Breaking News: Andela is Sacking 400 developers in Africa, declares $50m in revenue

Andela’s is one of Africa’s best place to work, helping global companies hire developers across Africa remotely thereby saving them a lot of overhead and providing opportunities to Africa Developers.

Today, it releases news that it will be letting go of 400 junior developers in Africa as part of its restructuring efforts. The CEO, Jeremy Johnson said they have hired more developers than they can find jobs for, hence the need to cut and focus more on mid-senior developers.

Andela has raised more than $180m in funding since launched in 2014; the CEO mentioned that as a startup, they have generated more than $50m in revenue, showing good sign of demand for its service in the global market.

What happened to these junior devs?

Andela is known to be employee-friendly, with good working condition, good salaries, and perks; one wonders why junior developers failed to live of up expectation given the great opportunities provided by the company.

How will this impact the ecosystem?

It’s good news for everyone but the staffs being let go. For one, more developers will be available for hire for the growing startups. The big question now is, can the startup able to match Andela’s pay and will the developers be willing to take on local opportunities with lesser pay? If I was in their shoes I will take up the job because it becomes an opportunity to improve their skills and be ready for future opportunities.

Is this the end of Coding Bootcamps?

Since the launch of Andela, countless companies have modeled their structure to try to take advantage of the global demand for developers. With young graduates getting picked to join coding boot camps with a promise of a job after training. We will expect this to be a shock to the companies with high hopes of making money from this model.

ABAN and AfriLabs Partner to Launch Catalyst, an African Matching Fund

The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) has partnered with Afrilabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation centres to launch Catalyst, a cross-stakeholder initiative aimed at increasing the pool of capital available to promising African growth-stage entrepreneurs, and also support the startup ecosystem including hubs and angel network.

AfriLabs is a network organization of 158 innovation centers across 45 African countries. It supports hubs to raise successful entrepreneurs that will create jobs and develop innovative solutions to African problems. The objectives of this organization are to encourage technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in all forms, and to promote the creation of African-made technology, among others.

ABAN is the largest network of Angel investors in Africa with a goal of dramatically growing the number of investors who support and fund promising African entrepreneurs. Founded in early 2015,  ABAN is a Pan-African non-profit association that supports the development of early-stage invest networks across the continent.

This partnership is in line with the objectives of both organisations, as Catalyst is a co-investment fund that will match investments made by registered angel investors with institutional funds.

Funds are being raised from various institutional partners to add to the pool, which aims to encourage investment in viable startups by verified angel investors.

The first Catalyst co-investment fund will be available towards the end of 2019. Funds from Catalyst will be released after startups have received investments from angel investors that are part of an angel network registered with ABAN. To be eligible, startups are required to register on the Catalyst platform through hubs that are members of the AfriLabs network.

Speaking on this, Tomi Davies, the President of ABAN said, “When we signed the MOU with AfriLabs at their Annual Gathering in Dar es Salam in 2018, we were excited about the opportunity for partnership between angels and hubs on the continent. Catalyst will facilitate the development of those relationships as the first initiative of what we expect to be a highly valuable and long lasting collaboration between AfriLabs and ABAN.

Catalyst is the first pan-African programme of its type, and commenting on this, AfriLabs board chair Rebecca Enonchong said, it is a “real gamechanger” for Africans.

We have all recognised the need to increase early stage funding for our African founders. Catalyst not only does that, but it helps to structure the ecosystem, supports collaboration, and provides actionable insights into the early-stage funding landscape, all the while strengthening our hubs and our angel networks,” she further said.

Two Nigerian Startups Win the Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge, with Four Other African Startups

The healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson, has announced that the two Nigerian startups, LifeBank and Crib A’Glow, as part of the six winning African businesses of the Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 at the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) which held in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge is supported by Johnson & Johnson to encourage entrepreneurial thinking in Africa and the creation of healthcare solutions that address the critical unmet needs of the continent. The company, through the challenge, helps to bring the startups’ ideas to life and create meaningful change with long-term sustainability.

The Challenge received nearly 900 submissions from 39 countries, and the winning businesses and programs represent outstanding ingenuity and perseverance, as well as a pathway for scaling operations for long-term sustainability.

They offer bold, entrepreneurial approaches to tackling major healthcare priorities in African communities, including Blood Delivery, Healthcare Worker Burnout, Hearing Loss, Jaundice, Malaria and Ultrasound Access.

