Disrupt Africa https://disrupt-africa.com Startup | Invest | Disrupt Wed, 12 Aug 2020 19:52:27 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 Malian off-grid solar company Energy+ raises $1m investment https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/malian-off-grid-solar-company-energy-raises-1m-investment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=malian-off-grid-solar-company-energy-raises-1m-investment Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:20:48 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22986 Energy+, a Malian off-grid solar company, has secured US$1 million in financing from a consortium of international financing partners to help close the electricity gap in the country. Energy+ is the exclusive importer, distributor, and reseller of d.light off-grid solar (OGS) products in Mali. Having made its first product sales in March 2019, it has [...]

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Energy+, a Malian off-grid solar company, has secured US$1 million in financing from a consortium of international financing partners to help close the electricity gap in the country.

Energy+ is the exclusive importer, distributor, and reseller of d.light off-grid solar (OGS) products in Mali. Having made its first product sales in March 2019, it has since sold thousands of OGS products on a cash and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis throughout Mali. 

The company has now received more than US$1 million in commitments from a consortium of financing partners. The funding includes equity and fully funded enterprise development services (EDS) from VentureBuilder, which led the round, debt from Cordaid Investment Management (Cordaid), and grant financing from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF). 

“In countries such as ours, pay-as-you-go is the best way to bring quality solar home systems to off-grid areas because it makes energy access easy and affordable. With the help of VentureBuilder, Cordaid and USADF, we will be in a position to transition, in a strategic manner, from a producer of small electrical batteries to a large scale distributor of high-quality solar products,” said Simballa Sylla, chief executive officer (CEO) of Energy+.

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Money transfer app Kyanda launched in Kenya https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/money-transfer-app-kyanda-launched-in-kenya/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-transfer-app-kyanda-launched-in-kenya Fri, 14 Aug 2020 08:00:33 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22856 Kenyan fintech startup Kyanda has launched its money transfer app, which aims to help users make all sorts of transactions at as low a cost as possible. Rolled out in February, Kyanda allows users to make cheap and fast money transfers, purchase airtime, and pay bills, among other things. The startup, launched by 19-year-old founder [...]

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Kenyan fintech startup Kyanda has launched its money transfer app, which aims to help users make all sorts of transactions at as low a cost as possible.

Rolled out in February, Kyanda allows users to make cheap and fast money transfers, purchase airtime, and pay bills, among other things.

The startup, launched by 19-year-old founder Collins Kathuli, is also piloting a feature that will offer the chance to invest in companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

“Our platform aims to assist all our clients and relieve them from high transaction costs incurred while accessing essential financial services,” Kathuli said.

“Not only can Kyanda be used personally, but businesses such as kiosks and more established brands can also make use of our platform and save money.”

Kathuli claims these savings compared to other services can be as high as 80 per cent, but the self-funded startup has not built much of a user base yet, a fact he attributes to lack of marketing funds and the impact of COVID-19. Nonetheless, he thinks Kyanda has significant relevance.

“Kyanda focuses on anyone with a smartphone, and even that Mwananchi who doesn’t have a smartphone and with no internet access, should have no worries. To cater for this we’re also developing an offline product that will be among the first to be pioneered so far,” he said.

“We have a bouquet of services which shall be phase launched as we advance not only in Kenya but also other East African countries, in order to achieve our aim of housing nearly all financial services under one platform and making them relatively cheap.”

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Applications open for SA-based The Marketing Incubator https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/applications-open-for-sa-based-the-marketing-incubator/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=applications-open-for-sa-based-the-marketing-incubator Fri, 14 Aug 2020 06:40:56 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22975 South African startups have been invited to apply for the second edition of The Marketing Incubator, which helps participants develop and implement strategies for marketing their products and services. A Johannesburg-based virtual programme, The Marketing Incubator shares knowledge with startups and small business owners to enable them to balance their operational strategies together with understanding [...]

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South African startups have been invited to apply for the second edition of The Marketing Incubator, which helps participants develop and implement strategies for marketing their products and services.

