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13 - 06 - 2019

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Ventures Platform in Partnership with the National Social Investment Program has launched Startup Nigeria 2019. The program supports innovative startups in Nigeria through funding, mentorship, and hands-on training! Startup Nigeria is open to individuals with innovative ideas & startups in 3 zones-North Central, South East, & North West. Apply now for a chance to receive up to N2M in funding at
IBM has launched its Quantum computer program in Africa. The company announced a partnership with South Africa's Wits University that will reach 15 universities across 9 African countries. IBM's Quantum computer, IBM Q, which was designed to tackle problems seen as too complex and exponential in nature for classical systems to handle will be available to the selected universities for research and development purposes. One of the research areas the Africa program aims to focus on is drug discovery based on Africa’s genetic diversity that could lead to new treatments for diseases like HIV or TB. IBM is convening a camp for 200 computer scientists using Q this December in Johannesburg. Interested researchers can apply here.

Chinese phonemaker, Transsion Holdings has maintained its position as Africa’s leading smartphone brand with 33.1% of the market share. The company became Africa's top smartphone brand in 2017 overtaking Samsung which currently has a market share of 24.5%. Transsion has been building a service portfolio for itself. Launched in 2015, its music streaming platform, BoomPlay now has more than 46 million users making it Africa's largest music app. Transsion also has a news app, Scooper and is offering fintech solutions as well.

Ethiopia shutdown the internet on June 11 in a bid to curb cheating during its national high school exams. This isn't the first time the Ethiopian government will be blocking the internet. It did so last year following protests in the Eastern Somali region and in 2017 following fears that examination answers will leak.

We've put together some great content for healthcare entrepreneurs detailing how to develop new products and services and the major pillars of growth. Want more? Download our report, "The State of Health Tech in Nigeria", for a sector deep dive into challenges, opportunities and recommendations compiled especially for innovators, investors and regulators. Get it here.

Ghana's Trukrtech has emerged winner of the 2019 Pitch2Win competition by TechCircle. Trukrtech, an online marketplace for listing and booking of third-party trucks was founded in 2018 by Caryl Joshua Akonor. The startup gives real-time visibility, cargo-in-transit insurance and proper communication channels to shippers and drivers. Trukrtech beat nine other startups to win the 1 million naira equity-free prize from TechCircle and Japan's FreakOut Holdings. Fintech startup Asusu and edtech company, Prodigy were the runner-ups at the pitch event.

Twiga Foods has raised $5 million from Creadev, an investment firm owned by one of France's wealthiest families, The Mulliez Family. Twiga Foods, it appears, will use the money to expand its operations within and outside Kenya. Its last funding round was a $10 million Series B investment in November 2018 led by the IFC and TLcom Capital. Founded in 2013, Twiga Foods leverages technology to deliver safe, affordable high-quality food to urban consumers, while providing reliable markets for farmers. It currently works with 17,000 farmers, and 2,500 retailers daily.

Vodacom has asked a top court in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reverse an order by the telecommunications ministry withdrawing its 2G license. The ministry accused the telco of illegally obtaining an extension of its 2G license in 2015 which the latter has denied. The telco was asked to apply for the license or face the disconnection of some of its 11.8 million customers in the country who still use 2G data services. A first hearing has happened and the court's judges are expected to make a pronouncement early next week.

Nigeria's recently raised between $5 million - $7 million according to an interview with Reuters. The motorbike taxi startup will use the funds to expand into Ghana and Ivory Coast later this year. started its ride-hailing service in 2017 and completed 200,000 rides in May. The company is looking to complete 2 million rides by the middle of 2020. is the oldest motorbike taxi startup in the country but it faces competition from new entrants including Gokada, Safeboda, Oride by OPay and a few more foreign companies looking to set up shop.
Afrilabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs, has added 27 new hubs to its network. The new hubs are in the following countries; Guinea, Mauritius, South Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Botswana. This brings its total number of hubs to 158 across 45 African countries.
Egyptian edtech marketplace, Orcas has raised $500,000 in a pre-Series A round led by Algebra Ventures, with participation from NFX Capital. The company will use the investment to further develop its product offering and build its operational capacity. Orcas was founded in 2014 and it connects parents and students with tutors and babysitters. The startup currently has over 20,000 parents using its platform. It previously raised $150,000 from Khaled Ismail, Kamelizer, and Cairo Angels.
Applications are open for this year's Step into Tech Scheme, a programme by the BBC aimed at getting more women into tech careers. All participants will have the opportunity to apply for an Associate Software Engineer role within BBC Design + Engineering upon successful completion of the programme. Apply here before July 5.

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