Agritech Incubation Program

FCMB in partnership with Wennovation Hub is set to host the 2018 Agritech incubation program. The incubation program is set out to guide early-stage entrepreneurs to test and validate their ideas as well as gather their first set of customers or pivot if need be. This will be achieved through a combination of financial support, guidance and training.

Benefits

  • Up to ₦2.25 million will be given to the top two selected startups.
  • Unrestricted access to the fully serviced workspace.
  • Intangibles (company registration, audit services, developer toolkit etc) worth $10k 4. Access to our local & international networks
  • 6 months mentorship with one on one mentor-mentee pairing.
  • Access to market by leveraging Wennovation Hub’s existing community.

Criteria

  • Competence of team
  • The viability of idea Innovation
  • Market and Scalability
  • Registered companies would be an advantage.
  • Female-led teams would also be given a considerable advantage.

How to Apply

Application deadline is 20th of June 2018. Visit the link to register.

Startup Opportunities: SeedStar Africa back with a bang with $1M cash prize up for grabs

Seedstars World Startup Competition 2018

Seedstars is back in Africa to scout for top high growth startups and entrepreneurs to accelerate on the path of global scale. As it turns out, applications are currently ongoing for the Seedstars World Competition 2018 for emerging markets.

In this 2018 edition of their annual tour, 20 Africans countries will be visited to host bootcamps and pitch competitions. Tne winner from each country will be invited to the finals at the Seedstars summit in Switzerland.

Benefits

  • The participants will stand an opportunity to get a VC investment of up to $1 million and more in cash prizes.
  • The participants will stand a chance to be mentored by the best people in their respective industry globally.

Eligibility

  • Startups should have a existed for at least a minimum of two years.
  • Should have raised a minimum of $500,000 in funding.
  • Should have a minimum viable product.
  • Should have technology as the core of their central operation, while solving a basic problem.
  • Startups should ensure they have a venture profile published on VC4Africa platform, with up-to-date pitch decks attached.

How to Apply

Deadline is 6 August 2018, so hurry to fill this form to attend any of the local events in Africa.

The MTN Group is looking to sell more shares in Ghana than Nigeria

MTN Nigeria wants to borrow N400 billion

With no definite date yet, MTN Nigeria is looking forward to raising the sum of $500 million, disposing of about 30% stake in the business by getting listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

And just recently, MTN Ghana launched an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise about $743 million for a 35% stake in the business unit.

It’s obvious that MTN Group is raising more money from its IPO in Ghana than that of Nigeria’s despite the fact that the latter has a significantly higher subscriber base.

According to the National Communications Authority of Ghana, Ghanaian business unit of MTN Group has 16,969,311 subscribers (PDF) as of April 2017. And based on the latest figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), MTN Nigeria has 65,209,222 from 58,121,427 as at April 2017.

And figures from the group’s financial results for the year 2017 (PDF), Earning Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) in Nigeria is R14,041 million, compared to Ghana’s unit which had R4,116 million.

In spite of these figures, the question that still begs for an answer is why the group is raising more money and selling more stake of its Ghanaian unit than its Nigerian counterpart.

The listing of MTN Nigeria is a condition for a 2015 fine imposed by NCC, for the Ghana business unit, the listing is in fulfilment of one of the conditions reached with the Ghanaian government in 2015 on acquiring the right to use fourth generation spectrum to serve its customers.

There have been cases of the regulatory authority —  NCC — imposing fine on telecom operators for poor quality of service in the past. And telcos have been decrying the multiple taxations by the government at various levels.

Over a decade, the fundamental problems of the industry still include power, multiple taxations, bureaucracy and vandalism of telecom infrastructure. But in spite of these challenges, the amount of money the company is raising from its Nigerian unit is an indication that the group is not ready to lose control of MTN Nigeria.

Microsoft has acquired GitHub for $7.5B in stock

Microsoft has confirmed the acquisition of Github, this comes after almost a week of rumours and speculations. Bloomberg reported that the software giant has agreed to acquire GitHub, and that the company chose Microsoft partly because of CEO Satya Nadella. Business Insider first reported that Microsoft had been in talks with GitHub recently.

GitHub is a vast code repository that has become popular with developers and companies hosting their projects, documentation, and code. Apple, Amazon, Google, and many other big tech companies use GitHub. Microsoft is the top contributor to the site and has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to repositories on GitHub. Microsoft even hosts its own original Windows File Manager source code on GitHub.

GitHub raised $350 million and we know that the company was valued at about $2 billion in 2015.  The San-Francisco based company has now sold to Microsoft in what looks like a Lucrative deal considering they are selling at a price more than 3 time their valuation in 2015. Also putting into thought the potential value of the Microsoft stock which is at an all time high, in a few years this deal could be worth over $10 B.

