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African Tech Roundup
African Tech Roundup
Africa-focused technology, digital and innovation ecosystem insight and commentary.
May 14, 2020
Constructive Development Finance Frameworks With Jean Bosco Iyacu
In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Jean Bosco Iyacu thoughtfully interrogates the sustainable impact of progressive development finance versus the sketchy outcomes of foreign aid. Jean Bosco is a former banker and fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the director of programmes at Access to Finance Rwanda, an organisation which promotes financial inclusion for low-income clients. Listen to hear why he's not a fan of foreign aid and explain why a robust development funding market is key to disrupting the systematic issues with the global finance status quo. Editorial Disclaimer: This podcast is part of a seven-part podcast miniseries interrogating the progress being made in advancing entrepreneurship and job creation in some of the world’s most fragile regions. The series was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 7th Annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam— a premier gathering of refugees, entrepreneurs, educators, private sector actors, government leaders, academics and NGOs. While SPARK is the presenting sponsor of the series, African Tech Roundup maintains complete editorial oversight. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK. Image credit: Riccardo Annadale
Apr 28, 2020
Contemplating COVID-19's Impact on Africa's Economic Outlook with Landry Signé & Iginio Gagliardone
Professor and Founding Co-Director of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Globalization 4.0 at Thunderbird School of Global Management Landry Signé joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host Iginio Gagliardone for a heartfelt discussion about how the COVID-19 crisis might alter Africa's economic growth trajectory. Landry is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution and his passionate perspectives about the merits of democracy feature heavily in this episode. His views are coloured, in part, by the live policy-making exposure he's gleaned during advisory assignments such as serving on the Global Network on Digital Technologies for Sustainable Urbanization at the appointment of a United Nations Under Secretary-General. Using Landry's new book "Unlocking Africa's Business Potential: Trends, Opportunities, Risks, and Strategies" as a springboard for the conversation, the trio interrogates some of the speculation influencing Africa's collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen in to learn why, despite what's going on right now, Landry is standing by the bullish notions outlined in his book— views which, for the most part, Iginio buys into given the positive progress points the continent was posting before the whole COVID-19 nightmare set in. Questions discussed in this episode include: 1) What immediately pops into Landry, Iginio and Andile's heads when they hear ‘Covid-19 and Africa?' [08:34] 2) In light of what is happening in his native Italy, what does Iginio view as key learning points for South Africa, where he is currently based? [18:45] 3) How should 'expert' projections shape Africa's political and economic response to Covid-19? [22:36] 4) Landry unpacks insights from his new book, Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential: Trends, opportunities, risks and strategies. [42:11] 5) Why would anybody consider Africa's population growth trajectory as anything but a good thing? [43:52] 6) How might Africa position to become more competitive in the global economy? [45:30] 7) Is Landry as bullish on Africa’s potential now as he was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit? [49:10] 8) Why might Africans do well to be cautiously optimistic about the continent's recovery prospects? [51:00] 9) What does Landry see as Africa's top unique selling propositions? [58:59] 10) Apart from the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, what other evidence might there be of increased regional trade cooperation in Africa? [1:08:05] Image credit: Nick Romanov
1 hr 33 min
Mar 30, 2020
Ozow's Mitchan Adams On COVID-19: Well-positioned South African payments players are coining it
Ozow Co-founder & Head of R&D, Mitchan Adams, joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host & Lettuce Co-founder Simon Dingle for this beefy flagship episode to discuss the current state-of-play in South Africa's digital payments processing scene. Mitch reveals why Ozow is actively recruiting and onboarding new hires right now and explains why the startup is seeing a sharp spike in revenue even as the global COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold. Listen in for actionable insight about South Africa's competitive financial services landscape, and learn why both Mitch and Simon hope that the country and some of its neighbours in the region will adopt open banking regulation a la Europe's PSD2 dispensation sooner rather than later. Mitch is a software engineer who, prior to co-founding Ozow (formerly i-Pay) in 2014, worked at a stockbroking firm— developing and maintaining software which interfaced with Johannesburg Stock Exchange's futures, stocks and bond markets. He also served a stint at Setcom, where his knack for online and card-based payment streams properly took root. To skip all the introductory niceties, head straight to [12:52]. Questions discussed in this episode include: 1) How is Ozow coping with the mandatory national COVID-19 shutdown ordered by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa? [12:52] 2) How might payments processors like Ozow position for long-term success in what is a highly-competitive and increasingly-commoditised digital payments landscape? [23:47] 3) Can open banking-led fintech innovation offer the kind of platform integrity, financial inclusion and system efficiency decentralised cryptocurrency proponents insist blockchain-based platforms like Bitcoin are best positioned to deliver on? [30:57] 4) Is the obsession with building and maintaining walled gardens a prevalent dynamic within the South African banking industry? [44:30] 5) How are mobile telcos shaping fintech innovation in South Africa? [47:28] 6) What unique challenges and opportunities are presented by open banking regulatory frameworks? [53:04] 7) Is fintech startup success possible in South Africa without subscribing to VC-backed hyper-scale, hyper-growth strategy? [1:08:44] 8) In what ways do Mitch and Simon anticipate the world will never be the same again once we recover from COVID-19 crisis? [1:21:05] Resources referenced in this episode: Coronavirus Stimulus Offered By House Financial Services Committee Creates New Digital Dollar by Jason Brett for Forbes Image credit: Ruxipen
1 hr 33 min
Mar 10, 2020
Is The Super-Platform Hype Surrounding Africa's Mobile Gaming Industry Real? feat. Lucy Hoffman
