These latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.
1. Zambian agritech startup closes $2.1-million series A funding
In an investment round led by Goodwell Investments and existing seed investors Global Partnerships and FINCA Ventures, Zambian agritech startup, Good Nature Agro (GNA) has closed $2.1-million in a Series A equity funding. The 6 year old company, which was founded by Carl Jensen, Sunday Silungwe, and Kellan Hays, is a social enterprise that assists small-scale farmers to generate income. Speaking on the startup’s model and plans of the new raiser, Carl Jensen, Co-founder, and CEO of Good Nature Agro explains that the investment capital will enable the startup to further its goals of assisting small-scale farmers by upscaling their current business model.
He said: “We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families. Our focus on personalised advice and service delivery to farmers even as we scale is the key to our social impact and our momentum. Sunday, Kellan, and I are incredibly proud of what the GNA team has accomplished since 2014, but the best is yet to come.” In added that, the new fund was expected to facilitate its global support scheme for clients and customers. “With this investment, we are entering a new phase of rapid growth driven by global value chains and superior service to our suppliers and customers,” he noted.
2. France’s Sendinblue scores $160M to expand portfolio
France’s Sendinblue has scored a $160 million in funding as it looks to expand its frontiers. According to the board, the round was led by Bridgepoint, Bpifrance, Blackrock, and previous investor Partech. Industry insights revealed that Partech once led Sendinblue’s $35 million in Series A in 2017, a testament to its believe and trust in the digital marketing company. Experts, who are familiar with the firm’s business, noted that Sendinblue is an eight-year-old French startup that builds platforms to help small and medium organizations run all of their marketing — from email, SMS and chat marketing through to automation services, Facebook ads and retargeting.
Industry leaders further explained that as more companies and brands put the internet at the core of how they run their businesses, the upsurge is giving a strong push to the growth of startups that are building tools to help them. Speaking on the development, the company emphasised that the money will be used to help the company build out its presence in North America — where it grew 100% last year — and to continue to add more tools to the mix, both organically and by positioning itself as a consolidator, acquiring smaller marketing tech startups.
Which tech venture by virtue of service type is odd in the pack?
Answer: See end of post.
3. AlphaCode Incubate programme opens applications for Fintech startups
AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI) incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle, has opened applications for Fintech startups in South Africa to apply for the latest edition of the AlphaCode Incubate programme. The initiative identifies, partners and grows early-stage financial service ventures. According to press, the Incubate programme has disbursed ZAR30 million (US$1.8 million) in funding to 31 black-owned financial services businesses over the past five years. For the current edition, however, the board looks to offer another ZAR10 million (US$600,000).
Speaking its intent, the board further noted that successful applicants will receive funding, guidance from performance coaches and a panel of advisory experts, access to AlphaCode’s co-working space, and opportunities to apply for further early-stage investment. The phases and stages is expected to include a rigorous selection process, with a bootcamp for the 30 best applicants, where 10 entrepreneurs will then be chosen to take part in a 12-week intensive pre-incubation programme valued at ZAR500,000 (US$30,000), including ZAR150,000 (US$9,000) in grant funding for each participant.
4. Valenture Institute launches first campus in Johannesburg
South African edtech startup, Valenture Institute, has reportedly launched its first boutique campus for high school learners in Johannesburg. According to the startup, its curriculum includes classes in coding and data science. The new offering sees the startup expand from its online teaching model, thereby opening its first boutique campus, titled the Dunkeld Boutique Campus. Speaking on the development, the edtech startup explained that the campus will have various Covid-19 precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of high school learners.
According to the startup, providing an internationally recognised curriculum for high school learners, the Valenture Institute Campuses will allow learners to connect and engage with various experts and global industry innovators from NASA, Google, and Harvard. Bradley Elliott, the Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of Valenture explained that Valenture Institute campus will be offering unique classes for high school students catering to the growth of the 4IR. He said: “We wanted to enhance the learning experience; to build out additional offerings such as new subjects and exclusive bootcamps like Coding, Design Thinking, and Data Science. These campuses not only allow parents and students access to unique and exclusive features and facilities but offer working parents the peace of mind that their kids will be learning in a supportive and safe setting.”
Tech Trivia Answer: SoundCloud
SoundCloud is odd in the pack. While others are video conferencing apps, SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform and music sharing website that enables its users to upload, promote, and share audio.
Started in 2007 by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, SoundCloud has grown to be one of the largest music streaming services reaching over 175 million monthly users worldwide.
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