GitHub, which hosts 27 million software developers working on 80 million repositories of code. Despite its popularity with enterprise users, individual developers and open source projects, they have  never turned a profit and even made significant loss  of  $66 million over three quarters in 2016. Therefore,chances are that the company decided that an acquisition was preferable over trying to IPO.

Microsoft which is valued at $507 Billion has been rapidly investing in open source technology since Satya Nadella took over the CEO role.  Microsoft has open sourced PowerShellVisual Studio Code, and the Microsoft Edge JavaScript engine. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10, and acquired Xamarin to assist with mobile app development. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, which lets developers build and debug web and cloud applications, has soared in popularity with developers and GitHub acquisition will likely mean we’ll start to see even closer integration between Microsoft’s developer tools and the service.

Nadella in his prepared remarks stressed Microsoft’s heritage as a developer-centric company “We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement,” he said. “We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer first ethos operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to develop a feedback and invest in both fundamentals as well as new capability once the acquisition closes.”

Microsoft and FirstBank announce partnership to empower Nigeria’s SMEs

Microsoft and First Bank of Nigeria are teaming together to further technology adoption, skills and capacity development among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

The partners have announced they are working together to empower and create an enabling environment for SMEs in Nigeria to thrive and find more creative ways to solve their business growth challenges.

FirstBank and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide SMEs with value-added products, services and offerings covering certain business support services including access to premium content, business networks, capacity building initiatives and innovative offers of banking and technology services  to First Bank’s SMEs.

The MoU was signed at a ceremony held at the Microsoft Nigeria Office, Victoria Island, Lagos. Speaking at the event, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank Nigeria, Gbenga Shobo expressed First Bank’s unwavering commitment to the business success of SMEs in Nigeria with its array of products and bespoke solutions, specially designed to help grow and sustain SMEs.

He said, “We are committed to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and ensuring their sustained business growth as well as providing the necessary tools to support that growth and Nigeria’s economy at large.”

General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso who was excited about how both organizations are empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to achieve more, mentioned that

“Our approach at Microsoft has been one of empowerment and collaboration,” said Banuso. “Initially, our work with SMEs was strongly focused on bringing them online to boost their productivity and competitiveness. Over the years, as we have worked with and learned from SMEs, our focus has evolved to provide them with a more holistic and game-changing offering, which is: Access to technology, markets, finance, information, skills, and services.”

For startups: Global Fintech Hackceleration 2018

For the second year running, KPMG Digital Village and MAS will be organising the Global Fintech Hackcelerator for the 2018 Singapore Fintech festival.

Global Fintech Hackceleration 2018

This year’s programme will be focused on 80 problem statements in the followings four categories; Financial Inclusion, RegTech and SupTech, InsurTech and General.

Startups from around the world are invited to the programme to demonstrate how their solution can address industrial pain points highlighted by problem statement. 20 startups will be selected for the 12-week accelerator programme.

Benefits

  • $20,000 will be provided to all 20 startups with additional cash prize to the top three.
  • Selected startups will receive mentorship support from leaders in the industry.
  • Opportunity to join Corporate Adoption programme and other collaborative ecosystems.
  • Opportunity to network with other FinTech ecosystems.

Eligibility

  • Startup should have an innovative concept that highlighted by the problem statement.
  • Has a unique proposition.
  • Startup must show business potential.
  • Can demonstrate ability to execute

Application deadline closes by 15th June 2018. Visit the link to register.

Apply for Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award

Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award
Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award

Are you working hard on an innovative solution, or know someone that is?  If the solution is the following areas then the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards for 2018 is for you: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production and Climate Action.

Unilever has launched the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards for 2018, in partnership with The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). The Awards are all about supporting and celebrating inspirational young people from all over the world with existing initiatives, products or services that are tackling some of the world’s social and environmental issues

So what’s in it for you?

There’s over €100,000 up for grabs, along with tailored business consultation services for 12 months provided by experts from Unilever and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. This could range from business support and connections through to personal development coaching – whatever is most needed to help you.

Key dates for your diary

The competition deadline is Friday 29 June, 23:59 BST.

Better yet, if you enter by 08 June you’ll have the chance to win a special two-hour tailored business consultation session with experts from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to our website and get started and best of luck! Apply

Piggy Bank raises $1.1M in seed funding.

Piggy Bank raises $1.1M in seed funding.
Piggy Bank raises $1.1M in seed funding.

Piggybank.ng closed $1.1M in seed funding and announced a new product — Smart Target, which offers a more secure and higher return option for Esusu or Ajo group savings clubs common across West Africa.

