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Happy new month ☀️
We’re starting the month off on a good note. TechCabal hit 1 million monthly web users in October!🎉
We’ve 3x-ed the number of readers we had in January, and subtle brag, we’ve done it with a team of eight reporters and six editors who cover several sectors and regions.
Here’s everything you need to know about our work this year.
Eskom records R24 billion ($1.2billion) loss
Image source: Eskom
Eskom’s financial losses are mounting.
The South African power generation company recorded losses worth R24 billion ($1.2 billion) for the 2022/2023 financial year, according to its financial statements.
The new figures represent double of what the power company lost in 2021/2022—the company lost R11 billion ($588 million) in the 2021/2022 financial year.
Reason for the loss? Eskom’s decreasing generation capacity is the chief reason for its financial loss. This year alone, South Africans have experienced some of the worst load shedding on record—100 days—with power outages lasting for up to 12 hours per day at some stages. Asides the low electricity capacity, Eskom’s acting CEO, Calib Cassim, blames the financial loss on Increased municipal debt and losses due to criminal activity.
No more excuses: Despite Eskom’s record loss, Cassim asserts that this is the last of such losses for the group. The acting CEO is rolling his sleeves up and says that “the time for excuses is over”. The CEO is banking on the government’s proposed R66 billion (US$1.6 billion) bail-out fund to stabilise the group in the 2025 financial year.
Zoom out: It remains to be seen how Cassim and his team turn the tide around for Eskom. However, it remains critical for the power generating company to get a grip on its financials, and getting a new fancy logo—which could cost the company a lot—may not be the way to go.
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LastPass data breach results in additional $4.4 million crypto theft
Image source: Google
LastPass has been living through a never-ending crypto-heist.
The American cloud-based password management platform has suffered an additional loss of $4.4 million in cryptocurrency due to a data breach that occurred in August 2022.
ICYMI: LastPass suffered a data breach in August 2022 when an employee’s credentials were stolen. The breach was initially downplayed by the company but in December 2022, LastPass revealed that the hacker had stolen encrypted copies of customer passwords and other sensitive data, as well as a backup of encrypted customer vault data.
The ongoing crisis led to a class-action lawsuit filed against LastPass in January 2023, with victims claiming that the August 2022 breach had cost them around $53,000 worth of bitcoin. According to a report in September 2023, some LastPass customer vaults had been cracked, resulting in over $35 million in losses for approximately 150 victims.
More wallets compromised: ZachXBT, a crypto fraud researcher who has been closely monitoring the situation, shared on X that hackers, on October 25, 2023, had stolen another $4.4 million in crypto from 25+ LastPass data breach victims.
Despite this dire situation, LastPass asserts that only customers possess the master password necessary to decrypt their password vaults. However, it has issued a warning for users with weak master passwords to consider resetting them promptly to thwart potential brute force attacks by hackers.
Zoom out: ZachXBT’s findings suggest that the hackers are cracking the stolen password vaults to access stored cryptocurrency credentials, keys, and passphrases. Once these barriers are breached, the hackers can transfer funds from the victims’ wallets to their own devices.
The evolution of agency banking in Africa
In this longform Decode Fintech piece, Paystack explores agent networks in Africa, how they converge with SMEs, and what the future of agency banking means for how money moves across the continent.
Read the blogpost.
Maisha Meds secures $5.25 million from USAID
Image source: Maisha Meds
Maisha Meds wants to expand access to high-quality Malaria care in Africa.
The Kenyan-based digital pharmacy network has received $5.25 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures (DIV).
The funding, which will be spread over three years, is a critical step towards supporting Maisha Meds’ mission to expand access to affordable, high-quality malaria care across Africa.
Empowering rural healthcare providers: The Maisha Meds software platform ensures that rural pharmacists and clinicians effectively purchase quality affordable medicines and extends subsidies to patients. With additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maisha Meds aims to expand its mobile software to 7,500 pharmacies and clinics by the end of the grant period, delivering subsidised care to nearly a million patients.
Established in 2017, Maisha Meds operates across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Zambia. Over the years, it has expanded its suite of software products and now supports more than 4 million patient encounters annually across its market.
In June 2022, the Maisha Meds digital platform reached 1,000 pharmacies across six countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Attend the KB4-CON Virtual Summit
KB4-CON EMEA is a free virtual event that focuses on cybersecurity and is designed for CISOs, security awareness, and cybersecurity professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You can find the full agenda for the event here.
French footballers back Star News in $3 million pre-Series A
Jules Koundé, Aurélien Tchouameni, and Mike Maignan. Image source: Getty Images
These French football players are teaming up to help African creators earn more money.
Jules Koundé, Aurélien Tchouameni, and Mike Maignan have all contributed to a $3 million pre-Series A round for Star News Mobile, a creator monetisation platform for Africans. The fund round was led by Janngo Capital.
Launched in 2017 by Guy Kamgaing, Star News offers monetisation options for African content creators through distribution partnerships with major telecommunications operators like MTN and Orange.
The five-year-old mobile video network is currently live in five African countries—Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, and Benin—and has 4 million active subscribers and works with 120 content creators. In 2022, it paid out $1 million to creators. Star News also supports creators with funding and customer acquisition. The company aims to expand to 11 countries by 2024 while strengthening its position in Nigeria and Ghana
Zoom out: Star News is among other startups on the continent tapping into the growing potential of the creator economy in Africa. According to a recent report by Partech Africa, the African creator economy is expected to reach $10 billion by 2025.
Download the PiggyVest Savings Report
Earlier this year, PiggyVest surveyed thousands of Nigerians about their saving and spending habits. They also asked about debt, unplanned expenses, and plans for the future. The results are in and now available in their first-ever savings report. Get it here.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 06:15 AM WAT, November 1, 2023.
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Spain has announced plans to implement the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation in six months. CoinDesk reports that the country will implement the European Union law which introduces tough consumer-protection measures for crypto firms, and in principle kick in at the end of next year for companies seeking a new licence
Co-founder of Terraform Labs Daniel Shin is taking a page from Sam Bankman-Fried. At his trial in South Korea, Shin blamed the collapse of Terraform Labs on former CEO Do Kwon. Shin and his lawyers claim that he left the company two years before its collapse and thus has nothing to do with the fall of the company.
- If you attended Moonshot by TechCabal, you should read this. Utiva has partnered with TechCabal to give out tech scholarships worth ₦200,000 each, to attendees of Moonshot conference. All you have to do is share a picture of you at the conference, tell us why you need the scholarship, tag us, and use #UtivaScholarship and #MoonshotbyTechcabal.
- The New Venture Competition by the HBS African Business Club is now open to applications. The competition is aimed at fostering and supporting innovative businesses on the African continent. Ten semi-finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of over 1,000 attendees at the conference, and the three top companies will receive non-dilutive cash prizes of $30,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Apply by November 15.
- The citizens of Commonwealth countries in Africa can now apply for the Commonwealth Africa Cyber Fellowship Programme 2024. Selected experts will serve as fellows for a year, and get exclusive access to academic research opportunities, networking events and annual conferences, with a focus on enhancing cybersecurity policies and institutions across Commonwealth countries in Africa. Apply by December 10.
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