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13 - 09 - 2019

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QuickCheck launched a new loan app this week. They have also undergone a complete refresh of the brand. Individuals can now access up to 200k in loans. No guarantor, no collateral. Get a loan anytime, anywhere from your phone. Apply now and win 10k.

Digemy, a South African edtech startup has closed a seed funding round that values the company at US$2.7 million. The startup raised $68,000 from Greenwold Capital and it plans to use it to expand its team as well as build a new financial literacy platform. Digemy was launched in 2017 and it provides learning content in multimedia format with a focus on knowledge retention. But it's not all good news for the startup. One of its co-founders, Carl Wallace, has left the company after being diagnosed with lupus and Crohn’s disease. Wallace has been replaced on the board by a representative from its investor.
Tanzanian tech hub, Smart Lab has partnered Vodacom to launch a digital accelerator. The accelerator will invest in startups in the following sectors; mobile, fintech, media, health, education and e-commerce. The programme will run for 3 months and startups will get access to Vodacom's resources and network. The telco has provided $150,000 to support the accelerator programme.
Nigerian fintech startup, Kuda just closed a US$1.6 million seed funding. The startup will go live later this year but it will face competition from another digital bank, ALAT. And its official launch will be happening at a time where there are speculations about popular Nigerian fintech startups becoming digital banks. Kay has the tea here.
Access Bank, Axa Mansard, among other financial industry players, have signed up to VerifyMe’s proprietary Know-Your-Customer (KYC) solution. VerifyMe offers real-time ID verification that is compliant with CBN tier 3 and international Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards. Organizations can access up to 200 verifications per minute for faster decision making.   Get started now.
Global philanthropic organisation, Luminate has launched a US$1 million media lab to fund journalism in Kenya. Luminate is part of the Omidyar Group and its new media lab called Baraza Media Lab will provide an enabling environment for independent media to thrive. The Baraza Media Lab will be run in partnership with Mettā to provide a space for innovation in the media industry. Luminate has already invested in media companies/projects including Africa Check, BBC Media ActionamaBhungane and Media Monitoring Africa.
Durban-based venture capital firm, Kingson Capital has raised an additional US$70 million for its Kingson Fund Two. The VC raised the money from US investors bringing the total raised so far for the fund to about $100 million. The fund which was first announced earlier this year will invest in 60 - 80 tech startups and black-owned small businesses. Through its Fund One, the VC invested in 10 companies including SA-based TrackBox, Finfind and HealthCloud.
In response to growing cyber threats, internet service provider, Internet Solutions is building an intelligence centre in Kenya. It has invested 20 million Kenyan shillings (US$197,000) into the cyber threat intelligence centre which will help African companies prevent, detect and respond to cyber-attacks. Internet Solutions plans to invest an additional 30 million Kenyan shillings (US$289,100) over the next one year in expanding the project and hiring more cybersecurity engineers.
Taiwo Ketiku, VP, Investments, EchoVC Partners will be speaking at TC Townhall: Mobility, a gathering of key industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs, government and policymakers on the 27th of September, 2019. Our impressive list of speakers includes Omobola Johnson, Nigeria's former Minister of Communications Technology and TLCom Senior Partner; Obi Ozor, the CEO of Kobo360; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, the Vice President of Products at Field Insights; among many others. Purchase tickets to the event here. Companies and individuals buying at least five (5) tickets can get a 20% discount here.
Careem users in Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates can now recharge their phone credits within the app using the Careem Pay mobile wallet. This follows the ride-hailing company's foray into digital payments last year when it launched a peer-to-peer credit transfer service. Careem was acquired by Uber in March for US$3 billion. Uber announced yesterday that it plans to raise US$750 million from debt markets to complete the Careem deal.
Google has announced the fourth cohort of its Launchpad Africa accelerator. The 12 startups in the cohort include Afara Partners, Reach, TradeBuzza and Xend from Nigeria; Brandbook and Sortd from SouthAfrica; Elewa, Tulaa and Workpay from Kenya as well as Eversend (Uganda), Oze (Ghana) and Phenomenal Technologies (Zimbabwe).
Nine weeks ago, Flutterwave launched its Pay with Bank Transfer feature. The feature has been used in more than 20,000 transactions and the success rate has been 100% according to an announcement by the company. The Pay with Bank Transfer feature allows merchants to offer the instant transfer payment method they are already familiar with to their customers. 
Applications are now open to the Women in Tech Incubator put together by Standard Chartered and Strathmore University's @iBizAfrica. The incubator will provide five women-led startups in Kenya with seed funding ($10,000), mentorship and training. Apply here before November 31, 2019.

That's All!

We'll see you next week.   - Olanrewaju
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