SunCulture’s $12 million funding

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April 12, 2024
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4 min read
funding

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Ibolachi,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • SunCulture’s $12 million funding
  • Sudan makes partial Internet comeback
  • Airtel Africa buys more shares

SunCulture’s $12 million funding

funding

Kenyan climate tech startup SunCulture has got $12 million to amp up its solar irrigation game across Africa. 

Thanks to a partnership with InfraCo Africa and Savant Group Ltd., plus backing from big names like Acumen Funds, Reed Hastings (yeah, the Netflix co-founder), and Eric Schmidt (former Google bigwig), the company’s set to bring IoT-enabled solar-powered irrigation to tonnes of small farmers by 2030.

This cash boost, part of their Series B funding, makes its total investment a whopping $65 million. The climate tech startup plans to get 274,000 solar irrigation systems up and running in Kenya alone.

Founded by Samir Ibrahim (CEO), SunCulture's on a mission to help farmers step up their game, ditching old-school methods for greener, more efficient solutions.

Its solar water pumps are a hit, slashing costs and emissions compared to traditional pumps. Plus, its not stopping at irrigation - it’s eyeing up soil tests and insurance too.

With only a tiny fraction of African farmers having access to irrigation, SunCulture wants to shake things up and boost production big time. And according to Ibrahim, investing in irrigation might not be glamorous, but it's a game-changer for farmers, boosting yields up to fivefold.

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What’s more, so far, the company has sold over 47,000 solar-powered irrigation units, and it’s just getting started. 


Sudan makes partial Internet comeback

A screen showing the Internet in a red background with the "@" symbol
Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

Remember this? Sudan's Internet shutdown hits over 14m users 

After two months of Internet shutdown in Sudan, some mobile network operators are slowly getting back on their feet. 

Two telecoms operators — Sudani and Zain — are up and running, but their services are spotty at best, with on-and-off connectivity for calls and data. 

However, Sudatel, the government-owned telco, is doing better, especially in Port Sudan, where it's providing reliable optical-fibre data services. But the big player, MTN, is still completely offline across Sudan.

The year-long conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces is the root cause of this entire mess, as it severely damaged the nation's telecommunications network. With cell towers and power grids in shambles, about 14 million Sudanese folks are cut off from the world.

Telecom providers are scrambling to get things back to normal, but it's tough. The damage is extensive, messing up their systems and causing all sorts of issues with calls and internet.

Surprisingly, though, Starlink has turned out to be a lifeline for a lot of Sudanese, including the Rapid Support Forces, during the blackout.

On a brighter note, the Sudanese government gave the thumbs up for humanitarian groups to bring in telecom gear to help out. The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, launched last year to aid in humanitarian efforts, is all for it. At least there's some progress in the works!

Airtel Africa buys more shares 

Airtel Africa

Airtel Africa just snagged 8.6 million of its shares from Citigroup as part of its ongoing buyback plan, which kicked off in March. 

It’s planning to scoop up $100 million worth of shares over the next year to trim down its debt and cut operating costs.

The deal means those shares it bought are getting axed, which boosts the stakes for the remaining shareholders and sets them up for fatter dividend payouts down the line. Plus, it gives Airtel more say in its future moves.

The company's sticking to the rules laid out in its deal with Citigroup and the green light it got from shareholders last year to repurchase millions of shares.

This buyback is happening in two chunks, with the first $50 million batch running from March to August this year. In their latest move, Airtel snagged nearly 488,000 shares from Citigroup at around $131.70 a share.

Segun Ogunsanya, Airtel Africa's big boss, says the company is only diving into this buyback because their business is raking in cash. He reckons snapping up their own shares is a smart move given their rosy growth outlook.

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing. Like other companies in Nigeria, Airtel's been hit by tough economic times, with revenue taking a hit in December 2023 due to the naira's drop. To cut costs, Airtel has handed over tower operations to IHS Towers. 


In case you missed it

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Opportunities   

  •  Apply for Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) by May 6, 2024, here
  • Nansen is looking for a Product Manager. Apply here.
  • At Matters Lab is hiring a remote Product Manager. Apply here.
  • Veza is looking for a Senior Software Engineer. Apply here.
  • Clari is looking for a Senior Software Engineer. Apply here.
  • Seedstars has announced  INFUSE 2024, a global invitation for innovative applications aimed at fortifying health systems against climate threats and improving immunisation delivery. Apply here.
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • 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 fun weekend!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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