Hi there! Here’s everything interesting in African technology today. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not subscribed to TechCabal’s daily digest. Click here to get this goodness in your mailbox every day at 7am (GMT +1).

First off, major stuff happening

1. Kenyan data collection startup, Bamba Group, closed its first seed round yesterday after raising $1.1 million in seed investment. Some big names like Helios, Kosch Capital & AfricInvest Capital are on the list of investors. Bamba raised $250,000 on Kenya’s Lion’s Den last year and before that they were accepted into Techstars. Great times. Bamba will use this new funding to develop new data collection solutions, grow its team and expand to other countries.

2. Financial inclusion – First, it was the Huduma card initiative and now this. Mastercard is planning to financially include 150,000 Kenyan merchants by giving them access to its Masterpass QR platform. Consumers will be able to make purchases at participating stores by scanning the QR code displayed at checkout on their smartphones, or by entering a merchant identifier into their feature phones. What it really is, is that Mastercard is looking to acquire 150,000 merchants on its platform. Simple.

3. We know accelerators but have you heard of decelerators? – Disrupt Africa reports that the Menorca Millennials programme in Spain aims to decelerate participating startups by deconstructing and assessing their model and strategies. The program selects 20 startups from around the world for a two-week intensive boot camp with workshops, one-on-one sessions with experts and investors and informal networking opportunities to help them reassess their business models in preparation for a heightened growth phase. They are currently accepting applications here.

4. 30 Days –That’s how long the internet shutdown in Anglophone Cameroon has lasted for. What has been most shocking for me is the total silence on the side of the Cameroonian government. Sigh. #BringBackOurInternet.

5. Congratulations to Andela who have been named as one of the Most Innovative Companies in Africa by Fast Company.

6. The Lagos State Government is planning to set up 500 coding centres in public and private schools across Lagos as part of its CodeLagos Initiative. They are doing this to equip at least 1 million Lagosians with programming skills. Facilitators at the centres are currently being screened and 1500 of them will be selected and deployed to train students.

You can now apply for Ventures Platform‘s (VP) accelerator program. It’s a 4-month program that’s designed to support startups at the MVP stage with mentorship, business re-engineering, work space, living space, back office support, shared services and seed funding. Link.

What else is going on?

+ How many people used your platform in the last year? Mark: That’s confidential. Kwakwakwa. ?

+ CcHub’s Talent Gap released an interesting report on the scarcity of qualified talent in Nigeria’s tech industry. You should read it and peep that “lucrative” salary range graph.

+ Are you able to tell anyone off for any reason without risking your livelihood? Can you stunt without dollas? Get yo life.

+ M.G. Siegler on being careful about your time because busy doesn’t always equal productivity.

+ Youtube tutorials vs Real life.

250 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free.

+ Andy Sparks and Josh Levy have compiled the startup fundraising dictionary to help you get to know the players and basic terminology. It’s very useful.

+ CBN released some data on varying e-payment channels in Nigeria from 2012- 2016 yesterday. It’s easy to look at the graphs and be confounded when you see that NIP (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Instant Payment) was lower than ATM use in terms of volume. But when you look at the VALUE of those transactions, the NIP recorded almost N30 trillion while ATM use was for just under N4 trillion in 2016.

Hot topic(s) on TechCabal Radar

+ Play this game to see if you should quit your day job and focus on becoming a professional makeup artist. I failed. Welp.

Upcoming events

Joburg: National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) Summit, 15th and 16th February, 2017. Link

Lagos: TensorFlow Dev Summit Viewing Party, February 15th. Ah, sold out.

Lagos: Silicon Drinkup, by Starta, February 17th. Link

Lagos: The 2017 edition of Connect Nigeria’s Business Fair is going down on the 18th. Link

Lagos: MEST is hosting a fireside chat on Saturday, February 18. Link.

Lagos: The Afropreneur Pitchdeck Workshop, February 18th. Link

Lagos: Hackaday Hardware Lagos, February 18th. Link

Add your event

Registration is now open for Starta’s Side Hustle Bootcamp taking place in Lagos in February. 25 entrepreneurs will undergo one weekend of intensive practical learning on how to ideate, start, launch and get funding for tech-enabled businesses. The bootcamp is from Friday, February 24 to Sunday, February 26. The fee starts at N60,000 but digest subscribers can get 10% off using our discount code – SHBTC10. Apply here.

That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading (and sharing).

Read Wednesday’s TechCabal digest here

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