BD Insider 69: Funding African women, TIME Next100 and Gen Z

This newsletter looks at funding for women, Gen Z vs Millenials, Quickteller Business, and more

BD Insider 69: Funding African women, TIME Next100 and Gen Z

This is a blog copy of the 68th version of our weekly newsletter, BD Insider. Subscribers get to read it first and can take action based it.

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Someone remarked on Twitter that February has been what we thought January would be, and I agree wholeheartedly.

While January had its share of drama, February has brought us CBN's crypto ban, Risevest's personnel gaffe, another Lekki toll gate incident, and several other heart-in-mouth moments. But none of them have stopped us from showing up because showing up is half the battle.

It's the final week of February, and we're showing up once again, indefatigable as ever.

In today's newsletter, we will be recapping some of the previous week's most important events and sharing much-needed insight. Some of the topics we'll be discussing include:

  • The state of funding for women in Nigeria
  • Flutterwave and Piggyvest cofounders on the TIME Next100
  • Who won the intergenerational tweet-fight?
  • Interswitch's new e-commerce product

Don't forget to share with your friends if you enjoy today's newsletter.

Something-you-should-know: In 2020, only 10.8% of Nigerian startups that got $50,000+ in funding had at least one female co-founder.

When you follow the money, that 10.8% raised 13.2% of the $117 million+ that came into Nigeria's ecosystem that year -  that's just over $15 million.

In 2020, only 5.4% of Nigerian companies that received funding were female-led. 10.8% of companies had at least one female co-founder.-

Why are African women not getting funding?

The issue of poor funding for women is not unique to Nigeria or Africa. According to CrunchBase, only 2.3% of global funding in 2020 went to female-led startups. This is despite several studies showing that female-led startups and companies with female decision-makers consistently outperform their male counterparts.

So if women make money, why are VCs not funding them? Most VCs claim there are not enough female-led startups entering into funding rounds, but that's not the full picture. According to International Finance Corporation (IFC),  some of the prominent reasons women receive less funding include:

  • Fewer female-led startups receive early-stage funding.
  • Female-led startups find it harder to transit between funding stages.
  • Few female decision-makers in venture capital firms and other investment companies

It is clear to see that women in tech are disenfranchised through no fault of their own. There are also reports of women being denied funding because they were more practical with their pitches as opposed to having grand visions like their male counterparts

African  investors that are backing women

The only way to guarantee investment in women is to have women in decision-making roles at VCs and other investment firms. Here are a couple of investment funds that are leading the way:

  • Alitheia Identity Fund: Alitheia IDF is a private equity fund committed to driving gender diversity while growing businesses. The fund is led by Tokunbo Ishmael and Polo Radebe, principal partners in Nigeria and South Africa, respectively. In 2015, the female-led fund received $12.5 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to invest in women. Some of its notable investments include Tomato Jos - a female-led tomato paste company, and Innovative Microfinance - a company that provides loans to rural Ghanaians without bank accounts, especially women.
  • Dazzle Angels: Based in South Africa, Dazzle Angels claims to be the country's first female-focused angel fund. The fund is looking to close the gender inequality gap in early-stage startup investment. Its focus is on backing Zebras - companies that are profitable and improve society.
  • FirstCheck Africa: Newly launched FirstCheck is looking to cut early stage checks for up to 6 African startups in its first year. It is led by Odunayo Eweniyi -  COO and cofounder of PiggyvestNG, and Elohor Omame - CEO of Endeavor Nigeria. Idea stage startups are also welcome to apply for funding.
  • Rising Tide Africa: Founded by Yemi Kemi, Rising Tide aims to be more than an investment fund for women. The angel investment fund also wants to provide mentorship and support for female entrepreneurs and executives. RTA made its first investment earlier this year - OZÉ, a female-led Ghanaian fintech startup.

Flutterwave & Piggyvest Co-founders make it into TIME Next100

The TIME Next100 is an annual award that recognises emerging leaders that are shaping the future across the world. It is a part of the popular TIME 100 franchise which recognises world leaders every year.

This year’s award was only the second edition and featured a number of prominent faces from across Africa.

Flutterwave’s Olugbenga Agboola made it into the TIME Next100 for the company’s work during the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the report, Flutterwave onboarded over 20,000 vendors and processed more than $7.5 billion in transactions in 2020.

Odunayo Eweniyi of Piggyvest also made an appearance on the list due to her work with the Feminist Coalition during the EndSARS protests. She and the FemCo team raised over $387,000 to help with logistics, medical and legal aid to support the protests. Odun was recognised alongside other FemCo cofounders - Feyikemi Abudu and Damilola Odufuwa.

Other notable Africans on the TIME Next100 list include:

  • Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr - Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Ijeoma Oluo - A Nigerian-American writer
  • Vanessa Nakate - a Ugandan climate activist
  • Amoako Boafo -  a Ghanaian artist
  • David “Davido” Adeleke - A Nigerian music artiste
  • Nadeen Ashraf - An Egyptian female activist

Who won the inter-generational Tweet-fight?

Last week saw the latest inter-generational showdown on Twitter as Millenials battled Gen Z for bragging rights. Banter flew from all corners of the internet with stray disses hitting unsuspecting users, including Paystack co-founder Ezra Olubi.

We watched from the sidelines with muffled laughter while trying to avoid being part of the collateral damage.

If you didn't get hit by any hilarious disses, you're one of the lucky ones born in the time towards the end of the millennial timeline or just at the beginning of the Gen Z timeline (1994 - 2000). Several people have referred to this generation as Zillenials.

Since Zillenials managed to escape the gunfire of last week, we proclaim them winners of the banter wars.

We didn't do this because the Benjamindada team are all Zillenials 😑

Interswitch launches new e-commerce product - Quickteller Business

Nigeria's e-commerce sector seems to be gaining a new level of interest over the last few years. Last week, Nigeria's foremost fintech giant,  Interswitch. announced the launch of its own e-commerce platform.

The new product which is layered on Interswitch's consumer product, Quickteller,  is supposed to help SMEs sell online. The product will give small businesses access to the full range of Quickteller's payments offering including disbursements and value financing. With Quickteller already boasting over 5 million users, the e-commerce offering is a win for all parties involved.

With Quickteller Business, Interswitch joins the league of fintech companies that are creating e-commerce offerings. Over the last two years Opay, Flutterwave, Paystack, and Remitta have all created e-commerce products to help SMEs sell online. In 2020 alone, Flutterwave onboarded 20,000 businesses.

Carbon is another fintech that is rolling out an e-commerce product with a buy-now, pay-later model that it offers to users.


Here are some of the recent startup fundraises across Africa that you should be aware of:

  • Nigerian vegan food start-up, VeggieVictory secures an undisclosed amount of funding from  Sustainable Food Ventures and Kale United among others
  • hearX, a South African hearing aid startup raised $8.3 million from Bose and other investors to tackle hearing loss and provide hearing care solutions.
  • Amitruck, a Kenyan logistics startup, has raised an undisclosed amount for Dynamo Ventures and several angel investors.

Things we found interesting

Here are some of the most exciting stories we've written and read over the last seven days:

Jobs and Opportunities

In addition to last week's list of jobs, events, and other  opportunities, check these out, too:

Thanks for reading

Hope this newsletter was helpful. Reach me directly by replying this email.


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