A Johannesburg-based virtual programme, The Marketing Incubator shares knowledge with startups and small business owners to enable them to balance their operational strategies together with understanding and implementing strategies which will allow them to market and sell their wares.

It provides entrepreneurs with an array of targeted marketing resources and insight, developed by the incubator management and offered online to easily reach incubatees. Participants must be registered with CIPC, be 25 years or older, and run their business on a full-time basis.

“We are looking forward to ideation, collaboration and information exchange which will assist a lot of small business owners especially as many companies are affected due to COVID-19,” said Lebogang Makola, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Marketing Incubator.

Applications are open here until September 4.

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How SA’s Sudonum is helping online sellers retain their privacy https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/how-sas-sudonum-is-helping-online-sellers-retain-their-privacy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-sas-sudonum-is-helping-online-sellers-retain-their-privacy Fri, 14 Aug 2020 06:00:14 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22837 South Africa’s Sudonum has built a global client base using its API-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that helps online sellers retain their privacy. Formed in 2015 by Michael Toop and Mark Griffioen, Sudonum was built as its co-founders sought a solution that would allow sellers to stay private while still being able to receive calls when [...]

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South Africa’s Sudonum has built a global client base using its API-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that helps online sellers retain their privacy.

Formed in 2015 by Michael Toop and Mark Griffioen, Sudonum was built as its co-founders sought a solution that would allow sellers to stay private while still being able to receive calls when selling used goods online. 

An R&D project inside another technology business until Toop and Griffioen spun it out, Sudonum has built a collection of easy-to-use APIs that allow companies to innovate faster because it abstracts away the complexity of dealing with – and understanding – a highly technical telecommunications industry. 

Among its offerings are call tracking, number privacy, virtual phone number and Voice API services, while it also offers WhatsApp solutions for marketplaces. Sudonum provides these services to the majority of South African property and automotive classified platforms, while it also works globally with specific businesses in eBay Classifieds Group, Naspers and Adevinta. 

Yet securing uptake initially was a challenge.

“Our original idea of selling privacy got nobody but ourselves excited,” Griffioen said. “Fortunately, we spent a lot of time with the kinds of businesses we wanted to sell to and realised that there was an opportunity to take the privacy concept and turn it into a voice and SMS analytics play focused at global marketplaces.”

This play worked a charm. Sudonum raised capital from a handful of local investors, among them Hlayisani Capital, and has clients all over the world.

“We focus our energy on developing markets with large populations. Latin and Central America have been strong geographies for us and will continue to be going forward. We’re constantly testing new markets to determine technical feasibility and commercial viability,” said Griffioen.

Sudonum runs a very typical pay-per-use model, and Griffioen said it has seen year-on-year revenue growth that is “normal” for a business in its growth phase. For now, all profits are invested back into the business to fund this growth. 

“Starting Sudonum for us was the confluence of timing, hustle and luck. We were a small team when we launched in 2015 – and still are – so staying focused on execution is one of the hardest things we do every day,” Griffioen said.

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Egyptian B2B e-commerce startup Fatura raises 7-figure funding round https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/egyptian-b2b-e-commerce-startup-fatura-raises-7-figure-funding-round/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=egyptian-b2b-e-commerce-startup-fatura-raises-7-figure-funding-round Thu, 13 Aug 2020 08:40:59 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22966 Egyptian B2B e-commerce platform Fatura, which connects FMCG wholesalers to retailers and a digital lending platform for small merchants, has raised a seven-figure US dollar seed round to help it scale. Founded by Hossam Ali, Ahmed Anwar and AbdAllah Mohebeldin, who were later joined by Ahmed Al Bakary, Fatura was established to meet the demand [...]

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Egyptian B2B e-commerce platform Fatura, which connects FMCG wholesalers to retailers and a digital lending platform for small merchants, has raised a seven-figure US dollar seed round to help it scale.

