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Ride-sharing company Bolt has raised €100 million from London-based Naya Capital. The new investment brings the total capital raised by the company to date to €300 million and its valuation to €1.7 billion. The company which has over 30 million users in 35 countries mostly in Africa and Europe says the new funds will help it “grab market share in a sector hurt by COVID-19.” Competitors, Uber and Ola have cuts thousands of jobs while Bolt has managed to avoid layoffs.
The ride-hailing industry globally has been hit by the pandemic causing key players to either pivot to food deliveries or significantly reduce cost. As demand surged this year, Bolt expanded its food delivery business to 15 countries from four. It is hoping to take advantage of recovering demand to significantly grow its business.
Ghanaian startup, mPharma has closed $17 million in a funding round described by its founder, Greg Rockson as “opportunistic”. Rockson says his company was keen for the chance to work with a development finance institution (DFI) with deep roots in Africa like CDC. CDC led the round with participation from some of the startup’s previous investors.
Rockson believes working with a DFI with extensive government contacts across Africa would improve its appeal and help strengthen its corporate governance. mPharma also announced the appointment to its board of Helena Foulkes, former president of CVS, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the United States.
mPharma partners with drug manufacturers, insurance companies, financial institutions, and governments to deliver prescription drugs directly to consumers in emerging markets. It aims to increase patient access to high-quality medications. Since its seed round in 2015, mPharma has raised over $40 million. In 2019, it used some of that money to acquire Kenya’s second-largest pharmacy chain, Haltons.
As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on our financial lives, small contributions over the next few years can add up to a sizable fund that can give you some peace of mind in the future. Learn about “AIP”– A yielding investment plan with a life cover.”
In Kenya, OPay-affiliated lending app, OKash uses social shaming to punish users who default on payment. According to this piece by Rest of World, reports of OKash’s social shaming tactics started surfacing as soon as the app went live. A University of Nairobi student said the texts cost him his relationship, and
another user said his boss almost fired him for embarrassing the company.
Although an OKash rep told Bloomberg in January that the app no longer utilized contact lists as leverage over defaulters, customer reports say otherwise. While OKash was updated in January to conform to Google Play’s new rules concerning payment periods for credit apps, it did not remove clause 8 — which grants it access to Kenyan users’ contact data — from its terms and conditions. An Opera spokesperson said that the company is “currently working on the latest updates of the terms and conditions in the app.”
To combat OKash’s debt collection practices, some people have started gaming the system. Tactics include people telling their contact list their
phones got stolen.
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Utopia, an organisation that helps foster and fund innovation in emerging-market cities has launched the Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge to promote solutions that can help solve critical urban issues in Lagos. Early-stage startups and social entrepreneurs with solutions that can
shape the Lagos of the future are encouraged to apply by May 31st.
Winners will get access to a virtual urban accelerator, over $10,000 worth of resources and access to a support network from partners that include the Skoll Foundation and Amazon Web Services.
MarketForce 360, a Kenyan field sales and distribution automation software has closed a $350,000 seed round. Investors who participated in the round include angel investors from Kenya’s ViKtoria Business Angels Network(VBAN), alongside Growing Africa Capital and some global VCs.
The startup will use the money to build out its team in East Africa as well as expand its revenue streams. MarketForce 360 uses mobile devices to enable field agents to record all customer interactions as they happen in the field, from taking orders and feedback to managing deliveries and payments.