BD Insider: Letter 120

This edition covers the African startup deal activity in the last two weeks of June, the launch of Airtel PSB, and Moove's continuous raising cycle. We also share verified open job opportunities in tech.

BD Insider: Letter 120

In Nigeria, the political campaigns have begun ahead of the 2023 General Elections. A key part of elections is the voting process. So, we asked our techies in Nigeria to tell us if they have a Voter's Card (aka PVC), and less than half of the respondents had a PVC. Although, another 25% of them said they are currently in the process. It remains to be seen how many eventually get their Permanent Voter's Card (PVC) before the election.

For Letter 120, we will share:

  • the latest African Tech Startup Deals (in PNG and a live format)
  • news about the launch of Airtel's PSB, Smartcash Payment Service Bank
  • the CBN's admonition to OFIs on cybersecurity
  • news about Moove's continuous raising cycle—they are now at $135 million in 2022 this year alone
  • job opportunities and more

🤑 African Tech startup deals

In the first half of 2022, African startups jointly raised over $2.17 billion. Flutterwave’s $250 million Series D, Wasoko’s $125 million Series B, InstaDeep’s $100 million Series B, and MFS Africa’s $100 million Series C were the largest funding deals between January and June.

Meanwhile, "the Big Four"—Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa maintained their position as nations with the highest funding.

According to BD Funding Tracker, about 33% of the total investment into African startups went to Fintechs.

In the last week of June, Moove and Yellow each raised a debt funding of $20 million, making both of them the highest fundraisers of the week. In the third week of June, Fido—a Ghanaian fintech raised a $30 million Series A to emerge as the highest fundraising in that week.

Find out more about the funding rounds in Africa from June 20 to June 30, 2022, in the funding tracker linked above


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Remote work is for doing the work that pays you. So, I outsource the chores. For the past two months, I've used SweepSouth to clean my house. And it's been a great deal and service.

I was able to get them to give me a discount code for you, a BD Insider. So, if you are keen to try out a home cleaning service in Lagos, use "BDinsider30" as your coupon for 30% off.

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Airtel Africa's Payment Service Bank, SmartCash commences operations in Nigeria

What's the news? Airtel Africa's SmartCash began operations two months after the CBN granted the telecoms' fintech arm a Payment Service Bank (PSB) licence. "The launch of Smartcash PSB gives us fresh impetus at Airtel Africa, to continue growing our footprint in the continent and delivering innovative solutions," Airtel Africa’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya said during the launch event in Lagos on June 30.

Why it matters: "In the bank, we have the best of both worlds—a hybrid of commercial bank and mobile financial services—offering last-mile connection to the financially excluded. Through it, we want to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, to empower Nigerians while transforming the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of Africa." Ogunsanya stated.

In Nigeria, only 67.5 million (64%) of the 105.5 million adult population were financially included in the year 2020. Although financial inclusion has grown in the past decade, Nigeria fell short of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets for 2020. The country had aimed to reach 70% of Nigerians with formal financial services by 2020; the actual figure was 51%.

"The primary purpose of SmartCash is to deepen financial inclusion, appropriating high-volume and low-value transactions in a safe, technology-driven environment." a caption on the website reads. As of November 2020, the number of Airtel subscribers in Nigeria was 57 million—the telecom company will leverage its influence to grow the users on the PSB.

As a PSB, SmartCash can:

  • Accept deposits from customers and small businesses
  • Hold funds in an electronic wallet
  • Invest in interest-bearing FGN and CBN securities and offer saving products
  • Engage in different forms of local payments including merchant payments, bill payments, and person-to-person transfers
  • Provide inbound remittance services
  • Issue prepaid and debit cards
  • Provide POS and ATM services
  • Build a network of physical banking agents for deposits, payments, and withdrawals

Despite the aforementioned, the PSB license comes with significant restrictions. According to the regulations, SmartCash PSB cannot:

  • Directly provide loans or advances
  • Underwrite insurance
  • Accept and hold foreign currency deposits
  • Engage in foreign exchange transactions except for the purpose of inbound remittances
  • Accept alternative means of value like airtime as a means of payment

Also, 25% of physical activity of all the PSB must take place in rural areas with a high unbanked population as defined by the CBN.

