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Deals: Cisco-backed Harambe invests $200,000 in, Releaf Group

The capital markets have frozen up. We are hoping to create a domino effect in terms of investment in African startups.


on wants you to start riding electric bikes, begins production in Lagos

Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance has allocated about $100,000 each to two Nigerian tech startups, a taxi-hailing service, and Releaf Group, a platform for sorting and distribution farm products, to help them through economic downturns caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This was disclosed by the Harambe Chairman, Okendo Lewis-Gayle, in a telephone interview, according to Bloomberg

Meanwhile, Harambe, whose backers include Cisco Systems Inc. and a foundation of South African businessman Jonathan Oppenheimer, raised $1 million to support its African technology startups and help kick-start the return of venture capital to the continent after the coronavirus outbreak.

Details: It invested $100,000 equity financing in Metro Africa Xpress (MAX). The company was co-founded by Adetayo Bamiduro.

READ ALSO: Investors cash in N1.2 trillion at Nigeria’s stock market for the month of May

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Harambe also invested $100,000 debt funding in Releaf Group, a Nigerian agritech company that is using technology to address supply chain challenges in the agriculture industry. The startup was co-founded by two Harambeans, Emmanuel Udotong and Ikenna Nzewi.

“What we suspect is 70% to 80% of non-VC backed startups could vanish over the next three to six months. What this moment requires us to do is to begin to reimagine our business model [and] repurpose our assets.”

“As innovators, this is what we do and now have to do so with an added sense of urgency. The capital markets have frozen up. We are hoping to create a domino effect in terms of investment in African startups,” Chairman, Harambe, Okendo Lewis-Gayle said.

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Based in the U.S. Harambe-founded companies raised more than $500 million from prominent families, individuals and international companies to support African entrepreneurs. Its list of past investors has included Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and Bill Gates.

Venture capital across the world has been drying up, with deals down 23% during the first quarter of the year compared with 2019, according to Preqin Ltd., as investors and funds take a more cautious approach amid the pandemic.

According to him, Africa is no exception, despite being less affected by the virus than Europe and North America. About half of Harambe’s companies expect the financial impact to become critical in the next three months, Lewis-Gayle said.

READ MORE: Gold prices surge, as protests erupt In America

“The group has almost 300 members that could potentially apply for funding,” he said. “The funding works in a co-investment model, whereby its ventures must also attract interest from other investors.

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“We are expecting them to adapt. For example, Max has decided to also include home-deliveries of goods as part of its service, and actually delivers for free to the elderly population.”

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Founded in 2008 by Okendo Lewis-Gayle, Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance supports innovators developing solutions to problems on the African continent. It as an ecosystem that enables founders to learn from each other and grow together.

“One of the challenges of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem is that it is still in its early days. Therefore, we don’t quite have enough investors, enough experienced talent for the different parts of the venture,” he added.


Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Corporate deals

AirSmat joins NVIDIA Inception



AirSmat today announced it has joined NVIDIA Inception, a program designed to nurture startups revolutionizing industries with advancements in AI and data sciences.

AirSmat is focused on helping businesses harness the power of drone and satellite data.

Our approach in capturing data, ingesting data to our platform, and processing same in an intelligent way and its ability to digest large amounts of data and draw precise conclusions will help businesses gain insight into creative, beneficial strategies for the future.

We are starting out with data intelligence in farming. AirSmat is on a journey to ensure food security in Nigeria and the African continent by helping farmers and farm owners have access to useful intelligence that helps them take proactive steps to solve problems on their farms before the harvest season.

With this, we are sure of maximum yield for farmers, increased profitability, and cascading effect of food security for Nigerians and everyone on the continent. We are starting out in Nigeria, but our market is Africa.

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NVIDIA Inception will allow AirSmat the needed tailwind for AirSmat and the implication is clear – Artificial Intelligence capabilities development on a steroid.

AirSmat will not only network with fellow startups, venture capitalists, and industry leaders at exclusive Inception events but have access to industry-leading technical guidance on which GPU-accelerated platforms, tools, and hardware in addition to co-marketing support from NVIDIA marketing channel.

The program will also offer AirSmat the opportunity to collaborate with industry-leading experts and other AI-driven organizations.

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“Being part of NVIDIA accelerator program is a major milestone in our journey to build a world-class pan-Africa AI-driven business” AirSmat CTO, Adeoluwa Ibikunle reiterated.

According to the CTO, “AirSmat’s simple goal is – Using AI, we save farmers and farm owners valuable time and resources in identifying problems on their farms before these affect the yield of the planting season; being part of NVDIA accelerator program is the best thing that has happened to AirSmat as it will help us to achieve this goal with precision.”

NVIDIA Inception is a program that helps startups during critical stages of product development, prototyping, and deployment.

Every Inception member gets a custom set of ongoing benefits, such as ​NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute​ credits, marketing support, and technical assistance, that provides startups with fundamental tools to help them grow.

About AirSmat

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AirSmat was founded on the belief that Artificial Intelligence will shape the future.

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We provide cutting edge AI solutions to many rapidly growing industries adopting drones into daily operations by helping to transform the way businesses collect, manage, and interpret drone data. We help businesses unlock the power of drone and satellite data.

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Corporate deals

Multichoice acquires 20% stake in BetKing

The value of the deal is said to be worth R1.8 billion.



