It's a great day to serve you with our weekly BD Insider, now on Letter 127.
There is so much to talk about. And the topics cut across: MFS Africa's expansion into Nigeria, the 5G launch in Tanzania and Jumia's plan to leverage Zipline's drone technology for deliveries in Ghana.
As usual, we always tell you about the latest startup funding deals happening in Africa. Plus, we share ongoing opportunities in tech.
Before we dive in, here is something we are excited about—we fulfilled our second major PR gig. So, in addition to publishing articles on our platform, we also selectively work with Africa-focused startups to craft their stories and distribute them to other platforms, across the continent.
The first PR gig we worked on was Octamile's pre-seed announcement. And this second one was to announce Anchor's public beta. Anchor is a YC-backed Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform led by the former Amplifypay CEO, Segun Adeyemi. Thanks for trusting us, Segun and congratulations once again.
MFS Africa to expand into Nigeria
The news: MFS Africa has negotiated a deal for additional funding from Norsad Capital, an impact investor offering tailor-made debt solutions to mid-market growth companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Why it matters: According to Kenny Nwosu, CEO at Norsad Capital, "[the additional funding] will assist MFS Africa to break into Nigeria, a market that is key to MFS Africa’s growth strategy."
"With its extensive population and capacity to do business, Nigeria accounts for the largest movement of money around the continent, and our funding is important as it comes at a point in the company’s development where it is poised for significant growth," Nwosu said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.
Zoom out: After raising a Series C extension round of $100 million (comprising both equity and debt financing) in June 2022, MFS Africa disclosed that it will embark on a pan-African expansion.
Since the first close of its Series C round in November 2021, MFS Africa acquired BAXI in Nigeria. BAXI has since received additional licenses from the Central Bank of Nigeria, including Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) and Payment Solutions Service Provider (PSSP) licenses.
MFS Africa is arguably the largest hub for omnichannel payments in Africa, which connects over 400 million mobile money users on the continent. Impacting largely the unbanked and the underbanked demographic on the continent, the fintech connects mobile network operators, money transfer organisations, cross-border payments remittance firms, financial service providers, and worldwide merchants to millions of mobile wallets on the continent.
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Vodacom rolls out the first ever 5G service in Tanzania
The news: Last Thursday (September 1, 2022), Vodacom Tanzania, launch its 5G service in Tanzania—becoming the first telecom to launch the network in the country.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Groups' CEO said that "having been the first to launch 5G in Africa, this is an exciting milestone in Vodacom’s history as we continue to densify 5G services across our African markets, bringing the continent closer to the global digital economy through the latest generation of mobile technology."
Why it matters: The new non-standalone 5G service offers customers faster speeds, and lower latency and will support the development of emerging technologies in Tanzania, such as the Internet of Things.
The network will be available for fixed network customers through Vodacom's 5G routers, and for smartphone users with 5G capable devices. Customers can expect to enjoy speeds of up to 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), with plans to offer more than 800Mbps in the coming months. Vodacom expects the network to achieve speeds of up to 1 Gigabit-per-second once the 5G spectrum is made fully available.
What's next?: Vodacom Tanzania will deploy various sites in Dar es Salaam with a target to expand 5G technology to approximately 230 locations in the country, including Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa, Kagera, Zanzibar, Mbeya and other locations.
Zoom out: MTN Nigeria became the first telecommunication provider in Nigeria to roll out the 5G mobile network after it launched on August 24, 2022. Tanzania has now joined Ethiopia, Botswana, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, when it comes to testing or deploying 5G.
Jumia partners with Zipline to launch eCommerce drone delivery in Ghana
The news: Jumia has partnered with Zipline to launch on-demand drone delivery across Ghana. The e-commerce intends to expand into Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria in the near future.
How will it work: The partnership will integrate Zipline's automated, on-demand delivery system with Jumia's existing distribution network to enable customers to receive instant, on-demand delivery of exactly the products they want, exactly when they want them and from the comfort of their homes.
