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Flutterwave, One pipe, and funding raised by Nigerian Tech startups

Here is a breakdown of how some of these start-ups have grown from pre-seed funding to Series funding and what they plan to do in the future.

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Startup funding in Africa, Fintech, Disrupt Africa

The year 2020 was really an eventful year for tech start-ups in Nigeria, with many clinching high financial backing from investors and achieving outstanding growth in a pandemic year.

The Nigerian tech community witnessed more people come up with amazing ideas to solve challenges in real-time and this has brought more investors into the Nigerian tech space.

Here is a breakdown of how some of these start-ups have grown from pre-seed funding to Series funding and what they plan to do in the future.

READ: Chipper Cash just raised $13.8 million Series A funding

Flutterwave

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  • According to Crunchbase, Flutterwave has raised a total of $64.7million since it was founded in 2016.
  • Flutterwave provides digital payments infrastructure and services which enable global merchants, payment service providers, and pan-African banks to accept and process payments across various channels. The company first raised $19.2M in their Series A funding and an extended $10million still in Series A.
  • The new capital was used to acquire more talent and also fuel rapid expansion across Africa. In January 2020, the company completed a $35 million Series B round. The new funding was used to support its expansion across Francophone countries and North Africa as part of its mission to connect Africa.

READ: Field Intelligence raises $3.6 million to take advantage of pharmacy cravings in Nigeria

54 gene

  • 54 gene is equalizing precision medicine by including underrepresented Africans in global genomics research.
  • According to Crunchbase, the company has raised a total of $19.7M in funding over 3 rounds. 54gene raised $4.5M in their seed round from Y combinator.
  • It recently closed a $15 million Series A round. These new funds will be used to address the gap that exists in precision medicine for people in the African continent.

READ: Our major challenge is eliminating paper – Tito Ovia of Helium Health

Kuda Bank

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  • Kuda Bank provides a full banking service on your smartphone. Since moving from kudi money to Kuda Bank, the startup has raised a total of $11.6M in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Nov 10, 2020 from a seed round according to CrunchBase.
  • They first raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed round to launch a beta of its service, then subsequently raised $10 million — the biggest seed round ever to be raised in Africa.
  • This money will be used to help accelerate its growth plans and keep up with customer demand. Specifically, funds will be used for key hires, product development, and to expand operations across Africa.

READ: Nigeria’s Kuda raises Africa’s all-time seed round of $10 million

Spleet

  • Spleet, just like Airbnb, provides easier living in Africa with access to flexible subscription-based rental and lifestyle services.
  • After bootstrapping for 18 months, Spleet closed a US$265,000 pre-seed round in 2019 and is currently raising a seed round.
  • According to disrupt-africa, Spleet is planning to expand to Ghana in the second quarter of 2021, and Kenyan and Rwanda in Q3.

READ: Nigeria Fintech startup, CredPal raises $1.5million funding

One pipe

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  • A Nigerian fintech API company that aggregates APIs from banks and fintechs into a standardized gateway that is easy to integrate and makes partnerships with other service providers seamless raised $950,000 in a pre-seed round from a roster of institutional and angel investors.
  • According to CrunchBase, the API company has raised a total of $1.1million in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Dec 17, 2020, from a Pre-Seed round. With OnePipe, fintechs and banks can collaborate closely to achieve mutual growth rather than compete.

READ: DEAL: Tomato Jos secures over N1.8billion series A funding

Stanbic IBTC

Evolve Credit

  • An online marketplace for Nigerians to secure their best loan options.
  • Evolve credit shows you all the information you need to apply for loans from lending platforms. The company has raised a total of $325K in funding over 2 rounds.

READ: From Pre-Seed to Series D: Startup Funding Rounds Explained

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Helium health

  • Helium Health has raised a total of $12.2million in funding over 5 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on August 12, 2020 from a Series A round.
  • Founded in 2016, Helium Health has become the leading provider of full-service technology solutions for healthcare stakeholders in Africa.
  • The Lagos based health start-up raised $10 million Series A round.
  • According to Tech crunch, Helium plans to use the latest funding round to hire and expand to North and East Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Morocco.

READ: Explained: How startups are valued – Part 2

Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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Spotlight Stories

CES 2021: LG Transparent Smart Bed TV and other key gadgets showcased

Smart Bed TV, smart glasses were some of the innovative gadgets showcased at this year’s edition of the world’s most influential tech event.

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CES 2021, the most influential tech event in the world, which provides a platform for emerging technologies came to a close yesterday, showcasing innovative gadgets like LG Transparent Smart Bed TV, amongst others.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s edition was held virtually between 11-14 January and featured live-stream keynotes from leaders of tech giants like Verizon, Microsoft, as well as General Motors, Mastercard, amongst others.

Highlights of some of the gadgets

Lenovo’s New ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses

  • This is a new pair of smart glasses that uses augmented reality to project up to five virtual desktops right in front of your eyes. These smart glasses are suitable for people working from home because it depicts the perfect multi-monitor setup ever. You can position and resize this virtual monitor however you like. They also fit perfectly in front of prescription glasses.
  • According to Jon Pershke, Lenovo Vice President of Strategy and Emerging Business, “The A3 is a next-generation augmented reality solution — light, powerful and versatile, whether working in virtual spaces or supporting remote assistance, the ThinkReality A3 enhances workers’ abilities to do more wherever they are.”
  • The A3 glasses also include a 1080p 8-megapixel camera, which Lenovo imagines you could use for “remote expert use cases.” Bundled in are dual fish-eye cameras for room-scale tracking.