Founded by Hossam Ali, Ahmed Anwar and AbdAllah Mohebeldin, who were later joined by Ahmed Al Bakary, Fatura was established to meet the demand of FMCG retailers by providing a simple-to-use mobile application that allows them to access a network of carefully vetted wholesalers. 

The startup leverages the underutilised assets already owned by wholesalers and uses technology to resolve existing supply chain inefficiencies for all relevant stakeholders including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. In addition to the one-stop-shop offering of more than 1,500 available SKUs, Fatura is on its way to offer working capital loans to its retailers, leveraging the data derived from transactions to analyse retailers’ behaviour and credit worthiness. 

Fatura’s objective is to become the largest e-wholesaler in Egypt and Africa, and it has been boosted in its pursuit of this goal having raised a seven-figure seed funding round led by Disruptech, Egypt’s first fintech-focused VC Fund, with the participation of EFG EV and Cairo Angels.   

“Egypt has more than 5,000 wholesalers, investing heavily to build another one will not solve the existing inefficiencies at scale. This capital-intensive approach never made sense to us in light of the Egyptian market’s realities. Alternatively, we are on a mission to curate a network of 200-250 wholesalers across the country, digitally transform the way they work, and enable them to collectively lead the FMCG distribution business nationally,” said Hossam Ali, Fatura’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO).

Mohamed Okasha, Disruptech’s managing partner, said his firm was excited to lead Fatura’s investment round.

“We firmly believe in the opportunity that lies in the digitisation of the wholesale-retail relationship. Disruptech sees Fatura playing an essential role to transform the market and we are committed to helping Fatura achieve its mission,” he said.

Zeina Mandour, general manager of the Cairo Angels, said she was pleased to have closed this investment round and to have co-invested with other local investors. 

“We are very confident in the Fatura team. We have no doubt that they will use this seven-figure investment to scale and provide their services throughout all of Egypt,” she said.

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Kenyan agri-tech startups invited to apply for $100k FoodTech Africa accelerator https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/kenyan-agri-tech-startups-invited-to-apply-for-100k-foodtech-africa-accelerator/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kenyan-agri-tech-startups-invited-to-apply-for-100k-foodtech-africa-accelerator Thu, 13 Aug 2020 06:40:33 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22981 Kenyan agri-tech startups led by youth and women have been invited to apply for the FoodTech Africa accelerator programme, which offers access to US$100,000 in investment. Aimed at addressing food security through fostering innovation, FoodTech Africa is a project commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa and implemented by @iBizAfrica and Pangea Accelerator. The 10-week programme [...]

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Kenyan agri-tech startups led by youth and women have been invited to apply for the FoodTech Africa accelerator programme, which offers access to US$100,000 in investment.

Aimed at addressing food security through fostering innovation, FoodTech Africa is a project commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa and implemented by @iBizAfrica and Pangea Accelerator.

The 10-week programme is designed to support women and youth owned growth-stage agri-based companies to sustain business growth through facilitating access to financing, business support and technology adoption.

Selected businesses will receive intensive training and mentorship, B2B sales opportunities as well as the opportunity to interact with investors, with leading companies getting investment of up to US$100,000.

 “We are grateful to GIZ Make-IT in Africa for appointing this project to Pangea and Strathmore University to drive food security in Africa through the FoodTech Africa programme. We believe Kenya and East Africa are at a critical time and that innovation and young entrepreneurs have a big role to play in creating resilient and local food systems,” said Jonas Tesfu, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Pangea Accelerator.

Applications are open here until August 21.

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Kenyan startup WorkPay raises $2.1m seed funding to fuel its growth https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/kenyan-startup-workpay-raises-2-1m-seed-funding-to-fuel-its-growth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kenyan-startup-workpay-raises-2-1m-seed-funding-to-fuel-its-growth Thu, 13 Aug 2020 06:00:28 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22978 Kenyan startup WorkPay, which builds human resources (HR) and payroll solutions for Africa, has raised US$2.1 million in seed funding to fuel its growth. Originally called TozzaPlus until it rebranded in 2019, WorkPay is a cloud-based human resources management and payroll solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Africa. The startup’s time tracking and [...]

