Hello everyone, it’s Koromone “KK” Koroye, TechCabal’s Managing Editor. I’m writing to share some exciting news with you: TechCabal is launching a new newsletter. 🎉🎉 It’s called “TC Weekender” and will feature a list of the most important stories you missed during the week.
Every article featured in TC Weekender will be curated and hand-picked by TechCabal’s editorial team with support from anyone who works in Big Cabal Media. TC Weekender will go out every Saturday morning at 9 AM.
TechCabal already has two existing newsletters—TC Daily, and The Next Wave— both of which are widely read and loved by people in our local and global communities. TC Weekender’s addition to our newsletter family couldn’t have come at a better time— Africa’s tech ecosystem is growing in leaps and bounds, and we want to keep you as connected to important news as possible.
TC Weekender officially launches on May 14 but we’re offering all TC Daily subscribers the first exclusive pre-launch view of the newsletter. Sign up to find out what you could be getting.
We’re also very open to feedback and respectful criticism; so if you have any thoughts, please share them with us: 📧 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!
In today’s edition
Quick Fire 🔥
Pan-African fund raises $20 million for tech
YouTube Go is going away
TC Insights: Funding Tracker
Event: TC Live
* Data as of 09:00 PM WAT, May 5, 2022.
QUICK FIRE 🔥 WITH OSINACHI UKOMADU
Osinachi Ukomadu is the CEO of Heroshe, a cross-border e-commerce, logistics, and payments company that allows people to shop across borders and access worldwide markets.
Explain your job to a five-year-old
I do magic. I find the most amazingly talented people, inspire them with the craziest of ideas and they build the most amazing product that helps anyone living in Nigeria to shop anywhere in the world and make it appear at their door in days. The experience is magical.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?
I wish I knew the value of relationships. I went through school and didn’t quite connect with the people in school. I was focused on getting out to the real world to make money. I later realised that those relationships you build in school end up being the key relationships that define the later stages of your life.
What’s the most promising thing about tech in Africa?
The most promising thing about tech in Africa is the people. I am amazed every day when I read what young Africans are doing across the continent. I am fascinated by their audacity to attack some intractable African problems with tech. They are not waiting for permission from anyone. They are fixing problems that generations before them have sidestepped. This excites me.
What’s does the future of international logistics look like?
We believe e-commerce will look different in Africa than it does in the West. It is going to be decentralised, cross-border, and social. There will not be an “Amazon for Africa”. E-commerce will be decentralised because there will be different players solving e-commerce problems specific to their region. E-commerce is going to be cross-border because African borders will open up to allow easy movement of people and goods across the continent. This will make it easier for these e-commerce companies to scale out of their region. E-commerce is going to be social because Africa still largely has a trust deficit. People buy from people they trust. This trust currency will be converted to financial currency by social sellers who will sell across multiple platforms from storefronts to social platforms and chat apps.
When these three components of e-commerce are at play, it will create a different kind of logistics solution to move the goods across Africa. This means there will be logistics companies focused on cross border movement of goods by land, sea, and air and there will be those focused on the last-mile delivery of goods. Within each of these domains, there will be further stratification of players solving logistics for specific verticals of the e-commerce supply chain. This all means that e-commerce logistics will drive logistics across Africa and from Africa to the world. I see a future where consumers live in Nigeria, order from Kenya, and have it delivered in days; consumers in the US and UK will order from Nigeria and have it delivered to them in days.
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
My most singular achievement was getting married to the most amazing woman ever. Every other achievement came as a result of that singular achievement. That was “the one ring to rule them all”.
What’s something you love doing that you’re terrible at. And something you really do not like doing that you’re great at.
I love playing soccer but I am terrible at it. I am a victim of a talented older sibling. My older brother got all the soccer talent in the family leaving me with none. We both played high school soccer. He played in the set before me and won awards up to the state level. When I joined the team, the coach was expecting the same performance from me. One day, the coach pulled me aside and asked me, “Osi, what’s wrong with you?” I was totally confused. It was later I realised he was referring to my lack of soccer abilities. Nonetheless, I still love the game and play till today.
I am not a fan of public speaking but I have been told several times that people like to hear me speak. Personally, I only do it because I have to. Frankly, it is one of those things that you get good at doing because you have to do it often. So, I spend countless hours preparing before any presentation. I deal with stage anxiety and crazy thoughts of all the things that could go wrong. At the end of the day, I am able to deliver and people love it. I might eventually grow to love it one of these days.
What do you think of Web3?
I am still on the fence on Web3 as I suspect many others are. Web3 holds so many promises for Africa and the rest of the world. As an African, I am wondering how we are going to take advantage of Web3 as creators and not consumers. How do we create global products that can be consumed across the world? I know we have African-specific problems to solve however, I believe the best way to approach Web3 is solving global problems that bring in revenue to solve the other problems. Web3 is giving us a blank slate to build the future. We need to use this opportunity to create for the world. Africans are not the only ones that lack financial inclusion. We need to build financial inclusion solutions that account for the rest of the world. We need to build gaming platforms that account for the rest of the world. We need to solve hard-tech problems that take the rest of the world into account. When we solve for the rest of the world, we will realise the resources to solve for Africa. Let’s use the opportunity Web3 offers us to go global.
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The fund, HAVAÍC Universum Core African Fund, named after the joint partnership between HAVAÍC and Universum Wealth, was launched in 2020 and is ready to fly. Asides from the investment and advisory firm Universum Wealth, institutional investors from the United States and South Africa, including Fireball Capital-backed this third and final round.