In this instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Lucy Hoffman, co-founder and head of operations at the Cape Town-based, American mobile content development startup Carry1st. Listen in to learn why, as glitzy ecosystem trends like fintech and mobility continue to dominate headlines, Lucy and the rest of her team at Carry1st are quietly bullish on the mobile gaming industry’s low-key commercial case and “super-app/super-platform” potential. Lucy is an experienced American business operations specialist who, prior to joining Carry1st, spearheaded operations at impact investment facilitation startup Nexii and the African Leadership Academy. Before that, she interned for the global diversity and inclusion team at Credit Suisse and spent three and a half years embedded at Morgan & Stanley, where she worked on M&A and capital markets transactions for global power and utility companies. To skip all the introductory niceties, head straight to [11:52]. Questions discussed in this episode include: 1. What three words come to mind for Andile, Lucy and Osarumen when they hear the words “super-app” or “super-platform” and why? [11:52] 2. Is the hype behind mobile gaming’s super-app potential worth buying into? [16:42] 3. How are mobile gaming startups navigating the power dynamics of Africa’s mobile telco-controlled landscape in order to monetise? [21:32] 4. How much time and effort do mobile gaming startups like Carry1st need to spend on solving for infrastructural and capacity-building frictions as opposed to working on actual product development? [39:50] 5. Why might African mobile telcos do well to take on Google Play in seeking to own a meaningful share of the mobile gaming market? [49:00] 6. What are the exit aspirations of a mobile gaming startup like Carry1st? [51:08] 7. What is the difference between mobile gaming and mobile gambling? [58:23] 8. Are African markets ready to jump on the global e-sports wave? [1:08:47] Resources referenced in this episode: The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2019 by GSMA Intelligence Image credit: Angelo Moleele
1 hr 14 min
Feb 25, 2020
Vietnamese-style Africa-focused Fintech Innovation With Quan Le of Binkabi
Andile Masuku catches up with Binkabi CEO, Quan Le to learn how his company is working to lower the world's reliance on the US dollar for imports and exports. Listen in to hear how Quan and his team are cutting out middlemen by turning agricultural commodities into tradable assets and automatically matching inbound and outbound trades which enable farmers to directly participate in global trade networks and retain more profits from their harvest. Binkabi is a London-headquartered cross-border physical commodity trading platform which primarily operates in developing countries. They leverage blockchain technology to solve for the complex frictions that characterise international agriculture supply chains. Quan is a Vietnamese finance professional who previously worked at PwC London as an auditor and, later, in merger acquisition advisory. During his 16-year-plus tenure at the firm, he worked with leading financial institutions in emerging markets in both Asia and Africa. Image Credit: no_one_cares (unsplash.com)
Jan 28, 2020
Accion's Michael Schlein on Financial Inclusion, Fintech & Impact Investment Sceptics
Michael Schlein is a huge fintech fan, and as the President and CEO of Accion, one of the world's largest nonprofit impact finance organisations, he's backing startups which seek to advance financial inclusion by giving people financial tools to improve their lives. In this candid conversation with Andile Masuku, Michael shares useful context about Accion's origins and makes a case for increased cooperation between legacy financial institutions, governments and impact investment non-profit organisations like Accion to advance global financial inclusion. Listen in to hear him address sceptics who hold that the commercial and social impact incentives of the aforementioned parties are hopelessly misaligned. Michael is an MIT graduate who amassed nearly 30 years of international banking, management and public service experience before inhabiting his current role. Prior to joining Accion, he managed Citi’s network of Chief Country Officers as President of Citigroup’s International Franchise Management. He also previously served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Clinton administration and served in New York’s City Hall during the Dinkins and Koch administrations. Image credit: Eva Blue
Jan 8, 2020
Shift The Power: Challenging Development Cooperation Power Dynamics Between The Global North & South
This brief firelighter conversation was taped live on-stage at SPARK’s 7th Annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam (https://spark.ngo/ignite-conference-2019/). It was a discussion provocatively themed “Shift The Power” – for which Andile Masuku (moderator) was joined by the Dutch Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tijmen Rooseboom, Evelijne Bruning, who is the Netherlands Country Director of The Hunger Project and the Executive Director of INJAZ Lebanon, Samar Dani. Tijmen is a recently-appointed Dutch policymaker whose mandate is to ensure that The Netherlands is optimising the use of public funds earmarked for advancing youth education and employment. Evelijne Bruning is a self-proclaimed “dragon and driver of change” whose high-profile #ShiftThePower activism efforts within Dutch NGO circles often puts her at odds with policymakers and even fellow practitioners in the space. And prior to inhabiting a senior role at one of Lebanon's most well-respected youth-focused NGO’s, Samar Dani led a storied career in her country’s consumer and retail industry. Listen in as the panel addresses growing calls to change power dynamics within development cooperation between the Global North and the Global South – this, in order to deliver on effective, market-relevant educational and entrepreneurship interventions. Editorial Disclaimer: While SPARK (https://spark.ngo) is the presenting sponsor of this series, African Tech Roundup maintains complete editorial oversight. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK. Image credit: SPARK
Jan 8, 2020
Unpacking Arab Identity & Socio-economic Dynamics with Arab Economies Researcher Salam Said
In this podcast, Andile Masuku chats with Dr Salam Said, a seasoned Middle Eastern economics researcher who specialises in Arab economies, Arab trade policies and the political economy of Syria. Andile taps Dr Said's extensive professional and lived experience as he attempts to wrap his mind around some of the ways Arab identity and geopolitical dynamics (past and present) inform the socio-economic policies of nations that tend to dominate the global news cycle for all kinds of complex reasons. Listen in to hear Dr Said factor in candidly on how to properly gauge the economic empowerment of everyday citizens, particularly women, of Arab nations. Editorial Disclaimer: This podcast is part of a seven-part podcast miniseries interrogating the progress being made in advancing entrepreneurship and job creation in some of the world’s most fragile regions. The series was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 7th Annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam (https://spark.ngo/ignite-conference-2019)— a premier gathering of refugees, entrepreneurs, educators, private sector actors, government leaders, academics and NGOs. While SPARK (https://spark.ngo) is the presenting sponsor of the series, African Tech Roundup maintains complete editorial oversight. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK. Image credit: Florian Wehde
Jan 8, 2020
