In partnership with
Good morning ☀️
2023 was a watershed year for African tech. $2.748 billion was raised across 500 deals, and this includes Africa’s largest-ever acquisition deal: Instadeep’s acquisition by BioNTech for $682 million.
In more sombre news, over 1,500 tech workers were laid off in Africa in 2023, while 15 startups which raised $214 million in funding shut down.
Learn more about the major trends that shaped African tech in 2023 by downloading The State of Tech in Africa report here.
Access completes third acquisition of the month
The African tech ecosystem continues to witness significant M&A activities—one of the trends we highlighted in our State of Tech in Africa report. In 2023, 30 acquisitions took place, including Bitmama’s acquisition of PayDay. Commercial banks are however way ahead of startups in this M&A game.
Take Nigeria’s Access HoldCo, for example. Over the weekend, the bank completed its third acquisition of the month. It acquired Nigeria’s second-largest independent pension fund manager, ARM Pensions.
Over the past two years, the company has made six significant acquisitions ranging from its 2021 acquisitions of the Mozambiquan and Botswana arms of BancABC to the 2022 acquisition of Finibanco Angola. These strategic acquisitions have helped the bank expand into new countries.
More than traditional banking: ARM will be Access’ third acquisition this month—with Zambia’s Atlas Mara and Megatech Insurance as the first two—and the third overall that showcases the bank’s strong venture into other plays like insurance and pension.
In 2022, Access HoldCo solidified its position in the $34.9 billion pension market with the acquisitions of Sigma Pensions and First Guarantee Pensions. Over the weekend, the company also revealed that it had received all regulatory approvals from the Nigerian Pension Commission and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to acquire ARM Pensions.
Now, ARM’s four million customers will move to join the one million customers registered under Access’s pension plan.
Access payments with Moniepoint
Moniepoint has made it simple for your business to access payments while providing access to credit and other business tools. Open an account today here.
B.TECH denies data breach
Last Friday, a cybercriminal known as “Tanaka” leaked a database which allegedly contains the personal information of over 200,000 users of Egyptian consumer retailer B.TECH. The database, which is about 20MB in size and contains over 200,000 lines of data, includes emails, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, genders, and city of residence.
According to cybersecurity tracker HackManac, the hack actually occurred over a year ago, in February 2023.
It never happened? B.TECH says a data breach never happened. In a statement it shared with The Enterprise yesterday, the company said it “firmly denies all circulated allegations of a recent data breach”.
Millions at risk: The allegations are concerning as B.TECH is one of Egypt’s leading consumer retailers with over 50 million customers across 130 cities. While the company has reassured its users, stating that their HackManac says they should apply caution moving forward.
The big bucks in data: While South Africa still records some of the highest cyberattacks on the continent, Egypt has received its fair share of hackers with Lockbit, an infamous cybercriminal group, hacking Fawry last year. These hackers make money: by demanding a ransom from the company which costs an average of $1.82 million and by selling the data to other phishing groups which attack and defraud the users by pretending to be legitimate companies.
Livestock Wealth’s insists its licence is valid
The News: Livestock Wealth, a South African agritech platform which allows investors to buy cattle and farmland, faces accusations of operating without a financial service provider (FSP) licence from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
Despite the allegations, the startup’s lead investor, Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC), claims it conducted thorough due diligence.
The startup is also disputing the FSCA’s allegations, and claims to have the necessary credit provider licence.
Background: Livestock Wealth gained traction through AlphaCode Incubate, a programme supporting black-owned financial and tech startups. They received initial funding in 2016 and an additional R2 million ($106,000) grant in 2019 after pivoting their model to become the cattle farm operator and supplier to a major retailer. AlphaCode, in a statement to TechCabal, also claims it investigated Livestock Wealth in 2019.
Why it matters: The licensing issue raises concerns about investor protection and transparency in Africa’s fledgling tech ecosystem which has seen a fair bit of scrutiny in the past year. MIC’s stance of following due diligence could reassure potential investors, but the FSCA’s investigation casts a shadow on the company’s compliance.
