This Week in African Tech: Two funds forward, one fund back
South Africa loses a fund, Nigeria and MENA get new ones
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Your tour guide on African Tech 🧭
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From Friday to Tuesday last week I took time off to go camping with some friends and no laptops. Now I'm back to loving writing again.
Over that period the world ended and everyone aged two years with the SVB (and now Credit Suisse) dilemma. If this impacted you, I hope you're doing alright and taking care of yourself.
Outside of banking crises, it was a huge week in African tech. As one fund closed up shop, two more opened up. A few things before we get into it.
This week we crossed 6,000 subscribers and our WhatsApp Community Safari Club took off with our first 50 members 🚀
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And finally - for our friends in Lagos, we're wishing for a safe Governorship election this weekend 🙏🏾
Let's get to it.
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Naspers shuts down its $77 million investment fund, Foundry. Naspers is Africa’s most valuable company.
Naspers plans on maintaining their existing investments, like South African startups Naked Insurance, SweepSouth and Planet42.
But why did they close up shop?
- You can check out my rundown on why Naspers is shutting down it’s VC arm Foundry here.
- And you can dig deep into Naspers’ history (and their crazy rise to becoming Africa’s most valuable company) here.
The Nigerian government has launched a $618 million tech fund, with a focus on young people within the tech and creative space.
In what Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo calls i-DICE (Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme), the Nigerian Government has laid out some pretty ambitious goals, like investing in:
- 200 tech and creative startups
- 450 tech-powered SMEs
- Capacity building for 175,000 young Nigerians
Other than these goals, we don’t know much else about the fund or how it will be executed.
But it's clear that Nigeria’s Government is wasting no time. Just last week Nigeria became the first African country to have open banking regulation.
And over in MENA, Flat6Labs announced a new $95 million seed fund.
Flat6Labs is an active investor in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and has invested in more than 100 startups through its fund and accelerator programs.
With a new fund, Flat6Labs is eyeing off Sub Saharan Africa - expecting to deploy one third of the fund in East and West Africa.
It's unfortunate to see South Africa's ecosystem stagnate. But it's one step back, two steps forward this week for the continent with wins for West Africa, MENA and East Africa.
Powered by People, a Kenyan B2B wholesale e-commerce platform has raised $13.6 million in funding. $8 million of that is their Series A round, led by Altos Ventures, Golden Ventures and Susa Ventures and $5.6 million comes from philanthropic grants.
Itot, a Congolese edtech that provides training and digital educational tools to corporates and Small to Medium Enterprises has raised an undisclosed amount from DRC Impact Angels.
Fairmoney - an fintech providing collateral-free loans to Nigerian consumers - acquired Payforce, a bank for merchants. Fairmoney raised a Series B back in 2021 to launch into other emerging markets like India.
Onepipe, a Nigerian embedded payments and reconciliation platform, had a big week. Onepipe announced a $4.7m credit line from TLG Capital to power inventory financing product. In the same day, Techcabal reported that Onepipe had laid off 10 employees (of 48).
Events and Opportunities
Do you want to learn how to become a professional investor? Dream VC is for you. They're offering a Launch Into VC (LIVC) and Invest Accelerator program for up and coming investors. Apply by 16 April.
The Techstars Toronto Accelerator is open for applications. Techstars Toronto has a big focus on African founders, with great companies like Treepz, Payday and TalentQL going through the program. Make sure to apply by the 5th of April here.
On Wednesday we're hosting an event I am very excited for: The African Diaspora Starter Pack 🎒
We'll hear from two founders who are building for Africa's Diaspora about how you can take part in Africa's growth story. Sign up to come along here.
And that's a wrap! We will be back with a feature story next week.
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