business analytics features.
- Currently, the startup charges restaurants between $5 to $50 monthly to access its software and plans to add financial products, particularly lending, and venture into processing payments for restaurants after closing its pre-seed.
Like most brick-and-mortar SMEs in Africa, small to mid-sized restaurants largely rely on pen and paper or ledgers for bookkeeping and recording important business data. Some even depend on just their brains to keep track of things. This way of running a business can negatively affect business growth and limit chances of securing loans. Across the continent, many technology startups are moving to bring these businesses online, by offering cloud-based business management tools. Orda is one such, targeting small and medium restaurants. The global cloud-based restaurant software market is currently valued at over $70 billion and is expected to reach $116 billion in the next four years.
Story 2: Ugandan fintech gets $30m to finance motorcycle purchases
- Ugandan asset financing fintech Asaak has raised $30 million from a group of investors to support its business. The startup provides credit to motorcycle cab (boda boda) drivers based on their personal and financial data.
- While Uganda has more than one million boda boda in circulation, most of the drivers do not have sufficient money to buy their own vehicles.
- The startup claims to have financed the purchase of 5,000 motorcycles since it started operations in 2016 as well as subsidized fuel and smartphones for drivers. It plans to enter six other markets over the next few years.
Mobility is an important driver of development in any economy. Digitizing financing for commercial motorcycles is thus important to making transport more accessible and affordable. In addition, the Boda Boda business is a major source of livelihood for millions across Africa, especially in East African cities. Kampala alone has over 200,000 registered commercial motorcyclists. Last December, Asaak partnered with Untapped Global to finance at least 2,000 motorcycle owners over the next 12 months in the country.
Story 3: MainOne acquisition shows Africa data center opportunity
- Last month, American multinational Equinix Inc said it would be buying MainOne, a West African fiber and data center company with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire for $320 million. The all-cash transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
- Founded by Funke Opeke in 2010, MainOne is a key provider of enterprise connectivity solutions, with an estimated 800+ B2B clients, including major international tech enterprises and telecom operators, social media giants, financial and cloud services providers.
- MainOne also owns digital infrastructure assets that include three operational data centers, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in Q1 2022.
Over the past year, Africa has seen a flurry of activities in the data center space, from the launch of new or expansion of data centers (in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Rwanda, etc.) to millions (in USD) of foreign investments pouring into private operators on the continent. The $320 million acquisition of MainOne by Equinix is just one sample. Earlier on, Africa-focused West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) raised $200 million in debt and equity. This trend is expected to continue into the new year as data centers are crucial to the growth of Africa’s technology ecosystem, particularly with the increasing number of internet users, expansion of 4G coverage, and 5G rollout.
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