The accusations come at a critical juncture for Livestock Wealth’s expansion into farmland investing. The outcome of the FSCA investigation and potential penalties could significantly impact their trajectory.
Accept fast in-person payments, at scale
Spin up a sales force with dozens – even hundreds – of Virtual Terminal accounts in seconds, without the headache of managing physical hardware. Learn more →
Ten agritech startups awarded $11,000 from 4IRTA
The year 2022 saw an estimated 17 million Nigerians grappling with critical food insecurity, and an estimated 25 million Nigerians were likely to be food insecure between June and August of 2023, according to October Cadre Harmonise, a government-led and UN-supported food and nutrition analysis.
Nigeria’s recognises the critical threat of food insecurity and has prioritised cultivating 500,000 hectares of land across Nigeria. In line with this vision, the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, last year, launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution Technology Application (4IRTA) in Agriculture program, awarding ₦10 million ($11,000) in grants to 10 promising startups.
What’s the 4IRTA about? The 4IRTA is a platform under the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) used to run specific projects using 4IR technologies–Blockchain, Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, drones and sensors–in different sectors of the economy.
The selected startups will focus on using these 4IR technologies to improve various agricultural sub-sectors including forestry, crop production, fishery and livestock. Over the weekend, the ministry announced the 10 startups who placed in the programme.
The selected agritech startups are: Agri-Wing Project, Ranch.ID LivestockPro, Precision Farm Management, Automated loT-Based Irrigation System, Geospatial Intelligence model for enhanced prediction of crop yield and crop stress assessment, AgriTrust Solutions by Ledger Labs Ltd., Alfor Livestock diseases and health reporting, loT Climate-Smart Device, Smart Pond (SP) and Future Fish Farms.
Of these 10 selected startups, five leverage drones and sensors, two utilise blockchain to ensure transparency, one automates irrigation with sensors, and two employ AI for fish farm optimisation.
Stay healthy with Healthbanc
Elevate your well-being and live longer with Healthbanc! Get access to discounted gym memberships, meal plans, and diagnostic services. Your path to a healthier lifestyle starts here!
$10.62 million: That’s how much the proptech space in Africa raised in 2023. It was the sector with the least funding for the year.
Source: State of Africa in Tech Report
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 20:15 PM WAT, January 28, 2024.
Effortlessly make global settlements in over 30 currencies across 120+ countries spanning four continents, delivering cost-effective and reliable solutions to your clients, suppliers, and customers. Get started today.
- Applications are open for the Lagos Innovates x Firstfounders Idea Hub 8.0! a springboard to build a competitive, profitable and game-changing startup. There will be 8 weeks of transformative mentorship, tried-and-tested growth templates, exceptional masterclasses and unparalleled networking opportunities. Apply here.
Goethe Institute Studio Quantum has opened applications for its new residency programme in Germany for artists from Nigeria. Throughout the residency, artists will receive invitations to travel to various locations, where they can integrate quantum technologies into the thematic content of their work. These artists are encouraged to create pieces utilising quantum technologies accessed through the cloud. Apply by February 11.
- Gen F, an initiative facilitated by Founders Factory is set to invest in startups from Africa through its Entrepreneur in Residence program. Selected startups will receive a $250,000 seed funding injection upon successful pitching. Apply here.
What else is happening in tech?
Want more of TechCabal? Sign up for our insightful newsletters on the business and economy of tech in Africa.
- The Next Wave: futuristic analysis of the business of tech in Africa.
- Entering Tech: tech career insights and opportunities in your inbox every Wednesday at 3 PM WAT.
- In a Giffy: business decisions powered by data-driven insights and analysis you can trust.
P:S If you’re often missing TC Daily in your inbox, check your Promotions folder and move any edition of TC Daily from “Promotions” to your “Main” or “Primary” folder and TC Daily will always come to you.