The fund invests in early-stage, high-growth technology businesses in South, East, and West Africa. It aims to make 25 investments over the next three years. A third of the funds have already been invested in early-stage African tech companies like Kenya’s Tanda, RecoMed, Mobiz, Comparisure, Aura, HearX, Nigeria’s Kuda, and more recently, Crowdforce.
HAVAÍC’s track record
Backers of this fund such as Fireball Capital are attracted to its track record. Last year, HAVAÍC‘s portfolio companies reportedly raised $110,000,000 in fresh capital and increased revenue by 160%. It has achieved 3 international exits, delivering annualised returns to its investors of 155% and reportedly serves a combined 5 million customers in over 180 countries.
High hopes on all sides
HAVAÍC is optimistic about the future of the businesses in its portfolio and says that the new international relationships and capital, coupled with its expertise are all it needs to scale the businesses. While looking forward to that, Justin James of South African backer, Fireball Capital predicts that “The impact of our smart capital allocation will result in sustainable job creation in South Africa and on the rest of the continent.”
In the coming weeks, the VC firm will finalise investments in pan-African communications platform Talk360 and Nigerian e-commerce player ShopEx. After that, it will continue to search for promising tech-enabled firms in Africa.
TWITTER IS TESTING OUT A NEW FEATURE
Twitter is taking community and privacy to another level.
On Tuesday, the platform announced it was testing a new feature called “Circle” that will allow users to create a closed community of up to 150 followers they can tweet to.
Twitter already has a feature that limits who can see your tweets. Since 2014, Twitter has allowed users to make their accounts private, allowing them to vet each and every person that makes a follow request.
The Circle feature takes it up a notch and allows people to share their thoughts with a smaller crowd. Here’s what it looks like when I tested it out:
Any tweets made in Circles can’t be shared within or outside Twitter. People don’t get notifications when they’re added to or removed from Circles, but users within a Circle will see a notification at the bottom of each tweet.
The problems? Here’s one major one. You may not be able to share tweets from Circles, but you can share tweets to Circles. Like with private accounts, users won’t be able to see who has quoted their tweets when it’s quoted to a circle. There’s also the worry that people will use the feature to create echo chambers for disinformation and propaganda, but that’s not much of a problem because it’s a regular occurrence on everyday Twitter.
On a lighter note, we’re agreeing with this user that the feature could have been named “Nest” instead of Circle.
In other Twitter news, freedom fighter Elon Musk has hinted at one of the changes that may come to Twitter when he takes over. Musk tweeted that, “Twitter will always be free for casual users, but maybe a slight cost for commercial/government users.” 🌚
If Musk does start charging governments for operating Twitter accounts, it’s difficult to see which African governments will pay for the platform. What could follow could be stricter regulations than what we already have.
The billionaire has also secured $7 billion in funding in his bid to buy Twitter. Nineteen investors including Sequoia Capital, and Binance are bringing Musk closer to his year-long dream of owning Twitter.
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This week, Masa Finance, a hybrid credit protocol and decentralized credit bureau, raised $3.5 million in pre-seed funding. Investors in the round include Unshackled Ventures, Lateral Capital (backers of Pngme), executives from GoldenTree Asset Management, Flori Ventures, and GSR. Other participating investors are Decentranet Intersect VC, Peer VC, Alves Ventures, and some angel investors in the fintech/blockchain space.
Here are the other deals for the week:
Nigerian tractor-booking platform Hello Tractor raised $1 million from Heifer International.
South African logistics startup GoMetro secured a $1 million seed extension round from Kalon Venture Partners, Hlayisani Capital, Tritech Global, 4Decades Capital, and E Squared Investments.
Kwely, a B2B startup based in Senegal raised $1 million in seed funding from WIC Capital, LoftyInc Capital Management, Haskè Ventures, and other notable investors.
Norebase, a Nigerian-based trade technology startup received $1 million in funding in a round led by Samurai Incubate and Consonance Investment. Other VCs include Sahil Lavingia of Gumroad, Kinfolk VC, Future Africa, Ventures Platform, Microtraction, Boleh Venture, Voltron Capital, Wuri Ventures and Afropreneur. The round also welcomed participation from well-known executives in Africa’s tech ecosystem, including Shola Akinlade, CEO of Paystack; Odunayo Eweniyi, PiggyVest COO; Adia Sowho, the CMO of MTN Nigeria; and Seni Sulyman, CEO of BlackOps.
Are you a developer, designer, product manager, or a tech professional building payment products?
Join Fincra Hub, a community of skilled techies where you can get resources to build reliable financial products, connect with techies from all over Africa, get firsthand information about job openings at Fincra and its partners, and get exclusive event invites and more.
Between 2000 and 2020, Nigeria’s population increased at an average rate of over 2%. With this growth and an increasing number of people migrating to urban areas for better opportunities, the need for better housing infrastructure has become more evident. However, this has largely remained an unfulfilled dream for the majority.
This morning, join us on TC Live where we’ll be speaking with Naomi Olaghere, Co-founder & VP/Operations, RentSmallSmall, Kanyinsade Ademuson, founder, CEO & Principal Architect, Seventh Space and Dapo Eludire, COO, PropertyPro.ng.
They’ll be talking about Nigeria’s housing industry, how tech is providing a way out, the factors limiting development within the proptech space, and the opportunities that exist, among other key discussion areas.