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02 - 03 - 2020

Hello there! Hope the new month is off to a great start. Welcome to TC Daily! If this email was forwarded to you, please take a moment to subscribe. Also, join us on Telegram for all the hot takes and deep dives into Africa's technology sector.

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A UK and South African-based mass public transport and data analytics firm has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round. Founded in 2015, WhereIsMyTransport  has more than 750,000 km of routes in 39 cities, TechMoran reports. The round was led by Liil Ventures, a Mexican early-stage venture capital firm, with participation from returning investors Global Innovation Fund and Goodwell Investments. The startup received new strategic investment from Google, Nedbank, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC). Toyota again? Yes, the Japanese auto giant has set up an investment vehicle to identify and place bets on African mobility startups. In October 2019, the Toyota Tsusho Corporation and CFAO entered a partnership called Mobility54. That vehicle recently poured in $7.6 million to participate in the $20 million Series B round for Sendy, a Kenyan logistics startup. As this Quartz piece explains, Toyota's interest in African mobility may have much to do with the market opportunities that could be created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. So, who else is on Mobility54's radar?
In the Republic of Benin, MTN and ride-hailing platform Gozem have entered a 'zero-rating' partnership to help their mutual customers. There are two main aspects to the deal, per IT News Africa: a) Gozem users will be able to request rides without using their MTN data b) MTN Mobile money becomes the wallet of choice for Gozem users, as well as the medium of receiving payment for Gozem drivers. What's the play? Gozem operates mainly in Francophone Africa, and has ambitions to be more than a ride-hailing company. Emeka Ajene, the startup's co-founder who formally was at Uber, basically wants to replicate the successes of Indonesia's Grab and Gojek in Africa (Gozem is registered in Singapore). While motorycycle-taxi companies have been hit hard in Nigeria, Gozem's partership with MTN points to a flourish.
IHS Towers is preparing for what could be the biggest Initial Public Offering on an American stock exchange by an African company. The wireless towers operator is said to have selected Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. as global coordinators for a listing that could value the company at $7 billion, according to Bloomberg. Why this matters: In the two decades since its founding, IHS has become Africa's largest tower business, with over 23,000 towers in four countries. An IPO will invite broad international scrutiny into the strength of the business. For example, potential off-takers will want to know why MTN has considered selling its 29% stake in the tower company. IHS Netherlands, part of IHS Holdings, was carrying loans of $2.7bn as at September 2019. As we learned from Jumia - whose 2019 report shows mixed signals - IPO's do not always go in the anticipated direction.
What seamless systems currently exist for African small businesses to keep their books? A Zambian startup, NyamukAfrica, is rolling out a subscription-based, cloud-based accounting solution for MSMEs. The eight-month-old company already has 115 users. The bulk of its signups are in Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana, but they expect to target the whole of Africa. More on them here.

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TC Insights: Over the next eighteen months, TLCom Capital aims to invest in 12 startups in Africa’s major markets. Founded in 2017, the TIDE fund is TLCom’s initiative for the African technology environment. Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa will be the focus of its startup searchlight. But increasingly interesting ecosystems like Ethiopia will be looked at, according to Maurizio Caio, TLCom’s managing partner.

The TIDE fund's portfolio features Andela, Twiga Foods, uLesson and Kobo360. As the African tech space invites record investor interest year-on-year, TLCom says it will stay in the game, looking to support startups from seed to Series B stages.

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TC Townhall Emerging Tech was a blast! Thank you for joining us, we couldn't have done it without you. Here are some photos from the event. Our next townhall is in July and it's about Fintech. We are calling it Fintech 3.0: Investment and Digital Banking. But first we're going to Nairobi in April. We'll share more details with you soon! Be the first to learn more about Fintech 3.0 by filling in this form. Check out highlights from Fintech 2.0 here.
We know there's probably a thing or two you want us to improve on for the next event. We're willing to listen. Let us know here.
There's a recap of some of the talking points from today's event here and here. Also, please keep an eye on our Twitter account . We'll be sharing updates and highlights from the event.
What is it like using digital services in Cairo, Casablanca, Abidjan and Lagos? Muyiwa's got you covered in the latest edition of his Digital Nomads column. Be sure to check out the previous editions covering Saudi Arabia, Mauritius and China.
Speaking of China, what's up with Coronavirus and Instagram fashion vendors? I spoke with a few online store merchants who reveal how the global pandemic currently hurts their businesses.
That's it for today, See you tomorrow - Alexander       Share TC Daily with everyone you care about!
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