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Opay, Flutterwave Lead Africa in New Global Fintech Unicorn Ranking

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A recent ranking of fintech unicorn companies globally reveals Opay, Flutterwave and Interswitch as top fintech companies in Africa with market valuations of $2bn, $1bn and $1bn respectively.

The ranking was supplied by CFTE, a digital learning platform with exclusive insights from leaders in the technology space.

The ranking accommodated companies that are both publicly listed and companies that are privately owned with Egypt-based company, Fawry (listed) – ranked above OPay in the report.

A number of listed companies are also notably spread across the list with Visa and Mastercard – both listed – leading with $419bn and $323bn respectively.

The only companies with African origin that are not listed companies are OPay, Flutterwave and Interswitch – all of which are Unicorns in the paytech sector of fintech.

OPay

Valuation: US$2+ billion

OPay became a Unicorn in 2021 after SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a US$400 million funding round in the company. The funding pivoted the startup’s valuation to US$2 billion. This investment was also SoftBank’s debut investment in Africa.

The paytech startup provides mobile money solutions with physical debit cards, POS machines, and offline banking solutions and savings facilities.

Flutterwave

Valuation: US$1+ billion

Although based in San Francisco, this paytech company primarily serves Nigeria and some African countries. Flutterwave became a unicorn after raising US$170 million in a Series C that took place in March 2021. The funding round came pivoted valuation to US$1 billion. In February 2022, the company closed another funding round in Series D with $250m.

The startup has also announced a number of partnerships including partnerships with MTN Group, 9PSB, and Currencycloud.

Interswitch

Valuation: US$1 billion

The digital payments company became a unicorn after Visa secured a minority stake in the company in 2019. This transaction pivoted valuation to $1bn.

According to the company, the deal was valued at $200m for 20% equity in the company. Interswitch first had an Initial Public Offering plan in 2016 and another in 2020 which never closed.

Listed Company

Fawry (Egypt)

Valuation: US$2+ billion

Because it is a listed company, Fawry can’t claim the unicorn status as only startups with $1+bn can claim the title. However, in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, it is considered as one.

Fawry offers a wide range of B2B and B2C payment services, and trades on the EGX with a market cap of about US$1.5 billion as of 6 October 2021.

 

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Google To Fund 60 African Start-ups With $4 Million

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Google’s Head of Start-up Ecosystem, Africa, Mr Folarin Aiyegbusi has revealed that the company aims to fund 60 African Start-ups with a total of $4 Million. He made the statement during the opening of applications for Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund for Africa.

Following the success of the first cohort, the implementation is said to commence in the second cohort of Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund (BFF).

According to Folarin, Nigeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are all eligible for FF Africa.

While the 13 countries were given priority because of their active tech and start-up ecosystems, he noted that good submissions from other African countries will also be evaluated.

Furthermore, Folarin explained that start-ups that assist the Black community and are based in Africa, as well as those with a diverse founding team, including at least one Black founder, were all considered.

“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovations in underserved areas.

“Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment; that is why we are committed to helping them thrive to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region.

“The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led start-ups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Africa.

“We are hopeful that the support received by the Black founders will enable them to grow their businesses and, in turn, drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities,” he said.

Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitment.

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Here are The 23 African Startups for YCombinator W22 Batch

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Silicon Valley accelerator programme, Y Combinator has named eight more African startups for its winter 2022 batch – bringing the total number of African Startups for this batch to a total of twenty-three.

The accelerator programme has become an integral aspect of growth for many startups globally. Y Combinator plays an important role in bootstrapping and accelerating many startups in early-stage funding as well as connecting them to various opportunities to scale.

Y Combinator played an important role for a number of startups like Coinbase, Dropbox, Airbnb, e.t.c. The Winter Batch 2022 Demo Day is set to kick off next week and a total of 23 African startups will be present for this season’s round of accelerator programmes.

