SA entrepreneur, Rob Paddock returns with another edtech gem
with FLUTTERWAVE, CRYPTOFULLY & OPAY
Welcome to TC Daily! It’s raining $$$ in today’s digest. From our HQ in Lagos, West Africa to South Africa and North Africa. There’s also a new accelerator promising 50 Egyptian startups $$$.
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INSIDE THE CABAL
Colour me excited! I am starting today’s digest with great news from Inside the Cabal. Our parent company, Big Cabal Media, owner of Zikoko, has received some money from investment firm, Platform Capital.
What does this mean? The best way to explain this is to borrow Tomiwa’s (our CEO) words in the company’s Slack:
“We’re … going to be able to keep paying salaries.” Bruh, that’s music to my ears.
On a serious note …
It means we will be able to keep giving you the content you’ve come to love. And, we will be growing our publications across Africa while launching new verticals. As part of the investment deal, Dr Akintoye Akindele, Chairman of Platform Capital will join our board of directors.
Why does this matter? It’s been a tough time for many businesses especially media companies. Before the
pandemic, local media companies found it difficult to access investment because it was tough to find a sustainable business model. Being able to close this round, especially in the middle of the pandemic, is yet another milestone for Africa’s media landscape.
What do you call it when a founder succeeds in building a startup in a certain sector, returns with another one in the same sector and they’re already killing it?
In 2017, Rob Paddock and his brother Sam sold their edtech company, GetSmarter for $103 million. The SA-based company provided short-term online certification courses to distance-learning students in partnership with some of the world’s leading
At the time it was acquired by 2U, a publicly-traded, US-based, online education company, GetSmarter claimed it had 50,000 students globally. It also said it saw approximately $17 million in revenue in 2016.
The year is 2019 and Rob Paddock has returned with another startup called Valenture Institute. It describes itself as “a global private online high school offering a curriculum recognised by the world’s leading universities”.
What’s more? Valenture just raised $7 million from GSV Ventures. GSV Ventures is an investor in online education giant, Coursera.
I call this The Reincarnation because Paddock is basically returning with a new (albeit different) version of his previously successful edtech venture. Valenture plans to open three campuses in South Africa in 2021. Afterwards, it could launch in London, Boston, and New York.
South Africa is home turf; what might be trickier is launching in locations such as the US and the UK. But Paddock already has a feather in his cap. He’s not a newbie when it comes to
creating a high-value, tech-enabled education company.
Cryptofully allows anyone from around the world to transfer money to Nigeria using bitcoin in a
simple two-step process. Bitcoin owners can send funds to any Nigerian bank account using the best Naira/Bitcoin/USD exchange rate without the requirement of registering on the platform.
I currently don’t have an account with any digital bank but it’s something I have definitely considered. If I opened one, it will be because of the comfort they promise. Open your account in minutes and get your card delivered to your home, what’s not to love?
But therein lies one problem digital banks have. They are competing for customers who already have an account with traditional banks. They do not claim to be targeting the unbanked as one publication accused them of not serving the unbanked. And, not a lot of people are dumping their accounts with traditional banks, at least not yet.
In his latest story, Muyiwa examines what the real market opportunity is for digital banks and what growth could look like for them.
One of the most exciting things about technology is its ability to generally make our lives easier. There’s hardly any sector where you can’t use it to make processes more efficient and ultimately save time.
Healthcare is one of such sectors where every minute counts. And the Egyptian startup, Rology thinks it can help. It provides a solution that helps to match hospitals and radiologists. Radiologists are specialist medical doctors trained to interpret x-rays and other medical
Rology is reducing the time it takes to find radiologists. It claims to deliver reports for cold cases within 12 hours and emergency cases within 90 minutes.
The Egyptian startup has just received US$860,000 in pre-Series A funding from investment firm, HIMangel and a group of other investors. It plans to use the money to fuel its growth in Saudi Arabia and Kenya. It is currently present in 5 countries and works with 90 hospitals.
Nigerian financial service technology company, OPay has announced a partnership with leading global digital payments platform WorldRemit, to offer international money transfers 24/7 from over 50 countries directly into OPay mobile wallets in Nigeria. Learn more here: https://operapay.com/remittance/
Openner, a US-based venture capital firm is now accepting applications from Egyptian startups. Since 2016, Openner has invested US$25 million in over 100 companies in the United States.
Its new accelerator in Egypt will identify 50 local startups and will groom them for growth and acquisition. It is entering Egypt as the local tech industry is growing quickly and showing huge promise.
Applications are open all year round and Egyptian startups can apply here.
Congo Business Network is organizing an online business event on Zoom on September 17, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. Kinshasa time on the following topic: “The digitization of financial services and the best practices to follow for banks, telecoms and startups.” To participate in this meeting of Congolese professionals and entrepreneurs, reserve your place through this link.