South Sudan: Micro-finance Diaries with Yengi Lokule of Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI)
African Tech Roundup and SPARK (https://spark.ngo) have partnered to produce a seven-part podcast miniseries interrogating the progress being made in advancing entrepreneurship and job creation in some of the world’s most fragile regions. The series uncovers pragmatic first-hand insights about the challenges of deploying market-relevant approaches to entrepreneurship, economic policy design and implementation, education interventions and the provision of business support. The first episode of the series features a relaxed diary session with Yengi Lokule, Co-founder and CEO of Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI), a South Sudanese microfinance and cross-border remittance firm which serves South Sudanese refugees in Uganda as well as rural and peri-urban residents in his fragile home country. Yengi holds degrees in Agriculture and Development Studies specializing in Micro-finance and has over 20 years’ of professional experience gained in post-conflict environments. This thoughtful conversation casually addresses some of the oversimplifications related to promoting financial inclusion in post-conflict environments while offering useful insight into displaced people are defiantly building futures for themselves and others in South Sudan and neighbouring Uganda. Editorial Disclaimer: This podcast was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 7th annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam (https://spark.ngo/ignite-conference-2019) and is an independent African Tech Roundup production. The opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guest, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK. Image credit: SPARK
Dec 20, 2019
African Fintech Signal Check 2019: What Can Africa Learn From India? (Part 2) feat. Arunjay Katakam
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that a 'brick' several hundred million dollars heavy has descended on the continent in an unprecedented period of time, most of it venture capital earmarked for fintech startups in Nigeria. On this episode, Indian tech founder Arunjay Katakam joins Andile Masuku and Osarumen Osamuyi to extend our conversation about the implications of all the hype surrounding Africa's fintech scene and what the broader implications might be for the continent's tech ecosystem at large. We’re still vibing off of our last show, dubbed African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1). That show, which guest featured Wiza Jalakasi, unpacked some of the most pertinent happenings in Africa’s emerging fintech landscape and in the legacy financial services arena over the last couple of months or so. If you haven't listened to that show (Episode 134), do that before you dig into this one. Arunjay Katakam is a former EY consultant who has co-founded three startups, exiting two— one of which eventually sold to Twitter. Today Arunjay is co-founder and CEO of a London-based cross-border remittance startup called Yooz and advises founders at DFS Lab. His extensive tech entrepreneurship experience spans work in developing markets in Asia and Africa, as well as developed markets in the Global North. To by-pass the pleasantries, head straight to the main discussion: [18:50]. Topics discussed in this episode include: 1) Arunjay suggests that there are three major cost factors/points of friction preventing mobile money from enjoying WhatsApp-level ubiquity and mainstream adoption. [18:50] 2) Can ECOWAS's (Economic Community of West African States) Eco currency plans lay the groundwork for smoother regional money flows? [26:25] 3) Might the recent $20 million investment close by "credit-as-a-service" startup Migo (formerly Mines.io)— mostly designated for taking on the Brazilian market, spark a new trend towards African/Africa-focussed startups taking on key markets outside the continent? [31:54] 4) In what ways might the dynamics of engineering fintech startup success in India be comparable with the same in African key markets? [35:53] 5) Does "a rising tide raise all boats", or will large fintech startups like OPay and PalmPay stifle innovation by smaller players? [51:42] 6) How might African mobile network operators (MNOs) respond to the prospect of wholesale disruption as "OTT (Over-the-top) Application 2.0" takes hold, and what learnings might they draw from the Chinese and Indian ecosystem experiences to inform their strategies? [57:54] Bonus Topics: Can successful startups be built without having to tell lies, even apparently "harmless" ones? + Is RxAll Africa's very own Theranos in the making? [9:13] To view resources referenced in this episode, visit https://www.africantechroundup.com/fintech-signal-check-2019-part-2/ Image credit: Babatunde Olajide
1 hr 13 min
Dec 12, 2019
African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1) feat. Wiza Jalakasi
The last couple of months or so have been rather eventful for Africa's fintech scene— particularly in Nigeria where Interswitch notably attained unicorn status in November following Visa acquiring 20% of the company for a reported $200 million. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey's much-publicised visit to Africa last month also did much to put a global spotlight on the continent’s fintech arena, and the subsequent capital raises by OPay (backed by Opera) and PalmPay (backed by Transsion) drew attention to the on-going race for platform dominance in the space. In this instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and The Subtext’s Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Malawian mobile tech entrepreneur, Wiza Jalakasi, to unpack some of the more pertinent fintech industry signals and discuss their implications for the continent’s tech and innovation ecosystem at large. (To skip the introductory niceties, head straight to [11:58].) Wiza is a passionate USSD proponent wh…
1 hr 16 min
Nov 8, 2019
Is The Africa-China/China-Africa Tech & Innovation Dynamic Win-win? feat. Iginio Gagliardone
In this episode of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and The Subtext’s Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Iginio Gagliardone for a candid introductory chat about the budding Africa-China/China-Africa tech collaboration dynamic. Iginio is an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and an Associate Research Fellow in New Media and Human Rights in the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) at the University of Oxford. He is also the author of a new book called China, Africa and the Future of the Internet, which has taken him the better part of ten years to write. This context-setting conversation covers a lot of ground. Some of the questions discussed include: 1) Where big-money moves in tech and innovation sector are concerned, is there an Africa-China or China-Africa dynamic at play? [12:17] 2) How committed is China to promoting mutual commercial beneficiation in Africa? [15:51] 3) Is there substance to stereotype of “…
1 hr 14 min
Oct 7, 2019
Dr Shingi Munyeza & Allon Raiz on Entrepreneurial Strategy and Zimbabwe's Commercial Potential
