MTN’s Super App Ambition
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Welcome to TC Daily! Today’s digest features the arrival of another African startup unicorn, MTN’s super app ambitions and very useful tips for African entrepreneurs on mergers and acquisitions.

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Egypt’s Fawry is Africa’s latest startup unicorn. The fintech company is the first tech company in Egypt (and third African startup) to reach a billion-dollar valuation.

Fawry offers a convenient way for consumers and businesses to receive and make payments via multiple channels including ATMs, mobile wallets and retail points. It listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange about a year ago and its stock price has
increased by over 300% since it went public.

The pandemic and resulting lockdown has accelerated the fintech’s rise to unicorn status. According to MENAbytes, its share price almost flattened two months after its IPO debut before dropping to its lowest point in March. The price has been rising since then.

Fawry’s unicorn journey is a departure from the other known African startup unicorns; Interswitch which became a unicorn in November 2019 and Jumia which initially attained unicorn status in April 2016. Jumia’s market cap as of today, at $949 M, is currently below a billion dollars. Both startups achieved unicorn status before going public, unlike Fawry.

Fawry’s new status establishes Egypt’s rise as a leading African tech and startup hub. There has been an increase in investor
interest and activity in the North African nation. In the last 2 years, it has featured among the best-funded tech hubs on the continent, a feat historically achieved by West and East African countries.

MTN is doubling down on its super app ambitions.

Its super app which is called Ayoba first launched in 2019 as a messaging app. In a new interview, its Chief Digital and Fintech Officer Yolanda Cuba says the app will go beyond instant messaging to offer mobile commerce and interactive entertainment services.

Cuba also said it is building an open digital platform that will enable third-party innovation. It will allow individuals and companies
to build and publish apps on the platform. Earlier this month, it announced an API marketplace called Chenosis to provide developers with access to a library of open APIs.

Ayoba currently has 2 million users according to MyBroadBand and MTN is looking to reach 16 million users by the end of 2020. CEO Rob Shuter said at the time of its launch that the platform will form part of its mobile money portfolio. MTN currently has 36 million active mobile money users.

MTN is looking to grow revenue from its digital services and mobile money. In the past, it released a number of standalone music and entertainments apps
in Nigeria and some of its other major markets. It looks like it will now consolidate those services in its super app. It is its biggest effort so far in making digital revenue growth happen.

Telcos are looking to diversify their income as they face competition from over-the-top providers.

In our latest TechCabal Live; How Big Deals Get Done, leading M&A advisor Victor Basta explained the kind of merger and acquisitions deals big buyers are looking for in Africa.

Using the DPO and Network International deal as an example, Basta said that buyers are looking for realistic opportunities to extend operations beyond one or two geographies. He also advised companies to avoid overcomplexity. “Buyers will pay more for something simple” he declared.

In preparing for mergers and acquisitions, Basta advised companies to begin early to prepare to be noticed by the right buyers if they want to be valued at strategic prices. He further stated that preparation should ideally begin six to nine months before transaction negotiations are expected to begin. Basta’s Magister Advisors counsels CEOs to set 15%
of their time aside for the early preparations involved.

South Africa’s LightWare has received $1.5 million in investment from Sanari Capital. It will invest the money in product development.

LightWare develops and distributes innovative laser rangefinder products for application across
multiple industries. It manufactures some of the world’s smallest and lightest precision LiDAR systems for use in drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and other applications.

The coronavirus pandemic and the rise in demand for contactless solutions, remote medicine, vaccine delivery have accelerated the adoption and use-cases for LiDAR technology.


Au revoir,

See you tomorrow.
– Olanrewaju

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