Opio based in Egypt raises US$300,000 from AUC Angels and others

The Egyptian based Opio, an online based consumer wear brand, has raised US$300,000 from a consortium of investors including AUC Angels. Opio is a clothing and lifestyle brand that is crafted in Egypt and designed for women with an effortless and easy to wear style that can be worn from day to night.

AUC Angels was established by Ahmed Amin in collaboration with the American University in Cairo (AUC) and invests in technology-driven early-stage startups across multiple industries. AUC Angels has a partnership with AUC Venture Lab which provides the access to vetted and highly scalable startups that have already launched their products or services. The firm has invested in other startups such as Jinni and DentaCarts and typically invests up to US$500,000 in each startup.

North Africa and Mediterranean E&P Summit showcases future energy potential in the region

Frontier will host the North Africa and Mediterranean E&P Summit on the 28th of January 2021, with the support of sponsors ONHYM, TGS and Core Lab. The Maghreb-Mediterranean oil, gas and energy landscape, through its significant exploration and production plays, acreage leasing, bid rounds, company assets and portfolio growth, oil & gas discoveries, untapped potential and joint venture interests, continues to lie at the heart of the world energy industry.

A full day of online engagement featuring key players and latest developments within the North Africa and Mediterranean E&P sector with countries covered including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Malta, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon and featuring ONHYM, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration and Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management S.A. (HHRM S.A.). The event brings together key governments, national oil companies and leading corporate players to highlight new discoveries, projects and production shifts, natural gas finds, LNG developments, state oil & gas strategies and policies, investment opportunities and the region’s shifting oil-energy game that is driving regional economic growth.

We invite you to join us as we focus on this key anchor region of the world oil/energy markets.
Visit nafricamedepsummit.com for tickets and registration

Agenda Highlights:

  • Significant exploration and production plays
  • Acreage leasing
  • Bid rounds
  • Corporate strategies
  • Joint venture interests
  • Latest data and seismic
  • Investment opportunities and E&P deals
  • Frontier hydrocarbon potential
  • Current E&P trends
  • Bid rounds
  • Current challenges and opportunities

African sectors & countries investors to consider in 2021

Investors looking to invest in Africa will find that there are less options in 2021. A sizable number of African governments have realised that the in-country weak investment situation will not change if there are no drastic changes to policy. In 2019, 99% of African states signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with the purpose of improving trade within the African continent. We predict that AfCFTA will fail dismally due to the following reasons:

  1. Most African governments were not interested in implementing AfCFTA as they still believe they are better off trading with Europe and Asia.
  2. The reason AfCFTA has become mainstream in Africa 2021 is, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc and exposed badly managed African countries.
  3. AfCFTA is the only policy that can be sold to specific African constituencies which already know that their governments are failing.

When it comes to implementing such a large move in policy at a regional scale, it takes objective intent and subjective support to see this through, just like what was expected in the creation of the EU bloc in 1951. African governments are for many reasons, not in a position to take this policy forward with the exception of trade which has some partially accepted points as discussed below:

Tariff structure – Most African governments have agreed to a 90% basket of goods for free movement and 10% of sensitive products will eventually have free movement in the long term (we estimate that to be at least 10 years).

Rules of Origins – Specific details relating to rules of origins have not been concluded and many African countries still need to submit their proposals of product-specific rules of origin. The rules of origin will also be unpacked with respect to goods obtained from Special Economic Zones.

Dispute settlement – African countries are still in the process of agreeing on the home base for dispute settlement. This will be important in the success of AfCFTA in attracting African companies to make use of free trade to do business within the African continent.

Secretariat – Rwanda has played a key role in ensuring that the AfCFTA has structure, lobbying for African countries to agree to a certain budget, the location/country that will manage the administration and the management organogram of the AfCFTA Secretariat. The AfCFTA Secretariat has since been agreed to be located in Accra, Ghana. However, all African countries still have to agree on the implementation of structure, budget and management.

Egyptian based Cassbana raises US$1-million from investors led by Disruptech

Cassbana, an Egyptian based fintech startup that uses artificial intelligence to manage a behaviorual based credit scoring system, has raised US$1-million from investors led by Disruptech. Cassbana provides access to credit to the unbanked segment in Egypt by ensuring that the financial services sector can provide credit facilities to formally unbanked customers. The startup was established in 2020 and now has the required funding to expand its operations.

Disruptech is an Egyptian focused fintech fund that has US$25-million available for investment opportunities. The fund was established by Mohamed Okasha and Malek Sultan and has since invested in companies such as Khazna, Brimore and recently in Cassbana. The stake acquired by the consortium of investors led by Disruptech was not disclosed.