After hosting of a live panel session at #Leaderex2019 in Sandton, Johannesburg themed, "Accelerating Zimbabwean Entrepreneurial Ventures", Andile Masuku, sat down with Zimbabwean businessman and presidential advisor Dr Shingi Munyeza and South African entrepreneur Allon Raiz for a relaxed podcast taping. Before making his mark as an entrepreneur, Dr Munyeza built a storied corporate career that saw him grow from being a clerk at Ernst & Young to a heavy-hitting advertising industry executive, and later, and perhaps most famously, to being the CEO of African Sun, one of Zimbabwe’s leading hospitality groups. Dr Munyeza has since evolved into one of his country's most respected serial entrepreneurs and, on this podcast, he shares his motivation for joining forces with Allon Raiz to launch a business incubator in Zimbabwe. Allon Raiz has come to be regarded globally as a pioneer and maverick in the business-incubation industry. An industry which is, for the most part, notorious for b…
1 hr 3 min
Aug 21, 2019
Africa's Motorcycle Taxi Hype + Africa's AI Revolution? feat. Babusi Nyoni & Osarumen Osamuyi
In this episode of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku is joined by the Zimbabwean AI Practitioner, Booking.com UX Designer and UNHCR Innovation Consultant, Babusi Nyoni, and the Nigerian Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Africa's Talking and Founder and Author of The Subtext, Osarumen Osamuyi. This jam-packed show features the following topics: 1) What does the world post-Facebook’s Libra announcement look like? This is a follow-up discussion to deliberations made in Episode 130 - our most downloaded show ever - featuring insights about some of the more notable happenings to occur in the world of digital money since Facebook & Co. revealed their plan to re-imagine global finance. [13:48] 2) Is Africa's VC-fuelled motorcycle ride-sharing investment trend worthy of the hype? Listen in for Osarumen's trademark analysis on the matter. [30:53] 3) Does Africa have what it takes to lead a global AI revolution? Babusi factors in with a compelling case for why he believes the an…
1 hr 11 min
Jul 19, 2019
Will Facebook's Digital Currency Libra Be Good For Africa? feat. Michael Kimani & Simon Dingle
In this in-studio taping of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku is joined by the Kenyan digital money analyst Michael Kimani and the South African crypto entrepreneur Simon Dingle to discuss how Libra and the proposed Calibra network stacks up against existing cryptocurrency concepts like Bitcoin, and to establish whether or not Facebook's digital currency might be good for Africa. It's safe to say that the world hasn't been quite the same since Facebook and its high-powered corporate collaborators - Visa, MasterCard, Uber, Spotify, South Africa's PayU and several others - revealed plans to re-imagine global finance using a digital coin called Libra— an idea that, according to the Libra whitepaper, is set to be backed by a reserve of actual currencies and assets. This show was taped prior to US President Donald Trump forcefully panning cryptocurrencies in a public statement earlier this week. His provocative sentiments came in the wake of lawmakers in the US and Europe…
1 hr 1 min
Jul 8, 2019
Ray Youssef believes Paxful is the "Uber for money" crypto platform Africa's been waiting for
Ray Youssef is Co-founder and CEO of Paxful, a US-headquartered peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace he dubs the "Uber for money". The platform allows people to swap gift cards, currency and alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins), all without the need for banks or intermediaries. In this chat with Andile Masuku - which, incidentally, was taped before Facebook's recent Libra announcement - Ray reveals why Africa is delivering some of his company's most significant business wins and unpacks the thinking behind Paxful's financial literacy initiatives on the continent. Listen in to hear him factor in on what it might take for the cryptocurrency community to win the trust of African policymakers. Image credit: Dmitry Moraine
Jun 12, 2019
South Africa's New Banking Wave + Huawei Or The Highway? + Kenyan Repat Diaries feat. Mark Karake
Joining Andile Masuku and guest co-host, Vije Vijendranath, for this episode of the African Tech Roundup podcast is Kenyan repat, founder of Impact Africa Network and host of the Chini ya Maji podcast, Mark Karake. Following professional stints in Silicon Valley, working for the likes of Google, TrustArc and Oracle, Mark decided to return to his native Kenya in March 2018 to get involved in early-stage startup acceleration and investment activities in Nairobi. In this show, Andile, Vije and Mark will unpack three weighty questions: 1) What is behind the new wave of banking currently sweeping South Africa? [18:28] 2) Is the African Union's decision to maintain Huawei's preferred partnership status well-advised? [47:07] 3) What are the critical, yet not-so-obvious grassroots issues in Nairobi's early-stage startup ecosystem that must be seen to if a sturdy pipeline of local investible prospects is to be built? [59:10] Image credit: Shalom Mwenesi
1 hr 30 min
Apr 25, 2019
Jumia's NYSE Listing + Are Blockchains Safe? + Security Token Offerings, Yay or Nah?
Good friend of the show, entrepreneur, investor and incurable blockchain technology fanatic, Simon Dingle, joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga to chat through three big questions: 1) What are we to make of Jumia’s much-publicised New York Stock Exchange listing? 2) Is blockchain technology as full-safe as we are often led to believe? 3) How excited should we be about PopCom founder, Dawn Dickson, becoming the first black woman to raise over $1 million for her company via a security token offering? Regular listeners of this podcast will know that during our in-studio episodes Andile, Musa and a guest normally highlight and briefly unpack as many as ten important ecosystem developments before tackling a discussion topic. But, in response to feedback we've been receiving from our audience, we’re changing things up a little. Going forward, our in-studio flagship recordings will only cover three big questions, giving us to us a chance to discuss issues more thoroughly. Do enjoy the…
1 hr 5 min
Apr 15, 2019
Investment Diaries With Dr Nigel Chanakira Part 2 - Patient Capital & Savvy Commercialisation
This is the second and final part of an insight-filled conversation Andile Masuku had with one of Zimbabwe’s most well-known and well-respected business people, the economist turned banker, entrepreneur and investor, Dr Nigel Chanakira. In this instalment, Dr Chanakira shares entrepreneurial wisdom around commercialising market-relevant tech and innovation and explains why he remains pragmatically bullish about Zimbabwe’s investment prospects. Dr Chanakira is probably most famous for founding Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited in 1997, and for orchestrating that company’s much-publicized merger and demerger with the Meikles Africa group before eventually selling out to the Mauritius-based AfrAsia Holdings in 2013. Prior to founding Kingdom Financial Holdings, he spent long stints working for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Bard Discount House. Over the years, he has sat on the boards of numerous leading companies and institutions, including Econet Wireless Holdings, Success Mot…
Apr 12, 2019
Investment Diaries With Dr Nigel Chanakira Part 1 - Worst investment decision in Zimbabwean history?
