Facebook has unveiled its first smart glasses, a wearable tech that allows users to take videos or pictures, listen to music or even take calls.
Ray-Ban Stories – the product’s name – will also allow users to share their activities across Facebook through a companion app.
It’s all part of Facebook’s long-term plan to launch true augmented reality (AR) glasses.
In today’s edition:
Quick Fire 🔥
Prospa raises $3.6 million in pre-seed round
Ask an Investor: What SUNU Capital is doing to support African founders
TC Insights: Funding Tracker
QUICK FIRE 🔥 WITH FOLA OLATUNJI-DAVID
Fola Olatunji-David has a wealth of experience working in the African tech ecosystem. Formerly the Head of Startup Success and Services at Google, and the Head of the Accelerator at Ventures Platform, he enjoys helping African techpreneurs navigate their paths.
Fola, explain your job to a five-year-old
I support people who are just starting out in their business. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s my time. I also help connect them to smart people who can help them grow their businesses.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your life/career?
One thing I’ve figured out as I’ve grown in my career is that the relationships you’re building matters just as much as the impact you make on the job. When you start out your career, you have a lot of energy and you feel like you can take on the world but it’s important to build relationships as you do that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your career?
It’s realizing that you’re not special, lol. Even if you’re smart and talented, if you don’t work hard, someone hardworking will eventually be better than you.
What [singular] achievement are you most proud of?
Definitely my family. They’re the best thing that has happened to me and I’m super proud of them.
Tell us something you love doing that you’re terrible at, and something you really don’t like but you’re great at.
Something I love doing and I’m terrible at is karaoke. You better believe that if I see a microphone, I’m singing if it’s Beyonce, TuFace, Boys 2 Men, Adele, P!nk, MI, or even Taylor Swift. I might be terrible at it but I will sing the song no matter what.
Something I hate doing but I’m great at is probably cooking. I’m a great cook but I don’t think I derive any joy in it anymore. I used to enjoy it when I was younger, but these days, the effort topples the reward.
What new ways of doing things will you keep from this past year?
I’m not a big fan of [completely] remote work. I’m a bit biased because I’ve always traveled for work so I enjoy in-person connections.
What I’ll be keeping is a reminder as much as remote work is great and opens up opportunities, it’s always great to have some in-person communication and that’s what I’ll take from last year.
PROSPA RAISES $3.8 MILLION IN PRE-SEED ROUND
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WHAT SUNU CAPITAL IS DOING TO SUPPORT AFRICAN FOUNDERS
“If we find somebody that we really love with a laptop and dream, we’ll write them a $50,000 check and stay relatively close to see what happens. Our sweet spot is a $100-$250K initial check with the potential to follow on up to $1M.”
Before becoming a venture capitalist, Benjamin Schmerler had a pretty interesting life.
He grew up in the United States and early on had a sense that he wanted to go and explore what lay beyond the endless skies he stared at each day.
So since Schmerler left home at the age of 18, he’s lived and worked in nearly every corner of the globe. He started out doing supply chain consulting for global corporations like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Hershey throughout the Americas, East and West Africa, and Southeast Asia.
He’s worked for Root Capital, a firm that aims to transform rural communities by investing in agricultural enterprises, and working with Root helped him build foundations for his own venture capital fund, SUNU Capital.
Since its founding in 2017, SUNU has backed 22 startups across Africa including Autochek, Stitch, and Copia.
KB4-CON EMEA is a free, highly engaging, cybersecurity-focused virtual event designed for CISOs, security awareness, and cybersecurity professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The event will be on Thursday, September 23rd and features keynotes from two of the most well-known figures in cybersecurity. Mikko Hyppönen will cover how our global networks are being threatened by surveillance and crime, and how we can fix our technical, and human, problems. Kevin Mitnick will reveal social engineering tradecraft and insights and wow you with a live hacking demonstration. You can register here.
TC INSIGHTS: FUNDING TRACKER
This week, Francophone Africa produced its first unicorn as Senegalese fintech, Wave raised $200m in a Series A round to reach a valuation of $1.7 billion. The round was led by payments giant Stripe; Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Ribbit Capital, and other investors.
Here are the other deals for the week:
Cairo-based fintech startup, MNT-Halan raised $120m from Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International (DPI), Lorax Capital Partners, Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst, and Disruptech.
Kenyan fintech startup Pezesha, secured a 7-figure seed extension round from GreenHouse Capital, with on-lending liquidity support from Venture Garden Group.
Prospa, a fintech company in Nigeria, raised a $3.8m pre-seed round from Global Founders Capital and Liquid 2 Ventures. Immad Akhund of Mercury, Karim Atiyeh of Ramp, and executives from Teachable, Square, Facebook & Nubank also participated in the round.
Agricorp International raised $17.5m in pre-series A funding led by Vami Farms with support from One Capital.
Kenyan-based energy leasing company Solarise Africa secured $5.9m in debt financing from Swedish impact investment platform Trine.
There are more opportunities here. If you’d like to share a job opening or an opportunity, please fill this form.
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