Johnson & Johnson announced a $300,000 investment in these six startups. The startups are

  • LifeBank (Nigeria) _ Blood Delivery
  • The Hope Initiative (Rwanda) _ Healthcare Worker Burnout
  • Dreet (Botswana) _ Hearing Loss
  • Crib A’Glow (Nigeria) _ Jaundice
  • Uganics (Uganda) _ Malaria
  • MScan (Uganda) _ Ultrasound

Along with the $300,000 award, the startups will receive extensive mentoring and connection network building, to support the expansion and sustainability of the companies and programs.

The Chief Scientific Officer and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, Johnson & Johnson, Dr Paul Stoffels, said, “We look forward to collaborating with and investing in them as they work to create sustainable businesses and programs that offer strong benefits to patients, families, healthcare workers and communities in markets across Africa and beyond

The Head of Africa, WEF, Elsie Kanza further commented, saying, “The World Economic Forum is excited to partner in announcing the winners of the Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 at this year’s congress, which is focused on Innovation, Cooperation, Growth and Stability, critical areas that the challenge embodies,

Each of the six winners brings a passion for innovation, a bold sense of purpose and a commitment to the future of their communities and the larger continent. By participation in our meeting, we hope that they will be able to gain knowledge, ideas and connections to help them take their business to the next level as well as inspire leaders to encourage and support future generations of innovators.

The startups will each receive a yearlong mentorship and training in addition to $50,000 USD.

 

Top Business Grants for Entrepreneurs in Nigeria in 2019

Funding is a critical factor to the success of any startup. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to fund your startup in Nigeria is by applying for business grants. The impressive thing about business grants is that no repayment is required. Yes, you heard that right. With business grants, you don’t need to worry about interest rates, term length, refinancing or APR. You just need to qualify, and then you get “free” money.

The general criterion for qualifying for these funds is to have a business, that is, you must have started something that is providing a solution to a problem in the society. Next, you must have a viable and bankable business plan. You should have a vision, market strategy, and records of your revenue and expenditure.

Here are the top business grants in Nigeria

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEE P): Launched in 2015 by the business tycoon, Tony Elumelu, this programme provides 10,000 USD seed funding for entrepreneurs across Africa, selecting 1,000 entrepreneurs from over 5,000 applicants. If you are in fashion, agriculture, design, ICT, solid minerals, and light manufacturing, among others, you can apply for this funding.

YouWIN Connect Nigeria: The Federal Ministry of Finance offers this program with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship, job creation, and wealth via enterprise education for young Nigerians.

BOI Funds: Recently, the Bank of Industry (BOI) launched a youth empowerment program for young and talented entrepreneurs who have started businesses in various sectors of the economy. Titled the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme, BOI aims to equip young people with the skills and finances to manage their businesses.

Diamond Bank BET Program: The BET (Building Entrepreneurs Today) is designed to serve as a support system for budding entrepreneurs. Fifty entrepreneurs are selected yearly to undergo a six months intensive entrepreneurship training, after which, the top five are awarded financial grants as seed capital

GroFin Fund: The development financier, GroFin, has committed over 500 million USD to funding micro, small, and medium businesses across Nigeria.

 

 

 

Carbon Expands to Kenya Chijioke Dozie Discloses

From a tweet from the company’s CEO Chijioke Dozie, it appears that the fintech startup, Carbon (formerly Paylater) is expanding to Kenya.

Carbon is one of Nigeria’s leading digital financial platform that launched two years ago, around May 2017. It gives quick loans to its users without requiring collateral or guarantors.

On Aug 28, 2019, Chijioke tweeted saying,

Looking for a self-starter that can help launch @get_carbon’s operations in Kenya. Local knowledge and experience in financial services/fintech is preferred. @get_carbon is hiring for a Kenya Country Manager! Please see link for more details onefi.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?…

Before this expansion, its presence was in only Nigeria, South Africa,Ghana and Portugal. The startup has been doing quite well since its launch, and this expansion to Kenya, one of Africa’s fast-growing economies, is another step in this direction.

As a matter of fact, it recently secured $5 million debt funding to acquire more customers in the Nigerian market as well as finance its expansion to other markets in Africa.

What’s more, Carbon now functions as a payment solution platform, offering services such as fund transfers and bill payments, going beyond loan offering. This move by the company is mainly as a result of its parent company – OneFi recent acquisition of a payment solution, Amplify.

Recent news around the company revolves around its strange but amazing decision to make its audited financial report open to the public, something that is quite uncommon among private companies in Nigeria.

As part of its commitment to transparency between the company and its customers, and attracting top talents, the company promised to continue publicising audited

AGRIPPLE: A Startup Reducing Farm to Fork Time and Eradicating Food Waste #VentureHuntStartupFocus

Founded by the entrepreneur, Vincent Okeke, a graduate of Philosophy, and a Nigerian passionate about making the community and the world at large a better place, Agriple is an online platform that delivers cheaper, fresher, and traceable farm produce everywhere in Nigeria.