This podcast is the first instalment of a two-part conversation Andile Masuku had with one of Zimbabwe’s most well-known and widely-respected business people, the economist turned banker, entrepreneur and investor, Dr Nigel Chanakira. Dr Chanakira is probably most famous for founding Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited in 1997, and for orchestrating that company’s much-publicized merger and demerger with the Meikles Africa group before eventually selling out to the Mauritius-based AfrAsia Holdings in 2013. Prior to founding Kingdom Financial Holdings, Dr Chanakira spent long stints working for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Bard Discount House. Over the years, he has sat on the boards of numerous leading companies and institutions, including Econet Wireless Holdings, Success Motivation Institute (Africa), the Christian Community Trust and Kingdom Meikles Africa. Listen in to hear Dr Chanakira's fascinating personal and professional origin story. And heads up, this episode featu…
Apr 8, 2019
London Village Diaries With Dayo Akinrinade of Africlick Part 2 - Pan-African dating solutions
This is the second instalment of a 2-part conversation with Africlick founder Dayo Akinrinade, which was taped at the fringes of the London stop of Afrobytes' 2018/19 International Event Series. Africlick is a new dating and networking app that aims to connect people of African and Caribbean heritage through their culture, and in this episode, Dayo sketches the magnitude of the business opportunity she is looking to convert and unpacks her company’s growth focus. Dayo holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Manchester and a Masters in Technology Entrepreneurship from University College London, and has spent over ten years working in IT Management Consulting— delivering analytics and financial transformation programmes at Accenture and Deloitte. While embedded at those firms, she designed solutions and led global teams at the likes of the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Banking Group and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. Dayo formerly served a…
1 hr 15 min
Apr 2, 2019
London Village Diaries With Dayo Akinrinade of Africlick Part 1 - Working in tech while black
Dayo Akinrinade is the Founder of Africlick, "a new dating/networking app for professionals and creatives of African and Caribbean heritage". Dayo holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Manchester and a Masters in Technology Entrepreneurship from University College London and has spent over ten years working in IT Management Consulting— delivering analytics and financial transformation programmes at Accenture and Deloitte. While embedded at those firms, she designed solutions and led global teams at the likes of the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Banking Group and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. Dayo formerly served as a Director at YSYS Consultancy Ltd, where she worked with Capital Enterprise and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation on the OneTech programme, which aims to raise a total of £15.1 million of investment for diverse, female founders. While inhabiting that role, she also delivered "diversity in technology advisory" to Space Camp, Sta…
Mar 22, 2019
Conservation Meets Conscious Capitalism With The Desert Date Company's Lauren Servin
This bonus podcast miniseries episode features Lauren Servin, the American Founder and "Chief Tree Officer" of the Desert Date Company. The Desert Date Company is a natural ingredient supplier and skincare brand based on the banks of the Nile River in Northern Uganda. Lauren was previously SPARK’s South Sudan Country Manager – a role she inhabited for four years. In that role, she implemented an agribusiness entrepreneurship development programme focused on value chain development. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Lauren explains how she and her team are looking to merge the conservation of threatened desert date trees (Balanites aegyptiaca)— which combat climate change, and a focus on creating meaningful wealth for women in an economically-challenged region of East Africa, with ambitious capitalist ambitions involving the mainstream commercialisation of desert date oil. Editorial Disclaimer: SPARK is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African…
Mar 8, 2019
Kahawa 1893's Margaret Nyamumbo on disrupting fair trade in the global coffee industry
Kenyan Margaret "Maggie" Nyamumbo is the Founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893, a San Francisco-based coffee company intent on revolutionising the global coffee supply chain and closing the industry's abhorrent gender gap. Prior to launching her bid to "disrupt fair trade" in the international coffee sector, Margaret worked on Wall Street evaluating retail and consumer companies, and, before that, she was a Private Sector Development Consultant specialising in emerging economies at the World Bank. Margaret holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and studied Economics at Smith College and at the London School of Economics. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - published in celebration of International Women's Day 2019 - Margaret eloquently unpacks the economic inequity that persists in the global coffee industry and explains how blockchain technologies could be used to help small coffee farmers get paid more fairly and to efficiently track the journey of speciality coffees from farm to…
Mar 1, 2019
Heidi Lovett of Swerve Robotics on plans to ignite enthusiasm for STEM in Botswana's youth
Former live theatre production specialist Heidi Lovett is the Executive Director of Swerve Robotics, a Washington-based organisation which uses applied-STEM education programmes to empower young people to pursue advanced STEM studies and career opportunities. Heidi initially started Swerve Robotics club (originally the Gothic Lawn Gnomes FIRST LEGO League team) as a means to channel her son's creative engineering inclinations at a young age. She enjoyed coaching his team so much that when he left for college, she kept doing it. She has been active with the FIRST programme for more than 10 seasons in many different capacities. Listen in to hear Heidi unpack the merits of the global FIRST initiative which has so far enabled over 320,000 youthful participants from 98 countries to engage in competitive STEM challenges which promote critical thinking, team-building and a solid work ethic. Heidi also shares Swerve's plans to ignite enthusiasm for STEM in Botswana's youth by introducing FIR…
Feb 26, 2019
Simanga Madhlabuta of Zimbabwe Investment Tours & Wisdom Gakaka of Cyrex on thriving in Zimbabwe
Mere days before 2018 came to a close, Andile Masuku sat down two bright, young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs to learn what it takes to engineer business success in Harare. Simanga Mdhlabuta is commercial sales and business development professional and Wits MBA who gained invaluable corporate experience working for leading Zimbabwean entrepreneurial giants such as Innscor, Econet and Africom. Simanga has also made meaningful entrepreneurial plays of his own in the investments and property industries, and in doing so, gained an enviable grasp of the nuances of Zimbabwe’s investment potential. He is currently Co-curator and Head of Partnerships at Zimbabwe Investment Tours. Wisdom Gakaka is Co-founder and CEO of Cyrex Business, a group of companies which spans high-end corporate branding, flatpack furniture manufacturing and serviced office operations. In just over ten years, Wisdom and his co-founder Annabelle have grown a modest branding solutions brokerage into a profitable business wi…
Feb 15, 2019
Wajenzi's Alain Nkurukiye on Galvanising Diasporans to Back Economic Growth in Africa
Alain Nkurukiye is a Corporate Strategy and Economic Policy MBA who hails from Burundi, but has lived and worked in the Netherlands for the better part of 10 years. Through his startup, Wajenzi, he aims to channel all his professional competencies into narrowing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) financing gap by stimulating the African Diaspora to invest systematically in their countries of origin. Listen in to hear to hear Alain explains why he's all fired up about Wajenzi's mission and to hear Andile Masuku push back on his apparently limitless passion for the work his organisation has undertaken. Editorial Disclaimer: SPARK (spark-online.org) is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African Tech Roundup miniseries focused on inclusive economic progress being made in vulnerable states. African Tech Roundup retains full editorial control over all published content. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect…
Feb 6, 2019
The Joy of Missing Out - Should African Founders Reject Hypergrowth VC Doctrine?
