Victoria from Techpoint here,
Here's what I've got for you today:
- Woven Finance to reportedly shut down by Q1 2024
- Seedstars Africa Ventures gets $30m
- Bolt cracks down on offline trips in Kenya
Woven Finance to reportedly shut down by Q1 2024
Update: Woven Finance has refuted reports that it will shut down by Q1, claiming that an email warning customers of the impending shutdown was sent in error on Wednesday morning.
"There are no plans to transfer any service," the company also stated about moving its service to Hydrogen.
Woven Finance, a Nigerian fintech startup, will reportedly discontinue its services in the first quarter of 2024.
The company intends to shift its operations to Access Bank-owned fintech Hydrogen.
Although Woven Finance did not reveal the specific reasons for its decision to close in the first quarter of 2024, there is speculation that increased competition from established fintechs and bank-led fintechs, such as Squad, Zest, and Hydrogen, may have played a role.
Adedeji Olowe founded Woven Finance in 2020 to streamline digital payments by giving company owners access to a virtual account for easy payment collection while handling problems with settlements and reconciliation.
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In 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted the startup full licencing. It currently holds a Payment Solutions Service Provider (PSSP) licence.
This development could impact users and competitors in Nigeria's fintech market. For instance, Woven Finance customers may need to change their regular payment processes due to the company’s switch to Hydrogen.
Meanwhile, other competitors may see it as an opportunity to strengthen their market position and capitalise on shifting dynamics in Nigeria's fintech industry.
Updated on Saturday, January 13, 2024, by 7:02 p.m. WAT
Seedstars Africa Ventures gets $30m
Seedstars Africa Ventures has received a $30 million capital commitment from EIB Global, a division of the European Investment Bank, to support risk capital for African startups.
The firm stated that the fund would bridge funding gaps in regions other than the big four — Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa — offer operational and business support to founders, and provide "capital well suited to the needs of entrepreneurs" on the continent.
The Seedstars Africa Ventures I fund, which aims to raise between $80 million and $100 million and targets seed and series A startups, will invest in businesses that use digital technologies to boost business efficiency and deliver necessary services.
This latest commitment comes after LBO France, the fund's anchor investor, made a $8 million investment.
The fund will also close a significant capital gap and provide ongoing support to startups beyond traditional accelerator programmes, providing follow-on funding up to Series B.
In 2020, Maxime Bouan, Tamim El Zein, and Bruce Nsereko Lule created the fund in partnership with LBO France and Seedstars Group, a well-known accelerator for emerging markets, to leverage Seedstars Group’s established infrastructure and market access in Africa.
The Nairobi-based firm plans to invest $250,000 to $2 million in up to 30 startups, with the possibility of additional funding up to $5 million. In addition, the entrepreneurs get access to Seedstars' network, resources, and visibility.
Seedstars Africa Ventures stated that, while the fund is not industry-specific, it is interested in companies that improve products, services, and efficiency and businesses that provide necessities such as utilities, healthcare, and education.
The fund also intends to allocate up to 50% of its capital to Francophone Africa.
Zoom out: In June 2023, Seedstars Capital, the global VC firm, launched Seedstars Youth Wellbeing Ventures, a $20 million venture capital fund aimed at early-stage African startups that seeks to improve the well-being of people under 30 in low- and middle-income countries.
Bolt cracks down on offline trips in Kenya
Bolt Kenya has added a security feature called "driver asked to pay off-the-app," which allows users to decline and report offline trips.
Country Manager Linda Ndungu emphasised that consistently reported drivers may face sanctions, such as temporary bans and account suspensions.
Riders can now use the Safety Toolkit to report situations in which drivers request offline transactions or demand payments that exceed the agreed-upon fare, addressing concerns about user vulnerability during offline interactions.
The company's proactive approach to safety was demonstrated in June 2023, when it worked with authorities to resolve a high-profile kidnapping case involving a Bolt ride.
In November 2023, the company announced the expulsion of over 5,000 drivers in six months for safety violations and a significant investment in platform safety practices.
Sidebar: In December 2023, Bolt South Africa announced that the latest app version now includes a verification process for new riders, requiring them to upload a clear selfie and a copy of their ID.
In case you missed it
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- Pitch Friday is next week Friday, January 19, 2024. To attend or pitch, click this link.
- DevHeit wants a remote full stack developer on its team. Apply here.
- Payaza Africa Limited is hiring an Associate Product Manager. Apply here.
- New Globe is looking for a Data Analytics Manager. Apply here.
- WOO Network is looking for a Senior Product Manager. Apply here.
- Sahara Group is hiring a Risk Data Analyst. Apply here.
- A company in the FCMG industry is looking for a Data Analyst. Apply here.
- Gruve wants a junior product manager on its team. Apply here.
- Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
- If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.
Have a beautiful Thursday!Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.