BD Insider, Letter 97: Africa completes QED's jigsaw

In this letter, we covered Netflix plan to support African creatives with a $1 million scholarship fund, QED appointment of two Nigerians, Carry1st $20 million seed extension.

BD Insider, Letter 97: Africa completes QED's jigsaw

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In this letter:

  • Netflix to support Sub-Saharan Africa creatives with $1 million scholarship
  • QED Investors hires two Nigerians to focus on U.S., Africa and international investments
  • Carry1st, a South African social games publisher, receives $20 million Series A from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Google and American rapper Nas.

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Netflix to support Sub-Saharan Africa creatives with $1 million scholarship
Netflix has committed $1 million to its Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) to support film and TV students in Sub-Saharan Africa. The CESF is part of the Netflix Creative Equity Fund launched last year to support various initiatives across the world over the next five years.

The scholarship fund will cover tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses of beneficiaries pursuing a course of study in TV and film disciplines in the 2022 academic year at any of the selected institutions. Tshikululu Social Investments has been selected as the implementing partner and fund administrator in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The implementing partners and qualifying institutions in East and West Africa are yet to be announced.

QED Investors hires two Nigerians to bolster its African investments efforts
In an uncommon move, a U.S.-based investment firm QED Investors has hired two Nigerians โ€” Gbenga Ajayi as a partner and Chidinma Iwueke as a principal. Gbenga will head QED's investments into Africa and Chidinma will have a dual focus on the United States and international investments.

QED co-founder and managing partner Nigel Morris told TechCrunch that adding Africa is the final jigsaw puzzle that makes QED Investors a fully global fintech-specialist firm. Founded in 2007, QED has invested in 108 companies across the United Kingdom, U.S., Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. It had raised $1.05 billion last year September for its seventh fund.

Before this appointment, Gbenga has worked as Google's product partnerships lead in Europe and Africa before transitioning to other positions within the company. And Chidinma was a partner at Nigeria-based early-stage venture capital firm Microtraction.

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a16z, Google and Nas invest in South Africaโ€™s Carry1st
South African mobile gaming startup, Carry1st has raised a $20 million Series A extension in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Other investors that participated in the round include Avenir, Google, Nas, and Chipper Cash founders Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled.

Founded in 2018, Carry1st is a mobile games publisher serving the first generation of African smartphone users. It has reached millions of users with games such as Mine Rescue and SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off. And it has also launched a proprietary payment and online marketplace to better monetise content.

With this investment, Carry1st will expand its content portfolio, grow its in-house development team and spearhead a new growth strategy to attract tens of millions of new users. A key pillar of its growth strategy is developing infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming, which allows users to monetize their gaming experience. And since the most pro blockchain and crypto investment firm in Silicon Valley led the round, there's a web3 angle to the investment.

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