Co-founder and Co-MD of Secha Capital Rushil Vallabh joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga for the very first in-studio taping of 2019. Andile, Musa and Rushil chat through some notable signals and trends they've observed in Africa’s digital, tech and innovation ecosystem over the last month or so, then unpack issues raised by a New York Times (NYT) article entitled, More Start-Ups Have an Unfamiliar Message for Venture Capitalists: Get Lost - penned by Erin Griffith - which caused quite a stir on social media. The NYT piece raises some contentious issues currently being debated within Africa's early-stage startup investment scene— some of which were tackled on episode 124 entitled, Is Venture Capital a Ponzi Scheme? feat. Grant Phillips of PhilTech Consulting, which, incidentally, featured Rushil as guest host. Listen to hear why African startup founders might do well to embrace the "joy of missing out" aka JOMO by rejecting investment doctrine that prioritises raising ever incre…
1 hr 19 min
Jan 28, 2019
Talking Successful Social Enterprise with Jordanian Raneem Muqbel of TEENAH
Jordanian Raneem Muqbel is the co-founder of a social manufacturing enterprise called TEENAH that works with Syrian refugees and their host communities in Jordan to produce high-quality custom printed bags for clients across the MENA region and in Europe. Raneem also happens to be a specialist in economic empowerment projects with the Jordan River Foundation, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a Swedish Institute Fellow. This conversation offers a brief glimpse into how entrepreneurship is being used to deliver social and economic gains in a country grappling with one of the world’s most severe refugee crises. Editorial Disclaimer: SPARK (https://spark-online.org) is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African Tech Roundup miniseries focused on inclusive economic progress being made in vulnerable states. African Tech Roundup retains full editorial control over all published content. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not…
Jan 18, 2019
Development Finance Diaries with Musa Sillah and Mohamed Alhadi of the Islamic Development Bank
This podcast features two separate conversations Andile Masuku had with senior executives working for the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Both exchanges yielded intriguing insight into the values, investment outlook and business MO of the world’s preeminent provider of sharia-compliant development finance. The first part of this episode features a brief chat with Musa Sillah, the Director of the Africa and Latin America Department at the IsDB. Sillah explains what distinguishes the IsDB from other leading development institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and offers insight into some of the work they are doing to promote sustainable economic development within the organisation’s 57 member states. The second half of the episode features a conversation with the Lead Fragility and Resilience Specialist at the IsDB, Mohamed Alhadi. Alhadi sheds light on how the IsDB frames the notion of "fragility" and how that informs the development and implementation o…
Jan 13, 2019
WeThinkCode's Dylan Richts on developing South African coding talent and pursuing regional growth
South African Dylan Richts is Head of Partnerships at WeThinkCode, a Cape Town-headquartered non-profit organisation which works with public and private partners to "source and train world-class African digital talent" and provide students with a path to employment within the continent's tech and innovation ecosystem. Dylan formerly worked for the Mayor of London's promotional agency, assisting global tech companies looking to expand their operations to the UK, as well as London-based tech businesses chasing growth. After spending 5 years away from Africa, he returned in 2017 to work for MEST as a Senior Partnerships Associate and then assumed his current role at WeThinkCode one year later. Dylan holds International Relations degrees from the University of Pretoria (Honours) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (Master's). He is also co-founder of Tech London Advocates Africa and a WEF Global Shaper. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Dylan explains how WeT…
Dec 19, 2018
Shaqodoon's Mustafa Othman on the State of Somalia & Somaliland's Entrepreneurship Support Ecosystem
In this podcast, Andile Masuku chats with Mustafa Othman. Mustafa is the Somali Co-founder and Communications and Technology Manager of an organisation called Shaqodoon which operates in Somalia and Somaliland. Shaqodoon, which translated to English means “job seeker”, was born out of a USAID funded youth empowerment project called the Somali Youth Livelihoods Program, which was supported by the Education Development Center (EDC). Shaqodoon serves up programmes designed to help unemployed and out-of-school youth aged between 15 and 24 years acquire marketable work and life skills. Many of these initiatives are delivered thanks to strong partnerships the organisation has struck with local communities, government, international NGOs and the indigenous private sector. Mustafa studied for a Computer Science degree at the University of Westminster and has gained a wealth of hands-on management experience while working in the youth employment, entrepreneurship and education space in So…
Dec 12, 2018
Gutsy Entrepreneurial Moves With Morris Dougba of Green Gold Liberia and Ayham Maksoud of Al-Maksoud
This candid conversation - led by Andile Masuku - features two remarkable entrepreneurs. The first is Morris Dougba, a second-generation Liberian cocoa farmer and University of Liberia accounting graduate who fled his homeland to live in the US to escape civil war. Morris has since returned to his country to found a company called Green Gold Liberia, which produces charcoal briquettes using organic waste. Green Gold is determined to end Liberia’s ecologically damaging reliance on charcoal production activities, which destroy the country’s ancient rain forests. Also on the show is Ayham Maksoud, a Syrian civil engineer born to an entrepreneurial family. After completing an engineering Masters degree at the University of Aleppo, he founded a steel structure manufacturing business called Al-Maksoud for Steel Constructions in Syria in 2011, before being forced to abandon it a year later when war broke out in Syria. Ayham then emigrated to Libya where he re-established his business,…
Dec 11, 2018
Dotun Olowoporoku of Starta on identifying billion-dollar startup potential in Africa
