17 SEPTEMBER, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

Earlier this week, Canva raised $200m with a valuation of $40bn. The design platform started in 2013 to help everyday people make simple designs. It has since evolved to support video editing and live presentations too. 

Presently, Canva has 60 million users a month with 500,000 subscribed teams and a total of 7 billion designs created since inception. 

I wouldn’t mind a Canva masterclass on how I can design my future. 

P.S Here’s a reminder to move TC Daily into your primary folder so you don’t miss any of our emails. 

In today’s edition:

  • Quick Fire 🔥
  • Energy building with Ethiopia
  • How much will the new iPhones cost in Africa?
  • TC Insights: Funding Tracker
  • Ingressive For Good trains 60,000 Africans
  • Events: The #FutureofCommerce


Chioma Ugo is a Co-founder and Head of Growth at Prospa. Chioma has extensive experience in growth strategy and communications. She previously founded Hypebuzz, one of Nigeria’s leading influencer marketing agencies. 

She is presently responsible for spearheading Prospa’s growth strategy.

Chioma, explain your job to a five-year-old

If you had your own lego shop, you would hire me to make sure that everyone who needs lego knows that your shop is open. I would also make sure people buy your lego and that they keep coming back to buy more and also recommend us to their friends, family, colleagues, and anybody who needs lego.

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

Everything happens in its own time. Trust the process. 

What’s the one growth hack you think every startup should use?

If possible, go and live or work with your target audience/ users. It’ll give you an in-depth understanding of the problem you’re solving and the behaviours and habits of your target audience/user. It’ll help you build a better solution and help with market positioning. 

What African tech sector do you think needs a boost and why?

Fintech. One of the most important relationships we have is with our finances. Innovators in this space are transforming millions of lives in so many different capacities. 

What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my family.

Tell us about something you love doing that you’re terrible at. And tell us about something you really do not like doing that you’re great at. 

I love roller skating but I’m not good at it. I don’t like dancing but I’m great at it!


እንቁጣጣሽ Happy belated Enkutash my friends. 

Enkutash is the start of the New Year according to the Ethiopian Calendar. It was only on September 11th but Ethiopia is already coming in hot. 

Africa’s second-most populous nation is making moves to become the go-to source for electricity in East Africa. It all started in 2011 when the nation broke ground on the controversial Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD). Then, this week, Ethiopian officials announced a plan to invest $40 billion in 71 more clean energy projects, including geothermal energy.

What’s a GERD?

GERD is a high gravity dam constructed upstream, on the Blue Nile, in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. The dam cost $ 5 billion to build, and, when running at full capacity, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. Two fillings of the GERD’s reservoirs have already been completed. 

Rich & Steamy

Just 0.6% of Africa’s known geothermal energy is being utilized. Ethiopia wants to change that.

The nation is home to the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, a branch of the East African Rift which spans 6,4000 kilometers in length and up to 64 kilometers in width. The region is so rich in geothermal energy resources that it has the potential to power several countries in East Africa. Ethiopia plans to implement up to 17 geothermal projects in the coming years.

But, we’re fine with hydropower…

Yeah, hydropower is the most popular form of renewable energy in Africa. It’s the source of 17% of the electricity generation in Africa (on average), after all. But pervasive droughts are shrinking hydro-capabilities. It’s so bad that Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, declared this prolonged period of drought a national disaster earlier this month.

Rifts in the Rift 

Not everyone is happy about GERD and its spinoff projects. GERD has been a source of tension between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Egypt and Sudan sit downstream along the Blue Nile. 

While Ethiopia says GERD is essential for national development, Egypt fears that the project will alter the flow of water and sediments that are a life source for its own communities along the waterway. Sudan is worried about its own power-generating dams on the Blue Nile and wants Ethiopia to share data on GERD’s operations. 

The three nations have yet to reach an agreement.


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On Tuesday, Apple revealed the iPhone 12 Super Pro iPhone 13 series which includes a mini version, a Pro, and a Pro Max. 

There are a few minor upgrades like a 1TB storage option for the Pro and Pro Max variants, a new A15 Bionic processor, a smaller notch, and new camera features. 

I wrote a bit about the cost range for the new series would be in the range of $700 – $1500 but that’s if you’re buying it overseas. For Africans on the continent, the prices could be a little higher, with the chance of a 50% increase in some regions. And it’s all thanks to shipping fees, VAT, and good old-fashioned FOMO. 

So how much could the phones cost? Well, we reached out to some retailers in a few African countries and we’ve got a pretty good idea. 

In Nigeria: Emmanuel Osho, who is an Apple-certified technician and CEO of Bodds IT, believes there’ll be a 30% increase in prices when the phones hit Nigerian markets. 

So a 30% increase in price in Nigeria, at an exchange rate of $1/₦550, means the iPhone 13 128GB variant will cost about ₦593,000

In Kenya: Here, Apple products are charged a 16% import fee with an additional 6% added on for Value Added Tax (VAT).

If you tally in transportation costs and profit margins for retailers, Kenya will also experience a 30% increase in prices. 

With an exchange rate of $1/KSh110, this means the iPhone 13 128GB variant will cost about KSh119,000.

In South Africa: In South Africa, the iPhone 13 will reportedly be available from October 8 according to iStoreZA, an Apple premium reseller. 

Although the store hasn’t revealed the prices, the iPhone 13 Pro 128GB is expected to go for around R23,499 ($1,640), while the iPhone 13 Pro Max 128GB could retail for around R25,999 ($1,815). 

