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20 - 05 - 2019

Hello, folks! Welcome to another Monday edition of TC Daily. If this mail was forwarded to you, please take a moment to subscribe so you don't miss out on future editions.

This Ramadan, the African Alliance Takaful plan is bringing families together and promoting the value of mutual cooperation for better livelihoods. Takaful is the gift and encouragement you give the next person to ensure that they live the quality of life they deserve, because it is your duty to care. Give us a call today on +234 806 630 9476 to help you plan your next Ramadan with the Takaful plan. #SpreadKindness with #AATakaful

CarePay, a Kenya-based digital health company has raised a $45 million Series A round. The money which was invested by IFHA Fund, ELMA Investments and PharmAccess Group will be used for expansion into Tanzania and Nigeria. Launched in 2016, CarePay's mobile healthcare platform connects clinics and healthcare payers (insurers & donors). Digital health startups in Africa have had an interesting year so far with regards to raising capital. Ghana's mPharma, Nigeria's mDaaS, Kenya's myDawa, Uganda's Neopenda have each raised million-dollar funding totalling about $24 million. This is already a 14% and 33% increase from 2017 and 2018 respectively according to data from Partech Africa.

Opera's OPay has launched Oride, a motorcycle taxi app, part of its move to transition to a super app. The service launches in a few weeks according to Ridwan Olalere, Director of Payment Product at OPay in a chat with Techcabal. The company is currently conducting background checks and training for riders. It is also piloting a food delivery service within the OPay app and has so far signed on more than 300 restaurants. OPay will face competition from SafeBoda which recently launched in Nigeria and is also positioning itself as a super app. As of last week, OPay had over 20,000 agents. Interestingly, MTN Nigeria itself just got a super agent license that will allow it re-purpose its agent network to provide "cash-in cash-out" financial transactions.
Tony Idugboe (Vice President, Head of Investments - Itanna) speaking about our data product, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria: "Overall, I thought the report was great. It’s unbelievable to see a well vetted, carefully researched, and insightful report from a Nigerian establishment. It has all the stats a VC like us will like to see. Points out the problem areas, provided data, and also had a comprehensive list of startups in the space. I found the report very resourceful." Get the report here.

Bamboo Capital Partners and Smart Africa have signed an agreement to support BLOC, a fintech impact fund focused on Africa. The fund which has a target of US$112 million will invest in solutions that reach underserved communities in emerging markets. In March, the Togolese government and Brazilian microfinance technology company, Moeda, committed US$11.2 million) to the first loss of BLOC.

Last Friday, Kay reported that Gokada launched a new rapid response service called G-Medic. My very first reaction when I read it was, wait a minute I thought Gokada was facing mismanagement problems and mass resignation. So it's either all is now well or they are managing to make things happen somehow. Perhaps there were no major issues to begin with. While Gokada has clarified to Techcabal that G-Medic is purely a CSR project, the company could gather very useful health data that policymakers will find beneficial and that could inform the launch of a paid service. With this sort of service there are questions around safety. Gokada says the first responders will receive Red Cross training and they have a medical practitioner on board. But there are even more questions. Ikpeme Neto (Founder, Wella Health & Digital Health Nigeria):  "The problem for first responders is that they're often charging into chaos. So it would be good to know what kind of incidents they (Gokada) would respond to and if they would have links to other emergency services. Also how much equipment can be fit on a bike if they'll be handling diverse emergency cases that are traditionally managed with an ambulance." Correction: Gokada is a year old and not two like we previously stated.

Applications are now open for the second edition of the FbStart Accelerator. Student teams and startups from Ghana and Nigeria building solutions with Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality or Internet of Things, get in here before June 30.

Zipline is now a Unicorn! The startup recently raised $190 million from investors including Google Ventures and The Rise Fund bringing its funding to date to about $221 million. What's interesting is that the company's business model is essentially business-to-government and it has so far launched in only two African countries, Rwanda and Ghana. It essentially plugs itself into the medical infrastructure of the countries where it launches with the promise of making critical health products available on time and in hard-to-reach areas. But with its recent launch in Ghana, questions have arisen about whether it's a novelty for such countries with some arguing that the $12.5 million the government will invest over four years could have been spent on other crucial health needs. Zipline is now looking to expand in its home country, the US, with the new funding. Here's CEO, Keller Rinaudo speaking at TEDGlobal 2017.

Co-Creation Hub in partnership with Google For Startups will embark on its Pitch Drive II tour with 10 startups leveraging deep technology come August. They will travel through 5 Asian cities for 14 days engaging with deep tech communities, exploring funding opportunities and forging beneficial business relationships. Techcabal will be joining the tour to tell all the nuanced stories through photography and film.   Applications close today!

Correction: Applications for TechCircle's PITCH2WIN competition close on May 24 while the event will take place on June 12. Nigerian tech startups can apply here.

MINES - the creator of kwikmoney - is holding its first annual ‘Connect’ session on the 29th of May 2019 in Lagos. The event will bring together senior executives and industry leaders from sectors such as banking, retail, telecoms and other verticals, to network and engage on pertinent issues related to lending and lending infrastructure in Nigeria. It will also explore machine learning technology, Mines' approach to risk, as well as the pros and cons of lending marketplaces as a path to lending at scale. Register here to attend.

MTN Nigeria has successfully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange but there are accusations of share manipulation. There's a lot to unpack but I'll try. A report by a local newspaper says the listing by introduction was deliberately done to jack up the price of the company shares ahead of an IPO although MTN says it was unable to conduct an IPO due to the $2B tax dispute with Nigeria's Attorney General. The share price rose by 21% by close of trading on Friday. Some have already labelled MTN's shares as publicly listed but not publicly traded. This means that unless one is well connected or knows high network individuals who make up the majority of MTN's current shareholders you cannot buy it. The gist is that many of them aren't even selling. Segun Aremu, a Financial Services Professional I spoke with argues that an individual could get the shares as long as they found someone willing to sell. "If you have 120 naira you can buy it through any stock broking firm licensed to trade on exchange." This company offered an opportunity to buy the shares. Aremu also argues that MTN wasn't under pressure to list and that they had agreed to do so a long time ago when they came in. One stockbroker I asked about the accusation of share manipulation explained that MTN has done nothing unethical. "The only reason we are discussing this is because of the huge demand from the public and the fact that current holders have no reason to sell at current price levels. To put that in context, current holders bought the link note for $32/link notes. The link notes were converted to 50 shares of N90/shares. They are still carrying it at a loss if not for the currency gain." He proposes that MTN Nigeria can solve the demand problem by conducting an IPO earlier than planned. "But again it doesn't make sense to do it just to please the public since it will come at a cost."

XPay, an Egyptian fintech startup has raised a $250,000 pre-seed round from two angel investors. This follows initial funding into the payments company by Egyptian fintech investor, EFG EV Fintech. XPay will use the funds to expand its team and grow the company.

Devcenter, a Nigerian startup that connects remote teams with software projects has launched Gigson, a recruitment platform that allows companies to hire tech talent. The platform also has a jobs board with more than 2000+ openings. There's a growing demand for African developers as well as an increase in the number of companies looking to groom and provide them. Microsoft recently committed $100M to build centres across the continent with plans to recruit 500 software engineers by the end of 2023.

Have a great week!

We'll see you tomorrow.   - Olanrewaju
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