1 JUNE, 2021


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Tymebank, Flutterwave, Opay (tentative), Interswitch, Fawry and now Chipper Cash. A majority of the most valuable startups in Africa are fintech. Looks like fintech is in the spotlight. Which sector will be next?

In today’s edition:

  • Chipper Cash raises $100 million and achieves unicorn status
  • MTN hasn’t given up on securing Ethiopian telecom licence
  • Almentor raises $6.5m
  • Meet the new CEO of Lori Systems

Chipper cash becomes Africa’s sixth unicorn

Barely seven months after a $30 million funding round in which Jeff Bezos participated, Chipper Cash has raised $100 million in a Series C round.

Launched in 2018 by Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, Chipper Cash enables individuals to transfer money at zero fees between African countries. It also offers Chipper Checkout, a paid service for businesses to receive payments by sharing payment links with customers or integrating a button on a website or app. 

Expansion: Before now, the startup was present in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Now, it’s expanded to the UK.

The road to being a Unicorn: In March this year, Flutterwave – a Nigerian fintech – raised $170m and explicitly said they were now valued at more than $1bn. As per TechCrunch, co-founder Segunjogi stated that Chipper Cash is probably the most valuable private startup in Africa today after this round, even though they’ve raised $80m less than the Nigerian fintech.

Read more: Bezos Expeditions invests again as Chipper Cash raises $100 million in Series C


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MTN is going to try again

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Looks like MTN hasn’t given up on securing an Ethiopian telecom licence.

Remind me, how did we get here?

Last week, we announced that Ethiopia’s telecoms licence was awarded to a consortium including Safaricom and the UK’s Vodafone. 

MTN lost out on the bid for the second license. It’s not clear why but we know that the winning team bid $850 million while MTN’s bid was $600m.

Why bid that low?

In the words of MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita, “We were particularly focused on the lack of mobile money in the licencing regime, and there were some issues around how the telco constructs would be accommodated within Ethiopia. We certainly priced for those things and near-term risks that we saw, and we felt that the financial bid there was appropriate.”

Sounds like the absence of a Mobile Money licence affected their bid?

Yes, the Ethiopian telecom licence didn’t include a mobile money licence as state-owned Ethio Telecom recently launched a mobile money service called telebirr. A pointer to the fact that Ethiopia wants to open up its telecom space but keep mobile money run by the state.

What’s next?

Although disappointed that they didn’t win the first bid, Mupita has revealed that the telco would consider bidding for the second Ethiopian operating licence. He’s hoping that the second time the licence would be offered it’ll include a mobile money license.


Future Africa has invested $3 million in 13 African startups in 2021, doubling its fund deployments for 2020. It’s invested in companies like Termii, Ongair, Lami and Stitch and is on the way to invest $10 million this year.

Read its announcement here.

Almentor raises $6.5m

“We live in a region with a population of 400 million-plus people but 90% of them cannot learn properly in any other language but Arabic,” Ihab Fikry, Almentor’s co-founder and CEO, says to TechCabal

This revelation spurred Ihab Fikry and Ibrahim Kamel to start Almentor, a video-based online learning platform for the Middle East and North Africa in 2016.

Yesterday, Almentor announced that it raised $6.5m in a Series B round led by Partech from its Africa Fund.

How Almentor works: Sharing the attributes of renowned platforms like Masterclass, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. Almentor is a little different. The platform has a video-on-demand component that enables learners to stream content, while a learning management system engages users in classroom-like activities like asking and answering questions, and taking exams.

It charges users a subscription to access its library of 12,000 videos on topics like math, history, natural sciences and training material for corporations.

Read more:Almentor, a video-based learning platform for Africa and the Middle East, raises $6.5m

Sneak peek: The next edition of Ask an Investor which comes out tomorrow starts with the story of how Almentor started.


On the 1st of June 2021, the Unicorn Group will launch the biggest incubation campus in Africa- The Unicorn Incubation Campus-a multi-story building located in Yaba, the pulse of the startup ecosystem in West Africa.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 1st June 2021
  • Time: 10:00 am- 3:00 pm
  • Venue: 362 Herbert Macauley Way Yaba (Old Abiola Bookshop House)

The Unicorn Incubation campus will spur innovation and empower entrepreneurs to identify and build sustainable and competitive companies that will contribute to Africa’s economic growth. Join us as we write history and lay the foundation for the emergence of the African Continent.

Meet Lori system’s new CEO

Kenya-based e-logistics platform Lori Systems have announced a new CEO, Uche Ogboi.

Founded in 2016, Lori systems is solving inefficiencies in Africa’s cargo transportation industry. It was established by Josh Sandler and Ernest Gichini Ngaruiya to reduce the cost of moving goods across the continent. 

Uche Ogboi joined Lori in July 2019 as COO and has been a key part of the company’s growth. Sandler says she grew the Nigeria business “10x in less than a year” and executed 40% cost savings across the business.

Read the outgoing CEO’s message here.


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Edwin Madu & Koromone Koroye


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