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Today’s letter is sponsored by Fincra and we're looking at:
- African startups that pitched at Techstars Toronto Demo Day
- The new Y Combinator’s $500,000 standard deal
- The pivot of brick-and-mortar banks to become digital banks
Let’s dive in! (P.S: There's a gift at the end of the letter.)
African startups make up 66% of the 5th class of Techstars Toronto
Techstars Toronto's second class of 2021 had their demo day on January 11. Out of the 12 selected startups that pitched, eight were African startups.
Meet the eight African companies in the 5th class of Techstars Toronto:
1. Healthtracka is a digital health platform founded by Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson. It provides at-home testing and sample collection, and results can be collected in less than three days.
2. Fleri was founded by Sam Baddoo. It helps immigrants in the United States provide healthcare and insurance for their loved ones back home in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Both Healthtracka and Fleri inked a partnership deal last year.
3. OurPass is a Nigerian startup that provides one-click checkout technology for digital commerce in Africa. It was founded by Samuel Chukwunonso Eze and recently closed a pre-seed round of $1 million
4. RentSmallSmall was co-founded by Tunde Balogun, Pidah Tnadah and Naomi Olaghere in 2017. The Nigerian proptech startup provides on-demand rental solutions.
5. Kyshi is a UK-based but Africa-focused fintech that specialises in facilitating cross-border money transfers from Europe to Africa.
6. Payday enables transactions between Africa and other countries. Founded by Favour Ori, PayDay is the first Rwandan startup to join Techstars Toronto Accelerator.
7. Lenco enables small and medium enterprises to easily set up and manage their business bank accounts.
8. Duhqa is a Nairobi-based logistics startup that makes last-mile delivery seamless through its innovation.
Fincra is a payment infrastructure that provides fintechs, online platforms and global businesses with reliable online and offline payment solutions for collections and payouts in different currencies.
You can gain access to Fincra’s payments platform or integrate their APIs for seamless payments processing. Learn more.
What’s the new Y Combinator $500 standard deal about?
Y Combinator recently announced that in addition to the existing $125,000 investment which all startups accepted into their accelerator programme receive, they will be investing an additional $375,000 in an uncapped simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) using the 'most favoured nation's (MFN) terms.
Both the usual $125,000 (on a post-money SAFE for 7% equity) and the new $375,000 (on an uncapped SAFE with an MFN proviso) are not contingent on any milestones by the recipient company. You can get more insights about the deal here.
Standard Chartered to shut down 50% of its Nigerian branches
Standard Chartered Plc has announced that it is closing half of its Nigerian branches in a pivot to digital banking. This shift mirrors efforts by other deposit money banks embracing digital banking amid a fintech boom that has put much of Africa at the cutting edge of the revolution in mobile money.
The London-listed lender’s local unit has already commenced shutting down some offices in December. It will operate only 13 branches across Nigeria, down from about 25 previously.
Here are some of the interesting stories that we've come across in the past week:
- When is a new tech 'ahead of its time' — or just doomed?
- An emerging market perspective on the Y Combinator's new deal.
- Debates about technology and progress are often framed in terms of optimism and pessimism. There should be a middle ground.
- Find out how this Nigerian is raising kings and queens through chess in the slum.
💼 Job Opportunities
Check out these openings. Share with them with your network.
Marketing & Finance:
- Wimbart - PR Account Executive
- Klasha - Marketing Storyteller [Lagos]
- VALR - Head of Marketing [South Africa]
- Cowrywise - Social Media Manager [Lagos]
- Xiaomi Technologies - Marketing Manager [Lagos]
- Spotify - Market and Strategy Operations Lead [Africa]
Product & Design:
- Cowrywise - Software Engineer and other roles
- Microsoft - Software Engineer; Mixed Reality [Lagos]
- Gen - Senior Mobile Developer and other roles. [Jo'burg, Lagos]