27 MAY, 2021

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Good morning ☀️ ️

Payment giant Stripe recently introduced a feature (nocode payment page), that was introduced over 5 years ago by Paystack, Flutterwave & other Nigerian fintech companies. When one twitter user pointed it out, Stripe’s co-founder replied saying that the US is no longer the centre of the Internet. We’re all learning from each other.

In today’s edition:

  • Dominic Joshua’s hedge fund unravelled
  • My Life in Tech
  • Opay looking to raise $400m
  • Amazon acquires MGM

Dominic Joshua’s ‘hedge fund’ paid out 30% monthly returns. Then the scam unravelled

In December 2020, Michelle Adigun* transferred ₦300,000 ($750) to Brisk Capital, an investment firm she discovered on Instagram. The firm promised to pay her 30% of that capital for three consecutive months. 

The promise was fulfilled. The last 30% was paid alongside her initial capital. Thrilled by this, Adigun more than doubled her commitment to ₦700,000 on March 2, 2021. Same monthly promise as above. No questions asked.

But on the 2nd of April when she was to receive the first payment, Adigun did not. “This is when trouble suddenly started,” she says to TechCabal.

How it ended: Joshua, the 21-year-old self-styled ‘Investment Maestro’ behind the Brisk wheel, is now in the custody of the Nigeria Police Force on a number of charges including investment fraud and stealing. 

Read Alex’s piece on the story of the investment maestro behind Brisk. 

Trivia: Watch this meme on Twitter that best depicts the situation right now between investors and Joshua.

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Dr Vuyane Mhlomi is helping patients receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes

Growing up in Khayelitsha was tough and from a young age, Vuyane knew that education was the one way he could possibly move upward socially. This was how he fell in love with studying; it was the way to change things – his ticket out.

When the time came to choose a course to study, medicine was the winning choice.

While his decision was due, in part, to the many hours spent sitting and waiting for a doctor to attend to his parents, Vuyane remembers one event that solidified his decision.

It was in his last year of high school. On the night before his matric exams, his mother had a stroke that they were lucky enough to catch early. She had developed a clot in her heart from an undiagnosed cardiac complication from when she was a kid and that clot had dislodged and gone to her brain.

Fast forward: Today, Vuyane is a medical doctor, Rhodes scholar, and the co-founder of Quro Medical – a startup making it possible for patients to receive the best care from the comfort of their homes.

In this week’s edition of my life in tech, Edwin talks to Dr Vuyane Mhlomi who is helping patients receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes

Opportunities

Carry 1st and Crazy Lab announce that applications are open for their hyper-casual gaming accelerator programme, CrazyHubs Cape Town. 

Starting in September, the 3-6 month paid accelerator is coordinated by renowned industry experts who will teach the next generation of gaming talent the fundamentals of designing and developing hyper casual mobile games.

Interested? Apply here

Dream VC announces a free, but exclusive hands-on 16+ week-long training to help upskill young professionals about angel investing and give them the skills to support and invest in early-stage tech startups across the Sub-Saharan African region.

Interested? Apply here

OPay in talks to raise $400 million from investors at $1.5bn valuation

African fintech giant OPay is reportedly in talks to raise $400 million from investors at a valuation of $1.5 billion, according to an exclusive report from The Information.

OPay is looking to raise funding to finance its expansion plan, having launched in Egypt this year. The payments giant says it processed $1.4 billion in payments in October 2020 alone, and that number also reportedly increased to $2 billion by December 2020. 

Backstory: While OPay is based in Nigeria, its backers are mostly Chinese companies like Meituan, a multi-billion-dollar Chinese shopping platform.

In July 2019, OPay raised $50 million from Sequoia Capital and other investors. Opera itself also invested in the round. Four months later, it raised a massive $120 million in a Series B round. The company’s initial play seemed to be focused on building a super-app, and it led with its popular bike-hailing service, ORide. But the ban on bike hailing in Nigeria stopped that, and the company focused on what had always been at its core: payments. 

Why it matters: In October 2020, OPay claimed it processed $1.4 billion, and then later in the year it claimed it processed $2 billion in December. There have been many comments on how valid these numbers are since they aren’t externally verifiable. With the announcement of it’s upcoming funding round, it’s fair to say the numbers might just be true.

Amazon acquires MGM studios

Yesterday, e-commerce giant Amazon announced it has bought film studio MGM for $8.5 billion.

Who’s smiling to the bank?

MGM, which was reportedly valued at just $5.5 billion, including debt, at the end of last year.

Why it matters: Amazon studio was launched a decade ago but has struggled to find success. This acquisition reflects Amazon’s ambitions to become a major force in Hollywood as it taps into the catalogue of movies MGM has, especially the James Bond sequel.

Trivia: As per @JonErlichman here are Amazon’s biggest acquisitions so far:

1) Whole Foods: $13.7 billion

2) MGM Studios: $8.45 billion

3) Zappos: $1.2 billion

4) Zoox: $1.2 billion

5) PillPack: $1 billion

6) Ring: $1 billion

7) Twitch: $970 million

8) Kiva Systems: $775 million

9) Quidsi: $545 million

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Written by – Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Edwin Madu & Koromone Koroye

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Daniel Adeyemi | Author