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DAI Magister Academy Launched to Support Emerging Market Start-up Founders

First cohort of ten African start-ups completed as Academy unveils broader roll-out

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A new Academy for early-stage companies has been launched by DAI Magister, the boutique investment bank offering full advisory services for transactions within the climate, fintech, tech-enabled commerce and communications sectors.

The DAI Magister Academy is a free service aimed at companies that have already raised at least $2m, and who are looking to raise a larger round, but one that is below DAI Magister’s traditional $30m+ round size focus.

The Academy has already provided this service successfully to its first cohort of ten African companies and is now rolling out more broadly across the African ecosystem and eventually into other emerging markets such as MENA and Pakistan. In addition, the plan is to provide this service to companies in Europe focused on climate tech, where DAI Magister has deep expertise.

Victor Basta, Co-Head, DAI Magister Ltd, stated: “We have developed this individualized program to stand apart from the traditional and more generic set of services generally offered to early-stage companies.  For us the primary focus is to provide free, tailored advice to each specific company.  This means a far more responsive and knowledgeable approach based on local market experience. To date we have run ten companies through the Academy from across Africa and the response has been terrific.

“Our objective is to help founders and start-ups to focus on what that company needs to improve, highlight and/or get right before it raises a larger round.  Founders get one go at this often challenging milestone, so it is imperative they get the basics right to secure a successful next round of fundraising.”

The DAI Magister Academy focuses on three core areas: reviewing and challenging equity stories; reviewing target investor lists and suggesting additional potential investors; and reviewing the company’s financial model and suggesting improvements where necessary.

Individualized support is provided to each company in the Academy, spending time with the team to understand the business and its focus, as well as analyse how it performs against the three core metrics. The output is a specific customised confidential feedback report.

Basta concluded: “For those founders and companies with huge ambition, the DAI Magister Academy is a resource we would urge them to take advantage of.  This service is entirely free with the work being done by the same professionals who advise larger companies through significant fundraises.  The teams therefore have the knowledge and experience of knowing what best-in-class looks like when an ambitious business looks to raise $30m+ and eventually much more.”

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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Nigeria Startup Act to Boost Youth Empowerment – SSA to Buhari

Nigeria Startup Act to advance technology innovation and increase youths empowerment

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The Senior Special Assistant to  President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Nigeria Startup Act will increase youth empowerment and advance the country’s technological landscape. 

Oswald Guobadia, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation and the Lead Startup Act, pushed for the states to adopt and apply the law. 

Guobadia noted in a statement that each state’s adoption of the Act would increase youth empowerment and advance the tech ecosystem.

“The youth are key players for the country’s growth, and it is important that they contribute to the impact of the Act by supporting, raising awareness of it, and promoting its adoption in their various states because the law is intended to unlock the potential of the digital and promote ecosystem growth,” he said.

Guobadia recalled that states like Yobe, Ekiti, Anambra, Lagos, Zamfara, Edo, and Kaduna had expressed interest in and taken action to adopt the Act in order to benefit from it.

Investors King understands that the Nigerian president signed the bill on October 19, 2022, to stimulate activity in the technology sector and bring about the long-term development of the ecosystem.

The presidential aide went on to say that the Act gives every state the chance to create a thriving startup ecosystem and maintain its competitiveness. Some of the Act’s provisions include fostering the development and growth of technology-related talent and providing an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria.

He added that the act would help close the gap between Nigeria’s regulators and startups, which would then ensure that the laws were clear. 

He says that “The Act will also bridge the gap between startups and regulators in order to ensure that the laws are clear and beneficial to those in the technology ecosystem. With state adoption, one can anticipate a thriving tech ecosystem, the emergence of new startups, and clearer regulations in the near future.”

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American Theranos Founder Imprisoned for more than 11 Years

Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in imprisonment for fraud

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Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, America’s privately held corporation, has been sentenced on three counts on charges bothering on investor fraud and one count of conspiracy.

The California judge who sentenced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors in a defunct blood-testing startup confirmed the scandal valued around $9bn, Investors King reports.

United States District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, sentenced Holmes on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy. A jury convicted Holmes, 38, in January following a trial that spanned three months.

The judge set Holmes’s surrender date for April. Her lawyers are expected to ask the judge to allow her to remain free on bail during her appeal.

Assistant US Attorney Jeff Schenk told the judge before he handed down the sentence that a 15-year sentence would be “making a statement that the ends don’t justify the means”.

However, Holmes’s lawyer Kevin Downey pleaded leniency for Holmes at the hearing, attempting to convince that unlike someone who committed a “great crime,” she was not motivated by greed.

Holmes had asked in court papers for a more lenient sentence of 18 months of home confinement, followed by community service, urging the judge not to make her a “martyr to public passion.”

Prosecutors said at trial that Holmes misrepresented Theranos’s technology and finances, including by claiming that its miniaturised blood testing machine was able to run an array of tests from a few drops of blood. The company secretly relied on conventional machines from other companies to run patients’ tests, prosecutors said.

Ahead of her sentencing, prosecutors had said a 15-year sentence was necessary to deter Holmes and others from fraud. Although, divergent opinions emerged thereafter.

Her crimes according to the authority “damaged the trust and integrity” on which Silicon Valley’s startup economy relies.

Federal probation office had recommended a nine-year prison sentence, according to court papers, only for Davila to adjudicate 11 years.

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Zillow Cuts Part of Its Workforce, Shifts Focus Towards Technology Roles

Zillow has laid off some of its employees as the company shifts focus towards technology-related roles.

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American leading real estate marketplace Zillow has laid off some of its employees as the company shifts focus towards technology-related roles.

Although the company did not disclose how much of its workforce was cut off. It however stated that the laying off of some members of its employees was necessitated as it was part of the company’s process to evaluate its resources, shifting it toward key areas.

A spokesperson at the company said, “As part of our normal business process, we continuously evaluate and responsibly manage our resources as we create digital solutions to make it easier for people to move.

“This week, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a small number of roles and will shift those resources to key growth areas around our housing super-app. We’re still hiring in key technology-related roles across the company.”

Investors King understands that this is the second time Zillow is laying off part of its workforce. In November last year, the real estate company had announced that it was laying off a quarter of its employees which was around 2,000 people.

The move was due to the shutting down of its home-buying service offers that aimed to provide sellers with instant home offers.

The recent layoffs at the real estate firm impacted its Offer advisors, PA sales, and back-end staff at Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services, as well as other teams.

Zillow joins the likes of other startup companies that have laid off part of their employees this year due to the economic slowdown. Some of the companies include Netflix, Cerebral, Byju, Ola, Spotify, Momentive global, Tencent, Tesla, Walmart, and Coinbase.

Founded in 2006, Zillow allows renters to pay rent online to their landlords for properties on the Zillow Rental Manager tool. It charges renters a transaction fee when using debit or credit cards to pay their landlord.

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