The financing was led with a $1 million commitment from LeadPath Nigeria, with Village Capital and Ventures Platform contributing $50,000 each.

Founded in 2016, by   Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze, Piggybank.ng offers online savings plans — primarily to low and middle income Nigerians — for deposits of small amounts on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. There are no upfront fees. Savers earn interest rates of between 6 to 10 percent, depending on the type and duration of investment.

Users need an account with one of PiggyBank.ng’s bank partners to use the products. The startup generates returns for small-scale savers (primarily) through investment in Nigerian government securities, such as bonds and treasury bills. PiggyBank.ng itself generates revenue through asset management and from the float its balances generate at partner banks.

The startup looks to grow clients across younger Nigerians and the country’s informal saving groups.

“The market that we are trying to serve is largely the millennial market, though we do not exclude anyone,” said Eweniyi, the company’s chief operating officer. The venture also looks to meet a demand in Nigeria for accessible investment options, citing a survey they conducted indicating that as a top priority for people with discretionary income.

“Piggybank offers savings, but our vision is not just savings, but to become a holistic platform — a financial warehouse — where other financial providers can plug in their services for PiggyBank users,” said Eweniyi. She cited banks, investment houses, insurance, and pension funds as possible partners.

The company currently has 53,000 registered users — 60 percent of whom are Nigerian Millennials — who have saved in excess of $5M since 2016, according to a release.

Joshua Chibueze, Co-Founder and CMO of Piggybank says, “Today’s announcement allows us to expand and capitalise on the many opportunities that the market presents us with. Our growth so far has been stimulated almost entirely by peer-to-peer advocacy and our investment in the highest quality customer service, so we know the market is there, and the product has been built, modified, tested and ratified by users. With this fundraiser, we can invest significantly in our people and products, as we build a digital financial warehouse accessible to millions of Africans whose savings woes we want to put firmly behind them.”

In addition to securing its seed funding of $1.1 million, Piggybank.ng has recently acquired a micro-financing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which provides the relevant regulatory cover, allowing them independence from partnering with banks.

France to Invest $76 million in funding in African Startup

France to Invest $76 million in funding in African Startup

At the third edition of the ongoing VivaTech trade fair in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron of France declared that his country will be giving backing to a new $76 million (€65 million) digital project that will offer funding for African startups.

To carry on with this mandate, sums ranging from €30,000 to €50,000 would be provided from the French Development Agency (AFD) to African entrepreneurs.

The scheme will be launched in the coming weeks so that African startups can apply.

President Macron has openly made entrepreneuship a core aspect of France’s domestic policy. After he became President in 2017, he quickly announced his plans to make France a startup nation, meaning France will act and think like a startup.

As it is now, that plan is extending beyond the borders of France. That Africa has come up as a possible destination doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.

Macron has made recent visits to Africa and has lauded the impressive initiative coming from the continent.

“African startups have energy but the big providers of development aid and financiers have not adapted to that. We ourselves are too slow, too hesitant,” he said.

Taxify secures $175m funding from Daimler, now valued at $1bn

 

Taxify secures $175m funding from Daimler
Taxify secures $175m funding from Daimler

Ride-hailing company Taxify this morning announced it has completed an investment round of $175 million. The investment round was led by global automotive leader Daimler. Daimler will also join the board of Taxify.

The Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach.

In a statement, Taxify said it will use the investment to further develop its ride-hailing technology and continue working on best ways to move in cities, particularly in home markets Europe and Africa.

European venture capital fund Korelya Capital and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus joined a number of existing investors including Didi Chuxing in a round that brings Taxify’s valuation to $1 billion.

Taxify launched in 2013 in Estonia with the then 19-year-old Markus Villig borrowing college money from his parents to build the first version and personally recruiting first drivers to the platform. Today, Taxify is one of the fastest-growing ride-hailing companies in the world with over 10 million passengers and 500,000 drivers in more than 25 countries.

Jörg Lamparter, Head of Mobility Services, Daimler Financial Services, said: “Already today, we are serving almost 22 million customers worldwide with our mobility services, ranging from carsharing, multimodal platforms to ride-hailing. Taxify is an ideal addition to our existing and extensive mobility services portfolio. With its fast-growing ride-hailing activities and extensive geographical coverage, Taxify is a perfect fit with Daimler.”

Markus Villig, CEO and co-founder, Taxify said: “We’re on a mission to build the future of mobility, and it’s great to have the support of investors like Daimler and Didi. The number of rides on Taxify grew by ten times last year, even considering that our home markets Europe and Africa are some of the most complex markets for ride-hailing in the world. Today, more than ten million people globally use Taxify. But this is just the beginning as more and more people give up on car ownership and opt for on-demand transportation.”