Africa Roundup: Lori Systems wins BFX Africa, Andela raises $40M, Jumia lends to SMEs, Safaricom launches incubator

Logistics transportation firm Lori Systems gained better of present at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa after gaining majority votes of the occasion’s 15 judges. The Kenyan-based enterprise pitched its platform to optimize all factors of the cargo supply provide chain ― from the vans, to the suppliers, to invoicing and prices. Co-founded by South African Josh Sandler and Kenyan Gichini Ngaruiya, Lori Systems will now compete in TechCrunch’s flagship occasion, Disrupt San Francisco 2018.

Lori wasn’t the one winner at Startup Battlefield Africa, the place 15 finalists offered earlier than a full home and international viewers by way of dwell stream. Agtech firm Agrocenta ― which helps small holder farmers enhance their worth chain ― gained the competitors’s social good class. SynCommerce took honors within the gaming and leisure class, which additionally included trend. The Ghana-based startup helps sellers listing and synchronize product stock and gross sales throughout a number of websites, comparable to Shopify, eBay and Etsy.

Startup Battlefield Africa additionally included a panel lineup that mentioned every thing from investing in startups to fixing Africa’s web connectivity equation. Some of October’s larger African tech headlines dropped round speaker-related firms.

The know-how coaching and job placement firm Andela raised $40 million in Series C funding. The financing got here from CRE Venture Capital, a Pan-African enterprise agency, with further participation from DBL PartnersAmploSalesforce Ventures and Africa-focused TLcom Capital.

Previous traders, together with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV and Spark Capital, additionally joined in funding.

Andela says it is going to use the cash to fund an aggressive growth plan — together with the launch of workplaces in two further African international locations.

E-commerce firm Jumia, Africa’s first unicorn, is expanding a small business loan program  into each nation the place the corporate operates.

Working with the San Francisco-based lender Branch, Jumia started providing small companies startup loans in May. The loans have been pegged to distributors’ gross sales historical past with Jumia and future efficiency projections.

In Kenya, sellers obtained loans of as much as 30,000 Kenyan shillings (roughly $290), with a six-month time period and rates of interest of 1.2 p.c monthly.

Under the expanded program, Jumia sellers throughout the continent will be capable of entry credit score at phrases no greater than 12 p.c per 12 months. Credit selections can be made inside two days.

To apply for this system sellers can fill out an internet software kind. So far, 200 distributors have utilized for and obtained loans from a beta model of the brand new program, in keeping with the corporate.

Safaricom — Kenya’s largest telecom firm and supplier of the nation’s cellular cash service M-Pesa — launched a brand new innovation middle in Nairobi.

Named Safaricom Alpha, a precedence of the incubator is to establish spending patterns on M-Pesa and switch these insights into further Safaricom merchandise, Chief Innovation Officer Kamal Bhattacharya told TechCrunch at Startup Battlefield Africa.

“We’d actually like to move beyond M-Pesa by leveraging its power as a social network to connect people to other product solutions,” he stated.

Bhattacharya sees one of many innovation middle’s first merchandise “as a messenger solution with full payment integration to better support the kind of social patterns that our customers are already using informally.”

Some management positions have already been named. Former African Development Bank know-how lead, Dr. Shikoh Gitau, can be Head of Products Innovation. Safaricom’s Veronica Ogeto-Tchoketch will head the innovation middle’s Strategic Partnerships unit and David Nyamai will handle a Business Intelligence and Big Data crew.

The product incubator will finally hook up with a VC operate, together with Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund, to assist investments and partnerships, in keeping with Bhattacharya.

More Africa-related tales @TechCrunch

African tech across the web    

  • Nigeria’s Aella Credit Raises Funding From 500 Startups―@DisruptAfrica
  • Vice, Econet to Launch African Network, Kwese Vice―@HollywoodReporter
  • SAP Faces U.S. Probe Into South Africa Kickback Allegations―@Reuters
  • Millions Caught in South Africa’s ‘Worst Data Breach’―@BBC
  • AIF Opens Entries For Innovation Prize Africa 2018 Awards―@VentureBurn

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