An ecosystem’s year of grit and excellence

In 2023, we began publishing impact reports to publicly track our coverage of the ecosystem and better understand how it is changing. As we roll out 2024’s first report, our objective remains the same: to furnish stakeholders—operators, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers—with insights that empower them to make informed decisions and effectively contribute to the continent’s technological and socio-economic development. For this edition of the report, we will fuss less about reader numbers, and instead share with you the ways we are rejigging the news for your pleasure.

As always, this report and the milestones it describes represent TechCabal’s pledge to uphold the highest journalistic standards and to continuously evolve for the betterment of our publication and the community we serve.

The start of the year is often slow, with businesses still planning their year, monitoring the economy closely, and reviewing their budgets. But, in the TechCabal newsroom, we got straight to business in January; the news waits for no one. We knew that this year would be critical for many startups in our space, and we had a responsibility to deliver accurate and balanced narratives as tech businesses navigated the tough year ahead; the world outside Africa was watching. 

In line with our parent company Big Cabal Media’s resolve this year to chase excellence, TechCabal is chasing the stories of excellence, grit and success at African startups. We insist that it’s not all gloomy news in the ecosystem. We are eager, desperate even, to champion the optimistic shifts coming out of the ecosystem, and there has been a lot of it lately.

This past quarter, more than 120 startups in Africa raised a combined $466 million. It is a 45.62% reduction when compared to Q1 2023, but it is hopeful. Equity made up 71% of financing while debt made up 28%. In January, Swvl posted a net profit of $2.1 million; and the following month, Jumia reduced its operating losses in Q4 2023 to $4.5 million, its lowest in four years and a major step towards its profitability drive. South Africa granted licences to 59 crypto companies. Payroll and HR software provider, Payspace, was acquired by American payroll and compliance provider Deel—one of 12 acquisitions that have happened this year.

What else does “chasing excellence” mean to us?

This quarter was about listening to you about our work. We are always open to feedback from you because it means that you care. The lessons from your suggestions have been strong and will continue to serve as a catalyst for introspection and improvement of our editorial processes. 

Chasing stories of excellence in the ecosystem means striving to continually improve our editorial processes and committing firmly to only telling stories that are true, accurate, and balanced. Our credibility is our currency. We are not in a hurry to break a story before we have all the facts; we are not afraid to kill a story if its claims are suspect or unverifiable.

What then is the scoop?

In January, we launched a breaking-news newsletter, TC Scoop, to bring you the latest news as soon as it drops. If you are signed up to TC Scoop, it means you receive our biggest stories of the day before anybody else! This is all part of our agenda to curate a strong community of well informed readers. Over 7,000 of you have subscribed to TC Scoop. If you are not plugged in yet, click here to sign up

A key objective for us at TC is leveraging the news to connect with the businesses whose stories we tell. As a publication, we grew up with Africa’s tech ecosystem, beginning our story at about the same time many of the successful startups of today either started theirs or were nascent and ignored by Silicon Valley media. 

We are still committed to using our voice to amplify startups. And so, we have revamped the series, Who Calls The Shots?, to spotlight leadership-level tech professionals and the businesses they are building. Who are the names behind your most promising businesses—Bamboo, Sycamore, Get Equity and at Herconomy? How are their companies shaping the future of innovation on the continent?

We have also expanded our storytelling formats to include a long-reads column on the weekend, The Algorithm; and video news.

Every Saturday, The Algorithm will bring you in-depth analysis and perspective on a wide range of topics, from freelance writers’ earnings under an AI regime to stories of vendors grappling with the high cost of shipping deliveries to customers. On The Algorithm we are taking you to the backend of content creation, its many aspects, its many creators, and the many ways that they work and thrive. How are food creators defining their audience’s palates, you may have wondered? What does success look like for lifestyle creators, you ask? We will answer it all, unfurling the bits and details, one creator at a time. 

When we launched the video news format, we were thinking of convenience. Whether you are in  traffic, doing chores or playing sports, you can receive the news without interrupting your daily life. We publish one video story a day. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with video news. 

Celebrating businesses by women

If you missed our International Women’s Day video podcast with Yanmo Omoregbe (COO, Bamboo), Ifeoma Nwobu (COO, Sendstack) and Omowumi Omidiji (CEO at SHOP F.A.W.L.), click here to watch it. It was an insightful conversation that tackled the current temperature in Africa’s startup environment. With humour and admirable honesty, Omoregbe, Nwobu, and Omidiji discussed funding outlook this year, the challenges they face in building products for Africa, and what changes AI could bring to their businesses. 

Our East Africa and Southern Africa impact

Kenya and South Africa are two of our biggest readership blocs (besides Nigeria). The tech ecosystems in the East and Southern African regions have been, for many years, vibrant and progressing innovation on the continent. Since last year, we have worked to deepen our storytelling in these regions—Ethiopia’s rising inflation; Kenya’s proposed AI legislation through the  AI and Robotics Bill; Bolt’s expansion into Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Our hard work growing our audience in East Africa is starting to pay off. One year after Kenn Abuya joined us as senior reporter for the region, Adonijah Ndege has joined the team in the same role. Adonijah is bringing to TC 10 years’ experience reporting finance, business and technology in Kenyan media. He joins us from Business Daily, where he was online editor and led the transition of the publication from a print to digital medium. Together, Kenn and Adonijah, will be intensifying our reporting of East Africa.

Our Southern Africa reporter, Ephraim Modise, is currently visiting  Cape Town, from Botswana, on special assignment. Over the next two weeks, he will be meeting with key players in tech, attending select events, and breaking the news from the scene in South Africa. If you are in the area between today and the end of May, please reach out to him:

Moonshot events

We are preparing hard for the second edition of Moonshot, our flagship conference that brings together players in the tech ecosystem to collaborate and share knowledge. 

Leading up to the conference, we are hosting a series of small pre-conference mixers in select locations across the continent. We already held one in Nairobi, Kenya, in February—“The AI Dance: Balancing innovation and regulation”. A highlight of our mixer in Nairobi was visiting Nairobi Garage, a major aggregator of the tech ecosystem in the country. They boast over 6,000 active members who use their facility as a workspace and for activations. It was a heartwarming experience as these are the stories of creativity that we love to see and shout about.

With these mixers we are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where attendees can connect, socialise, and lay the groundwork for a productive and enjoyable conference experience come October. We will be hosting another pre-conference mixer at the GITEX Africa Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, in May. If you are in Marrakech for GITEX between May 29 and 31, please look out for us and come say hello!

As for the main event in October, Moonshot, click here to get your early-bird tickets!

As always, thank you

We don’t have a platform without you, dear reader. Your praise, feedback, and engagement fuel our ambition to provide comprehensive coverage of startups and their builders. We will continue to empower entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and other stakeholders to drive positive change and innovation within Africa’s tech landscape. Thank you. 

See you next time!

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