Digest: Google Launchpad Accelerator Expands to Other African Countries

Note: This is an edited version of the TechCabal daily digest for September 4, 2017. Subscribe here, to get it in your mailbox every day around 7am (WAT).

Here’s what you should know today.


1 – Launchpad 🚀🌍

Google’s accelerator programme for startups in emerging markets, Launchpad, is expanding to other African countries. Before now, it was only open to growth stage startups in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, but Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda have been added to the mix.

The six-month programme will receive support, access to credits for Gooogle products (like their cloud service, for example), and a two-week training in San Francisco. Applications close on October 2, 2017.

+ Google is hiring a Head of Operations to run its Accelerator in Africa. Link.

2 – Arbitrage 💸 

The margin between the amount Nigerian banks pay for consumer deposits and what they charge for loans has been steadily increasing over time. This trend is driven by the fact that the central bank offers banks very attractive interest rates for treasury bills (~20%), reducing the incentives for banks to lend to the private sector.

+ These high margins have created an opportunity for fintech startups to offer better rates than banks for both savings and lending, and we’ve seen ALAT by Wema Bank and Piggybank.ng take advantage of this by offering higher than usual rates on deposits.

Chart source: Nairametrics.

3 – Showmax + DSTV 📺 

Ah, yes. Techcentral is reporting that Naspers is merging two of the entertainment properties they own; Showmax Africa, the SVOD platform, and DSTV, the satellite TV company. The new division, which is yet to be named, will be led by Multichoice SA CEO Mark Rayner for the time being.

They have been very light on the details, but my bet is that DSTV is looking for a growth story, with fewer and fewer people finding their bundle as compelling as they used to (live sports being the obvious exception), and Showmax looking to increase the subscriber base for its hyperlocal content strategy. By merging both platforms, DSTV gets differentiated content, and Showmax gets increased content creation and distribution infrastructure in all the markets DSTV is in.

What else is interesting?


+ Podcast: Starta’s Dotun Olowoporoku talks to Shola Akinlade about founding Paystack. Link.

+ Facebook Messenger bot for buying airtime, ordering food, buying movie tickets, and finding events in Nigeria. Link. // Did I mention that one of my favorite pastimes is working out parser rules and trying to break other people’s chat bots?

+ Seedstars is now accepting applications from startups in Mali. Link.

+ Safaricom is getting into e-commerce, and Jumia Kenya is bracing for impact. Link.

+ Adia Sowho, Director of Digital Business @ 9Mobile, wrote about startups partnering with telcos. Link.

+ Tomi Davies wrote about the power of seed-stage syndicates in Africa. Link.

+ Pineapple raises ~ $400k. Link.

Upcoming events


Cape Town: SA Innovation Summit is taking place from September 6 – 8 at the stadium in Green Point. Link.

Lagos: Paystack is organizing a Y-Combinator Lagos Meetup on September 23. Meet YC founders and gain insight into the process. Link.


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