It is developed to directly connect farmers with consumers and off-takers to reduce farm and fork time, increase wealth, and reduce food waste. Speaking on his belief, Okeke said, “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sand of time.

The idea for Agriple stemmed from the fact that most of the food waste from Nigeria and Africa come from post-harvest loss. According to the statistics presented by the startup, each year one-third of all food produced for human consumption – 1.3 billion tons – is lost before it reaches retailers, and this is enough food to feed all the 1.2 billion hungry or undernourished people on the planet.

In fact, statistics presented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) show that the amount of food wasted in Africa is enough to feed 300 million people. As a result, some people have more than enough food to eat, while others suffer from hunger and starvation, further widening the inequality gap, and costing farmers billions of dollars in annual revenue.

So, by improving farmers’ access to market and proving efficient logistics, the company aims to solve this problem by cutting food waste. This will ensure farmers make more money for their efforts, while consumers get cheaper and fresher produce anywhere in the country.

The startup is a registered trademark of AGRICENTA AGRO SERVICES LTD (RC:1569401). It is the winner of Startup Nigeria 2019 (North Central), a Federal Government sponsored Startup 3-month program, designed to provide free entrepreneurship skills training to entrepreneurs and individuals in the country who are solving big problems in a new, better, and cheaper way.

It is partnered with Sterling Bank and Startup Nigeria. This startup is also part of the semi-finalists selected for Pitch AgriHack 2019, an annual competition that awards young entrepreneurs in ICTs for agriculture, supporting them through capacity building and funding to accelerate youth employment and agricultural transformation

To register as a Farmer Partner, or as a Consumer/Buyer Partner, visit agriple.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GetHostel Services: A startup helping students, property owners and the young working class, to get accommodation space in Lagos #VentureHuntStartupFocus

GetHostel Services was launched in November 2017 by Okereke Bright and Odunbaku Oluwatimilehin Adigun, students of the University of Lagos.

It started as a real estate agency, but now it has expanded to being a digital and non-digital real estate company that specializes in helping students get the best off-campus accommodation experience close to their institution.

The startup achieves this by employing focused real estate agency, creative property development with consultation, and top-notch facility management.

Its goal is to deliver all-round real estate services to students, property owners and young working class, providing the best off-campus accommodation experience with a solution-oriented approach. Its core values are Quality, Integrity and Customer Care.

Since inception, this startup has successfully catered to over 600 students, helped over 200 students of the University of Lagos get comfortable accommodation and housing. Currently, it manages 5 properties, with 6 full time staff and 15 contract staff on its payroll.

Since August 2018, it has generated over N25 million in revenue.  GetHostel was recently nominated for 25 under by SME 100.  It is working on building a its first two-storey building

Here are some of the things Okereke Bright, one of the co-founders had to say in a recently conducted interview with Venturehunt.

What was your motivation for Starting GetHostel?

I had the motivation to start a real estate agency at a time when I needed accommodation, and I couldn’t get any. I had 150k set apart, so the problem wasn’t money, but that I couldn’t find a suitable accommodation. So, I got the idea to start an agency that can provide ideal and conducive home environments.

Where do you see GetHostel in the next years?

We are currently working with a plan to build 1000 residential units between now and the next 5 years.

How has the CEO experience been so far?

Interesting and boring at the same time. While managing properties, I can be at the sites for extended periods, ensuring that everything goes smoothly. But some days are calmer. Real estate is seasonal, there are times when business is booming and we make so much money, and there are times we don’t make as much. As a CEO, I’ve learnt to find a balance, so I can save for the rainy days.

How have you been getting funding?

In 2019 alone, we have raised NGN3 million, and we hope to raise about N20m from now till June 2020.

How were you able to raise the funding?

Through individuals. We have an investment plan. An individual invests in GetHostel, and within six months, the person receives the money back with an additional 30% interest rate. The lowest possible investment is 250,000. We plan to start applying to grants, venture capitalists, and participating in competitions to get more funds.

Who are your Role Models in the Industry?

My role models are Olawale Ayilara, the CEO of LandWey Investment Group, and Grant Cardone, the founder and CEO of Cardone

 

 

 

Max, One of OPay’s ORide Competitors, has launched MaxKeke

Nigerian bike-hailing service, Max, one of the prominent competitors to the Opera-owned ORide, has just launched Maxkeke, its own tricycle service.

With core values of transparency, integrity, initiative and partnership, Max was founded by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh with the aim of reducing hours spent by Lagosians in traffic.

