Two Nigerian startups, Youverify a digital identity service and OnePort a freight management platform, have been named with other 14 African startups as finalists for the VC4A Venture Showcase.
At the VC4A Venture Showcase finals, 16 seed and series A level African tech startup will pitch their businesses to potential funders at the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit next month.
Since 2017, the VC4A Venture Showcase has helped startup founders showcase their businesses to investors during the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, a signature industry event organised by VC4A and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN).
This year’s event will take place on the 4th and 5th of November, and will feature the showcase, which will be divided into two tracks – seed and Series A.
The seed startups, seeking funding rounds that range between US$400,000 and US$8 million, are Mozambique-based logistics startup Appload, Kenyan loyalty app CashBackApp, Kenyan fintech FlexPay, Ivory Coast-based transport Moja Ride, Nigerian freight management platform OnePort, Madagascan ed-tech service Sayna, Egyptian logistics startup ShipBlu, and Ghanaian fintech Waya.
The Series A startups, which are aiming to raise between US$1.5 million and US$10 million, are Botswana-based insurtech startup Alpha Direct, Kenyan ed-tech platform Arifu, Moroccan e-commerce app Chari, Ivory Coast-based payment aggregator Cinetpay, Moroccan logistics service CloudFret, Egyptian B2B super app Fatura, Egyptian e-health startup Rology, and Nigerian digital identity service Youverify.
Over the next six weeks, the selected startups will participate in a virtual investor readiness programme, including workshops by renowned African VC investors, office hours with domain experts, guest speaker sessions, and opportunities to interact with and learn from mentors, peers, and partners. They will also be linked to top VC investors for one-on-one mentorship.
Nigerian Autotech Startup, Fixit45, Secures $1.9 Million for East Africa Expansion
Nigerian autotech startup Fixit45 has successfully secured $1.9 million in equity and working capital to fuel its ambitious expansion plans into East Africa.
The funding round, spearheaded by Launch Africa Ventures, witnessed significant participation from notable investors, including Soumobroto Ganguly and Dave Delucia, alongside a diverse group of angel investors.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Fixit45 underscored the significance of this capital infusion as a substantial stride towards broadening its footprint and influence within Africa’s thriving automotive aftermarket industry.
The company revealed that these funds have been earmarked to fuel its strategic expansion initiatives, with a particular emphasis on fortifying its automotive repair business.
Fixit45 also shared its unwavering commitment to enhancing its spare parts distribution capabilities through its online-to-offline platform, xparts.africa. With a keen eye on the East African market, Fixit45 has set its sights on Kenya and Uganda.
Co-founded by visionaries Chioma Ahueze-Okochukwu, Goodluck Ikporo, and Pankaj Bohhra, Fixit45 offers a unique platform that empowers car owners to seamlessly connect and engage with a vast network of aftermarket stakeholders.
This extensive network encompasses automobile service providers, specialized technical teams, spare parts suppliers, and end-consumers.
Pankaj Bohhra, one of the co-founders of Fixit45, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This funding represents a pivotal moment for Fixit45. We are profoundly grateful to our investors for their faith in our vision and our unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the African automotive aftermarket sector. With this capital infusion, we are well-positioned to advance towards our expansion objectives.”
Fixit45’s strategic move into East Africa holds the promise of ushering in transformative developments in the automotive industry across the region.
As the company intensifies its efforts, the future of automotive repair and spare parts distribution in East Africa appears poised for a remarkable evolution. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as Fixit45 continues to make waves in the autotech sector.
Payday’s $3 Million Seed Round: From Hope to Headaches
Six months after securing $3 million in a seed round led by Moniepoint, Nigerian fintech startup Payday finds itself embroiled in controversy and uncertain about its future.
Founder and CEO, Favour Ori, confirmed that the company is actively engaged in discussions with potential buyers.
In March, reports surfaced that Moniepoint was in talks to acquire Payday, with an expected deal closure within three months. However, the deal fell through, reportedly due to Moniepoint’s board’s lack of enthusiasm. Despite this setback, negotiations to sell the company continue.
Payday faced a wave of negative publicity in August after suspending access to customer accounts following fraudulent activities that resulted in customer losses. The company was accused of misappropriating customer funds before acknowledging the account restrictions.
Internal issues further marred the company’s reputation, especially after Payday implemented contentious salary reductions for some Nigerian staff in July and failed to issue promised stock options to affected employees.
This led to dissatisfaction and several employee departures.
