Buycoins’ journey to powering Africa’s financial and digital economy
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Quick Fire 🔥 with Anie Akpe
Anie Akpe is a business professional and entrepreneur with more than 25 years’ experience in the banking industry where she grew and managed a $1.5 billion portfolio.
Akpe is an active member of the boards of directors for various organizations and the founder of African Women In Tech (AWIT), an Africa-based organisation helping girls and women with education and mentorship within technology as well as the UX Diaspora. It’s a unique community of people of colour in UX who are digitally migrating to educate, connect and inspire one another all over the world. In addition, Akpe has an MBA from Dowling College located in Long Island, NY.
Explain your job to a five-year-old.
I have several things that I complete on a day-to-day basis. The first thing that I do is manage 25 employees at the bank. My team makes sure that customers get approved for financing at our institution.
The second thing is educating and training African women in technology on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain for career growth or entrepreneurship. Lastly, my co-founder and I are preparing to launch a DeFi lending platform.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?: Find your tribe. Find your mentor or find those that share the same interests with you early in your career. By doing this, it will help push your creativity.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your career?
Take time to meditate when you’re uncertain about which way to proceed. Meditation helps calm the noise around you so the answers come to you quicker.
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
I received an award for being a visionary leader over 10 years ago. This award always reminds me that I can do anything that I set my mind to. During this time, I grew a portfolio that I was managing to over $1.2 billion.
What’s something you love doing but are terrible at? What’s something you do not like doing but are great at.
I love to write, but I always get writer’s block, so I figure I’m bad at it. I’m not too fond of public speaking, but I find that I can do it with ease once I get started.
What new ways of doing things will you keep from this past year?
I’m going to keep taking a break. Sometimes we operate in work mode that borders on burnout. It’s only when you take a total break away from your projects that you realise how much of a break you need.
PAYSTACK PRESENTS ARTWORK
Paystack presents Artwork, a video show about the business side of being a creator in Africa! In Ep 1, learn how to distribute your music and manage your IP rights. Watch now 👉🏾 https://youtu.be/-TOxHmLNDWo
This is partner content.
BEYOND INVESTING IN AFRICAN STARTUPS, KEPPLE AFRICA VENTURES IS CREATING NEW INDUSTRIES
For Satoshi Shinada, taking bets and investing is not something he just started doing.
At the age of 18, he took his first bet to invest in himself by leaving Japan to visit 40 African countries in the space of almost two years. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s bold! Why did he do this?” I had the same thought too, so I asked him about it.
“I was born and raised in Japan, so I wanted to expose myself to a different environment and culture. I also loved reading stories of adventures which exposed me to stories about Africa,” he told me over a Zoom call.
He goes on to tell about how he got the money for the trip around Africa which changed how he saw the world.
In my 11th edition of Ask an investor, Satoshi Shinada shares the story of Kepple Africa Ventures, a Japanese early-stage startup based in Africa.
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation:
Q: You’ve invested in almost 100 startups within 3 years. That’s unusual. Why?
A: Yes, it’s intentional for a number of reasons. Our swift approach is modelled after one of the most successful VCs in Southeast Asia, BeeNext. BeeNext makes most of its returns from follow-up investments. So their first cheque is to get their feet in so many startups so they become an insider and know what’s going on in their portfolio companies. Once they see signs of exponential growth, they double down on their investment.
Q: Tell me about some mistakes you’ve made.
A: I’ve made a number of mistakes. One that stands out is investing in some startups that are trying to solve too many problems at the same time. It looks beautiful because the startup is solving everything and it involves different stakeholders in that sector. But a downside to this is that the startup struggles with monetisation for lack of understanding about their customer’s biggest pain point.
In this article, we talk about a host of other things and end with why there are not many Japanese investors on the ground like Kepple Africa Ventures.
HIGHLIGHT OF 2021 AFRILABS ANNUAL GATHERING
Catalytic Africa, a matching grant co-funded by AfriLabs and ABAN has gone live! Startups, hubs and angels are called to register here – https://catalytic-africa.com
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BUYCOINS’ JOURNEY TO POWERING AFRICA’S FINANCIAL AND DIGITAL ECONOMY
“I changed my name because it didn’t fit how I saw myself.” – Daniel Tammet
Every now and then, companies evolve beyond their names. Last month it was the turn of Nigerian fintech platform, Buycoins.
Backstory: Buycoins was founded in 2017 by Timi Ajiboye, Ire Aderinokun and Tomiwa Lasebikan to afford Nigerians a safe and easy way to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies. After being called Buycoins for the past three years, the exchange and all the products created by its team will now be housed under the new parent company, Helicarrier.
The Buycoins team felt its former name didn’t do a good job of capturing all they do and have become. Similar to the name of the fictitious versatile super-machines that are capable of sustained flight via four massive turbine engines, Helicarrier currently houses five which will power its efforts to disrupt remittance payment in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa.
In this article Sultan Quadri interviews Lasebikan, co-founder and Chief Product Officer; Teju Adeyinka, Head of Growth, Sendcash; and Zino Asamaige, Head of Growth, Buycoins Pro to help us understand the work Helicarrier has done over the past three years.
NIGERIA STARTUP BILL HOLDS STATE RALLY
On Thursday, October 28, the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) held a rally across five states in the country: Gombe, Ebonyi, Lagos, Yobe, and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The NSB is a joint initiative by the Nigerian Presidency and stakeholders in the private sector that aims to create an enabling environment for tech and tech-enabled startups in the country through co-created laws.
For this rally, the purpose was to spread the word about the bill across the country and get the buy-in of affected stakeholders in the different states, particularly at the grassroots. Over 1,000 youth leaders, youth corps members, students, government stakeholders and NSB volunteers gathered across the five locations.
Aside from the state rally, another ongoing effort to spread awareness about the bill is the NSB Learning Series. This is a four-part webinar focused on the four foundational elements of the Nigeria Startup Bill: capital, regulation, infrastructure and talent. You can watch the first episode here and register for upcoming sessions here.
This week, Nigerian auto-tech startup Autochek secured a $13.1m seed round to accelerate its expansion goals across West Africa.
The round was co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures and saw participation from Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, ASK Capital and Mobility 54 Investment SAS (the venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho Corporation).
Here are the other deals for the week:
Nigeria-based agritech startup Vendease secured $3.2m in seed funding from Global Founders Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, Hustle Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures and Soma Cap.
South African API fintech startup Stitch extended its seed round to $6m from the $4m announced earlier in the year. Leading global fintech entrepreneurs such as Tom Blomfield, co-founder of Monzo; Matt Robinson, co-founder of GoCardless; Emilie Choi, president of Coinbase; and Charlie Delingpole, founder of ComplyAdvantage, participated in the round.
RecoMed, a South African healthtech platform, raised $1.5m in a round led by Vunani Fintech Fund, with participation from AAIC, Growth Grid Venture Capital Partners, and Push Ventures.
South African AI-based biotech company BixBio secured n undisclosed investment from US-based Illumina Accelerator, run by Silicon Valley-based Illumina for Startups.