👨🏿‍🚀TechCabal Daily – Botswana approves Starlink

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Paystack-led consortium acquires Brass

Brass is getting a second chance at life.

The business banking startup, after rocking through bouts of challenges, is finally on a path to redemption. In October 2023, Brass, which offers business banking services to small business owners, began struggling to process customer withdrawals. Rumours of a shutdown spread after the delay in customer payments continued, raising concerns about the company’s financial health.

In March, the startup raised a bridged fund round, which insiders estimate to be between $300,000 and $500,000, to help pay customers’ outstanding withdrawals. Yesterday, a consortium of fintech heavyweights and investor groups provided a fresh start to the embattled company. 

Yesterday, news broke that Brass had been acquired by a consortium of Paystack, Piggyvest, Ventures Platform, and P1 Ventures.

Per reporting from TechCabal, VC firm, Ventures Platform, facilitated the conversations and believed the deal had to happen. The VC firm then looped in experienced operators like Paystack and Piggyvest to form an alliance, which facilitated the acquisition.

Sola Akindolu, founder and CEO of Brass, and CTO Emmanuel Okeke will leave the business and will be replaced by a new leadership team that has not yet been disclosed. 

Why did Nigeria’s tech ecosystem giants rally behind brass? Short answer: Brass is a systemic business whose failure might cascade on other fintechs. People involved in the deal feared that the collapse of Brass, a deposit-taking fintech, could cause a bank run on other fintechs. Still, the new owners will assume Brass’s assets and liabilities, which include a ₦2 billion ($1.4 million) loss.

What’s next? Brass’s product will remain the same, and there will be no significant changes for customers as well. All of Brass’s remaining employees will retain their jobs.

Moniepoint is Africa’s fastest-growing fintech

The Financial Times has ranked Moniepoint as Africa’s fastest-growing fintech based on its absolute and compound growth rate. Read more about it here.

Botswana approves Starlink

GIF Source: Tenor

With a joyous heart, we bring you news that peer pressure does work. 

Less than a week after the Zimbabwean government approved Starlink, Botswana has followed suit and licenced the satellite internet service provider!

This news comes after a rocky few months for Starlink in Botswana. Back in October 2023, the country’s communications regulator (BOCRA) rejected Starlink’s initial application due to missing information. This rejection was followed by a ban on importing, selling, and using Starlink equipment in Botswana.

However, the tide appears to have turned during a recent Africa-US Business Forum held in Dallas, Texas. Following a meeting between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the SpaceX team, President Masisi reportedly made a swift decision.

“After the meeting,” President Masisi said, “I immediately decided to agree to the licensing of Starlink in the country.” He further emphasised his commitment, instructing regulators to fast-track Starlink’s application within two weeks.

This rapid turnaround suggests a high-level push for Starlink’s entry into Botswana. With the license secured, Starlink can now begin offering its services, potentially bringing much-needed internet access to underserved regions.

Will South Africa bend? Probably not. South Africa’s stringent laws mandate that all foreign companies that want to operate in the country must give up 30% of their equity to historically disadvantaged people in South Africa. It’s unlikely that the SpaceX team, which reportedly made revenue north of $1.4 billion from Starlink in 2023, will agree to this condition. 

Collect payments anytime anywhere with Fincra

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Safaricom Ethiopia strengthens network with 13 new towers

Safaricom Ethiopia has taken a step towards enhancing its network infrastructure. 

The telecoms joined forces with Woda Plc, Ethiopia’s first homegrown network tower manufacturer, for a supply of 68 high-quality towers at a total cost of 50 million birr ($875,656). On May 23, it announced it received its first batch of 13 locally manufactured telecom towers from Woda plc. 

This initiative aligns with Safaricom Ethiopia’s $1.5 billion plan to construct 5,000 new towers over the next three years, a project announced just a month prior. 

This development aims to provide high-quality, reliable telecommunications services across Ethiopia. Currently, Safaricom Ethiopia owns more than 2,800 towers, with two-thirds being self-built and the remainder leased. By partnering with Woda Plc, the company states it is not only expanding its network infrastructure nationwide but also getting high-quality, locally-made towers at a better price. 

This is more Ethiopian investment for Safaricom which recorded over KES21 billion ($154 million) in losses in FY23, partly due to its Ethiopian venture. So far, has invested over $400 million since its 2022 launch in the country, an investment that’s slow in paying off. In Ethiopia, it has 9 million subscribers and its mobile money M-Pesa service, which it piloted in Ethiopia last year, has just over 3.1 million users. The good news is that the telecom company also recently got a $257.4 million investment from the World Bank Group to improve mobile access for Ethiopians. 

What was the largest single transaction on Paystack in 2023?

Find the answer here 👉🏾 paystack.com/2023

Nine Kenyan startups selected for Spark Accelerator Programme

It is good news for nine Kenyan startups as they have been selected to benefit from the Spark Accelerator Programme. The programme is a collaborative effort by Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, Sumitomo Corporation and managed by iHub, to empower visionary founders to grow and scale their businesses.

The Spark Accelerator Programme called for application across diverse categories including Embedded Finance, Future Fintech, SME Productivity Tools and Content. The programme will offer a toolkit for these Kenyan startups through a mix of mentorship, providing go-to-market support to help businesses sell in target markets, and access to cutting-edge technology. It will also provide product development assistance and funding. 

Out of the nine startups shortlisted, two startups were chosen under the Embedded Finance category namely Chumz and Nobuk.

Chumz is a startup that uses mobile payments, game mechanics, and user behaviour analysis to create a community of savers.

Nobuk offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution specifically designed to help micro and small businesses manage their finances.

Four startups were shortlisted under the SME Productivity Tools category namely Chpter, Faidi HR, Churpy and Twiva. 

Chpter is an AI-powered platform that helps businesses boost sales on social media like WhatsApp and Instagram by automating conversations, marketing, and payments – all in one convenient place.

Faidi HR offers a cloud-based all-in-one Human Resource (HR) and payroll platform designed to streamline HR processes for businesses in Africa.

Churpy eliminates manual processes for recording and tracking customer invoices and payments. It seeks to automate repetitive and manual tasks in the office of the chief financial officer

Twiva is a social commerce platform that helps brands reach new audiences and drive sales by partnering with social media influencers.

One startup was selected under the Future Fintech category called VunaPay, a platform that facilitates instant and secure payments to farmers upon produce delivery.

Finally, in the content category,HealthX Africa and BlackRhino VR were shortlisted under the content category.HealthX Africa offers a range of virtual healthcare services aimed at making primary care accessible, affordable, and convenient for people in Kenya.BlackRhino VR offers a range of services focused on creating immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences for businesses and organizations.

“In alignment with our commitment to accelerating innovation for African prosperity, we are excited to welcome these startups into the programme. We look forward to supporting the startups to optimise their offerings, scale their solutions and expand their impact,” said Nissi Madu, managing partner at iHUB/CcHUB.

Attend GITEX Africa 2024

GITEX Africa returns a second time on May 29–31, 2024, to Marrakech, Morocco, discussing ways to accelerate the continent’s digital health revolution. GITEX is the continent’s largest all-inclusive tech event renowned for uniting the brightest minds in the technology industry.  Grab your tickets here.

The World Wide Web3

Source:

Coinmarketcap logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $68,309

– 2.01%

+ 7.38%

Ether $3,841

– 1.15%

+ 16.21%

Notcoin

$0.0091

+ 8.52%

– 36.62%

Solana $168.99

– 0.62%

+ 19.522%

* Data as of 23:00 PM WAT, May 29, 2024.

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