Payday’s COO, Ogechi Obike, also departed, citing goal misalignment and clashes with Favour Ori.
Accusations arose that Favour marginalized Obike in crucial meetings and decision-making processes.
Favour Ori’s management style came under scrutiny, with allegations of impulsiveness and a lack of transparency.
Employees claimed that he hired top talent but stifled their input, resulting in customer disruptions, including difficulties creating virtual cards and accessing accounts.
Amid these controversies, Favour Ori has reduced his involvement in the company, focusing on external work with GitHub while the co-founder, Elijah Kingson, is employed at Revolut.
Payday’s future remains uncertain, with the potential sale of the company and the need to regain customer trust and employee satisfaction hanging in the balance.
The company faces the challenge of restoring its reputation and stability while navigating a tumultuous period in its young history.
Nigerian-American Nurse Turned Millionaire Entrepreneur: The Inspiring Journey of Courtney Adeleye
In the world of entrepreneurship, there are tales of rags to riches, and then there’s the remarkable journey of Courtney Adeleye, a Nigerian-American nurse who transformed herself into a millionaire entrepreneur. Her story is one of determination, innovation, and a relentless belief in herself.
From Nursing Scrubs to Business Suits
Rewind to 2013, and you’d find Courtney Adeleye in the role of a dedicated registered nurse, tirelessly caring for patients. But she had a different passion simmering beneath the surface. Courtney was on a quest to find the perfect product for treating natural hair, and her search proved to be a turning point in her life.
“I realized there were not many brands that used natural ingredients and specialized in healthy hair growth at the same time,” Adeleye recalls. Undeterred by the lack of suitable options in the market, she took matters into her own hands. Armed with a vision and just $500 to her name, she began mixing her own hair care products at home, infusing them with vitamins, nutrients, and healthy ingredients.
From YouTube to Entrepreneurship
Courtney’s journey took an unexpected turn when she decided to document her homemade hair care routine on YouTube. What started as a personal project soon attracted a devoted following of individuals eager to discover her secret for beautiful, natural hair. Not only did they seek knowledge, but they also wanted to purchase her products directly.
This grassroots movement led to the birth of “The Mane Choice,” Courtney Adeleye’s hair care solution for healthy locks. Her formulas were distinct, boasting ingredients that were free from mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde, setting her brand apart in a crowded market.
The Mane Choice quickly gained momentum, and within the first three years of business, Adeleye sold a staggering $10 million worth of products from her own home. But she was far from finished. In just two more years, she had partnered with over 60,000 retailers across the United States, achieving the remarkable milestone of $100 million in sales and even launching an IPO in 2019.
However, Courtney Adeleye’s entrepreneurial spirit knew no bounds. In a testament to her commitment to health and wellness, she launched Olbali, a health-focused direct-selling company. Under this umbrella, she housed her private brands, including The Mane Choice, Cool Coffee Clique, Foolproof Body, and more, expanding her entrepreneurial empire even further.
Breaking Stereotypes and Inspiring Diversity
Courtney Adeleye’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Like many Black entrepreneurs, she faced the limiting perception that her products were exclusively for Black women, despite her extensive and diverse marketing efforts. This stereotype is a pervasive issue, as highlighted by research from McKinsey & Company.
Adeleye’s response to this challenge is simple yet profound: “My goal has always been to be diverse and inclusive.” She strives to be intentional about displaying diversity across her brands, aiming to realize her business’s full growth potential on a mass scale.
10 Secrets to Success
Courtney Adeleye has distilled her entrepreneurial wisdom into 10 key guidelines for those ready to take their businesses to new heights:
- Be authentic.
- Don’t meet your customer expectations…exceed them.
- If you don’t think you have a great product, try again before releasing it.
- Informal content can be more powerful than formal content.
- Be a walking billboard for your brand.
- Engage with your customers on all platforms.
- Show up consistently on social media.
- Bring your brand to life through grassroots events and activations.
- Invest more in your customers and micro-influencers versus macro-influencers.
- Fix the brand before you start spending money on marketing. Great branding can exceed great marketing.
Belief in Oneself
Throughout her remarkable journey, Courtney Adeleye holds one piece of advice above all others: “You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will.” Her unwavering self-belief has been the driving force behind her accomplishments, proving that with determination, innovation, and an unshakeable belief in one’s abilities, even the loftiest dreams can become reality.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of entrepreneurs during National Black Business Month, Courtney Adeleye’s story serves as an inspiring reminder that success knows no boundaries when passion, hard work, and self-belief lead the way.
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