Check out Fincra's easy-to-integrate payment APIs

Fincra has designed its API infrastructure for developers that build platforms that send and receive frequent payments and require flexibility.

Are you ready to build the best payment solutions on the continent?

Yes, sign me up

CBN issues cybersecurity guidelines to Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

What's the news? The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued a cybersecurity framework and guidelines for OFIs. In a letter dated June 29, 2022, Nkiru Aseigbu, CBN's Director of OFIs Supervision Department said "it has become mandatory for institutions to strengthen their cyber defences if they are to remain safe and sound."

Why it matters: The CBN's cybersecurity guidelines came a few weeks after MoMo Payment Service Bank (MoMo PSB) suffered a cybersecurity breach. The PSB has since sued 18 commercial banks to seek a refund for ₦22.3 billion ($53.7 million) "erroneously transferred to 8,000 bank customers" during the breach.

The 41-paged document [pdf] comprises six parts: cybersecurity governance and oversight, cybersecurity risk management system, cyber resilience assessment, cybersecurity operational resilience, cyber-threat intelligence and metrics, monitoring, and reporting.  

What OFIs are required to do: Every OFI is mandated by the guidelines to designate a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) whose responsibility includes mitigation of cybersecurity risks. The CBN also stated that only individuals with relevant Information Security Certifications including but not limited to Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) should be considered for the role.

Meanwhile, OFIs with more than 30 employees are required to create an Information Security Steering Committee (ISSC) that will consist of relevant representatives from departments within the OFI, and the CISO will lead the committee. The provisions of the guideline will become effective from January 1, 2023, the CBN stated. Non-compliance with the framework and guidelines will attract sanctions as determined by the CBN in line with the CBN Act and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA).


BD Trivia of the Week

Be the first to answer this question and win a free spotlight for a credible African startup of your choice.

To answer, just reply to the tweet.


Moove raised $135 million in the first half of 2022. How?

Last week, Moove secured $20 million in debt funding from the British International Investment (BII), the UK government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI). Seems the mobility startup is on a fundraising spree, Moove raised $135 million between January and June.

In February, Moove raised a $10 million financing facility from NBK Capital Partners Mezzanine Fund II. By the way, Venture debt is not bad. Founders who want to avoid dilution — reduction in their equity — are advised to raise money through this alternative financing method. Because raising money through equity financing can cost founders up to 20% equity at each funding round. And by Series C or D round, the founders could own less than 10% of their company.

However, Moove raised $105 million in what it described as a "Series A2" to scale its vehicle financing model globally, with expansion into seven new markets across Asia, MENA, and Europe. Moove has since partnered with Swvl to roll out electric vehicles across the MENA region and Pakistan.

The Series A2 round was led by existing investors, Speedinvest, Left Lane Capital, and thelatest.ventures, with participation from new investors including AfricInvest, MUFG Innovation Partners, Latitude, and Kreos Capital.  So far, the mobility startup has raised a total of $194.5 million since it was launched in 2020.


✍🏾 Noteworthy from African Press

Here are some of the key stories we read (and wrote) last week:


đź’ˇOpportunities

Curated opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth.

Product & Design:

Data & Engineering:

Admin & Growth:

Other opportunities:

  • For African B2B SaaS companies: Consider applying to Europe's Startup Wise Accelerator
  • For women (and men): Apply for Stutern's African Tech Sis Scholarship to get 50% off to learn Product Design, Frontend, and Backend Engineering.
  • For Ghanaian startups: MEST Express Accelerator opens applications for Ghana startups
  • For Lagos-based fintech and proptech startups: The ARMS Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program is now accepting applications from early-stage African fintech and Proptech startups
  • For Nigerian graduates: Applications for Flutterwave Graduate Trainee Development Program for Engineering and Non-Engineering tracks are open.

Thanks for reading.

You can get in touch with us by emailing [email protected](dot)com and we'd reply within the hour.