Multichoice acquires 20% stake in BetKing, MultiChoice partners Walt Disney

South African pay TV operator Multichoice has announced that it acquired a 20% stake in BetKing, a gambling company with major operations in Nigeria. The value of the deal is said to be worth R1.8 billion.

The BetKing 20% acquisition was disclosed this week by Multichoice CEO, Calvo Mawela, during a news briefing to discuss MultiChoice’s new deals.

READ: CBN allows banks to pay winnings, salaries for 7 banned betting & gaming companies

READ: Africa: South African unemployment rises to 17-year high of 30.8%

What you should know 

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Nairametrics reported in 2018 that an estimated 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 were involved in active sports betting, with almost ₦2 billion being spent on sports betting daily in Nigeria. This translates to nearly ₦730 billion in a year.

Several sports betting companies have emerged in the country, such as Bet9ja, Nairabet, Merrybet, Naijabet, BetKing, Sporting Bet, Surebet24, and many others.

READ: Is online sports betting really profitable?

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READ: Is there trouble in paradise for the South African economy?

Nairametrics reported in July that BetKing announced a sponsorship deal with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF). This was adjudged the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of Kenyan football.

Valued at $11 million (1.2 billion Kenyan shilling), the new sponsorship deal will end in 2025. According to the FKF, each club in the Kenyan league will receive 8 million Kenyan Shillings a year ($1= 107.85 Kenyan shillings) thanks to this partnership.

MultiChoice CEO added that sport betting augments their business as sport is major revenue source for the company. He also stated that BetKing has grown fast in Nigeria and plans on expanding to South Africa.

“We have a lot of sport on our platform, and many people that are betting watch more games.” he said.

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READ: Key ‘side-hustles’ Nigerian Bankers supplement their income with

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READ: Is sports betting gradually making Nigerian youths lazy?

“They plan to be pan-African and will be entering South Africa at some stage too,”

Reuters reports that the deal would be valued at $81 million upfront, “with a further $31 million performance-dependent payment possible later.”

READ: DEAL: Nigerian Breweries and NFF sign sponsorship agreement

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Corporate deals

CAP Plc set to merge with Portland Paints and Products Plc.

CAP Plc and Portland Paints have taken a decision to merge their respective businesses in accordance with applicable laws.




The Board of Directors of Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc), and Portland Paints and Products Plc (Portland Paints), have decided to merge their respective businesses in accordance with applicable laws to drive growth and expansion within the Nigerian and African markets.

This is according to a press release signed by Bolarin Okunowo, the Managing Director of Portland Paints, made available on NSE, Monday, 26th October 2020.

READ: Big players in Paints and Coatings industry suffer 52% profit loss in the first 6 months of 2020

The completion of the proposed merger is subject to approvals being obtained from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Federal High Court, as well as shareholders of CAP and Portland Paints.

READ: Meet the woman winning in a male-dominated paint market 

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What you should know

  • Should the proposed merger go ahead, CAP Plc will emerge as the resultant entity.
  • The proposed merger will be executed by way of a Scheme of Merger (the “Scheme”) in accordance with Section 711 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
  • The Scheme will involve the transfer of all Portland Paints Plc’s assets, liabilities and business undertakings including real property and intellectual property rights to CAP Plc.
  • In consideration for the transfer, CAP Plc is offering shareholders of Portland Paints a choice to receive N2.90 cash for every Portland Paints share held OR 1 new ordinary share of CAP Plc, credited as fully paid up for every 8 Portland Paints shares held.
  • The proposed consideration represents a 45% premium to the last traded share price of Portland Paints Plc on October 16, 2020, being the last business day prior to the date on which CAP Plc sent its merger proposal to the Board of Portland Paints and a 41% premium on the trading price as at close of trading on October 23, 2020.

READ: GNI lists shares on NASD after delisting voluntarily from NSE 

What they are saying

Commenting on the proposed merger, David Wright, Managing Director of CAP, said, “The decision to pursue the proposed merger, is driven by the Board’s strategic plan to aggressively grow within the Nigerian and African markets.

“We believe that the Proposed Merger presents a unique opportunity that will benefit all stakeholders, from shareholders to customers, as well as the broader economy. I am excited by the prospect of an enlarged company with a broader decorative paint portfolio covering the premium, mid-market and affordable segments and the inclusion of marine and protective coatings, all of which will benefit our customers and shareholders.”

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READ: Africa Prudential tops losers list following mark down

The Managing Director of Portland Paints, Bolarin Okunowo, submitted that “In recent months, the Board and Management of Portland Paints have evaluated various strategic options with a view to positioning our company to capture emerging growth opportunities.

“CAP Plc’s business is complementary to ours, and both companies will be better able to serve our respective customers by coming together. I believe the combination of Portland Paints and CAP will yield significant benefits for all of our stakeholders.”

Mutual shareholder

Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc – with 85.98% of the company’s issued share capital owned by UAC Nigeria Plc, manufactures and sells decorative, industrial, and marine/protective coatings for the construction of oil & gas industries in Nigeria. Portland Paints is the Nigerian representative of Hempel. It is listed on the NSE.

Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP) – a subsidiary of UAC Nigeria Plc – which holds 51.49% of the company’s shares, manufactures and sells premium and standard paints and coatings, and is the sole technological licensee of Akzo Nobel Coatings International B.V. in Nigeria. It is listed on the NSE.

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