$18.6m Samurai fund for African startups, Airtel is Nigeria’s fastest mobile network?

by | Apr 19, 2021

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Good day,

Múyìwá here,

Today, I am exploring

  • Samurai Incubate’s $18.6m fund for African startups
  • Ookla’s Q1 Market Report on the state of Nigeria’s mobile and fixed networks

Samurai Incubate raises $18.6m to invest in more African startups

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Rena Yoneyama (managing partner, Samurai Incubate Africa), Nao Koike (manager, Samurai Incubate Africa), Kentaro Sakakibara (Founder & CEO, Samurai Incubate). Source: Supplied

On April 15, 2021, Tokyo-based early-stage VC, Samurai Incubate, announced closing over ¥2 billion (roughly $18.6m) for its Samurai Africa 2nd General Partnership fund. According to the official statement, over 54 corporate and individual investors, with experience in starting and expanding startups, participated in the fund.

As the name indicates, the fund will be dedicated to investing in African startups. Notable investment partners include Mobility54, a sub-subsidiary of the Toyota Group, which has invested in its fair share of African startups.

The Samurai Africa 2nd General Partnership fund, which was initiated in January 2020, is coming almost 3 years after an initial fund (Samurai Incubate Africa), which focused on 23 startups in South Africa, East and West Africa.

But this new fund will see Samurai Incubate extend its tentacles to North Africa, particularly Egypt.

How they invest: Wallets Africa, Bamboo, SimbaPay and Eden Life are some of the better-known African startups that Samurai Incubate has invested in since 2018. While they rarely disclose funding details, the VC firm typically invests between $50,000 to $800,000 per startup. Here’s some insight into how they invest in African startups.

One network to rule them all?

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Photo Credit: Jan Bogaerts Fotografie Flickr via Compfight cc

According to a recent report by Ookla (the company behind Speedtest.net), ipNX Nigeria was the fastest and most consistent fixed broadband provider, and Airtel Nigeria the fastest and most consistent mobile data network, in Nigeria for Q1 2021. In addition, South-South city, Port Harcourt had the fastest mean mobile download speed, at 23.02 Mbps, during the same period.

The journalist in me is fighting the urge to impose my personal experience on how I interpret Ookla’s figures. So I’d rather point you to their methodology. TL;DR it’s pretty rock solid, with local servers in practically every country and lots of data points to work with. Perhaps Emmanuel would be willing to do a deep dive later in the week. But in the meantime, I’d like to know your personal experience (hit ‘reply’).

Which ISPs/mobile networks were runner-ups, you ask? You can find them here and here but just in case you’re too lazy to click, they include usual suspects — like MTN and Glo — and not-so-usual suspects, like KKONTech.

What else is happening?

Have a great week!

Múyìwá Mátùlúkò for Techpoint Africa.

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