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In today’s edition
Quick Fire 🔥
Visa’s first African innovation studio opens in Kenya
TC Insights: Funding Tracker
Event: Digital Identity Matters
QUICK FIRE 🔥 WITH DANIEL JUNOWICZ
Daniel Junowicz is the RVP EMEA & Strategic Projects, at AppsFlyer, the global leader in mobile attribution. Prior to joining AppsFlyer, Daniel worked in the manufacturing sector in China for over 6 years. In 2014, Daniel brought his passion to AppsFlyer as the first employee on the Chinese team.
Holding a double BA in Business Administration and Far Eastern Studies, Daniel is also fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese.
Explain your job to a five-year-old
I help companies grow their mobile apps.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?
The importance of encouragement and giving compliments.
When I was younger, I was very driven towards execution, and often skipped over some of the softer skills that are also needed. Eventually, I discovered that you’re able to achieve much more when people are appreciated by their teammates and managers, instead of focusing on execution only.
What’s the most promising thing about tech in Africa?
The pace of innovation—it’s a young, dynamic, exciting continent with huge potential for growth.
What’s one misconception businesses/startups make about customer/business privacy?
That the only way to deliver a great customer experience is by accessing and sharing user-level data. The two aren’t mutually exclusive—you can still deliver exceptional experiences without compromising the privacy of your customers.
What’s the biggest barrier to Web3 on the continent?
Education. Widespread use of crypto and other web3 products will either require a higher level of financial and technological literacy across the general population, or the products themselves will need to deliver a less complex user experience.
This isn’t just limited to Africa though. Widespread education of crypto and web3 is something that applies globally.
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
I joined a small startup of 20 people and helped the company enter and expand into a variety of markets. Today we are 1,500 proud employees and market leaders in all of the markets I helped to penetrate.
What’s something you love doing that you’re terrible at. And what’s something you really do not like doing that you’re great at.
I’m terrible at design yet as a manager I’m often required to prepare executive summaries, which I’m completely okay with!
I’m still not used to speaking and presenting in front of an audience, even though I’ve been doing it for many years and usually get positive feedback.
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This facility will serve the sub-Saharan Africa region and joins a network of innovation centres operated by Visa since 2016, in cities including London, Dubai and Singapore. The Nairobi studio is the first in Africa and sixth globally.
The new facility supports Visa’s commitment to promoting innovation and creating opportunities for clients and fintech partners to co-create market-relevant payment and commerce solutions throughout the region.
Aida Diarra, Senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, said the studio will assist in increasing the Visa market in the region by issuing digital and physical Visa cards to its clients.
Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including a collaboration with Nigerian fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology. It also partnered with Kenya’s M-Pesa to allow M-Pesa’s 24 million users and 173,000 local merchants to be linked to Visa’s 61 million merchants and its more than 3 billion cards.
An influx of innovation centres
Across Africa, local and multinational corporations, as well as governments, have been launching innovation centres as a means to develop new products through collaborations and to remain globally competitive.
In Kenya, organisations such as Cisco and Philips also run similar innovation studios in Nairobi, while the Kenyan government is building a technology city, Konza City, to drive innovation in the country.
The launch of Visa’s first African innovation studio and others serves as a boost to the African tech ecosystem as it’ll encourage the creation, development, and implementation of novel ideas.
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This week, Egyptian e-health startup O7 Therapy raised a $2.1 million seed round in a round led by Hikma Ventures, with the participation of C-Ventures, Lotus Ventures, and various angel investors.
Here are the other deals for the week:
South Africa’s SmartWage, an HR and communications technology startup, raised $2 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round from investors including LoftyInc Capital Management, Creator Collective Capital, and Penrose Capital, along with angels from Naspers, Dimension Data, Investec, and Standard Bank.
Xpovi, a robo-advisory startup based in Egypt, closed a $300,000 pre-seed funding round from a group of strategic angel investors.
Egyptian e-grocery marketplace ON Market received $215,000 in pre-seed funding from a host of angel investors to further expand its operations in Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Mansoura, and multiple other cities across the country.
PayMint, an Egyptian fintech startup secured a seven-figure US dollar seed investment from AUR Fintech – a subsidiary of AUR Capital to support its expansion plans.
Nigerian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Sycamore closed an undisclosed seed funding round as it looks to expand its operations. The round was led by US-based VC firm White Hibiscus Capital (WHC) and features a number of other private investors.
Locstat, an AI startup based in Cape Town, South Africa secured undisclosed funding round from Grindstone Ventures for further growth.
That’s it for this week! Track Africa’s startup funding in real-time using our product, DealFlow.
How can we leverage digital identity in building a solid open finance infrastructure for Africa?
Open finance is pivotal to the future of financial services in Africa as it offers significant potential not just in reaching the unbanked but also in keeping them in a system that is safer and more transparent.
On the 22nd of April, for the fourth edition of #DigitalIDMatters, we’ll be speaking with Ope Adeoye, Founder and CEO of OnePipe, on the role of digital identity in enabling open finance in Africa. Ope has extensive experience in open banking and also currently serves as a Trustee at Open Technology Foundation, helping with advocacy for the Open Banking Nigeria initiative.
Digital Identity Matters is brought to you by TechCabal and VerifyMe Nigeria.
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