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Versus Africa Raises $850k in Pre-seed Round to Encourage African Entry for Businesses

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Africa presents a $2.1 trillion consumer spending market for businesses seeking to explore new opportunities for their products and services. Enabling businesses to enter the continent is Versus Africa, a consumer insights platform, that has today announced a $850k pre-seed capital fundraise as it scales operations to support companies in Africa and around the world as they launch their products and services across Africa. 

A Techstars 2019 cohort start-up, Versus Africa helps brands get closer to their consumers by obtaining key insights and helping them make better business decisions. Versus combines online and offline consumer data to give brands actionable and competitive insights for the African market. Versus counts brands such as Pizza Hut, Vodacom among others and has partnered with several global agencies including R/GA to support their campaigns.

The Versus Africa platform improves the go-to market strategy and approach of businesses selling in the continent. Through their unique African language sentiment analysis, the technology captures consumer insights using online (social listening and online brand tracking) and offline data trends (conducting in-person surveys through several thousand local scouts) to help brands inform, engage and adapt their product and service strategies. They ‘listen’ (for sentiment, trends and feedback) and then ‘ask’ (for opinions, about behaviours and motivations) to offer a complete insights package for businesses.

Kemdi Ebi, CEO and Co-Founder of Versus commented: “We’ve purposely built our tool to help businesses “’listen” and ”ask” the African consumer to get true engagement and actionable insights. We’re helping them make sense of the thoughts and opinions of African consumers from varying backgrounds. For those who speak in different African languages and slang, we’re able to accurately identify sentiment, trends and opportunities when we “listen” online. With real-time market research and unique patented tools that translate the complexity of local languages and cultures, Versus offers actionable insights to businesses that want to make their African market entry or continuing existence a success.”

The complex nature of the continent with multiple languages, varying socio-political communities and cultural nuances means it has long been difficult for companies to be successful across multiple countries. Versus Africa offers a fresh lens into the market opportunity with their unique and dynamic research approach.

“We have blended technology with boots on the ground to offer the purest insights to companies using Versus Africa. For the first time, businesses near and far are able to make better decisions on their product strategy in the continent. We are particularly excited because as we scale further, we are in pole position to be the go-to homegrown solution for easy, flexible and accurate research for the plethora of new local businesses cropping up across the continent” added Kemdi Ebi.

Commenting on investing in Versus Africa, the MD of Techstars London Eamonn Carey said: “For the longest time, it’s been apparent that there is huge potential in markets throughout Africa – but one of the big challenges has always been getting real, detailed, granular data about users, habits, opinions and more. The Versus Africa platform helps local, regional and global brands get real, meaningful answers to their questions – helping them launch, grow and scale more effectively across the continent. I was incredibly impressed by the team, the tech and the vision they had to use a combo of tech and people to gather an incredible dataset for their customers.”

Various global research businesses have reported on Africa’s macro trends and geo-political events. Before Versus, there have been few that have achieved true regional and local market insights for businesses to make informed decisions.

“How many Africans own and operate research in Africa? Not many. Africa deserves a local intelligence research edge born from within. There have been international research agencies and insights tools that have tried to explore Africa but only from a distant and macro lens, now, for the first time businesses will get true local insights to help them enter key markets across the continent. I hope our launch and growth propels more like-minded tech-focussed Africans to help grow this research industry” concluded Kemdi Ebi.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fund Raising

Lagos-Based Tech Startups Raised $750 million in 2022

Lagos now ranks 81 globally as one of the leading hubs for startups

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Tech Start-up operating in Lagos State has so far raised $750 million in 2022, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Innovation and Technology, Tunbosun Alake stated on Thursday at the opening of the 4th Art of Lagos (AOT) Conference. 

While noting that the state has become the number one startup capital in Africa, Alake said Lagos now ranks 81 globally as one of the leading hubs for startups.

He added that Lagos is also number one in Africa in terms of the volume of deals that have been sealed from 2019 to date.

Also speaking at the conference, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat noted that Lagos State has been able to provide an enabling environment where startups and small businesses could thrive. 

Similarly, speaking further, Alake revealed that the increasing number of investors putting their money in Lagos state is a result of the conducive environment for investment and not because of the large population. 

“Investors are coming to Lagos because there have been many things we have been doing to encourage and to make sure the ecosystem is right for these investments. And Lagos is a place investor love to come to, not just because of the size of the market but also because of the potential of the returns on their investments,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Lagos State has disclosed that it has plans to enter into the venture market, thereby launching a venture fund of its own. Investors King learnt.

