Note #3: Sept 19 - Oct 2 2016

context and thoughts

this issue i saw a number of interesting region-wide ecosystem moves occurring, with new investment coming from Capria and Merck, and new relevant tech released from Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

South Africa has been extremely active on the internet access front in the last 2 weeks, with public hearings over the high price of mobile data, a major ICT white paper released covering spectrum licensing and net neutrality (and much more), continued fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) growth, a planned upcoming 5G rollout in 2016, while a major planned 4G/LTE spectrum auction may be canceled.


  • invest Capria Accelerator Fund (based in San Francisco) raises new round to expand into Sub-Saharan Africa link

  • startups African online education marketplace eLearnAfrica launched link

  • startups Nairobi-based e-health accelerator program Merck Accelerate Africa (run by Nest Nairobi) launches second cohort with startups from Kenya, Ghana, and USA link

  • startups online classifieds startup launches with free classifieds for Francophone Africa link

  • ecosystem Facebook launches Messenger Lite, focused on emerging markets with slower connections and basic Android phones, 1st SSA launch country is Kenya link

  • ecosystem Google announces Chrome mobile improvements: video compression and slow connections support for Chrome Data Saver, and downloading web content for offline viewing link

  • ecosystem Microsoft’s online intellectual property registration system expanded to 17 countries and being released as open source link

  • ecosystem Facebook’s awards $500k across the winning 6 African startups from their Innovation Challenge in Africa link


  • invest property classifieds startup raises $1.2mm Series A round led by Malaysia-based Frontier Digital Ventures link link2

  • invest Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel and COO Qasar Younis finish their week-long Nigeria developer tour link link2

  • startups Nigerian job-hunting startup MyJobMag expands into Kenya with link

  • startups Nigerian local artistian e-commerce marketplace MadeInAba.Com.Ng launched link

  • startups food delivery and B2B delivery startup Metro Africa Express (MAX) acquires food delivery startup Easyappetite link

  • startups on-demand cooking gas (a $1.26b market) delivery startup QuickGas announces the results from their first 8 month pilot link

  • ecosystem African developer network DevCenter releases results from their Nigerian developer ecosystem survey link

  • ecosystem IDC announces that smartphone shipments to Nigeria dropped 6.8% in Q2 2016 link

  • ecosystem Microsoft launches WINsiders4Good Nigerian startup mentorship and support initiative with ccHub in Lagos link

  • access MTN Nigeria’s credit rating cut to junk status by S&P Global link


  • startups off-grid solar startup d.light raises $22.5mm for Series D round for further growth from current 1.6mm Kenyan household install base link link2

  • startups Strathmore University’s iLab releases WILD app to aid Kenya’s Sh87b elephant eco-tourism market by reducing elephant poaching and crop damage link

  • payments payments processor Direct Pay Online Group acquires ZA’s PayGate for $7.3mm link

  • access US gov’t OPIC finance institution loans $4.1mm to solar-powered wireless Internet access startup Mawingu Networks link

south africa

  • invest parking fintech startup WizzPass receives investment from Barclays Seeker Fund link

  • startups fintech startup Stokfella aims to move South Africa’s USD$1.8b stokvels over to mobile link1 link2

  • startups UberEATS launches in Johannesburg (their first African city) link

  • payments Gauteng province to launch cashless “e-ticket” payments for minibus taxi fares link

  • access Vodacom announces their FTTH consumer pricing link

  • access Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) to launch LTE-A (5G) network in 2016 link link1

  • access FTTH connections increased 89.6% in 2015, while ADSL connections dropped 16.4% link

  • access PwC projects that South Africa’s total Internet revenue will grow to R68.5b in 2020 (11.7% annual growth rate) link link2

  • access Parliament continued hearings on #DataMustFall as consumers, gov’t and business protest the high cost of mobile data link link2 link3

  • govt + access ICASA may be canceling planned LTE and 4G spectrum licensing auction due to court interdict from Dept of Communications link link2 link3

  • govt + access Minister of Telecoms releases the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy white paper, including “Open Access” and net neutrality policies for existing and future networks link link2 link3

  • space Successful “first light” images are released from the MeerKAT radio telescope array (which will become part of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) link

other sub-saharan africa countries

  • payments Ugandan virtual banking product MoKash (with MTN Mobile Money and Commercial Bank of Africa) reaches 600k subscribers and 2k microloans/day within 2 months of launch link link2