17 DECEMBER, 2021
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
TGIF ☀️ ️
TechCabal is having a detty restful December.
We’ve spent the past 12 months bringing you deep dives from all over the African tech ecosystem. So, for the next two weeks, we’re taking a brief break to recharge. Believe it or not, reporters need love rest, too.
You’ll still get TC Daily every day at 7 AM WAT. We’ll also be publishing pre-scheduled stories, but our offices, virtual or otherwise, will be closed.
But don’t worry…
In today’s edition
- Africa’s first metaverse crypto game
- Google Africa’s first investment in Uganda
- Nigeria’s Startup Bill inches closer to enactment
- TC Insights: Funding Tracker
AFRICA’S FIRST METAVERSE CRYPTO GAME
In an attempt to tap into the trend of combining fashion and the digital world, Delz Erinle, a product and UX designer, and Niyi Okeowo, an art director, launched Thrill Digital, a company that started as a virtual fashion showcase and now pioneers a fashion metaverse.
What is Thrill?
Thrill Digital uses a combination of Web3 technologies like XR (AR/VR), video, audio, crypto, and gaming to create its own fashion metaverse and other unreleased digital products.
During the pandemic last year, Erinle saw how difficult it was to shop. So, he decided to bring in Lead Developer and Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Luke Jeffers, to use 3D to create a VR shopping product, to make shopping more accessible and effortless for an audience that was stuck at home.
Pivoting from creating the initial idea of a fashion show, Thrill started working on a VR shopping product. Thrill Digital pitched a lot of investors and won Epic Game’s MegaGrant worth $40,000 in January this year to create the VR shopping product. They eventually delivered the product during Lone Design Club fashion week in February.
After that, Erinle carried out research in a mall in London where he asked people if they would play a game to win luxury prizes. The feedback they got from people was affirmative. “We didn’t set out to create a metaverse project initially. It was like a virtual shopping experience, first, ” Erinle said.
This was how Thrill Digital started Astra, a fashion crypto game where players can win real-life fashion luxury items.
Sultan Quadri has more in Want luxury fashion? Play Africa’s first metaverse crypto game.
GOOGLE AFRICA’S FIRST INVESTMENT IN UGANDA
Yesterday, Google Africa marked its first investment in Uganda. Can you guess which startup got the investment?
Here are the clues: the startup was launched in 2015; it’s providing quick travel for Ugandans; and it has over one million customers.
It’s SafeBoda! Yep, Google invested an undisclosed amount in the ride-hailing service.
While the startup launched as a ride-hailing service for motorcycles, it’s since added offerings like food and parcel delivery services, and other financial services. Since launch, SafeBoda has onboarded 25,000 drivers who have completed over 40 million orders.
The first of Google’s AIF
SafeBoda is the first of Google’s Africa Investment Fund.
Two months ago, Google announced its intention to invest $1 billion into African startups over the next five years. This includes the $50 million Africa Investment Fund targeted at early- and growth-stage startups.
SafeBoda plans to use the investment to drive its growth in Uganda and Nigeria, scaling its transportation-led app to offer new payment and financial services solutions for its expanding set of customers: passengers, drivers and merchants.
Speaking for SafeBoda, co-founder Ricky Rapa Thomson said, “SafeBoda welcomes Google to their community and are excited to continue to drive innovation in informal transportation and payments in the boda boda (East Africa) or okada (West Africa) industry.”
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NIGERIA’S STARTUP BILL INCHES CLOSER TO ENACTMENT
The Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) is a step closer to getting enacted into law. It has now been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The next step is that the Presidency will submit the bill to the National Assembly for consideration.
The NSB aims to create an enabling environment for Nigerian startups to thrive. The three major challenges that the bill is looking to tackle are the lack of an enabling environment, unclear regulatory framework, and inadequate local content support. The bill proposes measures to ensure that these issues are addressed. For example, there will be protection and incentives, like tax breaks and access to an exclusive list of public and private-led funding opportunities, for local entrepreneurs. There will also be incentives to attract local and foreign investors to the Nigerian startup community.
