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Astrotwig loses $20,000 to investment scam

While not every investor is untrustworthy, some individuals capitalise on the vulnerabilities of young companies seeking funding. That’s the harsh reality faced by Astrotwig, a Nigerian music and social networking startup, that allege they were the victim of a “sophisticated scam”.

The fledgling startup lost $20,000 in bitcoin on February 10, 2024, to someone they say was posing as an “angel investor.” Following the scam, the CEO, Samuel Adeleke resigned and Astrowig launched a crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s the story: Astrotwig, led by Adeleke, put out a Twitter post seeking a $500,000–$1 million Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE ) investment for their pre-seed round. A supposed investor, Simon Tiwari, claimed to have seen Astrotwig at a MIDEM pitch event and offered to invest the full $1 million. Following discussions, a deal was struck, and documentation was signed for the $1 million investment, scheduled to be received on February 11, 2024. Both parties agreed to transfer the said loan via Bitcoin due to “unstable foreign exchange” in Nigeria.

According to Adeleke, Tiwari directed the company to send a test transaction of $20,000 in bitcoin as collateral to facilitate the transfer of the $1 million loan. To fulfill this request, they reportedly gathered loans from friends and family.

Initially, Adeleke and his co-founder used a new cryptocurrency wallet, but at Tiwari’s insistence, they switched to a Mycelium wallet—a non-custodial wallet that prioritises anonymity, letting users hide details like IP addresses for untraceable transactions— preferred for the investment. Tiwari provided a QR code for the transfer. When they sent a $19 test transaction, scanning the QR code deducted an additonal $19,300 from the company’s wallet. Astrotwig realised it was a scam and reported it to police. 

The company has raised ₦345,000 ($227) so far to repay lenders who are threatening legal action.

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Sierra Leone wants to become the “Estonia of Africa”

In a bid to emulate Estonia’s success in e-governance and digital innovation, Sierra Leone is embarking on an ambitious journey of its own to become a regional powerhouse. 

Nestled along Africa’s west coast, the country’s strategy—a blend of political will and strategic investment—is led by President Julius Maada Bio to transform itself into the “Estonia of Africa,”. According to Salimah Bah, the country’s minister of communication, technology, and innovation, the vision is to “see Sierra Leone play a leading role in tech export.” 

Making strides: Sierra Leone aims to do this by implementing ambitious projects like a national ID system, drone corridors, and advancements in robotics research. However, with their ecosystem still in its early stages, the ministry has spent the past six months laying the groundwork. A National Tech and Innovation Summit in May is in the works to attract investments and partnerships.

Read more about Sierra Leone’s journey to the global tech stage here.

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Firstmonie reigns as Nigeria’a top bank-led agency player

Firstmonie, the agency banking arm of First Bank of Nigeria, has solidified its position as the country’s foremost bank-led agency player, according to data from payments provider Interswitch seen by TechCabal. This excludes data from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which also handles a substantial volume of transactions.

In 2023 alone, Firstmonie facilitated over ₦1.1 trillion ($725.3 million) in transactions, surpassing the combined transaction volume of several major banks including Access Bank, Zenith Stanbic IBTC, Union, Ecobank, FCMB, and Fidelity Bank.

How’s this possible? Industry analysts attribute this shift to several factors. The early 2023 cash crisis in Nigeria exposed limitations in traditional banking infrastructure, particularly during peak demand. As banks’ networks faltered, users flocked to agency banking alternatives, where fintechs were quicker to adapt. Fintechs were seen as more agile and user-friendly, with easier agent onboarding, wider reach through mini POS terminals, and innovative solutions. 

However, competition within the fintech space itself is fierce. In 2023, KippaPay, an agency banking service, exited the sector after reportedly processing only ₦36 million ($23,738) in transactions, citing shrinking profit margins as the reason for closure.

Considering how inflation is driving up the cost of POS devices and shrinking margins, will fintechs maintain their lead or banks regain their footing? Dig deeper.


Moove lays more tracks in India with $10 million injection

Moove is shifting gears to enter into new Indian markets. 

Zoom in: Over the past year, Moove, the mobility fintech leader, has been on a roll, launching in three strategic Indian cities— Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Bangalore—and amassing over 30 million trips. 

Now, fueled by a recent $10 million funding round led by Stride ventures, Moove’s India story is poised for an exciting next chapter.

From Naija to Namaste: Launched in Nigeria in 2020, Moove’s unique model, offering revenue-based vehicle financing tailored to ride-hailing drivers, has already empowered countless individuals to hit the road and earn a living. 

