2 JUNE, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

Twitter began pilot tests for Fleet ads yesterday. Who didn’t see that one coming?

In today’s edition:

  • Ethiopia’s Telebirr adds one million users in a week
  • Ask an Investor
  • Gokada’s super app
  • TC Event

Telebirr gains one million users in one week

Ethiopia recently issued its first private telecoms license. One thing we know is that a mobile money license was not included. This could be because the country-owned Ethiotel recently launched its own mobile money platform Telebirr.

A week after its launch Telebirr has announced that its users have increased by one million.

Come again? To be fair, in a country of 115 million people, a million may not be a lot to join a mobile money service. But it is interesting that between 2015 and 2020 the number of mobile money subscribers remained at about 1.5 million.

So why the spike? Well, I’m no expert but I think the absence of transfer fees and the ease of loan access might have a thing or two to do with it.

Read more: Ethiopian Govt-owned Telebirr adds over 1m new mobile money users in 1 week


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Ask an Investor

In this week’s edition of Ask an Investor, Daniel speaks to Tamer Azer, principal at Sawari Ventures, one of the oldest VC firms in North Africa.

How does due dilligence work at Sawari Ventures?

“Each company will have a different level of preparedness, investment readiness, and every company will have different rounds. A priced round will have a very different timeline than a convertible note round or a safe round. So ultimately, every process is fluid depending on the nature of the round and the co-investors in the round and the lead.”

Any red flags you look out for?

“One that comes to mind is coachability. I’m turned off when I see that a founder or co-founders are not really being responsive to feedback from an investor or a customer. When they have a reputation for being not just defensive, but being uncoachable. That’s a major red flag because when you invest in someone, the relationship is very close for a very long period of time. If you can’t give and take, then it becomes really tricky to nurture this relationship over that period of time.”

Read the entire interview in this week’s edition of Ask an Investor.


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.

Gokada launches super app

Gokada was in the news yesterday. The Nigeria-based company will be expanding their operations to two Nigerian cities and also combining their services into one app – a super app, if you will.

What’s in the super app? While Gokada started as a ride-hailing service in 2018, a ride-hailing ban by the Lagos State government in 2020 caused them to launch two other separate services; GSend (logistics) and GShop (food delivery).

“What we realized from our customers was that while they were using the Gsend and GShop separately, they came to us asking if we could put them together,” said Gokada CEO Nikhil Goel.

And put them together they did! As Gokada expands to Ogun and Ibadan – two cities in the south-west of Nigeria, they will be arriving with all their services available on these two apps.

What should we have our eyes on? Ogun doesn’t have a very heavy ride-hailing startup presence. Ibadan is a different arena as SafeBoda is largely popular there and could prove to be a serious competitor.

Read more: Gokada to launch ride-hailing service in two Nigerian cities as part of super app plans


Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s innovative banking service provider has launched its robust innovation sandbox to accelerate innovation and help technology entrepreneurs build faster and better products. The initiative which is coming on the back of the Bank’s first accelerator program which awarded the winner a grant of $25,000.

Interested innovators, developers, and other technology enthusiasts can learn more here.


This Friday, June 4th at 11 am, Elo Umeh – CEO, Terragon Group will be discussing with Tomiwa Aladekomo – CEO, Big Cabal Media on what it takes to prepare for and close an acquisition.

Elo will be sharing lessons from Terragon’s acquisition of BIZense – a Singaporean data and marketing tech company in 2018 – and will try to answer the following questions – What informs the decision to acquire? How do you prepare your employees and customers for an acquisition? What are the pitfalls you need to avoid?

Elo will also be discussing why strategic partnerships are crucial not just to acquisitions but to overall business success, and why entrepreneurs should prioritize them when building for the African market and beyond.

If you’ve got big ambitions for your company, you don’t want to miss this one.

Register here to attend.


Written by – Edwin Madu


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