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06 – 08 – 2019

Hello and 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.


Decagon is on a mission to help high potential Nigerians contribute meaningfully through technology. We transform fast learners into world-class software developers and connect them to job opportunities. Decagon’s program takes a year’s worth of learning and compresses it into six months. The intensive physical learning experience, coupled with a comprehensive welfare package (accommodation, feeding, internet, laptop, stipend) keeps students focused solely on learning.

Apply to join the 4th cohort here.

Babylon, a UK based healthtech startup, has raised $550 million Series C funding at a $2 billion valuation. The UK startup operates a paid platform that connects users with health professionals who provide them remote consultations. In 2016, Babylon launched an African subsidiary in Rwanda called, Babyl. Babyl has since grown to become one of the largest digital health service providers in that country. With over 2 million users, Babyl’s user base is nearly 16% of Rwanda’s total population. Babylon’s latest round of funding came from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Munich Re’s ERGO Fund, Kinnevik AB and Vostok New Ventures. This is its third round of funding and brings its total funding to $635.3 million. With the new funding, the company plans to expand to the US and Asia.

Two African startups have been selected to participate in the 2019 edition of the Vodafone Institute F-LANE Accelerator. Holding in Germany, F-LANE is a social venture that targets women empower all across the world. Rubi Health, a Nigerian medical startup focused on mental health and Developers in Vogue, a Ghanaian company that trains women to code, will join three other startups at the accelerator programme. As cohorts, they will €12,000 to cover expenses in Germany. They will also get access to the tech hub’s mentorship and investor network.

MTN Group is considering a stock market listing for its Rwandan subsidiary, according to The New Times. MTN Rwanda is 80% controlled by MTN Group, while the remaining 20% is owned by Crystal Telecom Limited. MTN Rwanda has already started talks with local authorities over the listing, which could be a direct listing rather than an initial public offering (IPO). If successful, the company’s stock market debut could allow more Rwandans own stakes its equity, with some experts saying a local listing will help give the telco more autonomy. However, the Nigerian experience gives reasons to doubt both assumptions. When MTN Nigeria listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, it took a direct listing approach. Since its listing, ownership structure at the firm has changed little, with shareholders not willing to sell their stakes. There’s little guarantee that the MTN Rwanda listing won’t be similar.

Multichoice Africa has appointed Reatile Tekateka as its new Executive Head of Corporate Affairs. With a career spanning 13 years, Tekateka has worked in fields such as mining, media, FMCG and Financial Services. Before her appointment, she was the Managing Partner public relations agency, Joe Public. In her new role, Tekateka will report directly to Multichoice’s CEO, Hennie Visser.

This September, TechCabal is holding a gathering of the most knowledgeable and influential entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers in the mobility industry 

for our next TC Townhall event. Together we will explore activities, trends and challenges in Africa’s mobility sector and what the future holds. Some confirmed speakers include Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former minister of communications and Senior Partner at TLcom Capital, Uche Ogboi, who was recently appointed COO at Lori Systems, Obi Ozor, CEO at Kobo360 and Osarumen Osamuyi, Founder at The Subtext. Join us on the 27th of September, 2019 at TC Townhall: Mobility to get more exposure about the industry from the most important stakeholders. Want to find more details about the event and sponsorship opportunities? Click here.

Nigerian fintech startup, Carbon has introduced a 1% fee every time users transfer funds to their Wallet on the app. The wallet feature was introduced in December 2018 and allowed users to top up their accounts with no transaction fees. However, in a blog post today, the company disclosed that the zero-fee approach is no longer “sustainable” as more people use the feature. “This particular service came at a significant cost to us as we pay fees to your debit card issuer and payment processors for every card top-up,” the company wrote. The introduction of transaction fees reveals the burden startups shoulder when they attempt to disrupt financial services on behalf of users. The news also comes at a time when Cowrywise, another Nigerian fintech, announced zero-fee wallet transactions on its platform. Now we know this is unsustainable, the question is how long will they maintain it?

Last week, Nigerian fintech startup, Cowrywise launched Stash; a new wallet-like feature that holds users funds allowing them to invest in mutual funds and other options. But the interesting thing about Stash is the fact that it gives users account numbers, allowing them to operate it almost like a regular bank account. Around the same time Stash launched, PiggyVest, another Nigerian fintech with traction, announced NUBAN account numbers. NUBAN allows users to transfer funds to their PiggyFlex wallets from multiple sources. With the introduction of Stash and NUBAN, many have started speculating that both companies are planning to develop full-fledged digital banks. After speaking with representatives of both companies, I write that neither company has any plans to become become a digital bank at the moment.

That’s it for now,

We’ll see you tomorrow.
– Abubakar

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