15 April, 2021

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In today's edition:

  • Helping kids and adults brush their teeth better
  • South African healthcare startup raises $1.1 million
  • Ghanian startup Zeepay acquires Zambia’s Mangwee Mobile Money
  • South Africa halts vaccine rollout again

Former Amazon engineer, helping kids and adults brush their teeth better

Teaching a child to brush their teeth is an activity that can be both rewarding and extremely draining. Sometimes they just lick the toothpaste; most times they can’t be bothered with the activity and fail to see what the fuss is about.

In 2019, Tolulope was on the Forbes 30 under 30 Technology list, and before co-founding Playbrush, he was an Amazon engineer.

How it started: It all started in 2014. While visiting Tolulope in Dublin, his friend Vagar proposed the idea of creating a way to help kids brush better by linking their brushes to games. It came from having watched his young godson learn to brush his teeth. The idea sounded intriguing and work began on building the actual product.

Quitting his job at Amazon: Tolulope was raised by both his parents in Lagos, Nigeria. If you ever wondered where he got the gall to quit a job at Amazon and take a 50% pay cut, you would need to look no further than his parents.

Both of them quit their jobs at the age of 41. His mother quit her job as a teacher to run a school and his father left his job at the bank to focus on his furniture factory.

Read this week’s edition of my life in tech, Edwin shares the story of Tolulope Ogunsina, an African making a difference in the world of tech. 

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South African healthcare startup raises $1.1 million

South African digital healthcare startup, Quro Medical, has just secured $1.1 million in seed funding. This round was led by Kenyan and South African venture capitalist firms Enza Capital and Mohau Equity Partners.

About: Founded in 2018 by Dr Vuyane Mhlomi and Zikho Pali, Quro Medical is based in Johannesburg and leverages technology to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

Mhlomi grew up with parents who had chronic health issues and spent a lot of time waiting to see doctors and specialists. When the opportunity arrived, he left his hometown of Khayelitsha, a peri-urban community in the fringes of Cape Town, to study medicine at the University of Oxford and on returning, founding Quro Medical with a team of like-minded people became his response to an ailing healthcare system.

What the founders said: “Every evidence that’s out there has demonstrated that patients do better at home. Faster recovery, fewer risks to infections, patient satisfaction with care is higher, and sometimes clinical outcomes that are superior to conventional care. And this is why we’re driving the shift away from the hospital.”

Partnerships: Quro Medical has also partnered with MTN to enable better connectivity as a lot of their services, including real-time tracking of patient vitals, are dependent on sound internet connections.

Read more: Quro Medical, the South African startup pioneering hospital-at-home services, has raised a $1.1m seed round

MEST Startup Creation programme

MEST in partnership with Mastercard Foundation has announced the launch of the Startup Creation programme, aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to build, launch and scale software technology-enabled ventures in Ghana.

Startup Creation will provide free training in entrepreneurship and startup development in response to the growing demand for software entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial skills among young people in the country as well as provide the opportunity for participants to launch tech-enabled startups that solve local problems. 

Interested? Applications are open here until April 30, with the first cohort kicking off virtually on May 17.

Ghana’s Zeepay acquires Zambia’s Mangwee Mobile Money

Zeepay, the leading African Challenger Fintech with operations in over 10 African countries, has acquired a 51% stake in Mangwee Mobile Money Zambia. The deal makes Zeepay Ghana the majority shareholder of the entity.

Zeepay specialises in paying remittances into mobile money wallets across Africa and is regulated by both the Bank of Ghana.

According to Zeepay’s managing Director Andrew Takyi-Appiah, In 2020 the company processed 2.4 million transactions valued at US$400million across 10 markets.

Why this acquisition: it’s a strategic acquisition to grant Zeepay access to the Southern African market.

Read more: Zeepay acquires Zambia's Mangwee Mobile Money

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South Africa halts Vaccine rollout again

South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa will temporarily suspend its Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Why? This followed a recommendation from U.S. health officials to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine based on concerns about rare and severe blood clotting side effects. Six women under 50 developed rare blood clots in the United States among more than six million people given the J&J shot so far.

Sounds like Déjà vu?

Yes, The South African government earlier bought 1.5 million (estimated to cost $7.8m) AstraZeneca vaccines but early findings by scientists and researchers showed that it only offered minimal protection from infection by the new variant. So it backed out and ordered nine million (estimated to cost $90m) doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

Zoom out: South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine deals with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer have non-refundability clauses, meaning down payments will not be returned under any circumstances. With over $100m spent South Africa can not afford to let its second set of vaccine waste.

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Written by - Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by - Koromone Koroye & Edwin Madu

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