With this fresh injection of capital, Moove plans to expand its reach to even more Indian cities—Delhi, Pune, and Kolkata— and also increase the number of cars on its platform to 5000.

That’s not all: Moove has been on a fundraising spree over the past two years, securing a staggering $335 million across equity and debt. This includes four funding rounds in 2022 alone, totaling over $180 million with participation from notable investors like Mubadala, BlackRock, Speedinvest, and Latitude.

ICYMI: In 2023, Moove partnered with Uber to deploy about 25,000 electric vehicles on its ride-sharing platform in India. 

Zoom out: Moove’s expansion in India signals a strategic shift that caters to the millions of aspiring mobility entrepreneurs in India who face limited access to financing. However, Moove’s asset finance model has been repelled by drivers in Nigeria who say the repayment model is too steep

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Roam raise $24 million

As the world turns its attention towards environmentally friendly mobility, Roam is also picking up the pace. 

The Kenya-based EV manufacturer has raised a $24 million equity and debt funding to fuel its expansion in the country. According to local media, Roam will use the new cash injection to scale up car production at its new 10,000 sqm Roam Park facility, develop ways to make the cars cheaper, and smooth out how they get all the parts they need both locally and globally.

The funding round—a mix of $14 million equity and $10 million debt—was led by Equator Africa with participation from At One Ventures, TES Ventures, Renew Capital, The World We Want, and One Small Planet. The International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) led the debt funding. 

Why push EVs? Africa, while currently a smaller contributor to global emissions, is experiencing rapid urbanization and motorization, which could lead to a significant increase in emissions. EVs present an alternative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, improving public health and mitigating climate change impacts.

Roam says it has captured or mitigated over 120,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Also, Africa is rich in renewable energy resources, like solar and wind which can expand EV adoption, reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels. 

Zoom out: While Roam and other EV startups jostle for top spots in Africa’s nascent EV space, the industry presents new job opportunities in areas like battery production, charging infrastructure, vehicle assembly, and maintenance.


  • The 6th Africa Tech Summit Nairobi is set for February 14–15, 2024. The Summit will connect tech leaders from the African ecosystem and international players under one roof. Network with key stakeholders including tech corporates, mobile operators, fintech, Web3 ventures, investors, innovative startups, regulators, and industry stakeholders driving business and investment forward. You can also get a 10% discount when you use the code “TECH10”. Register here.
  • Think securing funding guarantees your startup’s success? Think again! Register for this free webinar by BrandOn on “Why Startups Fail Even After Raising Capital”. On February 10, you’ll get to learn from Gerald Black (Black Ops), Oluwadunni Fanibe (TechStars), and others. Register here

Dive deeper

our friends at Semafor Africa bring forward original reporting and insight on the world’s fastest-growing economies. Sent to your inbox 3x a week, Semafor Africa discusses the impact African business, politics, tech, and culture have on the world, shedding light on ever-changing power dynamics of the global economy. Subscribe for free.

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The World Wide Web3


OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $51,819

+ 4.89%

+ 23.20%

Ether $2,772

+ 5.45%

+ 11.56%

Tether USDt


+ 0.03%

+ 0.12%

Solana $117.13

+ 4.74%

+ 22.04%

* Data as of 00:10 AM WAT, Febraury 15, 2024.

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  • Meta, in collaboration with Ingressive for Good, has partnered to address the surging demand for digital marketing skills in the industry by offering scholarships to empower at least 5,000 youths in Nigeria, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya to thrive in their digital careers. Upon successful completion of the programme, participants will embark on a transformative 30-day job readiness bootcamp, acquiring essential soft skills and gaining exclusive access to industry thought leaders for mentorship and guidance. Apply here.
  • Selar, Africa’s leading creator platform, is thrilled to introduce the Selar Tuition Funds initiative, a project aimed at providing financial support to students in Nigerian tertiary institutions. This year, Selar will grant ₦100,000 to 50 final year students, helping them overcome the escalating cost of education and successfully complete their studies. In addition to the financial aid, Selar will offer internship opportunities to further enhance the recipients’ educational journey and foster their career growth. Apply by February 21.
  • The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Tech4Dev have opened applications for the DigitalforAll Challenge 2.0. The program, which is divided into three categories: Young Learners (Ages 12-18); Youth Category (Ages 19-45); and Civil Servants, will reward winners and runners-up in each category with cash prizes. the winner from each category will receive₦10 million cash, while the first runner-up will get a consolation prize of ₦7.5 million. The second runner-up for each of the categories will receive ₦5 million. Apply here.

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