Academic turned startup founder and investor, Dotun Olowoporoku, is the Managing Partner at Starta, a platform that "makes it easier to build, discover and track high growth businesses in Africa through startup education, data and growth consulting". Dotun is also a General Partner at the Nigerian VC outfit, Ventures Platform and the host of the Building the Future with Dotun podcast (http://thestarta.com/podcast) which features Africa-focused tech and innovation ecosystem actors who are doing their bit to shape Africa's future. Dotun previously founded Yhello Technologies (formerly known as meals.co.uk), an on-demand food delivery platform in the UK. He exited that business after striking a deal with Just-eat.co.uk, one of Europe's leading food ordering platforms. Following that, he joined a UK-based angel syndicate fund called Potential VC to spearhead the firm's early-stage startup investment efforts in Africa, before going on to found Starta. In this conversation with Andile Masu…
1 hr 1 min
Dec 5, 2018
University of Oxford's Alexander Betts & SPARK's Yannick Du Pont on Innovative Foreign Aid Strategy
In this relaxed three-way conversation, Alexander Betts, Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and William Golding Senior Fellow in Politics at the University of Oxford's Brasenose College, and Yannick Du Pont, the Co-founder and Director of the Dutch NGO SPARK, join Andile Masuku to discuss the awkward state-of-play within the global foreign aid industry, reference instructive live case studies and attempt to define what “winning” at helping turbulent regions of the world navigate towards sustainable economic growth should look and feel like. Alexander is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader whose research at the University of Oxford centres on refugee assistance, with a focus on East Africa. He has authored ten books and co-authored Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (Penguin Allen Lane and Oxford University Press, 2017) with Paul Collier— a book named by The Economist as one of the 'Best Books of 2017'. Alexander previously worked for the UNH…
Dec 3, 2018
The African Fintech 2018 Retrospective with Viola Llewellyn of Ovamba Part 2
2018's last in-studio taping of the African Tech Roundup podcast is a two-part affair which guest features the force of nature that is Viola Llewellyn. Viola is the UK-born, Cameroonian Co-founder and President of an award-winning fintech platform called Ovamba. Ovamba relies on proprietary technologies to connect African SMEs to sources of short‐term capital to fund their growth. Viola has spent over 15 years working in the management consulting, technology and alternative finance sectors at firms like of IBM, Unisys, KPMG and Preston Gates Ellis. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of ActivSpaces, AH Partners, the European Women in Payment Network and the International Women’s Think Tank. In this, the second part of Episode 125, Viola joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga to factor in on a “hype vs. reality” themed conversation about the development of Africa’s fintech landscape in 2018. To skip straight to that discussion, head to [40:09] and listen in to hear…
1 hr 6 min
Nov 27, 2018
The African Fintech 2018 Retrospective with Viola Llewellyn of Ovamba Part 1
2018's last in-studio taping of the African Tech Roundup podcast is a two-part affair which guest features the force of nature that is Viola Llewellyn. Viola is the UK-born, Cameroonian Co-founder and President of an award-winning fintech platform called Ovamba. Ovamba relies on proprietary technologies to connect African SMEs to sources of short‐term capital to fund their growth. Viola has spent over 15 years working in the management consulting, technology and alternative finance sectors at firms like of IBM, Unisys, KPMG and Preston Gates Ellis. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of ActivSpaces, AH Partners, the European Women in Payment Network and the International Women’s Think Tank. In this, the first part of Episode 125, Viola joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga as they start to factor in on a “hype vs. reality” themed conversation about the development of Africa’s fintech landscape in 2018. Listen in to hear Viola's candid take on the unfortunate curr…
Nov 23, 2018
TransUnion Africa's Lee Naik on embracing collaboration and harnessing democratised technologies
Lee Naik is the CEO of TransUnion Africa, a subsidiary of the giant American consumer credit reporting agency, TransUnion, that’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Prior to joining TransUnion Africa, Lee spent 18 years at Accenture, where he served as Managing Director of Accenture Digital in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since signing up to lead TransUnion Africa in January 2017, he’s been tasked with shaping the company’s continental growth strategy— a process that’s so far necessitated the recruitment of key senior talent, the orchestration of major tech platform updates, and the expansion of the firm’s range of information solutions. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - which forms part African Tech Roundup’s podcast miniseries on digital assets (http://bit.ly/atrudigitalassets) - Lee offers insight into how data-led legacy corporates like TransUnion Africa are grappling with the prospect of a future led by democratised technologies and open source collaboration. E…
Nov 20, 2018
Ovamba's Viola Llewellyn on encoding African IP and the need for Pan-African digital standards
The third and last episode of African Tech Roundup's (https://africantechroundup.com) miniseries (http://bit.ly/atrudigitalassets) on digital assets features Viola Llewellyn, the UK-born, Cameroonian Co-founder and President of an award-winning fintech platform called Ovamba. Ovamba leverages proprietary technologies to connect African SMEs to sources of short‐term capital to fund their growth. Viola has spent over 15 years working in the management consulting, technology and alternative finance sectors at firms like of IBM, Unisys, KPMG and Preston Gates Ellis. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of ActivSpaces, AH Partners, the European Women in Payment Network and the International Women’s Think Tank. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Viola speaks on the importance of finding smart ways to ensure that Africa secures its unique and invaluable IP, touches on the overlooked advantages of adopting Pan-African digital standards for the establishment and trade of…
Nov 16, 2018
MzansiSat's Bernard Greyling can't wait to launch African geostationary broadband satellites
In this conversation with the Chief Technical Officer at MzansiSat, Bernard Greyling, Andile Masuku learns about the South African geostationary broadband satellite startup's mission to partner with African states in deploying and operating space hardware that would significantly improve public access to low-cost internet access. Listen in to hear Bernard explain the innovative public-private ownership model that MzansiSat trying to sell African nations— one that promises to empower countries to deliver affordable broadband access to their citizens and enable them to break their costly reliance on outsourced broadband satellite services in one fell swoop.
