Three tech founders make 40 under 40 list
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 03.09.2020
Welcome to TC Daily! In this edition, we provide an update on the sudden outburst on Cars45's social media handles, tech founders make global list, and Safaricom to back Kenyan startups. Our next TC Live on digital identity will feature Mitchell Elegbe, Founder at Interswitch. Register here. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.

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For a brief moment on Tuesday, someone at Cars45 went loose on social media. The Nigeria-based online marketplace for used cars published statements on Twitter and Instagram vehemently dissociating itself from 11 former employees. “They are not authorized to represent the company in any matters whatsoever,” the now-deleted posts read (Weetracker saved a screenshot). You would think they had done some deeply insidious things with that phrasing, the facial arrangement on the graphic, and the commanding "Public Notice" title. But the company has clarified that these guys left on their accord. But why did 11 people leave Cars45 at once? Mind you, these were not some low level staff. Mohammed Iyamu is a co-founder of the business, and Olajide Adamolekun was the chief financial officer. Mayokun Fadeyibi, who was the VP Commercial, is an experienced executive with a PhD in Business. What we know for now is that at least 8 out the 11 in the graphic (including Iyamu, Adamolekun and Fadeyibi) have joined former Cars45 CEO and co-founder Etop Ikpe in a new car financing venture called NewCo. We also know that Sujay Tyle, another Cars45 co-founder, left Frontier Car Group (Cars45's parent company) last week. It means three out of the car company's four founders have signed off. The company insists there isn't cause for alarm but we can't help wondering what's gone wrong with the wheels over there.
40 UNDER 40
Three African tech founders were featured on the 40 under 40 list by Fortune magazine this week: Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave (35 years), Obi Ozor of Kobo360 (31), and Abasi Ene-Obong of 54Gene (35). Among other reasons, Fortune recognised them by describing their companies as essential to helping consumers navigate challenges raised by COVID-19. Flutterwave released an e-commerce platform in May to bring offline merchants online, while Kobo360's logistics operations got an essential services permit to keep connecting FMCG distributors to trucks. 54Gene has been active in setting up COVID-19 test centres across Nigeria and also raised $15 million in a Series A round for its genome bank. International magazine personality lists such as this (and others by Forbes and Fast Company) are welcome avenues for showcasing Africa's innovative startups. We extend hearty cheers to GB, Obi and Abasi, but also to all 40+ founders doing the work!
Safaricom will invest $6 million in Kenyan startups through its Spark Venture Fund. This is the 2nd edition of the fund since it was introduced in 2014. At the time, it was a $1 million fund that invested $175,000 on average. Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure and FarmDrive were the first beneficiaries of that first edition, according to Disrupt Africa. The investment size is larger this time. Each selected startup will receive up to $500,000 from the fund. Safaricom’s focus is on tech startups crossing from the seed stage to the early growth stage. Education, healthcare and agriculture appear to be the fund’s favored sectors.
Still on the theme of supporting startups, Nigerian agri-tech Hello Tractor will join the MasterCard Start Path, an incubation programme. The startup has built a digital interface for connecting farmers with available tractors in order to make smallholder farming more mechanized. Start Path has been a useful programme for startups like Flutterwave and MAX. As one of 11 startups in this year's cohort, Hello Tractor will be in a position to take advantage of MasterCard's vast network to better deliver on their value proposition.
BHM Group, one of Nigeria's noted public relations and media companies, announced that it has invested ₦100 million (~$212.7k) into building a digital resource for the PR industry. The resource is called BHM Qomms, a new app focused on meeting the educational, recruitment, measurement and standardization needs of PR practitioners in Africa. Public relations is a necessary component of Africa's tech ecosystem as companies often need expert advise managing corporate communications and potential crisis. Props to BHM for throwing their hat and money in the ring in the ostensibly industry's interest.
Have you ever tried to set up a bank account or bid for a contract without any means of identification? If the contracting officer or banking officer did their jobs well, you must have been unable to proceed without an ID. Now, imagine what the experiences of those who have no formal means of ID are. Digital identities are important. They can make the difference between whether people access economic opportunities or not. This month, on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, TechCabal in partnership with identity verification company, VerifyMe will mark International ID-day by bringing industry veterans together to explore the state of digital identity in Nigeria. Speakers include Mitchell Elegbe, Founder / Group Managing Director, Interswitch, and Esigie Aguele, Co-Founder and CEO, VerifyMe Nigeria. They will answer questions including how a digital identity ecosystem will enable the Nigerian tech community, particularly fintech; and how entrepreneurs and professionals can shape and take advantage of a working digital identity system? Register here to attend the event.
Inclusive fintech accelerator, Catalyst Fund, and Greenhouse Capital are holding Fintech in Focus, an event that will discuss strategies for Africa’s tech sector to rebuild in a post-pandemic climate. The event will hold on September 3 & 4, 2020. Speakers include Elsa Muzzolini, General Manager, Mobile Financial Services at MTN Nigeria; John Oke, CEO at Wallets Africa; and Djiba Diallo, Senior Fintech Advisor at Ecobank. Register here to attend.
Hope you enjoyed this ride, Catch up on the latest episode of the TC Weekly Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, Google Podcasts, and

See you tomorrow.
- Alexander

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