Some competition for fintech

by | Apr 6, 2022

This post is a delayed version of Techpoint Digest, a week-daily newsletter that rounds up major happenings in African tech. You can start receiving it hours before everyone else if you subscribe now

Hello there, 

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than the average for all occupations. The median wage is also higher than that of other jobs.

But what’s the outlook for tech workers in Africa? To answer that question, we’re conducting a survey to ascertain tech workers’ salaries in Africa and will appreciate your help.

Please fill out this form if you work in any tech role. You can also share it on all social media channels with the note below.

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Help Techpoint Africa determine the salaries of tech workers in Africa by filling out this form.

In other news, we will be hosting the April edition of Pitch Friday on Friday, April 8, 2022. Pitch Friday is a monthly event where early-stage startup founders pitch their ideas or business to an audience. In return, they get feedback that they could use to improve their product. 

Register to attend here.

In this issue:

  • SmartWage’s seed funding 
  • ZirooPay’s Series A
  • $100k to build the tech talent pipeline

SmartWage raises $2 million in seed funding

SmartWage Caroline van der Merwe and Simon Ellis edited
SmartWage co-founders. L-R. Caroline van der Merwe and Simon Ellis

Africa’s fintech sector has attracted the most funding in the last three years, receiving $2.3 billion in 2021 alone. Some sectors get less than $50 million, cementing fintech’s dominance.

This year seems to have seen increased attention on startups focused on digitising human resources and payroll functions for African businesses. Companies like Khazna, which provides salary-on-demand for employees, Earnipay, and SeamlessHR have all received investments this year.

Yesterday, another startup, SmartWage, announced its $2 million seed funding. The company received investment from Idris Bello, founding partner of LoftyInc Capital, Creator Collective Capital, Penrose Capital, and angel investors from Naspers, Dimension Data, Investec, and Standard Bank.

What does SmartWage do?

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The startup enables employers to manage HR functions for employees who do not have an email via WhatsApp. This includes communication, leave requests, accessing payslips, and other products the company offers. 

Its solution is primarily focused on frontline employees like security personnel, restaurant staff, and cashiers who often do not have an email. Since it was founded in 2020, SmartWage has added clients like Debonairs, Seattle Coffee, Truda, Twizza, KFC, and Edgars. 

In a statement on the investment, Bello shared his optimism that the startup could drive digital inclusion in Africa.

“The team at SmartWage are innovators – they’re building more than just an earned wage access product, and have recognised that in order to make a tangible impact on employers, they need to build a powerful way for employers to engage with their workforce. 

“We are excited to partner with Simon, Caroline and the powerful team they’ve assembled to support SmartWage’s mission to drive digital inclusion across Africa,” he said. 

ZirooPay’s Series A

Traditional PoS terminal
Traditional PoS Terminal

The popularity of PoS merchants in Nigeria has grown in the last five years as more individuals choose them over long ATM and bank queues. Before this, a customer who intended to withdraw or make deposits had to wait for some time before completing transactions.

The financial institutions powering these merchants (banks and fintechs) have also seen tremendous growth. One of these fintech startups – ZirooPay – has announced the completion of its $11.4 million Series A round.

The round had a combination of institutional and individual investors, such as Zrosk Investment Management, Inventure, Fedha Capital, Exotix Advisory, Petri Kivinen, Abiodun Ajai, Kurt Bjorklund, Stephane Kurgan, and Jonas Dromberg.

The startup plans to use these new funds to expand its payment infrastructure, accelerate growth, and grow its team.

The company’s value proposition is to improve the transaction success rate of merchants on its platform. It does this using an application that can work in areas with little or no Internet coverage.

Why is this important? 

While PoS services target areas with low bank penetration, the PoS machines are powered by the Internet. Consequently, they often experience downtimes as a result of poor Internet connections. However, with ZirooPay’s solution, the company claims it can ensure transaction success rates of 95% compared to 50% from competing services.

DevCareer’s $100k grant

nigerian developers
Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

DevCareer has received a $100,000 grant for the third cohort of its Laptops4Developers program. The non-profit revealed that it plans to train 100 people in this cohort which will run in five African countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, and Rwanda.

As Africa’s tech ecosystem grows, the demand for African tech talents has grown simultaneously. This demand has been partly driven by remote work and some African countries having English as an official language.

Several businesses have sprung up to fill this demand for talent with the likes of Gebeya, Andela, and TalentQL (where DevCareer’s founder, Sultan Akintunde is a co-founder). However, DevCareer is different from the others as it is a non-profit organization.

Akintunde started DevCareer in 2019. Before that, he had tried to raise funds for people looking to get into tech. A conversation with a sponsor led to the start of DevCareer to provide a pathway to help upcoming African developers.

What I’m reading and watching

Opportunities

  • Bitmama has several roles open. Worth a shot?
  • Fluidcoins is looking for a business development and sales manager. If you’d like to be paid in crypto, apply here
  • Kippa needs someone to head its engineering team. Apply here
  • Want to be a tech sis? Then Microsoft’s LEAP Apprenticeship Programme in partnership with Tek Experts could be for you. Apply here
  • Get rewarded for gaining tech skills at the Microsoft Spring Skills Challenge. Details here
  • Identitypass is hiring. Check out available roles
  • CarePay is looking for a customer success officer and a pricelist coding intern. Find out more and apply here and here
  • Nestcoin is hiring for a few roles. Check them out here.
  • Maliyo Games is hiring a Community Manager. Apply here.
  • Zazuu is hiring a Social Media Manager. Apply here.
  • Hellicarrier is hiring a Senior Product Marketing Manager. Apply here.
  • Brass is hiring an Employee Experience Lead. Apply here.
  • RenMoney is hiring a Business Intelligence Analyst. Apply here.
  • Flutterwave is hiring a Product Compliance Officer. Apply here.

Have an amazing day!

Chimgozirim Nwokoma
Chimgozirim Nwokoma

Accidental writer, covering Africa’s startup landscape and its heroes.


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