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Egyptian Startup Swypex Launches All-in-One Financial Platform for Businesses After $4 Million Seed Round

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Egyptian Startup Swypex Launches All-in-One Financial Platform for Businesses After $4 Million Seed Round

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Egyptian startup Swypex has unveiled its one-stop financial management platform designed to streamline business operations.

The launch comes after the company secured a US$4 million seed funding round led by prominent venture capital firm Accel, marking their first investment in the region’s fintech sector.

Founded by a trio of entrepreneurs – Ahmad Mokhtar, Tarek Mokhtar, and Sasan Hezarkhani – Swypex offers businesses a unified platform integrating financial dashboards, smart corporate cards, and seamless connections with existing financial systems and accounting software.

The company positions itself as the first comprehensive solution of its kind in Egypt.

Swypex promises to eliminate financial inefficiencies and unlock a business’ full potential by consolidating payments, invoice management, and smart corporate cards into a single platform.

This reportedly simplifies financial management, allowing businesses to automate workflows and make payments more effortlessly.

The seed funding round, led by Accel, signifies strong investor confidence in Swypex. Accel is joined by Foundation Ventures, The Raba Partnership, and a group of prominent angel investors.

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British Investment and Nordic Fund Inject $29.5 Million into Climate Insurance Technologies for Africa

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British Investment and Nordic Fund Inject $29.5 Million into Climate Insurance Technologies for Africa

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The British International Investment (BII) and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) have pledged $29.5 million towards climate insurance technologies.

This commitment comes through the second InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF II) aimed at bolstering climate resilience for Africa’s rural communities.

The decision stems from the growing concern surrounding extreme weather events like droughts and floods plaguing African nations.

These disasters disrupt businesses and particularly impact small-scale farmers, who are crucial for maintaining food security.

Climate insurance, though still in its early stages on the continent, offers a potential solution.

To accelerate the deployment of such solutions, the two development finance institutions are prioritizing technology-driven approaches.

BII is contributing $15 million, while the NDF is providing $13.5 million. Notably, the NDF’s contribution includes an additional $1 million grant specifically for the “technical assistance mechanism” of the IIF II fund.

This combined funding brings the total capital secured by IIF II to $90 million, nearing its $100 million target. The fund’s final closing is anticipated for the latter half of 2024.

IIF II focuses on providing insurance products that shield communities from climate-related shocks and disasters.

Additionally, the fund invests across various segments of the climate insurance value chain, encompassing traditional insurance firms, technology providers, and service companies.

This approach fosters the development of insurtech, which combines insurance operations with digital tools.

For instance, IIF II participated in a $20 million funding round for Pula, a Nairobi-based insurtech company.

This Series B fundraising, which also attracted the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to offer coverage for livestock – a sector severely impacted by recent droughts in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.

Pula’s insurance products have already benefitted over 15.8 million farmers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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South Africa Launches First Military-Focused AI Hub in Africa

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South Africa Launches First Military-Focused AI Hub in Africa

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South Africa took a significant step towards integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its national defense and security with the launch of the Defence Artificial Intelligence Research Unit (DAIRU).
 

The initiative, spearheaded by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies in collaboration with the Department of Defence, establishes DAIRU as the fourth hub under the Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Africa (AIISA).

This development positions South Africa at the forefront of AI research for military applications, aligning with the global trend of utilizing AI in defense operations.

The launch coincides with the National AI Summit held on May 5, 2024, where the importance of regulations for responsible AI development was emphasized.

The draft National AI Plan, shared during the summit, will undergo a pre-policy process to gather public and industry feedback before submission for official approval.

Lieutenant General Michael Ramantswana, Chief of Staff of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), hailed the DAIRU launch as a crucial milestone.

He stressed the importance of not only adopting existing AI technologies but also fostering innovation within the SANDF. Collaboration and resource sharing were highlighted as key factors in accelerating AI implementation.

DAIRU is expected to address critical needs in areas like AI capacity development, cyber defense, maritime and border security, countering illicit activities, and enhancing operational efficiency for the SANDF.

The initiative aligns with the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (PC4IR) recommendations, recognizing AI as a transformative force for both societal and economic progress.

This development in South Africa’s AI landscape paves the way for utilizing this powerful technology to strengthen national security and contribute to broader socioeconomic advancement.

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South African Fintech Giant Adumo Acquired by Lesaka in $85 Million Deal

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South African Fintech Giant Adumo Acquired by Lesaka in $85 Million Deal

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South Africa’s leading independent payments processor, Adumo, has been acquired by fellow fintech company Lesaka in a deal valued at ZAR 1.59 billion (US$85.9 million), subject to approvals.

Adumo, a major player in the South African fintech scene, boasts over 23,000 active merchants who rely on their services for card acquiring, integrated payments, and reconciliation.

Since securing US$15 million in funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2021, Adumo embarked on a strategic acquisition spree, consolidating its market position by acquiring SwitchPay, WireCard, GAAP, SureSwipe, iKhokha, and other payment processors.

The acquiring company, Lesaka, is a South African fintech leader known for its proprietary banking and payment technologies that provide advanced financial solutions to merchants and consumers across Southern Africa.

The acquisition price will be settled through a combination of cash and stock: ZAR 232 million (US$12.5 million) in cash and 17,279,803 shares of Lesaka common stock issued to Adumo’s current shareholders.

These shareholders include Apis Growth Fund I, African Rainbow Capital (majority shareholder of Crossfin Holdings), IFC, and Adumo’s management team.

Adumo’s core services encompass card acquiring, integrated payments, and reconciliation, catering to over 23,000 active merchants and processing an annual throughput exceeding ZAR24 billion (US$1.3 billion).