Early in the month of June, MAX raised $7 million investment for expansion, and the tricycle service was indeed one of the verticals MAX hoped to expand to with the raised funds. According to an internal person with knowledge of the service, operations are to kick off anytime soon, this is further corroborated by a tweet from MAX yesterday,

“Tawa is Smart. Tawa is a MAX Keke Champion. Now she’s got financial freedom!!! Be smart, Be like Tawa #MAXOKADA #MAXKEKE #Champion #transportation #livinginlagos #startups #premiumbikes”

From the tweet, we can guess that operations will begin in Lagos, but there are no details on the other cities it will cover.

Considering the fierce competition in the bike-ride hailing system in Nigeria, the launch of Maxkeke is unsurprising seeing as OPay recently launched OTrike, its keke service, across Kano, Aba and Ilorin.

It will be quite interesting to see how Max plans to compete with OTrike, considering as the founder company OPay raised a whopping sum of $50 million this year.

Even more, we can only watch to see how this will impact on Gokada, the pioneer of bike hailing services in Nigeria, as it comes back from its two-week break next week.

 

Kobo360 Logistics Platforms Raises US$30 Million Funding

The Nigerian digital technology freight logistics startup, Kobo360 has raised a total sum of $30 million funding; part debt funding and part venture funding. It raised a $20 million Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte, and existing investors including the International Finance Corporation, Y Combination and TLcom Capital.

The company also announced that it raised an additional $10 million in local currency working capital from Nigerian commercial banks. This new funding round follows a $6 million seed investment last year led by the International Finance Corporation which enabled the company to expand to Togo, Ghana and Kenya.

In a statement on Wednesday, 14th of August, the company said it plans to broaden its reach in Africa significantly by entering ten new countries beyond its current operating markets of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya by the end of 2020. According to the CEO, Obi Ozor, the final decisions on the 10 new countries will be made by the first quarter 2020.

With the funding, the team said it will “continue to scale the organisation, develop the technology offering, and accelerate supply growth.”

Kobo360 is also “planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyse intra-African trade.

Speaking on this, Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent.

We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilise logistics across Africa.

As a cross-border freight service, the company intends to maximise this funding to benefit from the Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) which was signed this year by all the 54 countries in Africa to reduce friction and barriers on Pan-African commercial activity.

The startup expects to have a voice in the final implementation of AFCTA, in addition to lower costs for its country-to-country freight movement. On this, Ozor said, “We’re going to do some policy work through the IFC so we can help shape AFCTA. The key to the deal is really logistics, so if the logistics component doesn’t work out the deal isn’t going to work”.

The company’s plan is to use a part of this new funding to build out its Global Logistics Operating System. GLOS (shortened form) is a blockchain-enabled platform that will help the company to transition to more supply-chain services.

Launched in 2017 by two Nigerian entrepreneurs – Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, this latest funding has made Kobo360 the second top-funded transport and logistics startup in Africa with investors betting on the company’s ability to meet a rise in demand for cargo deliveries while riding on the back of the AFCFTA.

OPay Expands to Eastern Nigeria: OPay Launches in Full Force in Aba with OTrike

Founded by the same guys who run the Opera browser and Okash, the OPay startup has established its footing in Eastern Nigeria with the recent launch of OTrike in Aba, southeast of Nigeria.

Over the past 18 months, bike hailing startups have become major players in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria, with each competing for market share and traction. Among these startups, OPay is one of the most recognised for its aggressive advancements and user-friendly discounts.

This disruptive startup first started in 2018 as a mobile payment platform focused on the massive unbanked population in Nigeria. Since then, it has diversified into the bike hailing service, ORide and the food delivery service, OFood.

ORide launched first in May 2019 in Lagos, but it has since expanded into other major cities like Ibadan. Nearly a year after its entry into the Nigerian market, this startup has come up with another strategic service involving commercial tricycles (popularly known as kekes).

This new tricycle hailing service, referred to as OTrike, is making its debut in Aba. Just like ORide, discounts apply for trips less than NGN400 within the first launch month (August). Users can take trips to anywhere in Aba for NGN20, while it costs NGN50 to hire a private charter.

Located in Abia state, Aba city is popular for its market and its numerous business men and women. The city, with an industry-driven population of 2,434,265, has a market of those that patronise “keke-napeps” for transporting themselves and their goods from one destination to another. We expect that this market is large enough to adequately accommodate OTrike without eliminating independent tricycle operators.

Similar to ORide, OTrike is accessible via the OPay app, residents of Aba can utilise it in transporting to and fro any destination in the city

The launch of OTrike follows from the $50 million funding which OPay raised early last month with Source Code Capital, IDG Capital and Sequoia China as lead investors.