17 FEBRUARY, 2022

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Happy pre-Friday ๐Ÿ˜

Medical scientists are making progress with the cure for H.I.V. 

Last week, researchers at the University of California announced that a mixed-race woman had been cured of the disease. The doctors used a new treatment that combines umbilical cord blood and blood from relatives. 

It’s not the first time someone is being cured of H.I.V., it’s the third. It is the first time such patients aren’t suffering from the effects of the cure. The first treatment that cures H.I.V is bone marrow transplantation which is not only painful but also has side effects like host-graft disease, hearing loss, and infections.

For the latest umbilical cord cure, the treatment was applied in 2017 and now, years after numerous check-ins, researchers are confident enough to announce the possibilities of the treatment. 

In today’s edition

  • Flutterwave becomes Africa’s most valued startup
  • Why African startups are turning to debt financing
  • Driving Africa’s gaming market revolution
  • Event: Building blocks of the NSB
  • Opportunities

FLUTTERWAVE BECOMES AFRICA’S MOST VALUED STARTUP

Flutterwave has tripled its $1 billion valuation. 

Yesterday, the Nigerian-based Fintech announced the close of a $250 million Series D round with a valuation over $3 billion. This comes almost a year after it achieved unicorn status with its $170 million Series C raise. 

With this round, Flutterwave becomes the continent’s most valued startup, overtaking OPay which was valued at $2 billion in 2021

The investment was led by B Capital Group with participation from new investors Alta Park Capital, Whale Rock Capital, Lux Capital, among others and existing ones, including Glynn Capital, Avenir Growth, Tiger Global, Green Visor Capital, and Salesforce Ventures.

The Series also brings Flutterwave’s total raise to $484 million. 

What’s Flutterwave fixing with its new funding?

To paraphrase the startup, there are markets to go to, startups that need acquiring, and customers that need serving. 

Presently, Flutterwave is serving over 900,000 businesses across the globe with its payments solutions. It has also processed over 200 million transactions worth over $16 billion to date across 34 countries in Africa.

“We set out to build a platform that simplifies payments for everyone and today, our solutions are used across the globe to connect Africans to the world,” Olugbenga Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said. “This latest funding gives Flutterwave the much-needed support to deliver on our plans to provide the best experience for our merchants and customers around the world.”

Its remittance solution, Barter, also joined Chipper Cash as the second African payment option for Twitter Tips. This means that users can now receive or send cash to and from their fans on Twitter using Barter. 

SEND BY FLUTTERWAVE

Send and receive Naira, Cedis, Rand, Shilling, USD, Euros and other currencies directly to your mobile wallet, bank account, Barter wallet or through cash pickup with $end. 

Visit send.flutterwave.com and do it now!

This is partner content.

WHY AFRICAN STARTUPS ARE TURNING TO DEBT FINANCING

Speaking of huge investments, last year, 37 African tech startups raised a total of $767 million in 43 debt rounds.

This means debt funding, as well as global lender confidence, is on the rise in the continent. MFS Africa, for example, raised $100 million split between $70 million equity and $30 million debt.

Side-bar: Here’s how debt financing is different from equity financing. In equity financing, you’re selling off shares in your company in exchange for money and there’s an obligation to repay on the investees part. In debt financing, however, what you do is sell debt instruments i.e. borrow money from investors with the promise that both the principal and interest will be repaid.

So why are more startups turning to debt financing?

Like Dare Okodjou, CEO of MFS Africa, said last year, the ecosystem is maturing. 

“As startups grow and achieve some predictability, debt financing can be a useful instrument,” Partech, an investment firm, reports. “It helps accelerate growth while limiting dilution from equity rounds.”

There’s no available data on how much debt African startups have attracted over the years. But several funding announcements last year—when Africa’s venture capital funding hit the $5 billion mark—suggest 2021 saw an acceleration in serious appetite for debt financing. Apart from MFS Africa, Moove, Trella, and TradeDepot are some of the startups that announced debt rounds.

