Looking at how Flutterwave, mPharma and Kudabank are connecting Africa
🗞️ Welcome to BD Insider: Letter 72
Hi <<First Name>>!
March is ending in one week and it seems like startups are tying up their Q1 goals. At least three Nigerian startups announced the close of their funding rounds between our last newsletter and the edition you are reading.
Kudabank, Termii, and Kwik Delivery all announced rounds of over $1 million. If you've been reading our newsletters consistently, you'll know that fundraising means hiring season is upon us.
Despite the world being a "global village," Africa still remains largely disconnected from the rest of the world and deeply fragmented within itself.
In this edition of BD Insider, we will be covering the hottest news from the last seven days and how they are connecting Africa both to the world and to itself.
Oh, and we have a small gift for some of our readers. 😉
🤝🏽 Flutterwave brings PayPal payments to African merchants
The relationship between PayPal and Nigerians has been frosty for a while now. Despite being one of the world's leading fintech companies, Nigerians have been unable to fully utilize PayPal's services due to location-based restrictions.
Up until last week, Nigerian users could not receive funds via PayPal, they could only make payments. The situation was much worse in Ghana where people could neither make payments or receive them via the service. A petition was even started to bring PayPal to Ghana.
After achieving unicorn status the week before, Flutterwave pulled a unicorn move by partnering with PayPal to bring payments to merchants in all the African countries it is active in.
The news was well-received as African merchants have long been sidelined from global commerce due to payment restrictions like PayPal's.
While there were initial concerns about its availability in Nigeria and Ghana, Benjamindada.com can confirm that the service is available in both countries
My thoughts: PayPal hasn't fully lifted restrictions on Ghanaians and Nigerians using its services. The company placed those restrictions due to a high rate of credit card fraud from both countries.
Paypal's partnership with Flutterwave allows the Silicon Valley company to rely on Flutterwave's knowledge of the local terrain for due diligence and fraud prevention. The partnership allows freelancers and merchants to work around receiving payments, as long as they sign up through Flutterwave.
While it is not a complete turnaround, the partnership should be considered a good thing for the future of payments in Africa. In the near future, we might just see PayPal reverse its stance and open its doors completely to all Africans.
Treford Group, the Nigerian edTech company, is organising a two-week training for people interested in Product Management.
Benjamindada.com has partnered with Treford group to give a 50% discount to 4 lucky BD Insiders. The 50% discount means our lucky readers get to pay N20,000 instead of N40,000 for the full training. If you are reading this, that could be YOU.
How to win the 50% Benjamindada<>Treford Scholarship:
Make a tweet answering the following question: How many tech unicorns has Nigeria had, and who are they?
(Hint: The answer is in our previous newsletter)
Use the #BDInsider hashtag in your Tweet so we can see it. Alternatively, you can tweet using this link.
We will reach out to the first four people to answer the question correctly. ✌🏽
💊 mPharma enters Ethiopia, now in 8 markets
Ghanaian Pharmaceutical startup, mPharma, last week announced a collaboration with Ethiopian company, Belayab Pharmaceuticals - a part of Belayab Group, an Ethiopian conglomerate.
The partnership signals mPharma's expansion into its 8th market, a huge step for the eight-year-old company. mPharma's expansion into Ethiopia is part of its mission to provide access to high-quality medication at affordable prices.
Why is this important?
Despite being Africa's second-biggest country by population, Ethiopia remains a largely closed economy. Foreign companies and investors often face strong resistance when trying to make in-roads into the country.
This resistance, in turn, has slowed down the penetration of technology in the country. For reference, Ethiopia is just getting its first mobile POS startup.
mPharma's entrance into Ethiopia shows there is a way for other African companies looking to enter into the 120 million people market. It is a step in the right direction for connecting the African continent.
The company partnered with Belayab Group — a conglomerate that is also an official franchisee of companies like Pizza Hut and Kia Motors in Ethiopia.
mPharma says the partnership should open two pharmacies in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, before the end of 2021.
Other countries where mPharma is present include Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia.
💲 Kuda raises $25 million in series A
Following its record-breaking seed round, Kudabank, the Nigerian neobank, has raised a further $25 million in Series A funding. The Series A round was led by Valar Ventures, a firm cofounded by legendary Facebook and Paypal investor, Peter Thiel.
This round takes Kuda's total raise to just around $36.6 million. Since its last raise, the company has more than doubled its customer base to bring the total numbers to 650,000 registered customers.
The company also claims to have processed $2.2 billion worth of transactions in February 2021 alone, a remarkable feat by any measure.
With the recent funding, Kuda hopes to achieve direct integrations to companies to facilitate salary payments and salary-backed loans.
The company also hopes to become the bank for all Africans around the world. It hopes to start this by providing limited banking services to Africans in diaspora to help connect them to their family and friends at home.
In an email to customers shortly after the announcement, the company mentioned it would be developing its own card-printing facilities. It should be noted that Kuda's debit card services have come under severe criticism for taking too long to arrive after customers make requests. With a new card-printing facility underway, Kuda hopes to fast-track card production for its customers.
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Here are some of the recent startup fundraises across Africa that you should be aware of: