Note #8: March 11 - March 26 2017

Context and Thoughts

I believe that that 2017 and 2018 will be when Nigeria becomes the #1 African country for tech startup growth & investment (more on this in the next issue of Africa Notes), and so I’m both pleased and not surprised to see 3 more Nigerian startups listed in the current (W17) Y Combinator class: Kangpe (instant professional medical advice), BuyPower (prepaid electricity sales), and Tizeti (low-cost public Internet access via solar-powered WiFi towers). I’ve also added them to my ongoing African startups in Y Combinator tracking spreadsheet.


I’ve received some feedback from readers who would like to see more North African coverage in this newsletter. While the primary focus of Africa Notes remains Sub-Saharan Africa, I’ll try adding relevant North Africa tech coverage as it hits my radar. I’ve also started marking startup names in bold to make this newsletter easier to scan.

Industry News

  • 1,000 African entrepreneurs chosen for Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), receiving mentorship and up to $10k seed capital link link2

  • Allan Gray Orbis Foundation [ZA] releases report studying South Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, ranks ZA as #2 in Sub-Saharan Africa link link2

  • Over 300 tech hubs now active across Africa according to GSMA link link2

  • Accelerator Inkomoko [RW] partners with Bank of Kigali [RW] to launch Urumuri Initiative: 7 month tech incubator program offering pool of $73k of zero-interest loans for 8 qualifying mid-stage startups link link2

  • Microsoft expands #Insiders4Good Fellowship (hardware & software credits, mentorship, & bootcamp for entrepreneurs who address social or economic issues) to applicants from 4 East African countries: KE, TZ, RW, UG link link2

Deals, Startups, and More

  • African datacenter giant Teraco [ZA] raises $91mm from Barclay’s Africa [ZA] to continue their infrastructure growth on the continent, including a new eastern Johannesburg datacenter buildout in 2017 link

  • Local package delivery startup Pargo [ZA] raises $1.2mm funding round led by SAAD Investment Holdings [ZA] with Tsing Capital [CN] and Johan Dekker [ZA] link

  • “Talent accelerator” Andela [NG] fellowship program expands further into Africa, opening up in Uganda link link2

  • Targeted music startup NicheStreem [ZA] raises funding by selling 10% equity to Media24 [ZA] (amount undisclosed) as part of their ongoing seed round fundraising link link2

  • Ringier Africa [CH] exits Ringier Africa Deals Group JV, selling its stake in DealDey [NG] to Silvertree Holdings [ZA] link

  • Fintech company 22seven [ZA] (think “Mint.com + online investing for South Africa”) to be fully absorbed into parent company Old Mutual [ZA], loses co-founders Christo Davel (CEO) and Kenny Inggs (CTO) link link2

  • Spazapp [ZA] launches Android app to help spaza stores (informal local retailers) to save money by ordering supplies directly from large brands and suppliers link

  • Travel insurance sales startup Hepstar [ZA] accepted into the Plug and Play [US] accelerator program in Silicon Valley link

  • Mobile payments startup Paga [NG] announces that it has now reached over 6 million users in Nigeria link

  • Financial service provider AI chatbot FinChatBot [ZA], incubated at Cape Town’s Far Ventures, raises $122k from angel Richard Marsden link

  • Event professionals project quoting platform Eventerprise [ZA] raises funds from 3 additional angel investors link

  • Courier startup Bosta [EG], whose main feature is being able to offer “instant delivery” within 2 hours, raises funding round (amount undisclosed) from Numu Capital [AE] link

  • Jewelry e-commerce startup JewelHub [EG] raises seed funding (amount undisclosed) from investor Nada El Mosalamy [EG] link