LG Transparent Smart Bed TV

  • LG showcased a 55-inch Oled transparent TV that can roll up from the foot of a bed.  The company stated that it had achieved 40% transparency on this TV as opposed to the 10% transparency over the years. The TV comes with a set of built-in speakers that are embedded in the transparent frames despite the small panel.
  • Jong-sun Park, LG Display’s Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Business said: “Transparent OLED is a technology that maximizes the advantages of OLED and can be used in various places in our daily lives, from stores, shopping malls, and architectural interiors to autonomous vehicles, subway trains, and aircraft. It will grow into a next-generation display that can change the existing display paradigm.”

Razer Project Hazel Smart Mask

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  • Razer made a high-tech face mask that filters air and amplifies your voice. It qualifies as a surgical N95 respirator, and it also features a silicone seal on the top that glasses wearers will rejoice over.
  • The face mask also comes with a nifty case, which both charges it and keeps it clean thanks to the UV sterilization inside.

Petpuls A.I-powered Dog Collar

  • There is also something for dog lovers. This dog collar is one of the intriguing pet-specific gadgets.  It uses voice recognition technology to detect and track five different emotional states. It analyses the tone and pitch of your dog’s bark to tell you whether your pup feels happy, anxious, angry, sad, or relaxed.
  • It pairs through Wi-Fi with an iOS or Android app to give you a readout of what your pet is ‘saying’.
  • In addition to tracking mood, Petpuls includes an accelerometer to track your dog’s activity and better manage diet. Think of it as a FitBit for your dog. The range is only around 15 feet, but your phone will pair whenever you come back in range.

Razer Project Brooklyn Gaming Chair

  • The new gaming chair by Razer aims to change your gaming experience. It is stylish and designed with ergonomics in mind. It can serve as a desk-side chair for PC gaming. It comes with a clever trick that allows it to transform into an immersive gaming experience.
  • Unlike traditional monitor mounts that use multiple flat gaming displays or a larger curved screen, Project Brooklyn uses a roll-able OLED panel, which provides a bigger radius curvature to place you in the middle of the on-screen action.

Others are…

  • Brink Bionics Impulse Neuro Controller.
  • Cadillac eVTOL flying taxi concept.
  • Panasonic Automotive AR HUD.
  • Kohler Stillness Bath.
  • Samsung’s Micro-LED TV’s come home.
  • Rollable smartphone by LG.
  • Nobi Smart Lamp, amongst others.

What to expect: Most of the amazing gadgets displayed at CES 2021 will be available for sale by the middle of the year.

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Suspending Trump was the right decision but sets dangerous precedent – Twitter CEO

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey has reacted to the permanent suspension of Donald Trump from the social network site.

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Twitter shows interest in buying TikTok, Twitter warns political figures to abstain from fake, misleading statements  

Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of Twitter, said that the decision to ban Donald Trump from the social network was the right decision, but one that sets a dangerous precedent.

Jack Dorsey disclosed this in a statement on Thursday morning.

He said:

  • I do not celebrate or feel pride in having to ban Donald Trump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?”
  • “Banning Trump was the right decision as Twitter faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”

He disclosed that banning an influential account has significant ramifications, citing it as a failure of Twitter to promote healthy conversation and a time to reflect on its operations.

He added that taking actions to limit influential people like Trump fragments public conversation, limits the potential for clarification, redemption, learning, and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous – the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.

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He disclosed that Internet companies engaging in censorship can and over the long term, be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.

  • “A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this. I also recognize it does not feel that way today. Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort, and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together.”

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that Social Media Network, Twitter permanently suspended U.S President, Donald Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.
  • Twitter saw its shares drop as much as 8.5% at the start of Monday’s trading session on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Tech News

Flutterwave makes Y Combinator’s list of top companies by valuation, ranks 115th

Flutterwave is the only African startup featured on the list of top Y Combinator companies by valuation and top exits as of January 2021.

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Google partners Flutterwave to train 5,000 merchants, How the EndSARS protest fundraise initiated by Flutterwave has gone thus far.

Y Combinator, a US startup accelerator that offers seed funding to a wide range of startups, released the list of its top companies by valuation as of January 2021.

The list was put together to help potential employees, partners and late-stage investors get to know a wider set of YC companies.

Flutterwave, valued at $150 million, is the only African startup featured on the list and as Y Combinator’s most valuable startup in Africa.

Over the years, we have seen more Nigerian startups like Paystack, Buycoins, Cowrywise amongst others get into the accelerator program.

  • Since launching in 2005, YC has invested in more than 2,000 startups around the world – investing between $125k-$150k for a 7% equity.
  • The accelerator now has more than 125 companies valued at $150M+ and more than 25 at $1B+
  • The number of global startups on YC’s list is 134 and Flutterwave ranked 115 with Airbnb, DoorDash, and Stripe being top of the list.

According to Y Combinator,

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  • “Valuation is the most commonly available metric to compare companies in the startup world. Other metrics, like revenue, are more often kept private. It’s worth noting that we have several impressive companies who would appear on the list or rank even higher if we counted other metrics.”

Another Nigerian fintech missing from the list is Paystack. Despite getting acquired by fellow Y Combinator alumni, Stripe, for $200million – a figure higher than Flutterwave’s $150million.

Y Combinator added,

  • For top exits, we counted only the money that went to the cap table at the time of acquisition. We did not include retention bonuses or the value founders and investors received from an acquiring company’s stock post-liquidation event.”

The accelerator also noted that this is not an exhaustive list as it allowed some alumni startups to opt out of being listed for any reason. This might be the case for the six-year-old startup, Paystack.

What to expect

As more African startups backed by YC raise funding this year, the YC list will likely feature more than 1 African startup next year.

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