Odun Eweniyi is co-founder and COO of PiggyVest. She is also co-founder and general partner of FirstCheck Africa, a women-led and women-focused angel fund in Africa.
Explain your work to a five-year-old?
I am responsible for saying “no” to people. And to make sure people do what they are supposed to do and what they say they will do.
What do you wish you had known earlier in your career or life?
I would like to know that there is not just one way to be an entrepreneur. At first, I spent a year trying to adjust to the idea of what I thought a founder should look, behave or talk about.
Turns out I got the best and most successful when I decided to be myself.
What do you think is the most promising thing about technology in Africa?
It’s the people. Oh gosh, we have such resilient and brilliant people in the African tech ecosystem. And it’s not just because we keep making all these products. It’s not just by building or being founders; it comes from the people who work in the companies, as well as the people who make up the team.
I think people who work in African startups are some of the most resourceful people. And, most likely, in a few years, talent will be Africa’s greatest export. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the smartest people in the world through African technology. And I strongly believe that that, the talent, is the most promising thing in this ecosystem.
What is the common misconception of people management?
I guess that would cover the talents, you know, and turn Western practices into a model for Africa. I also think people are wrong when they say that Africa is going to lack talent because of the brain drain.
It’s not a bad thing for us that our talent is exported. Now, do we wish this was done at a slower pace? Probably, yeah. But is it a good thing that these ambassadors are already working in these spaces? Yes. So in the short term, it will be difficult for startups to retain, but in the long term, it makes it easier for startups to expand.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
The very existence of PiggyVest.
I’m incredibly proud of it. From 2016 to today, every working day has been joyful.
What is one thing you like to do that you suck at? What is one thing that you really dislike doing and are good at?
The thing I’m the worst at is addiction. And I constantly try to do that. I constantly download self-help apps every day, but it’s still difficult. I’m easily distracted, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I love the aspect of continually trying and failing to form new habits.
What do you think of web3?
So the thing about technology is that it’s really good at effectively distributing inequality. And it looks like web3 will do a lot more if we don’t commit to fixing the existing issues with web2.
I’m constantly learning a lot about Web3, but I think if you want to build something on Web3, it has to be because it has some mass-market appeal that Web2 doesn’t have. This is what will end up being special.
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The South African government has launched its app store, Digitech, to present local applications. The aim is to encourage public and governmental adoption of applications developed in South Africa.
The store launch coincided with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Several apps featured at the store’s launch perfectly reflected this year’s theme, which focuses on how technology can help people stay fit: “Digital technologies for older people and aging in healthy “.
What kinds of apps are in the store?
Currently, it offers applications such as Sensoa sound assistance application for deaf people; box fusion, an automated administrative tool; and Livestock monitoring, an application that visualizes the geolocation of livestock to breeders. There are 24 other apps in the App Store.
There are already expansion projects
DigiTech’s founding department, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), is already thinking big. Apparentlyhe will announce the platform’s expansion to Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar and other sub-Saharan African countries in September 2022.
Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, calling for support for local products on the platform, mentioned“What is not created in Africa cannot be consumed by the African market.”
Although this is contradicted by Africa’s consumption of foreign technology products ranging from entertainment, finance, crypto, e-commerce, etc., he makes a good point.
Local technological solutions can uniquely meet our needs in the African context and add more socio-economic value to the continent.
With South Africa being particularly tech-friendly, will African tech players heed this call?
MOOVEBETA MERGES WITH IMPALA PAY
Fintech start-up MooveBeta has merged with ImpalaPay. The goal of this merger is to build a connected financial ecosystem across Africa and the Diaspora.
MooveBeta helps users send money using the voucher system its app implements. Its mission is to enable microtransactions via mobile money from anywhere on the globe, to Africa and within Africa. He has deployed the first phase of its differentiated payment solutions in 17 African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Why MooveBeta did this movement
MooveBeta wants to leverage ImpalaPay’s 10+ years of operations experience. ImpalaPay, a fintech blockchain payment, has presence in 42 African countries and 134 worldwide. It manages B2B payments on behalf of companies like Airtel and IMT partners in 17 countries in Africa.
She also achieved interoperability between Airtel and MTN in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. Additionally, ImpalaPay facilitated interoperability between Airtel with M-Pesa, UBA and Africash, fueling over 200 million wallets with over 1.8 billion transactions between 2018 and 2021.
John Kamara, co-founder and CEO of the Adanian Labs incubator affirms that this merger will be a game-changer for the new financial world characterized by fast and interoperable payments.
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Egyptian startup, Instabug, raised $46 million in Series B funding in a round led by global software investor Insight Partners, with participation from existing investor Accel as well as new investors Forgepoint Capital and Endeavour.
Here are the other offers of the week:
Victory Farms, an aquaculture startup based in Kenya has received $5 million in funding from Ed Brakeman, Senior Managing Director of Bain Capital, and Hans den Bieman, Founder and former CEO of Mowi, one of the world’s largest salmon companies.
South African agro-tech start-up, Nile, has received a $5.1 million equity financing round from Naspers Foundry. Participating investors include Platform Investment Partners, Raba Capital and Base Capital.
Kenyan retailtech Bamba, secure $3.2 million in seed funding in a round led by venture capital firm 468 Capital, with participation from Presight Ventures, Jigsaw VC, Mato Peric, Leonard Stiegeler, Laurin Hainy and Thomas Stafford.
The Nigerian logistics start-up Topship raised a $2.5 million funding round from Flexport. Other investors in the round include Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Starling Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, True Capital, Capital X and angel investors including Mercury founder Immad Akhund and Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi.
The Kenyan start-up TopUp Mama farm a $1.7m seed funding round led by Ventures Platform and JAM Fund. The round also includes Next Billion Ventures, Future Africa, Jedar Capital, HoaQ Fund, First Check Africa and DFS Lab.
Bridgecard, a Nigerian fintech start-up raised $440,000 in pre-seed funding from investors including ABV Fund, Ingressive Capital, Voltron Capital, Venture Platform, Velocity Digital and Berrywood Capital.
The Kenyan fintech start-up FlexPay raised an undisclosed amount in funding from the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund
“Fintechs and banks are building symbiotic relationships and leveraging their structure to help them enter the market quickly.”
– Tomilola Majekodunmi, CEO of Bankly.
During the first edition of Ecobank Fintech Breakfast SeriesWe spoke with several industry experts about what strategic fintech-bank collaborations entail and how they can be structured to benefit both parties.
Speakers included Tomilola Majekodunmi, CEO of Bankly; Gbenga Ajayi, Partner and Head of Investments in Africa, QED Investors; Daniel Ahouassa, co-founder and co-CEO, Weblogy; Isaac Kamuta, Group Head, Cash Payments, Cash Management and Customer Access, Ecobank Group; and Tayo Oviosu, Founder and CEO, Paga Group.
Each speaker shared different but equally useful ideas on how to structure partnerships that work, how to navigate power dynamics, how to manage the challenges that can arise from partnership, and how to expand across the continent by leveraging partnerships.
According to Gbenga Ajayi, “Fintechs and banks have the best of both worlds,” and as such, partnerships help them combine forces productively.