Author: Jake Bright

Africa Roundup: Uber says it’s staying, Konga could be epic startup fail

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Harley Davidson’s EV debut could electrify the motorcycle industry Africa Roundup: Partech Ventures launches $70M fund, TPG Growth acquires TRACE, Rensource raises $3.5M Despite exit rumors and quitting Morocco, Uber is staying in Africa, according to its General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits. Speculation Uber could leave the continent surfaced late last year when a board member of its biggest investor, Softbank, encouraged the company to focus on markets such as the U.S., Europe, and Latin...

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Harley Davidson’s EV debut could electrify the motorcycle industry

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Africa Roundup: Partech Ventures launches $70M fund, TPG Growth acquires TRACE, Rensource raises $3.5M Want to learn about African immigrants? Mr. President, meet Africa’s tech sector Harley Davidson will launch its first production e-motorcycle in 2019. Yes, the iconic symbol of American steel and piston popping internal combustion is shifting to voltage. “We announced we’ll invest more aggressively in…electric technology in premium motorcycles,” Harley Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said on the company’s recent earnings call. “You’ve...

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Africa Roundup: Partech Ventures launches $70M fund, TPG Growth acquires TRACE, Rensource raises $3.5M

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Want to learn about African immigrants? Mr. President, meet Africa’s tech sector A look back at the year that the Sub-Saharan African startup scene found its stride Last month we characterized 2017 as the year Sub-Saharan Africa’s startup scene found its stride. Twenty-eighteen looks to be the year of numerous VC investments. TPG acquires TRACE January got the funding party started. U.S. based private equity firm TPG Growth acquired a majority stake (of an undisclosed value) in entertainment company TRACE. TRACE is a global multimedia giant for African music and film content with 200 million viewers and listeners in 160 countries, 30 mobile services, 21 pay TV channels, and 7 FM radio stations. TPG Growth will “partner with TRACE’s co-founder and management to build a global leader for Afro-urban music and entertainment,” said a company release. There’ll likely be more Africa investments for TPG Growth in 2018. Last October the firm raised  $2 billion for The Rise Fund, founded by TPG Managing Partner Bill McGlashan with Bono’s support. Partech Ventures launches Africa fund and office Paris based VC firm Partech Ventures raised $70M for an Africa fund and opened an office in Dakar, Senegal. The firm—with over 250 investments and 45 exits globally—pooled financial support from partners such as IFC, European Investment...

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Lamborghini’s EV initiatives seem to lack a spark

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: It doesn’t look like Lamborghini will be joining the race for e-performance vehicles anytime soon. Even as the Italian company announced plans to work with MIT in a collaboration to create “electric super sports cars of the future” with the unveiling of its Terzo Millennio concept car; without an exact EV Lambo production date, it’s unclear when the iconic brand will leave its gas-powered days in the dust.   A company spokesperson couldn’t confirm when a...

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FarmCrowdy raises $1M round to bring Nigerian farmers online and to market

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Bringing small scale Nigerian farmers to a broader market has netted the new startup Farmcrowdy $1 million from investors including Techstars, Cox Ventures and Social Capital. Farmcrowdy’s digital platform connects investors to farmers through sponsorship packages to fund higher yields for a share of the returns. The app allows the sponsors to “Farm Shop” screened agricultural opportunities by produce type, funding amount, contract duration, and expected returns on an investment. The profiles include details on what the sponsorship funds―farm inputs, technical advice, or logistical support―to achieve yields. Common crops are cassava, soya beans, and rice. Investors can also use Farmcrowdy’s platform to track the performance of their sponsorships. “What makes Farmcrowdy different from other platforms is it turns a complex problem into a digital marketplace,” Farmcrowdy CEO Onyeka Akumah told TechCrunch. “We’re taking care of funding for farmers, training for farmers, providing the market for the farmers to sell. We’re taking care of the logistics to move farm harvests to the market and making sure farmers earn a decent return at the end of their cycle,” he said. Farmcrowdy screens small scale farms throughout Nigeria and works with partners such as Syngenta and Africa’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to shape sponsorship...

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Africa’s SureRemit joins the tokenized race to win the global remittance market

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Nigerian based SureRemit has launched a crypto token aimed at money sent home by global immigrants. The startup — which is incorporated in Mauritius — offered pre-sales of its remittance focused tokens this week, before a January 2018 ICO. SureRemit will use blockchain partner Stellar’s platform. The company is connecting its crypto product — which is not redeemable by consumers for cash — to a network of pre-approved merchants in Nigeria, Kenya,...

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Africa Roundup: ToLet Acquires JumiaHouse NG, Facebook announces NG_Hub, Interswitch IPO Update

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Lagos based online real estate startup ToLet.com.ng acquired Jumia House Nigeria for an undisclosed amount. Jumia House is a subsidiary of the continent’s lone tech unicorn — Pan-African e-commerce giant Jumia.com. ToLet and Jumia House Nigeria will merge platforms under the new name PropertyPro.ng. The $1.2 million Series A startup was able to buy part of a $1 billion company with the help of its lead investor, Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV). While ToLet...

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Will Interswitch still be the company that brings Sub-Saharan Africa its big tech windfall?

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: In 2016 it appeared Africa would produce its first big tech IPO on a major stock market. As reported in TechCrunch, Nigerian fintech firm Interswitch — which provides much of Nigera’s digital banking and payments infrastructure — was poised for a dual listing on the Lagos and London stock exchanges at a $1 billion valuation. The company had selected investment bankers, had support of primary backer (Helios Investment Partners), and things seemed...

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