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Do you remember Paxful, that bitcoin marketplace that shut down because all its staff—engineers, compliance team members, and security personnel—left to work elsewhere? 

Well, its CEO, Ray Youssef, has found a new adventure.

Youssef was recently appointed  CEO of a similar business, NoOnes. Like Paxful, NoOnes allows users to buy and sell bitcoin and stablecoins; and also like Paxful, most of NoOnes’ users are in Africa. So Youssef’s local knowledge should come in handy


Sky.Garden relaunches after Lipa Later’s $1.6 million buyout

a photo of a happy man
Image source: Zikoko Memes

Kenyan e-commerce startup Sky.Garden, has relaunched following a Ksh250 million ($1.6 million) buyout by BNLP company, Lipa Later Group in December 2022.

The relaunch includes a move into social commerce and building a merchant marketplace to connect 100,000 merchants in the next year.

A relaunch? Yes. In September 2022, Sky.Garden revealed plans to shut down its operations on October 16, 2022, citing difficulties in securing additional funding. However, in November 2022, the e-commerce startup rescinded its shutdown announcement, stating it had found a buyer without disclosing the buyer’s identity. In December, it was revealed that LipaLater had acquired Sky.Garden.

Under new ownership, the e-commerce startup is relaunching with four new products. 

What products? Sky.Garden has introduced new products—Sky.Tickets, Sky.Logistics, Sky.Commerce, and Sky.Wallet—to support its expansion into social commerce. Sky.Wallet offers financing and bill payments, Sky.Logistics provides same-day delivery for local businesses, and Sky.Commerce integrates social interactions with e-commerce, revolutionising customers’ online shopping experience.

Additionally, Sky.Garden has also introduced Lipa Later’s buy-now-pay-later model as a convenient alternative payment option.

Zoom out: In September 2023, after Lipa Later secured $5 million in private debt issuance, the company still planned to raise $20 million for its expansion plans. This relaunch aligns with the growing e-commerce market expansion in Kenya and Africa, driven by increased internet penetration and more affordable data costs. 

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Mastercard invests $27 million in three African funds

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Mastercard, through its Africa growth fund, will invest in three African investment firms: Chui Ventures, VestedWorld, and SME Impact Fund. The three firms will receive $9 million, $10 million, and $8 million, respectively. 

Who are the invested companies? Chui Ventures is a Kenyan early-stage venture capital firm that invests in gender-inclusive startups in Kenya and Nigeria. The firm has a portfolio of over 20 startups, including Fastizers, CrowdForce, Taeillo, Pngme, and Lifestores Pharmacy.

VestedWorld is a Nigerian impact investment firm that invests in businesses that are driving financial inclusion and social progress in Africa. The firm has a portfolio of over 30 businesses across Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, including Sabi, Shuttlers, Anka.

SME Impact Fund, the third recipient of the fund recipients, is a Tanzanian fund manager dedicated to fostering growth in the country’s agricultural sector. The firm has made 44 investments worth over $15 million, directly impacting 23,000 smallholder farmers and generating more than 3,000 employment opportunities.

Lights out: The latest investment brings Mastercard’s funds to five on the continent. The firm had previously invested $2.2 million in Aruwa Capital Management and $5 million in Inua Capital. Launched in 2022, the Africa Growth Fund is a $200 million fund aimed at bridging the financing gap in Africa’s impact investment landscape. The fund collaborates with a network of partners who offer comprehensive business development services to portfolio companies, including fund advisory, communications, and diversity/inclusion support.


MTN launches AI Chatbot

Image source: TechCabal

MTN offers an AI chatbot for its employees alone.

The telecom has launched SiYa, an in-house AI chatbot to assist employees with inquiries about company policies and share insights from MTN’s knowledge base. 

MTN expects the interactions with SiYa to shape the way customer engagement is done at the company.

A little about SiYa: The chatbot, SiYa, takes its name from Siya Kolisi, the rugby Springbok captain. MTN said it chose the name to embody qualities—unity, harmony, and effective communication. 

It is unclear whether MTN is creating a version of SiYa for public use. But MTN South Africa is committed to helping its workforce benefit from the use of artificial intelligence-powered tools. This raises questions about whether other South African telecommunications companies will follow suit with similar AI-powered tools in the future. 

This is not MTN’s first rodeo at building AI-powered solutions. In 2019, MTN launched Mobile Money (MoMo) “chatbot”. The chatbot enabled users to navigate MTN’s MoMo services, including payments, on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and via SMS, and provide other useful information.

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Big Tech

Google’s Gemini AI launch delayed to 2024

Google has rescheduled its plans to launch its new AI model, Gemini, to early 2024. 

Sources with knowledge of the decision say the launch event was originally slated for next week, but the AI model is having challenges in responding to non-English prompts. 

Image source: Zikoko Memes

How has Google been faring in the AI race so far? In recent years, Google AI has achieved notable milestones. In 2020, Google AI introduced Meena, an NLP model capable of engaging in human-like conversations. In 2022, the development of PaLM showcased a versatile machine learning model handling tasks like question answering, translation, and code generation. In 2023, Bard, Google’s large language model, emerged as a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, uniquely capable of offering information on recent events, setting them apart.

What’s different about Gemini? Gemini will stand out as a revolutionary multimodal AI system. This means that it will be capable of comprehending and producing diverse forms of content, including text, images, and even websites, from sketches or written descriptions. It is also said to have unmatched text and image generation capabilities, and is “built to enable future innovations, like memory and planning”.

Analysts argue that Gemini, with its advanced features, may alter consumer awareness, and become a threat to ChatGPT, the most popular AI model.

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Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $41,744

+ 2.55%

+ 18.57%

Ether $2,227

+ 0.37%

+ 18.38%



– 10.27%

+ 88.72%

Chainlink $15.62

– 2.77%

+ 25.62%

* Data as of 5:32 AM WAT, December 5, 2023.

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Will agency banking die or evolve?

Join Paystack and TechCabal on December 5 in a conversation with experts from Paga, MTN MoMo, DFS Lab, and Moniepoint.

We will be discussing what the future looks like in the agency banking sector as profit margins continue to grow slimmer. Will we see more players exit the scene like Kippa and Black Copper have? Or will agency banking providers find ways to adapt?

It is happening today. Register now.

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