The special adviser noted that the soon-to-be-launched capital venture fund will “write bigger equity cheques for Nigerian startups than most privately-owned VC”.

“We are working to launch a Lagos venture fund of bigger ticket sizes,” Alake said. “Where normal VCs expect to cash in returns in 5 to 10 years, we are going to be able to do more time because we need more mission-critical products that would serve the citizens.” 

“The fund would be cross-sectoral including fintech, agriculture, health, and most importantly, “research and development startups,” he added. 

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Fund Raising

Property Tech Company, VENCO Secures $670,000 Pre-Seed Funding

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform

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Nigeria property technology company, VENCO has secured $670,000 in an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round.

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform that manages collections, service charge administration, utilities, and visitor access, among other services associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa.

Founded by Chude Osiegbu (CEO), Reagan Mbitiru (CTO), and Uzochukwu Alor (COO), VENCO already has a growing presence in both Nigeria and Kenya with the plan to expand to other cities and countries in Africa. 

The CEO, Chude Osiegbu stated that VENCO was used by 100 estates on about 4000 property units in 2021. He added that the startup is currently in 186 estates with about 12,000 property units and now has larger estates like Banana Island and 1004 in its roster.

Although Osiegbu noted that the company presently relies on subscription fees that it charges for the deployment of its software solution, he nevertheless stated that VENCO has a long-term plan to introduce a number of monetised operations.

He added that the startup already helped finance the purchase of prepaid energy meters for the Primewater View Gardens estate, and the Tejuosho Market, a shopping mall.

In the last 9 months, VENCO says it has recorded over 200 percent growth, currently in 6 cities in Nigeria and Kenya. 

Dating from the beginning of this year, VENCO noted that it has processed more than $10 million in transaction value via its platform. The company added that it is already in talks with e-commerce platforms to enable easier access to merchants within and around the community. 

Investors King learnt that some of the investors that participated in the pre-seed funding round include Zrosk Investment Management, Voltron Capital, Decimal Point Ventures, Fast Forward Fund, Tayo Oviosu (CEO of Paga), Odun Eweniyi (COO of Piggyvest), Oo Nwoye, Desigan Chinniah, Dakar Network Angels and Viktoria Business Angel Network.

Speaking at the event, Samson Esemuede, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at  Zrosk Investment Management, said, “ We view VENCO as both a SaaS and a financial inclusion play with a potential for strong multiplicative impact across the continent.”

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Fund Raising

Nigerian Based Food Tech Startup, Orda Raises $3.4 Million in Seed Funding

Orda Africa has now raised a combined $4.5 million raised by the African-centric food tech company. 

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Nigerian-based food tech startup, Orda announced it has raised a sum of $3.4 million in seed funding after it raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding at the beginning of this year. This makes it a total of $4.5 million raised by the African-centric food tech company. 

Investors King understands that Orda is an African restaurant cloud operating system that helps restaurants to move from pen and paper to a fully automated digital platform. 

According to the startup, it aims to help more African restaurants maximize their business operations and expand distribution. 

The tech company added that it plans to improve on some new features which include loan, credit, and payment options which will eventually enable its clients to maximize the potential of their business. 

Investors King learnt that this new round of funding was co-led by Quona Capital and FinTech Collective. Other institutional investors which participated in the seed funding include Far Out Ventures, Lofty Inc Capital, Enza Capital, and Outside VC.

In the last one year, Orda has been able to increase its customer base to more than 600 restaurants across Nigeria and Kenya while its weekly processing orders has increased by more than 500 percent. 

Speaking about the growth and focus of the company, Orda’s CEO and co-founder, Guy Futi said “From day one, Orda has been focused on building solutions for small and medium-sized restaurants”.

“These businesses operate with slim profit margins and the power of Orda’s software and financial solutions can catapult their business. Our goal is to provide end-to-end solutions that help them optimize their operations so they become more prosperous”. 

Founded in 2020 by Guy Futi, Fikayo Akinwale, Mark Edomwande, Kunle Ogungbamila, and Namir El-Khouri, Orda has the vision to help small-sized African restaurants optimize their business and achieve sustainable growth.

Meanwhile, the company has attributed its growth over the last 12 months to the excellent team it has put together, a trend it hopes to continue in the coming months. 

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