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Kenyan startup WorkPay, which builds human resources (HR) and payroll solutions for Africa, has raised US$2.1 million in seed funding to fuel its growth.

Originally called TozzaPlus until it rebranded in 2019, WorkPay is a cloud-based human resources management and payroll solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Africa. The startup’s time tracking and salary disbursement tools help African businesses save money and time by eliminating ghost workers from their payroll and inefficiencies associated with cash payments. 

Currently, WorkPay processes payrolls for more than 25,000 employees in Kenya and has more than 300 SMBs on its platform, and it is now set for further growth after raising US$2.1 million in funding.

The round is led by Kepple Africa Ventures, which also invested US$100,000 in WorkPay in 2019, and also sees participation from Y Combinator (WorkPay recently took part in the Silicon Valley-based accelerator programme), Soma Capital, Musha Ventures, P1 Ventures, and a number of angel investors. 

“This new investment will give us the opportunity to scale our human resource management and payroll processing tools to SMBs and expand to enterprise clients across East Africa. We are fortunate to have the backing of some incredible people on our mission to make it easy for businesses to manage and pay employees across Africa,” said Paul Kimani, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of WorkPay.

Ryosuke Yamawaki, general partner of Kepple Africa Ventures, said the moment his team first met with the WorkPay team during a one-on-one pitch day in September 2018, it was clear they were different from anyone else they had met in Nairobi. 

“They’re different in the way they define their key customers, understand their real pains, and design specific solutions. It is no surprise that they have come this far. They will surely become one of the most successful startups in the continent and drastically change the way the workforce is managed,” he said.

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Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh wins $50k equity funding at MEST Africa Challenge https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/tanzanias-kilimo-fresh-wins-50k-equity-funding-at-mest-africa-challenge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tanzanias-kilimo-fresh-wins-50k-equity-funding-at-mest-africa-challenge Wed, 12 Aug 2020 19:21:50 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22991 Tanzanian agri-tech startup Kilimo Fresh, a digital distributor of fresh produce to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, institutions, wholesalers and export markets, has been named winner of the MEST Africa Challenge, winning US$50,000 in equity investment. Startups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa were selected to take part in the [...]

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Tanzanian agri-tech startup Kilimo Fresh, a digital distributor of fresh produce to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, institutions, wholesalers and export markets, has been named winner of the MEST Africa Challenge, winning US$50,000 in equity investment.

Startups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa were selected to take part in the MEST Africa Challenge, run by pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub MEST Africa

Aimed at post-revenue, tech-enabled startups that want to expand into new markets, the challenge, which last year had three winners, offered the winning company US$50,000 in equity investment, plus access to Microsoft support, coaching, and a continent-wide network of startup hubs.

After a virtual pitch event held today (August 12), Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh was named the winner. The startup is developing digital farming solutions, and will now benefit from MEST support and funding. 

Ethiopia’s Debo Engineering, which matches farmers with agro service providers, was awarded the community prize.

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Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce selected for Y Combinator, banks $150k https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/kenyan-retail-tech-startup-marketforce-selected-for-y-combinator-banks-150k/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kenyan-retail-tech-startup-marketforce-selected-for-y-combinator-banks-150k Wed, 12 Aug 2020 09:00:26 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22973 Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce is the only Sub-Saharan African company selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2020 batch, securing US$150,000 in funding and the inspiration for a new product. Launched in 2018, MarketForce enables consumer brands to optimise how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in [...]

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Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce is the only Sub-Saharan African company selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2020 batch, securing US$150,000 in funding and the inspiration for a new product.

Launched in 2018, MarketForce enables consumer brands to optimise how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last mile distribution, while maximising efficiency across the sales and distribution value chain. 

The startup’s platform leverages mobile devices by enabling field agents to record all customer interactions as they happen in the field, and then aggregates this data and presents it through live web dashboards.