This is a high price margin of over 50%, most likely influenced by the fact that an iPhone or iPod attracts 7% duties and 15% VAT in South Africa per Business Insider.


CrystalBell Omuboye is the first child of six children with both parents unemployed. 

Growing up, she learned to provide for herself by producing and selling liquid soap but the money she made from it was barely sufficient to make ends meet. 

Like most people, CrystalBell was determined to change the trajectory of her life and an opportunity to do so came in the form of Ingressive For Good’s Technical Training Program.

The program provided her the tools and learning resources to transition into a full-stack developer. She recently landed a developer job and now earns 10x what she earned before. Her life has completely changed. 

She’s not the only one. 

60,000 Africans in 10 countries

66,749 African youths have stories similar to CrytsalBell’s, one where their lives were influenced by Ingressive For Good. 

In 2020, the non-profit was founded with one goal in mind: to help young Africans get more opportunities and earn more by equipping them with tech skills and resources.

The founders, Maya Famodu Horgan and Sean Burrowes had a three-pronged plan to reach this goal. First, the non-profit would provide micro-scholarships to students with financial needs studying computer science at prestigious African universities. 

It would also provide technical training where promising talents like CrystallBell could learn digital tech skills in the areas of programming and design (tech) from global trainers like Facebook, Coursera, or Datacamp. 

The final piece of the plan is connecting the youth in its network to opportunities. 

With its plan, Ingressive is aiming to disburse $1m in scholarships and provide 5,000 jobs across the continent. One year after kick-off, the non-profit has trained 66,570 African youths, awarded more than $42,600 in scholarships, and placed qualified candidates in more than 300 tech jobs. 

Read more: Over 60,000 young Africans trained in Tech by Ingressive For Good, a year after launching.


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


This week, Capiter, a Cairo-based B2B e-commerce solution startup, raised a $33m Series A round to power its expansion across the Middle-East North Africa (MENA) region and also its full foray into digital financial service.

The round was led by Quona Capital and MSA Capital with Savola, Shorooq Partners, Foundation Ventures, Accion Venture Lab, and Derayah Ventures also participating.

Here are the other deals of the week:

  • Nigerian digital commerce startup, OurPass raised a $1m pre-seed round led by Tekedia Capital and some angel investors from top Fortune 500 companies. 
  • 54gene, a Nigerian health tech secured $25m in a Series B funding round led by Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund with participation from Adjuvant Capital, KdT Ventures, Plexo Capital, Endeavor Capital, Ingressive Capital, and others. 
  • Releaf, a Nigerian agritech, raised $4.2m in seed funding led by Samurai Incubate Africa, Future Africa, and Consonance Investment Managers with participation from Stephen Pagliuca, and Justin Kan of Twitch. 
  • Egyptian fintech startup Kashat raised a US$1.75m bridge funding round led by Launch Africa and Cairo Angels.
  • African fintech platform, Finclusion Group secured $20m in a funding round from debt financing provider, Lendable.
  • Cape Town-based healthtech Aviro Health secured an undisclosed amount of funding in a pre-series round led by ASISA ESD Fund (managed by Edge Growth), Tuksnovation, and TIA.

That’s all we’ve got this week.

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn for more updates on funding deals.


V for VerifyMe

What does VerifyMe do? 

VerifyMe is building the Nigerian trust infrastructure by offering digital identity and verification services to a wide range of industries and the retail market. Licensed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the company’s verification services are available by API or via their full-service Managed Verification Platform.

VerifyMe also enables contactless customer onboarding and allows customers to confirm National Identification Number (NIN), Bank Verification Number (BVN), and Driver’s License (FRSC), as well as secure e-commerce transactions using their AI-powered facial recognition and liveness detection technology.

Will someone from VerifyMe be speaking at the event?

Yes! Esigie Aguele, VerifyMe’s co-founder and CEO will be speaking on a panel tagged The Future of Payments.

Esigie is a seasoned expert in Systems Engineering, Enterprise & Solutions Architecture, Business Transformation, and Business Development. His professional experience includes a combined 17 years in the United States, working and rising to senior management roles across several sectors including telecom, financial services, and solution architecture for the public sector.

Learn more about him and all the other speakers that will be at #FOC2021 here

If you still haven’t registered, the event is happening in exactly a week, so best to sign up now.

The Future of Commerce is brought to you in partnership with DAI Magister and Paystack and is sponsored by DorokiChipper CashKlashaVerifyMe, and GIG Logistics.


Next on the Grit & Growth podcast: meet Elo Umeh, CEO of Terragon Group, a Nigerian marketing and insights firm, and experts from TLcom Capital, and learn how to maximize the value of your firm’s next fundraising round. Listen here.


Big Cabal Media is hiring for some super important postions! Supercharge your career with us!

There are more opportunities here. If you’d like to share a job opening or an opportunity, please fill this form.

What else we’re reading

  • 54gene is boosting access to healthcare solutions in Africa and the company has just raised $25m in a Series B round. 
  • YouTube is improving its accessibility features. The platform will now allow users translate comments written in other languages. 
  • We may not have to struggle to remember passwords anymore as Microsoft is phasing out passwords and trying new things like biometric scanners. 


Written by – Timi Odueso, Alexandria Williams & Boluwatife Sanwo

Edited by – Koromone Koroye


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