Because the ecosystem is at a stage where further financing is needed by many fast-growing startups, more debt financing announcements should be expected this year, predicts Kunle Akinola, an investment analyst at Lagos-based private equity firm Platform Capital. 

Dig deeper: With $700m raised in 2021, African startups are turning to debt financing to fuel growth.

THE CRYPTO APP YOU’LL LOVE

Busha

At Busha, we want everyone everywhere in Nigeria to have access to crypto. That’s why you can buy as low as โ‚ฆ250, set recurring buys, get the best rates, and soon ๐Ÿค on Busha. Join 300,000+ Nigerians already using Busha. 

Download now.

This is partner content.

DRIVING AFRICAโ€™S GAMING MARKET REVOLUTION

The gaming culture in Africa has changed drastically, and for good. Gone are those days when kids would use their pocket money to visit game houses, cyber cafes and street barbershops that had Xboxes and PlayStation. The ones who can afford it would be fixed on their personal computers and consoles.

Now from consoles to smartphones, Africa’s young population is driving significant growth in the billion-dollar gaming industry as increased adoption of digital currencies and blockchain technology takes African gaming to the next level.

Linking blockchain, crypto and gaming in Africa

Usiku Games Africa, a Kenyan based Social Impact gaming company is pioneering the new era of blockchain gaming in the country where the rising number of tech-savvy youth could soon start earning from the industry boom.

Already, 63 million of the 186 million gamers, pay for games with these African figures projected to be the fastest-growing in the world as the continent also begins adoption of digital currencies.

Another research by Newswagg’s points to a growing appetite for trading in gaming assets using digital currencies with 38% of 41.9 million gamers owning crypto across the world being millennials aged 21-38 years old.

Africa and the Middle East have a combined 5.9 million gamers owning Crypto, with a potential to shore up these numbers in Africa given that the continent will have one of the largest youthful populations by 2050.

RELIABLE PAYMENT SOLUTIONS WITH FINCRA

Fincra

Fincra provides APIs for making and receiving local & international transfers in EUR, GBP & NGN.

Our APIs fit into all payment applications allowing fintechs to offer virtual bank accounts in multiple currencies. 

Sign up for a demo here.

This is partner content.

EVENT: BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE NSB

In May last year, talks began in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem around the need for a bill to regulate startup activities in the country. This bill—called the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB)—has now been sent to the National Assembly to be signed into law. 

If you’re curious about how the NSB got to this point or the major events and processes that have facilitated its progress, then you’re welcome to join stakeholders in Nigerian tech this morning at 11 AM (WAT).

Speaking at the event are:

  • Adaeze Sokan – Country Director, UK-Nigeria Tech Hub
  • Kasim Sodangi – Head of Compliance, Smile Identity
  • Emmanuel Adegboye – Managing Partner, Utopia
  • Ike Williams – MD & Residential Advisor to SEC on digital transformation
  • Yewande Adewusi – Regional Director, BBC Africa

Register here to attend.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is now open for applications from fintechs working to improve financial inclusion in Africa. Selected startups will get help in leveraging Luxembourg’s and Dubai’s Inclusive Finance and Fintech ecosystem, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to a 3-day training and networking boot camp in Dubai. Apply
  • TechCircle and Hardware Things have announced a challenge that seeks to preserve Nigerian languages. Nigerian teams are invited to design a physical interface that lists “Welcome” in every Nigerian language for a chance to win about $2,500 in prizes. Speak away
  • The Africa Agtech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge 2022 is now open to applications from African entrepreneurs who are working at the intersection of agriculture, climate, insurance or gender to build resilience for smallholder farmers. Three selected businesses will win $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 in prizes. Plant your business

What else we’re reading

  • CrowdForce raises $3.6 million to increase access to financial services in Nigeria’s underserved communities.

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Written by – Timi Odueso & Damilare Dosunmu

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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