Note #2: Sept 6 - 18 2016

context and thoughts

while it’s been a quiet 2 weeks on the investment front (African VCs and Angels, please share more of your funding deals publicly!), there has been a wave of mobile payment services launching in Kenya, and some interesting gov’t and internet access moves in South Africa, and the access front was marked by the unfortunate loss of Facebook’s Internet access satellite at the beginning of September.

i’ll be visiting Nigeria this week, participating in Google Launchpad Build in Lagos, and joining Lagos’ first Startup Friday event on Sept 23rd to talk with startups and listen to them pitching Y Combinator. come find the tall American guy wearing the “g africa” t-shirt and say hi. :)

this issue of Africa Notes was powered by sparkling water, f.lux, and Frank Ocean’s awesome new album.


  • access Facebook’s $195mm Internet access satellite for African users destroyed in SpaceX accident link

  • invest Ghana investment firm Orios Capital raising $1mm fund to invest in West Africa startups link

  • payments African fintech company MFS Africa acquires global airtime topup and fintech company Sochitel link

  • startups Africa Internet Group (AIG) rebrands itself and all portfolio companies to the Jumia brand link


  • ecosystem Zinox Technologies receives $25mm from European Technology Trust Fund to build technology hubs across Nigeria link

  • ecosystem Aso Villa demo day (successful NG startup pitch event) post-event reports available link

  • invest first Startup Friday event happening in Lagos on Sept 23rd link

  • invest S&P downgrades Nigeria one level to B (five levels below junk) due to weakened economy link

  • startups digital bank & fintech platform startup Lidya launched w/ veteran entrepreneurs to disrupt African lending link link2

  • startups Nigerian entertainment startup Iroko launches IrokoX platform for African content creators to create/distribute/monetize digital content link

  • startups Andela to start investing in startups founded by Andela graduates link

  • govt Nigerian gov’t continues push for local hosting of gov’t data link


  • invest Capsule raises $100k angel round for its “Uber for ambulances” startup Flare link

  • startups South African transport info startup WhereIsMyTransport expanding into Kenya link

  • payments VISA joins w/ Kenyan banks to launch mVISA mobile payment service w/ developer API link

  • payments M-TIBA mobile health wallet rolled out nationwide, lets customers save money for healthcare for themselves and others link link2

  • payments KCB M-PESA mobile bank account has given Sh10.3 billion (~USD$100mm) in loans since launch 2 years ago link

  • govt 12,000 primary school teachers to get Microsoft certification in ICT skills to support classroom laptop project link

  • govt mobile-traded gov’t security M-Akiba (“the M-PESA bond”) to launch next month, assuming no further delays link

  • govt Kenya Revenue Authority launches app to let consumers check for counterfeit products using tax stamp scanning link

south africa

  • access contested gov’t spectrum auction for 700mhz, 800mhz, & 2.6ghz extended by 30 days link link2 link3

  • access #datamustfall trends in South Africa as customers protest the high cost of mobile data and political parties join the protest link

  • access cabinet sets up “war room” to monitor rollout of South Africa’s “SA Connect” broadband strategy link link2

  • access ISP Afrihost to buyback shares and leave parent company MTN link

  • ecosystem slowdown in set-top box production for South Africa’s digital TV transition in court battle over STB encryption link link2

  • ecosystem Tshimologong Precinct startup & incubation precinct in Jo’burg launched by JCSE & Wits University link

  • ecosystem Naspers reaches a $68b market cap on its JSE listing link

  • startups Uber rolling out UberEATS in ZA by December, beginning in Jo’burg link

  • payments MTN shuts down their mobile money product in ZA, following Vodacom ending M-PESA in ZA link

  • payments Mastercard Africa w/ startup iKhokha trials cashless payment for informal township businesses link

  • payments prepaid power meters increase payments in Soweto township by ZAR39mm/year link

  • devices Vodacom launches branded Android smartphones at ZAR499 (USD$35) price point and up link

  • govt protection of personal information (POPI) data privacy act rolls towards approval this year link