Disrupt Africa reported in May that MarketForce had raised US$350,000 in seed funding to help it build upon its existing momentum and enhance its product to unlock new revenue streams, the funding coming from the ViKtoria Business Angels Network (VBAN), EchoVC Partners, P1 Ventures, and Ventures Platform.

It has now secured an extra US$150,000 in funding from Y Combinator, and has also announced the launch of a new business line, MarketForce Troops, which enables FMCGs and financial service providers to grow their retail distribution channels in Africa. 

“The product expansion was inspired by Y Combinator, which affirmed our realisation that our technology is just one part of the equation. To fully bridge the gap in last mile distribution, it is crucial that we couple up our technology with essential services on the ground in order to create maximum impact for our initial customers,” Tesh Mbaabu, who co-founded MarketForce alongside Mesongo Sibuti, told Disrupt Africa.

“Today, 90 per cent of retail transactions occur through informal channels – with millions of “corner shops” and field sales agents acting as the first point of contact for consumers and brands. Combined, they form the heartbeat of Africa’s communities when it comes to retail sales and distribution.”

With this in mind, MarketForce will use the funding to build out its network and adapt its technology in order to support its local merchant stores and sales teams. 

“Our ultimate goal is to create thousands of jobs for the African youth while ensuring both urban and rural consumers get timely access to essential goods and financial services,” Mbaabu said, adding that Troops is already processing significant revenues by distributing products from top consumer brands like Unilever, P&G, Nestle and Cadbury.

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How Nigeria’s W3tutor makes acquisition of digital skills possible both online and offline https://disrupt-africa.com/2020/08/how-nigerias-w3tutor-makes-acquisition-of-digital-skills-possible-both-online-and-offline/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-nigerias-w3tutor-makes-acquisition-of-digital-skills-possible-both-online-and-offline Wed, 12 Aug 2020 08:05:49 +0000 http://disrupt-africa.com/?p=22853 Nigerian ed-tech startup W3tutor is committed to helping people acquire digital skills, both through its online courses and a concerted offline effort. Founded in February 2016 by Prince Kwekowe, W3tutor offers a host of online courses on all kinds of digital skills, including programming, artificial intelligence and graphic design. The startup’s mission is to ensure [...]

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Nigerian ed-tech startup W3tutor is committed to helping people acquire digital skills, both through its online courses and a concerted offline effort.

Founded in February 2016 by Prince Kwekowe, W3tutor offers a host of online courses on all kinds of digital skills, including programming, artificial intelligence and graphic design.

The startup’s mission is to ensure that people all over Africa have at their disposal all that it takes to become tech-savvy. 

“We’ve developed a  platform that has its community at the core of its activities. Every skill set has a clan which is led by professionals in that field. This provides the users with very vital real life access to experienced professionals as well as networking opportunities with those in their field,” Kwekowe told Disrupt Africa.

Currently, the platform has over 6,000 registered students who take courses online on the platform, and this number is swiftly growing. But W3tutor is seeking true scale by also building a strong offline presence.

“There are not enough indigenous digital skills training centres to serve the teeming populace, and very few platforms utilise both an online and offline medium to reach the market,” said Kwekowe.

Aside from its online courses, the self-funded W3tutor also facilitates offline lessons between tutors and students. Around 900 students have participated in offline training sessions in the last 10 months, with the startup targeting all the major Nigerian cities.

“We plan to build offline learning centers in key areas around the country to help enhance reach to users with limited internet access. We also plan to extend offline training to other countries with time,” Kwekowe said. 

The startup makes money from the sale of premium online courses and the offline training, and is generating enough to easily cover its costs and steady growth. Yet scaling in a meaningful way is expensive.

“The cost of operations is one of the biggest issues we’ve experienced. Creating company-standard video courses requires expensive, sophisticated gadgets,” said Kwekowe. 

This may require W3tutor is seek funding at some point in the future, but for now strong, steady growth is the order of the day as the startup effectively blends online and offline learning.

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