Note #10: April 8 - 21 2017

Context and Thoughts

Africa Tech Summit London 2017 finished up on April 20th: see the event writeup by African Business Review for details. I hadn’t planned on attending this year, but after reading the event’s writeup and seeing the speakers list (I see many people I know and respect on the list, and many more whom I’d like to meet/hear for the first time), so I’m adding attending the 2018 event to my plans for next year.

It’s going to be a busy spring/summer for startup accelerators in the “Mother City” (Cape Town): XL Africa is launching an acceleration program for African startups offering 20 startups up to $1.5mm funding, Startupbootcamp is launching in Cape Town and offering 10 startups up to €15k funding (demo day: November 30 2017), and Techstars Africa / Barclays Accelerator’s 13-week accelerator program (demo day: August 2 2017). Looking forward to checking these out in person!

American financial services giant Mastercard’s movements are increasingly visible in Africa, in what appears to be an increasing focus on African payment technologies and startups. In April, I’ve noted that that Mastercard is trialing their first fingerprint-reading credit card in South Africa (coming soon as an EMV global standard), and Mastercard Start Path Global 2017 class opening to global startups and being promoted through African tech news. And over the last few months, they’ve also invested in payments service Zoona (via their foundation) and launched MasterPass QR with merchant services startup Kopa Kopa.

As requested, I’ve now added North African startups to the 500 Startups tab of my Accelerator-Funded African Startup List, to ensure that I’m tracking startups from the entire African continent.

Industry and Ecosystem News

  • World Bank and VC4A launch XL Africa, an acceleration program for African startups providing 20 startups with up to $1.5mm funding, a 2-week Cape Town residency in Nov 2017, and more link link2

  • Startupbootcamp launches in Africa for the first time starting in Cape Town, with application deadline of July 9 and September kickoff link link2

  • Seedstars World returns to Africa in May 2017, expanding from 20 to 23 African cities link

  • South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) announces that they will rule by June 30 on whether or not they will create equity crowdfunding rules for South Africa link

  • Europe’s CrowdfundingHub releases a report on the potential for crowdfunding in Nigeria link

  • MENA startup network RiseUp brought 6 startups on their RiseUp Explore tour of Silicon Valley to visit top companies and events, including Google, Facebook, 500 Startups link

  • Innovate Ventures opens applications for startups in Somalia or Somaliland for Innovate Accelerator, a 12-week program offering up to $15k funding link link2

Deals, Startups, and More

  • Barclays announced the 10 fintech companies participating in their 2017 Barclays Accelerator program in Cape Town run by Techstars: Flexpay [KE], Howler [ZA], Spatialedge [ZA], [US], The Sun Exchange [ZA], Byte Money [ZA], Avenews-GT [IL], FOMO Travel [ZA], Kapitalwise [US], eCOIDA [ZA] link link2

  • Recruiting startup LinkdPro [ZA] launches Octopus, ZA’s “first talent platform” for financial services professionals link link2

  • Electronics education hardware startup Seebox [ZA] expands into UK school system link link2

  • Online African comic startup Comic Republic [NG] raised funding from Aviva [NG] and angel Tseyi Hammond (terms undisclosed) link link2

  • 3D printing startup Metal Heart [ZA] raises $1.23mm from South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to build ZA’s “first production-ready 3D metal printer” link

  • Pay-as-you-go LPG cooking gas startup Paygo Energy [KE] raises $1.43mm for new smart meter development and growth link link2

  • B2C E-commerce big data startup Datavora [TN] raises $425k to fund European and North American growth link link2

  • South African E-commerce giant Takealot [ZA] raises $69.4mm round from Naspers [ZA] link link2