Additionally, their corporate card services manage payroll, incentives, rewards, and expense management for over 245,000 cardholders. Notably, Adumo ISV (GAAP) is the leading provider of POS and Software-as-a-Service solutions for the hospitality sector in Southern Africa.

With the acquisition finalized, Lesaka’s reach will significantly expand, encompassing 1.7 million active consumers, 119,000 merchants, and an annual throughput exceeding ZAR250 billion.

The combined group will boast over 3,300 employees operating across five Southern African nations: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Kenya.

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Milken-Motsepe Prize Awards African Innovators in Off-Grid Energy Solutions $2 Million

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Milken-Motsepe Prize Awards African Innovators in Off-Grid Energy Solutions $2 Million

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A UK-Malawian venture, Aftrak, has emerged victorious in the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy, a competition aimed at boosting access to sustainable electricity in Africa.

The $2 million prize program, spearheaded by the Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation, awarded Aftrak $1 million for their innovative solar microgrid system.

Aftrak’s winning solution combines portable solar panels with specially designed tractors, empowering rural communities with clean energy and boosting agricultural productivity.

South Africa’s Omnivat secured the second-place prize of $250,000 for its modular power and storage system.

This versatile technology delivers clean water, electricity, and even Wi-Fi with virtual reality capabilities to underserved communities.

The Green Energy Prize is part of the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize program, a series of global competitions fostering technological advancements aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The program’s inaugural competition in 2021, the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Agri-Tech, addressed poverty and hunger.

This year’s Green Energy Prize attracted participation from a diverse pool of entrepreneurs across 79 countries.

Over 160 innovators presented their concepts, with 20 semi-finalists receiving $20,000 each to further develop and field-test their ideas.

Finalists faced rigorous evaluation, with their solutions assessed on their ability to generate significant amounts of off-grid electricity using renewable sources.

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation, commended the participating teams for tackling a critical challenge across Africa.

Building on this success, the 2024 Milken-Motsepe Prize has set its sights on fintech.

Announced at the Milken Institute Global Conference, the upcoming competition will reward businesses that empower small enterprises in developing economies with access to financial resources and services.

With a total prize pool of $2 million and a $1 million grand prize, applications for the Fintech Prize are open until August 6, 2024.

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Seamfix Secures $4.5 Million to Expand Digital Identity Services Across Africa

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Seamfix Secures $4.5 Million to Expand Digital Identity Services Across Africa

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Nigerian digital identity solutions provider Seamfix has secured $4.5 million in funding to fuel its expansion into five new African countries.

This marks the company’s first institutional investment and will be used to improve its technology infrastructure, enhance data flow for continental integration, and launch digital ID services in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Uganda.

Seamfix, founded by Chimezie Emewulu and Chibuzor Onwurah, offers identity management, data capture, and process automation solutions for large organizations and government agencies globally.

The company has a proven track record, having delivered solutions for clients like Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), MTN, Glo, Airtel, and various banks, enabling seamless digital identity creation, verification, and access for users.

This funding round was led by Alitheia IDF, a $100 million gender-focused investment fund supporting businesses with diverse leadership teams.

“We are excited about this investment, a major step forward in shaping Africa’s digital ID verification landscape and connecting the continent to the global sphere,” said Emewulu.

“We believe digital identity is a fundamental right, and this drives our innovation to empower individuals and businesses across Africa to unlock the benefits of verifiable identities.”

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African Biotech Startup Syndicate Bio and SOPHiA GENETICS Partner to Improve Access to Cancer Diagnostics in Africa

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African Biotech Startup Syndicate Bio and SOPHiA GENETICS Partner to Improve Access to Cancer Diagnostics in Africa

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Nigerian biotech company Syndicate Bio has partnered with SOPHiA GENETICS, a leader in cloud-based healthcare software to improve access to advanced cancer diagnostics in Africa,
 

This collaboration aims to address the critical need for wider availability of comprehensive genomic profiling and liquid biopsy testing across the continent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in February 2023 that Africa faces a significant cancer burden, with an estimated 1.1 million new cases diagnosed annually and roughly 700,000 deaths.

Data suggests this number could rise to nearly one million deaths per year by 2030 without decisive interventions.

Through this partnership, Syndicate Bio will offer cutting-edge liquid biopsy testing, a minimally invasive approach that can benefit patients who currently lack access to traditional diagnostic methods or have to travel outside Africa for testing.

“Our collaboration with SOPHiA GENETICS is focused on enabling the widespread use of precision medicine in oncology across Africa,” said Abasi Ene-Obong, Founder of Syndicate Bio.

“We believe this will significantly improve patient outcomes on the continent.”

Ene-Obong elaborated on the potential of the partnership, stating, “By combining Syndicate Bio’s scientific expertise with SOPHiA GENETICS’ AI-powered technologies and data-driven solutions, we have a unique opportunity to revolutionize cancer care in Africa. This includes non-invasive cancer analysis, predictive genetic testing, and the implementation of effective precision medicine strategies.”

SOPHiA GENETICS recognizes the far-reaching impact of this partnership. The company’s Chief Medical Officer acknowledges that Syndicate Bio’s implementation will not only benefit Africa but also contribute to a comprehensive dataset that will provide valuable insights for shaping the future of global healthcare.

Syndicate Bio, launched in September 2023 by former leaders of African genomics startup 54gene, is dedicated to driving advancements in genomics and precision medicine initiatives, with a primary focus on Africa.

In October 2023, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria’s National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to establish a foundation for transformative genomic studies.

This collaboration aims to gain a deeper understanding of diseases prevalent in Nigeria and identify potential targets for drug discovery. NIMR will play a crucial role in ensuring ethical oversight throughout the research process.

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