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09 - 05 - 2019

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Insurance technology startup, WorldCover, has closed a US$6 million Series A funding round led by MS&AD Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Japan, with participation from Y Combinator, Western Technology Investment (WTI), and others. WorldCover launched out of Y Combinator in 2016 and provides climate insurance to smallholder farmers in emerging markets. Using algorithms, which combine weather and crop yield data from satellites and remote stations with data from its rapidly growing network of farmers, the company cost-effectively eliminates fraud and provide instant payouts via mobile money to farmers. WorldCover is addressing the US$50–100 billion in annual losses from natural disasters, of which less than 1% is insured. The funds will be channeled towards growth and expansion drives into Ghana, Uganda and Kenya.

Cryptocurrency platform Binance has been hacked. 7,000 BTC worth US$40.7 million was stolen in the security breach. The company says only BTC hot wallet (which contained about 2% of our total BTC holdings) were affected and all its other wallets are secure and unharmed. Its #SAFU fund will be used to cover the incident in full and no user funds will be affected, Binance has said. Phishing and viruses are part of a cocktail of techniques the yet-to-be-identified hackers employed in the cyber attack.

Believed to be West Africa's largest gadget market, Computer Village situated in Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria used to be under the leadership of the Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), headed by Ahmed Ojikutu. Rumours that the ICT commercial hub was going to get traditional market leaders was protested and the market (which generates about N1.5 billion daily), briefly shut down, but they have been instituted all the same. Meet the newly appointed Iyaloja, Abisola Azeez Raolat.

In the light of fears about Nigeria's newest brain drain (the outflow of Nigerian developers into other countries), Kola Aina paints a bigger picture of its net positive impact on the economy using the Digital Explorers programme as a case study.

InstaDeep has raised US$7 million in a Series A funding round led by private equity firm, AfricInvest, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst, a New York-based co-investment fund under Endeavor. InstaDeep will leverage AfricInvest's operational expertise and strong business knowledge on the continent to accelerate talent and positive use of AI while Endeavor will assist in connecting US CEOs and further investors with InstaDeep.

Apply before May 24 for the Pitch AgriHack annual competition that awards young entrepreneurs in ICTs for agriculture (ICT4Ag). Up to €15,000 will be awarded to seven start-ups in different categories. Learn more and apply here.

Solar energy company Daystar Power, has raised EUR 500,000 debt investments via crowdfunding from Swedish investment platform, Trine. Individuals and companies were allowed to invest in Daystar Power’s projects with a minimum investment amount of EUR 25. The move is expected to open investments in the company's solar power installations, previously limited to large-scale investors, to the wider public and to markets in Togo and Senegal.

CORRECTION: Applications for the Greenpreneurs clean energy challenge is open till May 14th 11:59 PM UTCThe challenge is open to individuals from member countries of the Global Green Growth Institute. Click here to apply. 

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has entered a US$10 million partnership with the United States African Development Foundation to support the training and entrepreneurial development of 15,000 youths in the next five years. There are a number of programmes through which the LSETF drives its entrepreneurial projects one of which is Lagos Innovates, designed to provide high quality infrastructure, learning, capital and networks, to technology and innovation-driven startups in Lagos State.

Mauritius has climbed to 20th place in a 2019 Ease of Doing Business Rankings, making it the first African country to find a spot in the top 20. Rwanda climbed 11 spots to rank 29th up from 41 last year while Kenya moved up 19 places to rank 61st and remains one of the global top improvers for the fourth time in the past 10 years. Find out more in the full report.

Applications are open for the 7-week accelerator programme, F-LANE, an initiative of the Vodafone Institute. Learn more and apply here before June 7.

Andela has announced the appointment of Janet Maingi as its new Country Director for Kenya. Janet joins a predominantly female team of Country Directors – Omowale David-Ashiru [Nigeria], Jackie Ochola [Uganda], and Clément Uwajeneza [Rwanda]. Janet will be tasked with bringing on leadership and operational excellence to drive the next phase of Andela Kenya’s growth.

Eight African hardware startups are set to pitch in the regional finals of the 2019 ASME ISHOW in Nairobi, Kenya, competing for a share of US$30,000 cash, in-kind technical support, and a ticket to the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York. Fertilizer producer Safi Organics, Ugandan AI-powered diagnostics tool breastIT, and South African hearing diagnostics solution hearX Group, are among the startups pitching at the finals.

The Kenyan government recently announced a ban on gambling advertising and endorsement by celebrities to take effect from May 30, 2019. A rapidly growing betting industry in Kenya has fuelled this ban.
SoGal initiative has launched a new chapter in Johannesburg, South Africa for female entrepreneurs. Founded in 2016 by Pocket Sun as a student group, the entrepreneurship network is now present in 40 cities across 5 continents. SoGal will provide South African entrepreneurs with education, a strong business community and access to resources like global pitch competitions and mentorships among others. They hope to expand outside Johannesburg and you can be part of that expansion. Find out how.
TechCabal is pleased to introduce its first paid report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria. This essential report profiles 75 active and 15 inactive health tech startups across 12 subsectors. It further examines the challenges these startups face, the opportunities in the space and makes actionable recommendations for entrepreneurs, investors and regulators to consider. Get the report here.

From TechCabalCurbing Losses in the Food Value Chain in Africa  Cybersecurity Plays Catch-up as Tech Expands to New Sectors

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