Enygma Ventures provides US$650,000 investor funding to Premier Credit

Premier Credit, an online micro-lending platform that operates in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe has received a $650,000 in seed funding from Enygma Ventures. Premier Credit was established in 2013 by Chilufya Mutale and Eugene Mwila and provides loans to mostly local women businesses by leveraging online technology.

The USA based Enygma Ventures launched a fund in 2019 with US$6.8million (R122million) in women-led entrepreneurial companies operating within the confines of the Southern African region. The fund operates in partnership with the Africa Trust Group which facilitates an incubation programme before an investment is deployed to further assist with business expansion. Enygma Ventures was founded by Sarah Dusek and Jacob Dusek and has selected 11 entrepreneurs in 2020 from over 900 applications received in Southern Africa.

CredPal raises US$1.5-million from Y Combinator and other VC firms

CredPal has raised US$1.5-million from a large consortium of venture capital (VC) investors which included Y Combinator, GreenHouse Capital and Tangerine Life Insurance. CredPal is a Nigerian based fintech startup, with credit solutions geared towards providing seamless credit access for businesses and individuals across developing economies. The company also offers expense management solutions which enables businesses to issue credit or debit cards.

Y Combinator is global VC firm that provides seed funding for startups to get startups through the first phase to build a business impressive enough to raise money on a larger scale and typically introduces the startups to later stage investors. Y Combinator invested in well-known startups such as Doordash, Dropbox, Airbnb, GitLab, Flexport, Instacart, Coinbase, Reddit and Stripe among many others. Y Combinator has 18 companies in its portfolio that are valued at over US$1-billion and has raised over US$25-billion from investors. GreenHouse Capital is Nigerian based VC firm and Tangerine Life Insurance is a Nigerian based insurance firm that have also participated in the funding round.

IFC provides US$10-million credit line facility to I&M Bank

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has provided a US$10-million loan facility to I&M Bank (Rwanda), which must be used to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that were impacted by Covid-19 related liquidity challenges. The bulk of businesses in Rwanda fall in this segment and the IFC took the view that the most efficient methodology to provide access to funding to SMEs in Rwanda would be through I&M Bank.

I&M Bank is the oldest financial services institution in Rwanda with services ranging from retail to business banking. The government holds 20% shareholding and the public holds 80% shareholding in the bank which is listed on the Rwandan Stock Exchange.

ILARA Health raises US$3.75-million from a consortium of investors led by TLcom Capital

ILARA Health, a Kenyan healthcare startup that provides point of care diagnostic testing to small primary care clinics, has raised equity funding of US$3.75-million from investors which comprise of TLcom Capital, Chandaria Capital, DOB Equity and Global Ventures. The funding will be used for expansion of operations in diagnostic equipment supply. The healthcare company recently received a grant of US$1.1-million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

TLcom Capital is a venture capital fund that began it operations in London two decades ago with over US$300-million in assets under management and tech investments in Europe, Israel and the US. TLcom team has invested heavily in Africa and opened offices in Nairobi and Lagos. Investors include African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and FBN Capital among others.

TLG Capital exits its successful investment in BAJ Stations Uganda

TLG Capital has exited its investment in BAJ Stations Uganda at above 30% internal rate of return after it initially invested in the company in 2017. The company manages service stations based in Uganda which are typically along highways. The operations have expanded from 5 to 40 services stations in a period of 4 years. The exit amount or the equity portion of the facility exited was not disclosed.

TLG Capital is an impact investor that believes that social development and commercial returns can be concurrent. The firm’s Credit Opportunities Fund was specifically set up to support quality African small to medium enterprises with limited partners such as the Swedfund. The fund provides innovative debt funding solutions, strong collateral, a wide network, a strong investment team, equity kickers, protections, negative controls and captures the growing ubanisation and consumerism in Africa. The Credit Opportunities Fund provides funding to retail, fintech and telecoms companies in diverse regions within Africa and currently has loans outstanding of US$303-million.

Inside Capital invests US$3.1-million in WeCycle (Mauritius)

Inside Capital has invested US$3.1-million in a Mauritius based recyclable waste collector, WeCycle. The company collects paper and cardboard waste for export to India, South Korea, Madagascar and Indonesia. The equity funding provided will expand the operations of the waste collection operations of WeCycle.

Inside Capital is a private equity firm that invests in high potential companies in Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. The firm provides capital of between US$1-million and US$10-million and has invested in KCBricks (Zambia), The Latitude Hotels (located in Malawi, Zambia & Uganda), Reneworld (Mauritius) and Technopet (Madagascar) among others.