Carbon has introduced Disrupt Fund, a $100,000 Pan-African fund, to reduce the lack of funding holding back budding tech entrepreneurs on the continent.
In a statement issued by Carbon and seen by Nairametrics, the Fintech firm disclosed that it is committed to helping ‘Techpreneurs’ surmount funding challenges limiting their operations.
Details: Disrupt Fund was designed to invest up to $10,000 per startup (for 5% equity) and give access to Carbon’s API, allowing investees to leverage the lender’s growing customer base and innovative technology platform, to get to market faster.
It stated, “Acknowledging that its success is dependent on the growth of the tech ecosystem, Carbon expects the initiative to spark more collaboration and further investment that should drive growth across the ecosystem.
“Carbon is now accepting applications from companies with operations in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Egypt. Startups looking to apply for the fund must have a functioning product, post revenue and looking to operate in multiple countries. The fund has a wide investment mandate but target sectors include insurance, health, education which have not seen as much investment as the fintech space.”
Why it matters: Over 50% of startup funding in Africa in 2019 was channelled to fintech firms with the abundance of opportunities that exist in other sectors. For this reason, the special fund has been developed to tackle this head-on, making it easier for entrepreneurs across all sectors to access the funds and support their need to establish their solutions and achieve their business objectives.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Carbon, Chijioke Dozie, said, “Common investor wisdom is to stay in your market and dominate. This assumes that you are expanding on your own but we believe that by collaborating and partnering deliberately, Carbon and other tech companies can scale faster and build more enduring platforms.
“There are many excellent companies across the continent looking for the kind of scale Nigeria offers and we are excited to partner with them to provide the support and financial investment they need. We are equally excited to expand beyond Nigeria and Kenya by working with a new generation of innovators across the continent and sharing our experience to tackle common obstacles to growth.”
“The investing environment for early-stage startups has improved in recent years. However, a key issue for most startups that have not been addressed is the cost of customer acquisition. A lot of money is spent on acquiring customers, mainly via social media, when a more collaborative approach among tech companies could be more efficient.
“Our fund will enable this collaboration, allowing others to market to our customer base and vice versa – a win-win for everyone. As the saying goes, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” Ngozi Dozie, another co-founder of Carbon, joined her words.
About Carbon: Since 2016, the Fintech has amassed 2.1 million users and disbursed more than $63.7 million in loans in 2019 and processed more than $140 million in transactions. In December 2019, the company announced its expansion into the Kenyan market, as well as its Carbon for Business platform, which provides startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with access to uncollateralized credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer, and fast KYC (know your customer) compliance obligations.
Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for COVID-19 vaccine production
The fund is expected to help Novavax start a final-stage study of its vaccine candidate.
An American Vaccine Development Firm, Novavax Inc, one of the front runners in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 treatment, will receive $1.6 billion funding from the United State government to support large scale manufacturing of coronavirus vaccine.
This represents the biggest contribution to the ‘Operations Warp Speed Program’, a public-private partnership initiative by the US government, to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
Novavax in a statement said that the funds will allow the biotech firm to conduct advanced human studies and engage in manufacturing to deliver 100 million doses as soon as late 2020.
Novavax is among the companies trying to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus that has developed into a pandemic and spreading rapidly in countries like US, India and Mexico. The Operation Warp Speed Program has supported efforts of firms like Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Merck & Co, to get doses of the vaccine as early as possible.
READ MORE: New Covid-19 Cases reach all-time high – WHO
The fund is expected to help Novavax start a final-stage study of its vaccine candidate before the winter period, with as many as 30,000 people.
Novavax, had earlier secured as much as $388 million in May from the coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the single largest contributions from the organization at that time. The biotech company’s vaccine candidate is to provoke the production of antibodies that prevent the spike protein which the coronavirus uses to infect host cells.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drug manufacturing firms and university researchers are investigating more than 140 experimental vaccines. Moderna, Pfizer and the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, are among the companies and institutions that have started studies of their vaccines in healthy patients.
Lagos Ferry Company targets 480,000 commuting passengers daily – MD
The administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and using inland water transport.
The Managing Director of the Lagos Ferry Services Company (LAGFERRY) Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun says the company has a target of transporting 480,000 people daily on the waterways of Lagos State.
He made the comment in an online show called ”Covinspiration”.
He said, “As at June 30, we had operated for 77 days on inland waterways and moved 60,000 passengers”. Revealing that the company had 14 boats and was making efforts to expand operations with bigger ferries with the involvement of private investors.
Adding that the administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and tapping into the potential of inland water transport.
“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads every day, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 percent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways.
“That gives us about 480,000 passengers. So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State.
“Mr Governor is focusing his energy on ensuring a multi-modal transport system with the abundance of water bodies we have. We are moving people and goods on pleasant experience through the inland waterways,” he said.
He said the company operates in all the 40 inland waterway routes, and expanded operations will decongest traffic from in the on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge and Lagos-Badagry Expressway
The managing director said that traffic congestion on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway would be minimized with LAGFERRY operations in those six routes.
“We are just coming on board, we are still testing the water, passengers are just coming to know us and we are still creating awareness.
“We have not reached our peak and we are yet to get to the optimum operational level. We want to expand the services of LAGFERRY to other routes and enhance productivity,” he said.
Just in: Buhari suspends EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu from office
The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from office. The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
According to available information, Magu was suspended to allow for probe into allegations against him.
The EFCC boss appeared before a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami, who is investigating the allegations against him.