Although Nigeria has the highest number of startups on the continent—about 750—and holds the total highest YoY raises, it ranks below countries like South Africa, Kenya, and Tunisia in terms of business friendliness. With bans on cryptocurrency trading, and clampdowns on online investment, trading, and even social media, Nigeria’s startup scene has been rocked by a few disruptive regulatory announcements in recent years.
The initiative for the NSB was launched in May of this year by the Presidency, in collaboration with 30 tech leaders, including Ventures Platform founder Kola Aina and Future Africa founder Iyin Aboyeji, officials of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the Minister of Digital Economy Isa Pantami. Since then, it has garnered almost 300 volunteers, with private sector players participating, including legal firms like TLP Advisory and Aelex, policy advisors Advocacy for Policy and Innovation (API) and Innovation for Policy Foundation, and media organisations TechCabal and Wimbart. Google Nigeria and the UK government, through the West Africa Research and Innovation Hub and the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, are also backing the bill.
Kola Aina, Founder and General Partner of Ventures Platform Fund, also added, “The bill is being proposed to provide an enabling environment for the growth of startups and guard against different challenges faced by startups such as seemingly disruptive regulations, lack of regulatory certainty, and weak infrastructure like broadband, open data, and digital platforms that limit the optimisation of the many benefits of the digital economy.”
ACCESS CRYPTO WITH QUIDAX
Quidax is an African-founded cryptocurrency exchange that makes it easy for you to access Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They also make it possible for Fintech companies to offer cryptocurrency services to their customers.
This is partner content.
TC INSIGHTS: FUNDING TRACKER
This week, Edukoya, a Nigerian edtech startup, raised $3.5 million in a pre-seed round led by Target Global. Angel investors who participated in the round include Shola Akinlade, co-founder/CEO of Paystack; Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha, co-founders of Kuda; Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson, co-founders of Stash; and Raffael Johnen, CEO of Aux Money—among others.
Here are the other deals:
- Kenyan startup Wowzi received a total of $3.2 million across pre-seed and seed funding rounds. The startup closed a $2 million seed round led by 4DX Ventures, with participation from To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa. Andela co-founder Christina Sass and alumni Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, and Johnny Falla also participated. This comes after a previously unannounced $1.2 million pre-seed round secured last year.
- Egyptian buy now, pay later (BNPL) startup Sympl secured a $6 million seed round led by BECO Capital, with participation from A15 and Global Ventures.
- Nigerian B2B startup SendChamp received $100,000 in funding from local angel syndicates such as DFS Lab, Hustler Capital, HoaQ Club, and Velocity Digital. Angel investors including Prosper Otemuyiwa, Samson Goddy, Merijn Campsteyn, Ayo Arikawe, and Lanre Ogungbe also participated.
- Egyptian cashback marketplace WaffarX closed an undisclosed multi-million dollar round of funding led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Lobby Capital, and including previous investor A15.
- South African fintech Entersekt secured an undisclosed amount in investment from US-based private equity firm Accel-KKR to accelerate its market expansion goals.
That’s all we’ve got this year!
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more updates on funding deals.
EVENTS: SECURE THE BAG, HOMEGOING
How can you jumpstart your career in tech? With a masterclass? With a video? With an internship?
On December 18, from 1 PM–4 PM, Pearle Nwaezeigwe—popularly known as the Yonce of tech policy—will be answering these questions as she hosts the biggest tech policy event in Lagos, “Secure the bag: Homegoing”. Pearle should know: she made the switch from law to tech and is currently killing it as Product Policy Manager SSA at TikTok!
Pearle will be joined by other tech professionals sharing their journeys into tech and providing everyone with a great opportunity to network!
The event will be held at Workcity, Polystar building, 2nd Roundabout, Lekki Phase 1 Lagos, Nigeria, and you can get access to it for a ₦2,000 ($5) fee.
Register to attend and make your Detty December a memorable one.
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