"Using the latest instant logistics technology will allow Jumia to offer our consumers on-demand delivery of the products they need – instantly. Whether they’re ordering electronics, fashion, health, beauty, or other categories, Zipline’s instant logistics system will provide fast and convenient access," Apoorva Kumar, EVP Jumia, Group COO said.
According to Kumar, the partnership will also support Jumia's commitment to providing much-needed access to rural and remote areas where conventional delivery services have challenges.
Zoom out: Launched in 2014, Zipline started out its African operations in Rwanda and later in Ghana where it used its autonomous electric drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies, including blood and vaccines. The company recently launched its first Nigerian distribution centre in Kaduna State.
Zipline's service has expanded rapidly in Ghana to meet demand, scaling from serving 160 facilities in 2019 to nearly 2,300 as of March 2022. In that time, Zipline Ghana has flown 13 million miles and delivered more than five million doses of vaccines, in addition to blood products and other essential medicines.
💰 BD Africa Funding Tracker
African fintech startups have continued to lead fundraising in Africa. In H1 2022, these startups jointly raised $845 million. Only fintech startups raised last week based on disclosed funds curated by the BD Africa Funding Tracker.
An analysis by McKinsey estimates that Africa's financial services market could grow at about 10% per annum, reaching about $230 billion in revenues by 2025.
Get free access to our carefully-curated, real-time updated Funding Database for 2022.
Here are other important stories in the media:
- CBN grants Flutterwave a switching and processing license: Amidst regulatory hurdles in East and West Africa, the fintech unicorn has secured a high-profile licence in Nigeria.
- Risevest's CEO has stepped down: Eke Urum, Risevest's CEO has stepped down indefinitely due to allegations of sexual and non-sexual misconduct. The company has since provided a replacement for Eke, pending the results of the investigation into the allegations.
- Paystack was the first YC-backed startup from Nigeria, not PetaSales: Contrary to several media reports, we fact-checked and found out that PetaSales is not the first Nigerian or African company that YC invested in.
- Francophone African startups raised $59.4 million in H1 2022: The ~$59.4 million is less compared to the funds raised by Anglophone African startups within the same period—only Nigerian startups raised ~$754.6 million in H1 2022.
- Nine business documentaries African startup founders must see: Since watching business documentaries offers entrepreneurs a creative source to tap inspiration for their entrepreneurial journey, Stephen Oluwadara curated a list of good business documentaries.
- A guide on the upcoming merge for Ethereum investors in Africa: The Ethereum Merge is a multi-level upgrade of the Ethereum chain designed to increase the security and scalability of the network through critical infrastructure changes.
- How Errandpay is powering financial inclusion through Fintechs, MFBs and MFIs: Errandpay provides financial services providers with agency banking applications and affordable point of sales (PoS) terminals, amongst other innovative products for processing real-time transactions.
🧩 BD Trivia of the Week
MTN Nigeria rolled out its 5G network in Nigeria, but the service is only available in locations within 9 states in the country.
Last week's #BDTrivia wants you to identify these locations. Participate and share.
Every week, we carefully curate open opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth.
Product & Design:
- Stears — Senior Graphic Designer (Remote-Nigeria)
- Busha — Senior Product Manager (Nigeria)
- Flutterwave — Product Manager (Nigeria)
Data & Engineering:
- Carbon — Senior Platform Engineer
- Interswitch — Head of Tech and Ops
- TeamApt — Software Engineering Manager
Admin & Growth:
- Flutterwave — Compliance Officer (Ghana)
- Paystack — Demand Gen Marketer (South Africa)
- Microsoft — Community Engagement Lead (Africa)
- For ex-Interswitch staff in Nigeria: Interswitch has launched Back to Switch, the initiative is designed to rehire former employees of the company.
- For postgraduates: Chevening scholarship applications are now open, fully-funded scholarships to undertake any master's course at any UK university
- For women (and men): Apply for Stutern's African Tech Sis Scholarship to get 50% off to learn Product Design, Frontend, and Backend Engineering.
Thank you for reading.
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