16 April, 2021

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We have something different for you in today’s newsletter: Quick Fire 🔥 - a Q & A section with different players in the African tech community.

In today's edition:

  • Quick Fire 🔥
  • A platform that lets music fans invest in artistes
  • Another round: Nigerian Banks vs Telcos
  • A conversation with OList’s CEO
  • TC Insights

Quick fire 🔥 with Fu’ad Lawal - Growth Lead, Eden Life

Explain your job to a five-year-old.

I look for all the people who like what we're doing, and convince them to pay for it.

What keeps you at night?

Growth. That's what keeps me up at night man. Na God dey give customer, but na person dey go find am. [God gives us customers but we still need to find them]

What's the best advice you've ever received in your career?

Anything I say here is going to be a lie. Next question.

What's something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?

I just wish I had a laptop much earlier to have enough time to play with it, then be bored, then be thinking about what I could make with it. Let me explain.

Getting a laptop as a teenager is not the same as getting a laptop as an adult. A laptop as an adult is almost always a need. You need it for a school thesis, or for work. Your relationship with the machine is need at first sight. It's never really the same as growing with it.

What's the oddest job you've ever done?

It's only odd in the context of what I currently do – I used to make beads and sell.

A genie gives you one wish for the African tech ecosystem, what would yours be?

Thoughtful government.

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A platform that lets music fans invest in Artiste

On Dec 9, 2020, Mr Eazi put out a tweet alluding to a system to allow fans to own equity in his music. 

While we wait for a chance to own Mr. Eazi song shares, Nigeria’s first domestically launched music streaming service, uduX just created something similar.

uduX has developed a new product called PopRev in partnership with PiggyVest.

About PopRev: PopRev will allow music lovers to invest in their favourite musician’s project and make profits based on the project’s digital streaming performance.

According to uduX’s CEO, "PopRev gives artists access to funding while letting them keep their masters. We’re creating a new artist revenue model driven by fans’ social engagement and the new normal of ‘sharing’. We want to give investors access to metrics and the performance of their investments on-demand. For the wider industry, we’re providing a leg-up to the untapped potential of musical talent in the African diaspora."

Read more: PiggyVest and uduX present PopRev, a platform that lets music fans invest in artistes

Nigerian Banks vs Telcos: Row over $103m USSD debt may enter another round

The row between Nigerian banks and telcos over who should pay a $103m Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt may enter a fresh round. 

Backstory: In December 2019, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) threatened to shut down USSD platforms in Nigeria over a $103m debt. According to ALTON, for two years, neither the banks nor customers paid for using USSD. 

After two long years of negotiations, the price for USSD was pegged at ₦6.98 per transaction with Nigeria’s central bank and the Communications Commission passing on the fees to users. 

It seemed like all was settled until last week

On an investor call last week, Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank insisted that the banks have no obligation to telcos. According to him, “There is no such thing as an obligation due from banks to telcos.”

“We chose not to make a public statement out of it because it is not appropriate for us to be found fighting with telcos in public.” 

He also added, “It is true that they continue to provide this service but this service has nothing to do with the banks.”

The dilemma: Because SMS costs money and millions of transactions happen via USSD, the question of who should pay has been at the center of a dispute between banks and telcos dating back to 2019. 


Read more: Banks vs Telcos row over $103m USSD debt may enter another round

In other related news: After four months of suspending the registration of new SIM cards, Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday announced that Nigerians can now register new SIM cards.

OList’s CEO talks about building in silence

“We do not want to make noise, especially from learnings in the last couple of years. I think Opera paid a huge price in our learning curve when the government banned bikes. Personally, I like to do the work as opposed to talking about the work.”

In 2019, when Opera introduced OList it was with a rather silent launch. Compared to other product lines like Opay or Oride, there was no press release announcing the launch of OList, just a mention in its financial statement. 

Today it’s ranked as one of the most visited classified sites in Nigeria. OList has risen up the ranks really fast. The company has more than one million seller accounts. In a conversation with TechCabal, Dara Gbenro, CEO of OList talks about OList’s journey and significant milestones.

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TC Insights: Funding Tracker

This week was a sharp contrast to the last. 5 startups raised over a million each, and there were nine deals altogether totalling $21.1m. Fintech carted $16.5m of the total sum in six deals.

Let’s have a look at the deals in more detail:

  • Egypt based e-commerce platform, Kemitt raised an undisclosed amount from Saudi angel investors.
  • Nigerian fintech, Appzone raised $10m in a round led by CardinalStone.
  • Africa’s first e-motorcycle company, Ampersand secured $3.5m from Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF).
  • ‘Gold digitalization’ startup, TroyGold raised an undisclosed figure from Crossfin Ventures.
  • Ghanaian fintech, BezoMoney raised $200K seed capital from GOODsoil VC.
  • Numida, a fintech based in Uganda closed a $2.3m seed round led by MFS Africa.
  • South African healthtech, Quro Medical raised $1.1m from Enza Capital and Mohau Equity Partners.
  • Revix, a cryptocurrency startup based in South Africa, secured $4m in offshore funding.
  • Kenya-based fintech startup, Tanda raised an undisclosed sum from HAVAÍC, Zedcrest Capital, DFS Lab, Victor Asemota, and three other investors.
  • Samurai Incubate closed an $18m fund focused on startups in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt.

Whew! That’s it for this week.

Follow us on Twitter to stay updated; there just could be more today.

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Written by - Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by - Koromone Koroye & Edwin Madu

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