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PRESENTED BY TEK EXPERTS
02 - 08 - 2019

Welcome to today's 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.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR

Tek Experts, a leading, global provider of business and IT support services with presence in 7 countries, including Nigeria, is recruiting heavily for various IT roles in its Lagos office. Tek Experts provides service options that enables global teams work effectively by developing technologies that enhance customer experience.  Whether it’s providing follow-the-sun software support services that deliver exceptional customer experiences, developing technologies that enable sales teams to increase and retain revenue or training and developing people to be the best they can be, Tek Experts’ focus is always on putting the customer first. Interested in the opportunity of a lifetime? Apply here!

Pezesha Africa, a micro-lending marketplace; Innova Limited, a cloud-based analytics platform for investors are among three startups selected to participate in the Kenyan Capital Markets Regulatory Sandbox. The regulatory sandbox has been set up to allow live testing of innovations under a less onerous regulatory regime to attract fintech companies and existing capital markets licensees to test the application of technology to financial services. The startups have been admitted to live-test their innovative solutions with the capacity to deepen and enhance the efficiency of capital markets for a period of 12 months.

Uzoma Dozie, former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) has launched a new startup, Sparkle, a mobile-first platform focused on the country’s retail sector. The artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered platform hopes to provide retailers with user-generated data to better understand consumer needs, behaviours, and purchasing influences. Sparkle has entered into partnerships with Visa, Network International, PricewaterHouseCoopers as well as Microsoft. Uzoma spent over 20 years building out the retail arm of Diamond Bank powered by technology and innovative tools. Nigeria's retail sector is very critical and currently accounts for 33% of the total GDP and 45% of total employment.

Gozem, a ride hailing serive based in Benin and Togo, and run by Nigerian Emeka Ajene, has announced plans to launch a digital wallet product as well as a food and parcel delivery service next year. Ajene previously led operations and business development for Uber in Nigeria. The startup is currently closing its second seed round of $3-million in preparation for its Series-A round. Gozem currently has 800 drivers and close close to 130, 000 users registered on its platform.

Correction: In yesterday's newsletter, TC Daily 833, we made a mistake. "Founder and Executive Director of Ventures Platform, Kola Aina, has stepped down from his role in the company," we wrote. In truth, Kola Aina is stepping down from his role as Executive Director of the Ventures Platform Foundation, the arm of the company that fosters entrepreneurship and skill development in Africa. Mr. Aina will move to the company's board and continue to lead Ventures Platform Fund's investment in African startups. We regret the error.

Telkom Kenya has announced plans to lay off 575 workers, about 72% of its workforce, ahead of its proposed merger with Airtel Kenya. Telkom Kenya-jointly owned by UK-based private equity firm Helios Investment Partners (60%) and the Kenyan government (40%)-and Airtel, the Kenyan subsidiary of Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, are merging their mobile, enterprise and carrier services to form a single joint venture company to be named Airtel-Telkom. The combined entity is supposed to take on Kenya's telecom market leader, Safaricom but with products like M-Pesa, this is a tall order. According to Telkom, the layoffs are intended to make the merged entity more efficient.
Imisi 3D Virtual Reality creation lab is organising a 360 video masterclass for 18 to 24 year olds to create 360 videos on climate action in support of the My 360 SDG Action campaign. The class holds on August, 3 from 12:00 pm in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. Registration link here.

The Gambia is home to Africa’s latest angel investor network. The Gambia Angel Investors Network (GAIN) launched on July 20 with a pitch session and a masterclass on angel investing delivered by its new managing director Adrame Ndione and Tomi Davies, president of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN). GAIN is bringing together between 10 and 15 local investors who have committed to providing funding to between 8 and 12 early and growth stage startups in The Gambia each year. The network aims to provide ticket sizes of between US$20,000 to US$300,000 and help develop the nascent Gambian startup scene.

Applications are open till September 30 for the Milan-based FoodTech Accelerator organised by Deloitte. Startups in spaces such as agri-tech, quality and logistics, are invited to apply for the 15-week programme beginning in January 2020.

Lateral Capital has announced plans to invest in six startups annually from a pool of a thousand, with four more to go in 2019. The US$50-million Africa-focused venture fund launched last year. The investments will be in the form of equity finance that ranges between US$250,000 and US$1 million, as well as debt investments of between US$1 million and US$5 million.The fund is targeting ventures in the financial, education, healthcare, renewable energy and urban development sectors. The investments it has made this year include an undisclosed amount in Lynk and a $300, 000 debt investment in Nairobi workspace provider Workstyle Africa.

Thank U Cash says it has processed US$5.5 million in transaction volume till date with a current customer base of 250,000 monthly which it hopes to grow to a million by September. Thank U Cash is a customer reward program that offers cash back to customers who carry out transactions at any business affiliated with Thank U Cash. The startup secured an undisclosed amount of funding from early-stage investment platform Microtraction as well as from Ventures Platform, in 2018.

A recently released report from Gartner, Inc. says worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019, a 2.5% decline year on year. Japan, Western Europe and North America will record the worst declines by year end. However, sub-Saharan Africa has so far recorded an increase in smartphone sales as has the MENA region, from last year. Gartner analysts say sales volumes will ramp up in the second half of 2020 as more 5G enabled phone models become available in the market.

From TechCabal + Rider safety has become a worrisome concern especially for female riders as reports of harassment continues to rise and ride hailing companies struggle to develop tools and safety features that build trust in this sharing economy. I share the experiences of some women in Nairobi and Lagos in this article.  +  When is the right time for a startup to start seeking external funding? Is there a right time? Wole Olayinka, for this article, spoke to some founders and investors to answer these questions and more.

That's all for today,

We'll see you next week.   - Kay
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