Investors continue to dump billions on African startups in the first half of 2022 as $3.5 billion was invested across a series of startups on the continent despite rising global uncertainties.
According to the report published by African Venture Capital Activities (AVCA), this represents an increase of $2 billion when compared with what was invested in the same period of 2021.
A critical analysis of the report showed Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised more funds than any other niche.
Nigeria had the highest number of closed deals during the period under review. Nigerian startups closed a total of 101 deals within the first six months of 2022. However, in monetary terms, startups in Egypt raised the highest amount of $352 million in 63 funding deals.
Kenya startups raked in $330 million from 54 funding deals while Nigerian startups raised $284 million in 101 funding deals.
Other countries with significant amounts of funds raised include Seychelles with $164 million, Ghana with $133 million in 21 deals, South Africa with $131 million in 50 deals, and Morocco with $108 million in 11 deals.
A closer look at the result shows that the financial sector takes the lion’s share in the ecosystem. The fintech sector recorded 32 percent of the entire deals and 44 per cent of the total monetary value. This was followed by the Consumer Services and the Industrial Sectors which emerged second and third respectively.
A further breakdown shows that startups in the financial sector raised $1.54 billion while information technology raised $448 million.
Other sectors with significant funding include Industrial Services with $430 billion, Energy and Utility raised $360 million, Consumer Services raised $340 million, Communication Services with $173 million, Health Care Services raised $97 million, Materials with $97 million while Real Estate raised $6 million.
Investors King understands that the African startup ecosystem has been on an astronomical rise since last year.
It will be recalled that in 2021, African startups raised over $4 billion across 355 funding deals. This is almost three times what was raised in 2020 and 2019. The ecosystem raised $1.7 billion and $1.3 billion in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
Nigeria Startup Act to Boost Youth Empowerment – SSA to Buhari
Nigeria Startup Act to advance technology innovation and increase youths empowerment
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.”
American Theranos Founder Imprisoned for more than 11 Years
Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in imprisonment for fraud
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.
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.
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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