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Issue 116
Nov 22 - Nov 28, 2021

Hi there,

Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but this hasn't stopped Netflix from getting us into the holiday spirit. If like me, you enjoy a nice feel-good Christmas movie then you must see Love Hard and The Holiday Calendar.

As always, please stay safe and wear a mask!

Folu Otubanjo
Product Specialist, Paystack
SenegalMoMo pricing wars in Senegal. In this thread, Everett Randle looks at how mobile money fees have changed since Wave's entry into the Senegalese market. Twitter

New players breaking into a market with well-established incumbents, rely on product innovation and/or radical business model disruption. Wave has been executing along with price and product successfully since its launch in 2018. Radically cheaper fees and better customer experience have led to accelerated market penetration for the three-year upstart at a direct cost to Orange Money, the major competitor. It is not surprising to see Orange start to address these threats by slashing prices. Healthy competition is ultimately great for any ecosystem. As these companies continue to compete, the gains in price and experience will accrue to the customer. 
AfricaCan fintechs become compliance companies? In this interview, Charles Rosenblatt, Chief Strategy Officer at Payoneer, makes a case for how big payment players could become compliance software companies.  PYMNTS

The African fintech landscape is heavily fragmented and fintech companies have to comply with various regulations across different markets. There's an opportunity to help startups navigate compliance hurdles as they grow in existing markets or expand into new ones. A few new startups (Norebase, Bank54) already offer these services but we expect to see relatively mature fintechs with presence in multiple markets extend and productize learnings and relationships with regulators to other startups as well. 
AfricaCan an open African fintech ecosystem accelerate growth? In this thread, Asemota explains why an open ecosystem is crucial for growth. He mentions that most startups will rather share their wins over losses and this ends up painting an untrue narrative of certain sectors. Twitter
AfricaAirtel receives $125 million investment. The telecommunications company has received $125 million funding from existing investors: Mastercard, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and TPG, a private equity firm. Early this year, Airtel raised $375 million from the three investors. This extra funding will be used to reduce group debt and invest in its network across its operating countries Mobile Money Africa

QIA and TPG invested $50 million each while Mastercard invested $25 million in this extra fundraise, bringing the total invested by these investors to $500 million to date. This extra funding comes just after Airtel secured approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a Payments Service Bank (PSB) which we highlighted in Issue 113.

Airtel's business model is based on delivering services in telecommunications (Data and Voice) and digital services (mobile money). In Uganda, Airtel recently announced the separation of Airtel Money from its telecom business (a similar decision announced by MTN earlier this year). Airtel's September 2021 report shows mobile money is its fastest-growing business with 42% revenue growth compared to 36.9% and 19.7% growth in its Data and Voice segments respectively. Also, the telco is exploring a potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) within the next four years for its mobile money business. Rapid growth, fundraises and potential IPO's provide strong evidence why two of Africa's largest telcos are making decisions to separate their mobile money businesses. 
South AfricaCrossfin, a South African Fintech has been acquired for $94.3m Crossfin is an investment firm with a specific focus on payments technologies and high-growth businesses. The South African company has been acquired by a consortium of private equity investors led by Ethos’s Mid-Market Fund and African Rainbow Capital. The acquisition deal provides Crossfin with money to pursue new acquisition opportunities across South Africa and the rest of Africa. Crossfin Blog
South AfricaBlockchain startup, NFTfi, raises $5M in seed funding NFTfi, a South African startup, offers a marketplace for borrowers to receive cryptocurrency loans on their NFTs and lenders to offer loans to borrowers against their NFTs. This round of funding will be used to expand its workforce, launch new product features and expand its platform to other blockchains and fund its decentralization. Early-stage crypto fund 1kx led this round along with Sound Ventures, Maven 11, Scalar Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and others investors TechCrunch

This is an interesting model as it provides an accessible platform for people to unlock liquidity without selling their NFTs. It'll be interesting to see how the known volatility of cryptocurrency (which NFT's are based on) will affect borrowers' risk in the short to long term.
NigeriaBusha raises $4.2M in seed funding Busha, a Nigerian-based cryptocurrency startup, has raised $4.2m in seed funding to deepen its market positioning in Nigeria. The company is currently working on expanding to other West African and East African countries. This seed round was led by Jump Capital along with Cadenza Ventures, Greenhouse Capital, and other investors  TechCabal

Despite regulatory limitations in Africa, there's been an increase in cryptocurrency startups receiving funding in recent times. YellowCard, Ejara, and Lazerpay are examples of startups that have recently raised funds to expand their services across the continent.
NigeriaOnePipe raises $3.5m in seed funding OnePipe, provides an API service that allows businesses to offer banking services to their customers. The Nigerian fintech has raised funds to expand its product offering across the country. This round was co-led by Atlantica Ventures, Tribe Capital, V&R Associates, and other investors. Afrikan Heroes
KenyaKenyan startup, Asilimia raises $2m pre-seed Asilimia offers a digital platform that allows African MSMEs (Micro Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises) to record expenses, track pending payments, and gain financial insights from a single dashboard. The company raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from various investors and $1 million in a debt round from Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners. Funds will be used to expand its team and extend its services to other MSMEs Tech Nova
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Lagos, Nigeria
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Lagos, Nigeria
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Lagos, Nigeria
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