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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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African Healthtech Shows Resilience with Mere 2% Decline in Funding While Broader Tech Ecosystem Plunges in 2023

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Healthcare consulting firm Salient Advisory has launched its latest Intelligence Report, presenting findings on funding activity, covering grant, equity, and debt investments for African healthtech startups in 2023.

Titled “2023 RoundUp: Investments in African HealthTech”, the report provides analysis on funding trends in African healthtech ecosystems.

It provides insights for key stakeholders across governments, investors, donors and global health institutions, and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

While investments in African startups plummeted last year, mirroring global trends, healthtech showed resilience, experiencing only a 2% dip compared to a staggering 39% decline in the broader ecosystem.

The number of deals in African healthtech rose by 17% year-over-year (YoY) to 145, with total funding of $167 million and an average ticket size of $1.1 million. In total, 114 innovators received funding in 2023, with 23 receiving multiple investments in the year.

The number of deals for women-led companies remained relatively steady (26 in 2022 vs. 33 in 2023), however, the amount of funding saw a dramatic shift as the gender gaps significantly narrowed: women-led companies secured $52 million in funding –31% of all investments in 2023. This represents a 2000% YoY increase compared to the $2 million (1.4%) they received in 2022.

Online pharmacy solutions attracted the majority of investor capital, capturing 38% ($63 million) of all funding raised, driven by Series B funding rounds by Kenya’s Kasha ($21 million) and MyDAWA ($20 million), alongside Egypt’s Yodawy ($16 million).

Electronic medical records solutions were the second-best funded category, driven by Helium Health’s $30 million Series B funding round.

Equity investments accounted for 91% of total funding with an average deal size of $3.2 million. This significantly outpaced grants, which only contributed 7% of capital with an average ticket size of $168,000.

However, grants continue to play a crucial role in enabling access to early-stage funding for innovators to test and validate their business models. Debt funding remains rare as only one debt-based investment was tracked in 2023.

While still rare, merger and acquisition activity doubled in the past year with four key transactions. The prospect of future funding also appears strong as, despite broader economic headwinds which suggest a slowdown in funding for technology startups, over $600 million in new funding was announced by investors with an interest in African health systems.

Speaking on the launch of the report, Yomi Kazeem, Engagement Manager at Salient Advisory, commented:

“The resilience of African healthtech innovations shines through in the findings of this report. Amid difficult headwinds, these innovations continue to demonstrate commercially viable models that have the potential to improve access to healthcare and deliver impact at scale. The increased funding for women founders is a high point and, in coming years, investors must prioritise sustaining strategies that ensure equitable funding across founders.

Dr. Analía Porrás, Deputy Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also commented: “African healthtech has proven resilient over the past year, with innovators receiving investments to test, validate and scale solutions that have the potential to transform health systems across the continent. We are pleased to be playing a role by providing innovators with risk-tolerant capital through the Investing in Innovation program and hope to see the current resilience translate into increased confidence and funding from investors and donors.”

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Nigeria Loses Startup Investment Crown to Kenya as Foreign Investments Plunge by 65.83%

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Nigeria has lost its coveted crown as the top destination for startup investments to Kenya, according to the latest report ‘Africa: The Big Deal’.

Foreign investments in Nigerian startups declined by 65.83% year-on-year from $1.2 billion in 2022 to $410 million in 2023.

During the same period, Kenya raised $800 million to emerge top destination for investments in Africa while Nigeria dropped to the fourth position in terms of total startup investments.

However, the Big Four African nations, including Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria, continued to dominate the startup funding scene in 2023 and attracted 87% of the total foreign investments on the continent.

The report highlights Nigeria’s pivotal role in this shift, noting that while the country still boasted the highest number of startups raising $100,000 or more (146, constituting 29% of the continent), the total funding amount experienced a drastic threefold decrease year-on-year.

The research firm observed that “Nigeria is the country where the most dramatic change happened in 2023.”

Despite maintaining a high number of startups, the total funding for Nigerian startups plummeted to $410 million, compared to $1.2 billion in 2022 and $1.7 billion in 2021.

Consequently, Nigeria’s share of Western African funding declined to 68%, down from 85% in 2021 and 77% in 2022.

This decline in startup investments emphasizes the changing dynamics of Africa’s tech ecosystem with Kenya emerging as a formidable player in the startup funding arena.

As Nigeria grapples with this setback, stakeholders are left pondering the reasons behind this significant shift and exploring avenues to revitalize the country’s startup investment landscape.

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Bolt Expels Over 5,000 Drivers in Kenya to Enhance Safety Measures

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Estonian ride-hailing giant Bolt has taken decisive action in Kenya by removing more than 5,000 drivers from its platform over the past six months.

This move comes as part of Bolt’s commitment to bolstering safety and ensuring compliance among its driver partners.

The company, operating in over 15 towns and cities in Kenya, has earmarked KES 20 million ($130,000) for investments in safety-related practices.

The decision to expel drivers follows recent safety concerns raised by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Bolt faced scrutiny and was asked to outline its strategy for addressing safety issues, including instances of physical assault on passengers and unauthorized sale of driver accounts.

The NTSA’s directive was a prerequisite for Bolt’s annual license renewal.

Linda Ndungu, Bolt Kenya’s Country Manager, emphasized the company’s commitment to user trust and safety.

Ndungu stated, “We understand the trust our users place in us, and we are taking proactive steps to ensure their well-being during every ride.”

To enhance safety measures, Bolt is implementing internal measures such as random driver selfie checks, providing training for both riders and drivers, and enforcing strict compliance with swift consequences for violations.

Bolt has also introduced improved reporting tools to facilitate the reporting of safety concerns.

Bolt’s move is a response to recent driver dissatisfaction, attributed in part to commission rates exceeding the government’s recommended 18%, including booking fees.

The company aims to address these challenges and reinforce its commitment to safety and compliance within its platform.

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