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TechNigeria: A weekly digest of what went down in Nigeria’s tech space

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Google, FrontEdge, Waspito, Starlink, WayUp, Fork N Knife, Alphabet, Liquid Dataport, Binance, Tolbi, Pricepally, were some of the names that made the headlines this week.

Lagos-based fintech, FrontEdge, has closed a $10 million in a recent seed funding round, with debt financing constituting over 70% of the total amount.

Also, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, says Nigeria will deploy Elon Musk’s satellite Starlink, to create thousands of jobs through initiatives like a certified installer/maintenance programme for Starlink and collaborating with hardware startups to produce repeater boxes locally.

Let’s get into details

Lagos-based fintech, FrontEdge, has closed a $10 million in a recent seed funding round, with debt financing constituting over 70% of the total amount.

Leading investors, including TLG Capital, alongside notable partners, JP Morgan and Providus Bank, are throwing their support behind FrontEdge.

The substantial investment aims to propel the expansion of FrontEdge’s innovative strategy, offering upfront capital to SME exporters and importers without the traditional collateral requirement.

Google is set to implement a new policy, effective December 1, 2023, involving the deletion of inactive accounts to bolster user security against threats like spam, phishing, and account hijacking.

According to Google, an inactive account is defined as unused account across Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Photos, and Google Search for a minimum of two years.

Explaining further on its consideration, Google noted that activities encompass email communication, video watching, photo sharing, app downloading, Google Search usage, and sign-ins with Google to third-party apps or services.

Cameroonian health startup, Waspito, has banked a $2.5 million seed extension in funding, with notable contributions from DP World, facilitated through Newtown Partners, Saviu Ventures, AAIC Investment, Axian Ventures, and CFAO’s Health54.

The primary aim of this financial injection is to propel Waspito’s expansion efforts within the Francophone region.

Founded by Jean Lobe Lobe in early 2020, the startup focuses on establishing a health-centric social network.

Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, says Nigeria will deploy Elon Musk’s satellite Starlink, to create thousands of jobs through initiatives like a certified installer/maintenance programme for Starlink and collaborating with hardware startups to produce repeater boxes locally.

The Minister who disclosed this on X on Monday, said he held a fruitful meeting on the deployment of the platform to create jobs with the Senior Director of Global Licensing and activation of SpaceX, Ryan Goodnight, on the sidelines of the ongoing International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication Conference in Dubai.

Tijani stated that he intimated Goodnight on Nigeria being Starlink’s biggest market in Africa, and they discussed the connecting unserved and underserved Nigerians and the possibility of creating new jobs with the SpaceX director.

One year old African agriculture firm, Tolbi, has unveiled a pivotal investment from Fuzé.

The CEO, Mouhamadou Lamine KEBE, confirmed this in a press release seen by Ripples Nigeria on Monday, November 20, 2023.

This financial infusion signals a significant milestone for the agtech landscape in the region, as Tolbi’s solutions hold the potential to reshape farm management practices and foster environmental sustainability.

Nigerian online grocery store, Pricepally, specializing in fresh produce and packaged food, has closed $1.3 million in seed funding.

The funding comes from diverse investors, including Samurai Incubate, a Japanese VC that also participated in the startup’s 2021 pre-seed round.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that other contributors include SOSV, ELEA, Hi2 Global, Chui Ventures, and former Unilever executive David Mureithi.

WayUp Sports, Egypt’s premier ecommerce platform specializing in performance-based sports gear, has announced banking a Seed round led by Beltone Venture Capital, Index Sports Fund, and strategic angel investors.

The Co-founder of WayUp, Mohamed Afifi, confirmed this in a press release seen by Ripples Nigeria on Monday, November 20, 2023.

The investment will be channeled into three key areas: regional expansion, the introduction of the WayUp Sports private brand, and the enhancement of user experience across the application and website

Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup, Chari, has announced securing a funding from UM6P Ventures, the investment arm of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University.

Established in 2020 by husband and wife duo Ismael and Sophia Belkhayat, Chari facilitates product ordering and delivery for traditional proximity stores in Morocco.

With a presence encompassing over 20,000 food businesses in Morocco, the platform has expanded its reach into Tunisia and Ivory Coast.

Fork N Knife, a tech-powered cloud kitchen has closed $800,000 seed funding to affirm its dedication to advancing the food tech sector.

A range of individual angel investors, spanning beyond the Middle East, contributed to the round, signaling trust in Fork N Knife’s inventive “Cooking As A Service” (CAAS) model.

The milestone positions the company for strategic expansion into European and African markets by year-end.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is in discussions to secure a significant stake in the UK-based digital retail bank Monzo.

The tech giant plans to utilize its independent growth fund, Capital G, to invest between £300 million and £500 million in Monzo, placing the challenger’s valuation above £4 billion.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that the funding round, expected to include a mix of new and existing investors, may conclude by the year’s end.

The American AI company on Wednesday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, officially confirmed an agreement for the return of Sam Altman as CEO.

The company, in the post, unveiled a restructured board led by Bret Taylor (Chair), alongside Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo.

This development concludes a recent tumultuous episode initiated last Friday when Altman was ousted from the organization he co-founded.

With a vision to drive digital transformation, a subsidiary of pan-African technology group Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Liquid Dataport, has entered into a strategic partnership with VIPNET, a privately-owned corporate Internet Service Provider (ISP) based in Côte d’Ivoire.

This collaboration enables Liquid Dataport to harness VIPNET’s robust infrastructure, extending access for ISPs and Enterprise customers to Liquid’s comprehensive suite of services.

According to the team, the development includes leveraging its expansive pan-African network and cutting-edge cloud and cybersecurity solutions.

Ed Partners Africa, a Kenyan non-banking financial institution that provides loans to affordable private schools, has unveiled a commitment of a $10 million loan guarantee facility from the United States’ Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to facilitate the expansion of access to affordable education.

Established in 2018 by Lydia Koros and David FitzHerbert, and presently under the leadership of CEO Amos Mwangi, Ed Partners offers financing options for critical components of the education system, encompassing infrastructure, technology, and transportation.

With an impact extending to over 100,000 students across 350 schools, the startup provides infrastructural loans to educational institutions, supporting the construction of new classrooms, washrooms, laboratories, and dormitories.

Changpeng Zhao, known as “CZ,” has unveiled Richard Teng, the former Global Head of Regional Markets, as Binance’s new CEO, as stated in his resignation letter posted on his page on “X.”

Before joining Binance, Richard served as CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Chief Regulatory Officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), and Director of Corporate Finance at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

CZ stepped down from the CEO position due to a $4 billion settlement between the Department of Justice and Binance.

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