iAfrikan Weekly Digest Edition 145 -"Acquisitions, Expansions, Contractions and Departures"


iAfrikan Weekly Digest in association with Convergence Partners

Edition 145
Monday, 6 January 2017

From the Editor-at-Large

Ete mesab Afrika!

It's been another bumper week on the continent's tech scene. We've seen a flurry of announcements, some good, others not so good. We had a look at some of them, and here's what we covered.

CAMSCORP, a London-based commodities, advisory and venture investing firm, has acquired NewGenAngels, a members-only investment club for high net-worth individuals with an interest in Africa. The acquisition will see CAMSCORP expand their "Ventures" division of the business, with NewGenAngels founder and MD (and friend of iAfrikan) Sean Ndiho Obedih joining CAMSCORP Ventures.

Further afield, Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with Growth Africa to expand its #Insiders4Good programme to East Africa, where 25 entrepreneurs will be able to join a global community of people using Microsoft's technology to make a lasting impact on the world through meaningful programmes and projects for social change.

After a comment from an exec in a Bloomberg interview raised fears that Bharti Airtel was looking to sell off its operations in 14 African countries, the company has moved to reassure its customers that it intends to stay on the continent, despite continued losses.

We had some advice to give to Airtel, with Dickson Otieno floating a crazy idea that just might help them leverage on one of their most popular products and patch up their customer service in order to grow their market share.

Kenya's mobile subscriber numbers recorded a dip in the first quarter of the 2016/2017 financial year as the country's Communications Authority introduced new metrics that have changed how operators count their active subscribers. For one to be considered active, you now have to have used a 'revenue-generating service' in the past 90 days.

After four years as COO and CFO at Iroko, Bastian Gotter, who is also a co-founder and original seed investor at the company, is leaving to work with other startups. In 2010, Gotter invested $150,000 for a 50% stake in Iroko, and later, when the company closed on Series A investment from Tiger Global in early 2012, he relocated to Lagos and take up the reins as COO and CFO. Iroko has since raised over $40Mn in venture capital funding from a number of investors. He is leaving to apply his considerable expertise towards working with start-ups across Africa.

We also had a look at what South Africa's FinTech landscape will look like in 2017, especially focusing on what mobile payments, bots, bitcoin, digital banks and analytics will mean for the space in the days to come.

What stories caught your attention this week? Any thoughts on the stories we covered? Let us know at [email protected]

Eric Mugendi // Editor-at-Large

In Focus

Bitcoin Payments Startup BitPesa Has Raised $2.5 Million In A Funding Round Led By Draper VC

Kenya-based payments startup BitPesa has closed a US$2.5 million series A funding round led by Draper VC, with plans to expand its services to more countries in West and Southern Africa, as well as in Europe.

BitPesa currently operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the DRC, the UK and Senegal, where it provides business customers who want to send payments internationally using bitcoin, having pivoted from enabling customers to make small mobile payments.

With this new funding, the company says that they will focus on becoming the largest licensed payment company in the UK, Europe and Africa, offering realtime settlement at wholesale currency exchange rates to frontier and emerging markets.

Nigeria Spends $79 Million Per Year On Imported Lottery Technology

Niyi Adekunle, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria's Lotgrand, whose company promotes the lotto business in Nigeria with the Machine Number Series (MNS), has revealed that the West African country's purchasing and maintenance of technology to run the lottery costs the country $79 million per year.

Adekunle also explained that the hardware component alone made up 40 percent of their technology expenses to run the Nigerian lottery while software licenses and services make up another 20 and 40 percent respectively of their annual technology budget. Adekunle believes they could save huge costs especially on foreign exchange if Nigeria's technology sector "can support our business with the right technology software and hardware,”

The Evolution Of South African Politics As Witnessed Through Twitter
Kyle Findlay has been researching South African politics on Twitter for several years now. As we start a new year, he wraps up some of the things that he has observed into a single post.

He looks at how South African politics has evolved over the past few years, drawing on analyses of millions of tweets from 2012 to 2016.

Fake News: Is It Just Hype Or Should We Be Worried?
As Kenyans prepare for elections later this year, it is imperative that journalists, techies and netizens reflect on the issue in the local context. This was the focus of this month’s Hacks/Hackers Nairobi meet-up, with a panel of media & tech specialists.

As a participant noted, the channels of news distribution have increased thus making it easier to share fake news. Thanks to the existence of digital technologies, we now have numerous platforms to create and distribute content.

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