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Nigeria leads as Y Combinator receives highest number of African startups yet

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The number of African startups that are participating in this year’s Y Combinator summer batch is greater than it’s the usual number. The 2021 Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator programme has 15 participants coming from African startups which is the highest ever compared to other cohorts.

A total of 377 startups were selected from 47 countries to partake in this year’s Y Combinator summer programme. This is up from 198 startups that participated in the accelerator programme last year.
Each startup that makes the 2021 Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator will get a total of $125,000 seed investment ad the opportunity for more investment opportunities at a demo day.
Out of the 15 startups coming from Africa, Nigeria had the highest with a total of five startups, followed by Egypt which had four startups, Morocco had two startups, while Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia had one startup each.

Taking a close look at the five startups from Nigeria, the first is Infiuss Health, it was founded by Melissa Bime and Mbah Charles in 2020. The company is building a platform for remote research and clinical trials to make healthcare seamless and accessible in Africa.
The second one is Lemonade Finance and it was founded by Rian Cochran and Ridwan Olalere in 2020. The company provide multi-currency accounts which allow migrants to carry out transactions and banking with ease.
The third startup from Nigeria is Mecho Autotech, founded by Ayoola Akinkunmi and Olusegun Owoade in 2021, is a digital maintenance and repairs company.

Fourth is Payhippo was founded in 2019 by the trio, Zach Bijesse, Uche Nnadi and Chioma Okotcha with the aim of resolving the issue of credit accessibility among SMEs.
Suplias is the fifth startup coming from Nigeria launched in 2019 by Stephen Igwue, Michael Adesanya and Sefa Ikyaator. The startup operates as a B2B marketplace digitising informal retail trade in Nigeria.

Nigeria is followed by Egypt with four startups and they include Pylon, a water and electricity distribution company, it was founded by Ahmed Ashour and Omar Radi in 2017.
The second is Amenli, founded by Shady El Tohfa and Adham Nauman in 2020, it operates as an insurance company. The third from Egypt is Odiggo, a vehicle service company operating in the Middle East; and lastly from Egypt, we have ShipBlu which offers delivery services to traders and started in 2020.
Morrocow has two startups in the programme which include an e-commerce and fintech startup, Chari. It was founded by Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat in 2020. The second is Freterium, a collaborative SaaS value chain startup and it was founded in 2018 by Omar El Kouhene and Mehdi Cherif Alami.

The only startup coming from Ghana is Yemaachi Biotechnology which was funded in 2020 by Yaw Attua-Afari, Yaw Bediako, David Hutchful and Joyce Ngoi in 2020. The company is focused on ensuring the reduction of the economic burden of cancer by developing novel, non-invasive and affordable molecular diagnostics.

Kenya is represented in this year’s cohort by the fintech startup, Fingo, making banking accessible and affordable to Africans. It was founded in 2020 by Kiiru Muhoya Gitari Tirima James da Costa and Ian Njuguna.
The only startup from South Africa is Floatpays which makes finances accessible at a low interest rate. The company was founded in 2019 by Simon Ward.

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Cryptocurrency

CBN freezes Rise vest, Bamboo, Chaka and others accounts for 6 months

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has just frozen the bank accounts of four Nigerian fintech platforms Risevest, Bamboo, Trove, and Chaka for the next six months.

The Whistler reported that the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an exparte motion which sought temporary freezing of bank accounts belonging to these online investments and trading platforms where Nigerians are transacting business online.

The motion was filed by Chief Micheal Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, on behalf of the Central Bank Of Nigeria Governor and the purpose is the probing the financial activities of these four fintech companies.

The CBN alleged that Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, and Trove Technologies Limited were complicit in operating without a license as asset management companies “and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.”

In their responses to the ban, the founder and CEO of Risevest Eke Eleanya Urum and Bamboo have come out on Twitter to assure users of Risevest that trading activities will continue as usual and the issue will be sorted out with the regulators.

Also Bamboo came out on Twitter to assure their users that their money is safe.


There have been reactions from various concerned Nigerians about the development also


It would be recalled that there is a recent move by the CBN to stop the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country. Also in April, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the investing public on the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms, facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

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Fintech

Kuda Bank raises $55M Series B at $500M valuation

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London-based, Nigeria operating Fintech startup, Kuda has disclosed a $55m Series B. The funding round which was led by Valar Ventures placed Kuda be valued at $500m. The company stated that the latest funding was an inside round coming from existing investors including Valar Ventures, Target Global, SBI, and few other previous angels. According to the startup, the fund will come in handy in fueling its expansion into other countries outside Nigeria.

The news of the funding is coming just a few months after Kuda raised $25m in its Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures and a year after making a record-breaking $10m see round which was led by Target Global.

The total fund now raised by Kuda from VC investors is now capped at $91.5 million in the period of two years.

Initially, Kuda business model was focused on providing banking services to users who as well are still holding accounts with their various incumbent banks. When people receive their salaries in their old accounts, they then transfer it out to spend and use it through their Kuda accounts.

Kuda was founded by Babs Ogundeyi and Mustapha Musty after they rebranded Kudimoney to Kudabank in 2019. Since its rebranding, the fintech startup has tried to distinguish itself from other traditional banks in Nigeria, through its mobile-first, personalized, and cheaper banking services.

As reported by Techcrunch, while commenting on the new funding round, Kuda’s CEO said “We’ve been doing a lot of resource deployment has been in our operational entity, in Nigeria. But now we are doubling down on the expansion and the idea is to build a strong team for the expansion plans for Kuda,”.

Babs said further “We still see Nigeria as an important market and don’t want to be distracted so don’t want to disrupt those operations too much. It’s a strong market and competitive. It’s one that we feel we need to have a stronghold on. So this funding is to invest in expansion and have more experience in the company with relation to expansion“.

 

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