Y Combinator had early announced a number of startups since January and adding to the list, the eight new startups to join already listed startups are crypto platform Payourse, data-free internet service provider Simplifyd, on-demand clean meat provider Sendme, payments startup Vendy, open-source cloud-native webhook service Convoy, insurtech startup Curacel, and payment API provider Plumter and Sudanese fintech platform Bloom. The first-seven mentioned startups are all originating from Nigeria.

According to the accelerator programme, participants will receive seed funding to accelerate or bootstrap their companies as well as further investment opportunities at the demo day.

Investors King also gathered that the preceding season of the programme, the S21 edition, had only 15 African participants – a record that was higher than previous slots given to African startups. However, with the additional eight, this is another record to score the most slots for African startups.

Here are the 23 African Startups for The W22 Batch

Of the entire 23 startups, 18 are from Nigeria while the remaining five are from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

Nigeria: Dojah, Moni, Topship, Identitypass, Touch and Pay, EaziPay, Remedial Health, Hay Food, Plumter, Grey Finance, Lenco, Vendy, Sendme, Simplifyd, Payourse, Curacel, Convoy, and Duplo.

Ghana: Tendo

Uganda: Numida

Ethiopia: beU Delivery

Kenya: Boya

Sudan: Bloom

Investor King also gathered that the accelerator programme has also increased its deal size to US$500,000 from the previous US$125,000 for seven per cent equity it usually invested in the past. However, under its new deal, the Silicon Valley accelerator programme will also invest an additional US$375,000 on an uncapped SAFE with “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) terms.

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Five Nigerian Startups Secures €120,000 From Orange Corners Innovation Fund

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Five Nigerian Startups will benefit from a fund provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency following their breakthrough at the Orange Corners Innovation Pitch Competition.

The startups will go back to their businesses with €120,000 cumulative capital comprising a 75% grant and 25% loan.

The startup founders emerging winners from this competition include Oyewale Akintonde (founder of Agristi), Anita Dafeta (founder of Origho Lagos) and Israel Alabi, who founded Farmspeak Technology), Victoria Udoh (founder of Vudoh) and Tunder Adeyemi (Founder of D’Olivette Global Enterprise).

The pitch competition is an initiative of the Netherlands that was launched in Nigeria in 2019 and executed by FATE Foundation. The Orange Corners Incubation Programme claims to supports 20 entrepreneurs with enterprise development knowledge, mentoring, access to market, networking and funding every six months.

Investors King gathered that the programme has cumulatively supported over 100 entrepreneurs with funding valued over ₦250,000,000 for prototype development and testing.

The competition which was held in December saw participants assessed by an expert jury consisting of Investment Manager, Orange Corners Innovation Fund, Tolulope Owolabi; Head Commercial Controlling and Financial Planning, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Omitogun Olalekan and Business Development Manager, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ekundayo Adedoyin.

The event was also attended by Oge Nnaife who heads the StartUp and Youth Enterprise FATE Foundation.

Congratulating the emerged winners, Nnaife said: “You are pitching today to access funding to scale up your business, but you must remember that the knowledge received during the six-month Orange Corners Nigeria Incubation programme is invaluable. You must, therefore, ensure that you practicalise your learning as you journey on this road called entrepreneurship. Though the Nigerian business environment is harsh, porous and unfriendly, it is still evolving and we will continue to contribute to ongoing policy conversations to create an enabling environment so that your businesses can thrive and not be stifled. We have designed the Orange Corners Incubation Curriculum in such a practical and experiential way.”

Nigeria continues to be one of the top hubs for technology products targeted at solving everyday issues in Africa. The country alone is responsible for a large position of investment funds in the continent year-in-year-out. Founders are emerging all over the country with brilliant ideas that are tested to solve many issues in the country.

However, one thing that many of these founders lack is funding and investments opportunities and most importantly, little or no involvement by the Nigerian government to show interest or support to scale their ideas. Thankfully, a number of incubator and accelerator programmes have sprung up both locally and internationally to aid these founders not only bootstrap their products but also scale in the startup ecosystem.

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