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June 15, 2022

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Good day , 

Victoria here,

WhatsApp has launched its WhatsAppreneurs campaign. Per Meta's Director of Public Policy, Africa, Balkissa Siddo, it will highlight the stories of African Small and Medium Business (SMB) owners.

Also, it will help them learn more about the growth opportunities available with the WhatsApp Business app via a virtual educational webinar.

The campaign is aimed at providing businesses with the resources they need to unlock their growth potential and contribute to the creation of a more resilient, inclusive, and empowered society.

Remember WhatsApp also opened its Cloud API to all businesses globally in May 2022 to drive efficient communications for businesses of all sizes.

Aside from assisting businesses in growing, the company says the WhatsApp Business app would allow them to develop deeper and stronger relationships with their customers.

Today, I'll talk about:

  • Confidence Staveley’s passion for cybersecurity
  • Launch Africa Ventures’ $36.3m fund
  • MFS Africa’s extra $100m Series C

Unrelated, but help Techpoint Africa determine how much African tech workers earn by filling out this form or sharing it with your developer friends.

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Confidence Staveley’s passion in cybersecurity

In Africa, there is an increase in digital threats and malicious cyber activity. This has led to the destruction of public infrastructure and losses from digital fraud and illicit financial flows.

Hence, the need to embrace cybersecurity and online safety. Yeah, there’s a distinction between the two.

Cybersecurity is the safeguarding of Internet-connected systems, like hardware, software, and data, against cyber threats. This means that cybersecurity protects devices and networks from third-party harm.

However, online safety protects users from harm caused by devices and networks through awareness, education, information, and technology.

Interestingly, on this week's episode of Expert and African, Oluwanifemi spoke with award-winning cybersecurity expert, Confidence Staveley.

Confidence discovered that cybersecurity and online safety were not receiving as much attention in Africa as their global importance suggests they should. But she believes increased awareness would pique more people’s interest in helping others stay safe online and probably see them build a career out of it.

Interestingly, Confidence is a G100 Global Chair for Cybersecurity, leading a group of 100 women worldwide to ensure women's online safety and the ability to pursue professional careers. She has received both continental and international recognition.

Her parents value education, a mindset that makes Confidence call them wealthy although they were not rich.

They hoped she would become a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. But things changed when she stayed home for a year after finishing secondary school because her parents wanted to save enough money to send her to university.

It was a watershed moment in her life and career. Check out her story for more information: What Confidence Staveley does with her passion for cybersecurity

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Launch Africa Ventures’ $36.3m fund

Launch Africa Ventures, a pan-African venture capital fund, announced a $36.3 million fund yesterday, Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

The Mauritius-based firm, founded in July 2020 by Zachariah George and Janade du Plessis (Managing Partners), has supported 108 startups in 21 African countries. Nigerian neobank, Kuda; Kenyan B2B eCommerce retail platform, MarketForce; and Tunisian edtech startup, GOMYCODE, are among these companies.

It typically invests in seed and pre-Series A startups and makes checks ranging from $250,000 to $300,000. Sudanese fintech, Bloom; Botswana-based insurtech, Alpha Direct; and South African big data platform, Carscan, are among those in this stage.

According to the firm, it has over 238 retail and institutional investors from 40 different countries. It has also made over $24 million investments in its portfolio companies.

The firm claims to be the continent's most active early-stage VC firm and will continue to broaden its geographic reach and support startups in other countries.

Launch Africa says it assists limited partners with due diligence and waives fees when they invest alongside the fund's lead checks. These limited partners have invested more than $14 million in Launch Africa portfolio companies.

Per George, “I can’t think of a single fund that covers as many markets as we do. We’re doing deals in the DRC, Madagascar, Sudan, Botswana, Benin, Togo. People use the word pan-African loosely, but when we say pan-African, we truly mean what we do.”

Launch Africa said this fund would be used to provide follow-on capital — via bridge and extension rounds — to those in need of funds.

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MFS Africa’s extra $100m Series C

Wasn't it last week MFS Africa, a pan-African digital payments company, announced the acquisition of US-based Global Technology Partners (GTP) for $34 million in cash and shares?

Well, yesterday, June 14, 2022, the company revealed an extra $100 million in Series C funding. The round is a combination of equity and debt.

Remember that in November 2021, it secured a $100 million Series C, bringing total amount raised in this round to $200 million.

Admaius Capital Partners led the round. While Vitruvian Partners and AXA Investment Managers were new backers, existing investors like AfricInvest FIVE and CommerzVentures also participated. Further, debt financing was provided by Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria and Symbiotic.

Launched by Dare Okoudjou in 2009, MFS Africa combines different payment schemes from Africa into a single seamless network, allowing individuals and businesses in mobile money ecosystems to transact across borders and currencies.

According to the company, it connects over 320 million mobile money wallets across 35 African countries and 700 corridors.

The additional funds will enable the company to continue its African expansion plans. It will also aid in its integration into the global digital payment ecosystem. The company will then expand into Asia and create cross-border payments synergies with Africa through a joint venture with LUN Partners.

It will help with MFS' expansion plans for BAXI, a startup it acquired in 2021.

What I'm reading and watching

Opportunities

  • The ARMS Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program is now accepting applications from early-stage African fintech and proptech startups.. Apply here.
  • Are you a woman in tech looking for a 3-month mentoring programme in product design and management, data science and software engineering? Then apply for the She Code Africa Mentoring Program (SCAMP) here.
  • Torche is looking for a UI/UX designer to join its team. If you’re one, apply here.
Have a good Wednesday!
victoria_3

Victoria Fakiya (@latoria_ria)

 

A writer with ADHD who is interested in mental health and how technology is improving the lives of Africans with mental disorders.

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