1 hr 2 min
Nov 12, 2018
EOS Nairobi's Felix Macharia and Raise's Marvin Coleby unpack the African Digital Asset Framework
In this podcast - the second episode in African Tech Roundup's (https://africantechroundup.com) three-part miniseries on digital assets (http://bit.ly/atrudigitalassets) - Andile Masuku chats with two gifted distributed ledger proponents who are co-architects of the African Digital Assets Framework - ADAF (http://adaf.io). ADAF is the first open-source software platform to create transnational standards for digital assets and distributed ledger technologies— in line with pan-African development objectives. ADAF intends to complement the African Union’s Single Africa Digital Market initiative, which seeks to leverage technology to stimulate digitised pan-African economic integration. Andile's first podcast guest is Felix Macharia, a Kenyan senior medical student who is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of EOS Nairobi— where he leads product development and decentralised protocol research. Felix is also an affiliate scholar with the Institute for Blockchain Studies in Ne…
1 hr 20 min
Nov 9, 2018
Talking Transsion, Android vs iPhone and Xiaomi's Pocophone F1 with Nendo's Mark Kaigwa
Following a sunny Johannesburg lunch al fresco, Nendo (https://nendo.co.ke) Founder and CEO Mark Kaigwa and Andile Masuku chat about a few consumer tech issues that are currently trending in their lives. Listen in to learn why the music streaming service Boomplay is thriving in Africa, how Transsion's African digital domination strategy seems to be coming together nicely, why Xiaomi's Pocophone F1 smartphone is shaking things up in the global high-end mobile device market, and why Mark and Andile feel obliged to weigh the pros and cons of switching back to Android after several years of being iPhone users. Resource referenced in this episode: From Cyber Café to Smartphone: Kenya’s Social Media Lens Zooms In on the Country and Out to the World http://bit.ly/KenyaSocialMedia
Nov 5, 2018
African IP diaries with UCT's Prof Caroline Ncube and Thomson Reuters' Saidah Nash Carter
This podcast is the first instalment of a three-part miniseries (http://bit.ly/atrudigitalassets) produced by African Tech Roundup (https://africantechroundup.com) to spark a broader debate about the nature and value of African digital assets within the context of the world’s emerging digital economy. Joining Andile Masuku for this conversation are two distinguished Cape Town-based innovators. First, the Zimbabwean-born Professor of Intellectual Property at the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law and co-editor of the South African Intellectual Property Law Journal, Caroline Ncube. Caroline has authored a book called Intellectual Property Policy, Law and Administration in Africa: Exploring continental and sub-regional co-operation and co-edited another called Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property. She is also a fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society, a Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund scholar, an associate member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at…
Nov 2, 2018
Is Venture Capital a Ponzi Scheme? feat. Grant Phillips of PhilTech Consulting
Joining Andile Masuku and guest co-host Rushil Vallabh of Secha Capital on this African Tech Roundup podcast is Grant Phillips. Grant is the Founder and CEO of PhilTech Consulting and has partnered with both Convergence Partners and Stockdale Street (the Oppenheimer Family’s South African private equity outfit) to "build out technology ecosystems across Africa". He was previously the CEO and Chairman of the Nairobi-based credit reference bureau and debt management outsource organisation CRB Africa as well as CEO of TransUnion’s Pan-African business. Listen in to hear Andile, Rushil and Grant unpack the provocative assertion that venture capital is a Ponzi scheme, recently made by the American-Sri Lankan Founder and CEO of Social Capital Chamath Palihapitiya. Head to [1:18:12] if you'd like to skip straight to that conversation. Chamath - a bona fide billionaire - was an early senior executive at Facebook. Following that, Chamath founded Social Capital which he claims, its first 8…
1 hr 29 min
Oct 25, 2018
Sureswipe's Paul Kent on competing in South Africa's crowded payments startup scene
Paul Kent is Co-founder and Managing Director of Sureswipe, a South African payments solutions startup dedicated to making card payment acceptance easy and accessible for small and medium-sized retailers and service providers. Sureswipe started out as a business division of the cloud-based clinical and billing practice management software firm, Healthbridge, before it evolved into the Point-Of-Sale (POS) product driven startup it is today. Since 2008, Paul has helped to grow Sureswipe into one of the more recognisable brands in South Africa's crowded payments market. The business currently services over 9,000 merchants and employs more than 100 people. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Paul sheds light on Sureswipe's growth strategy and provides pragmatic insight about the market intelligence and business partnerships required to succeed in South Africa's competitive payments industry.
Oct 17, 2018
Lyndsey Duff of What3Words on inducting a new global addressing standard
South African Lyndsey Duff is the South Africa Country Manager at What3Words— a British startup which provides a precise physical location solution that has broken up the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3-word address. Prior to joining What3Words, Lyndsey oversaw inward investment at the South African High Commission UK, following stints at the Palace of Westminster and the South African Chamber of Commerce. In this brief chat with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 - Lyndsey outlines What3Words' African business goals and unpacks the company's ambition to better tech heavies like Google by ushering in the "next global addressing standard".
Oct 12, 2018
Masakhe Foundation's Mpilo Ngcukana & Thulani Fesi on why KwaLanga Cape Town needs a youth tech hub
On this podcast, Andile Masuku chats with two exceptional, Cape Townian entrepreneurs who are both actively involved in a youth-focused tech hub initiative called the Masakhe Techville Creative Technology Center in KwaLanga township, where they both grew up. The project is an initiative of the Masakhe Foundation. Mpilo Ngcukana co-founded the Simon Deporres men’s clothing brand in 2007 - while studying Finance and Economics at the University of Cape Town, and is currently working to launch an art gallery in Langa. And Thulani Fesi is a street art curator and hospitality and entertainment innovator who was previously part of the independent record label, 021 Records, alongside notable stablemates DJ Fosta and Skullman. In this conversation, Mpilo and Thulani let us into the grassroots struggle to bring disadvantaged youth in KwaLanga up to speed with advances in tech, in order to set them up for success in today’s increasingly digital world. Editorial Disclaimer: Airbnb (https://…
Oct 11, 2018
Gig economy diaries with SweepSouth's Aisha Pandor and LULA's Velani Mboweni
This podcast features two South African startup founders working the trenches of the emerging gig economy. Human geneticist-turned-entrepreneur Aisha Pandor is the Co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth, an on-demand booking platform for home cleaning services. SweepSouth is quite notably the first South African start-up to be accepted into the 500 Startups Accelerator in Silicon Valley. Velani Mboweni is the Co-founder and CEO of the ride-sharing service, LULA. This Global Fellow of the San Francisco-based Kairos Society and alumnus of the South Africa-Washington International Program is currently spearheading a mission to transform the way people commute by leveraging on the shared economy and mobile technology. Aisha and Velani were both born into families with a rich political history and have inherited considerable privilege as a result. Aisha is the daughter of South Africa’s current Minister of Higher Education, Dr Naledi Pandor, and Velani is the nephew of former South African R…
Oct 9, 2018
Cachet Consulting's Anita Mendiratta on how Africa's tourism industry has progressed since the 90's
Anita Mendiratta is the Canadian Founder and Managing Director of Cachet Consulting, a firm which services governments, multinational corporations and global NGO’s. Anita has over two decades of tourism and economic development experience gleaned on almost every continent and possesses an enviable grasp of the economic, social, political and environmental dynamics impacting nations grappling with change. She is currently a Strategic Advisor to CNN International, a Board Member for the Thebe Group, a Strategic Resource to the World Bank and a Partner to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). In this brief conversation with Andile Masuku, Anita reflects on the progress Africa's tourism industry has made since she first arrived on the continent in the 90's and factors in on the challenges and opportunities that remain. Editorial Disclaimer: Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/) is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African Tech Roundup (https://www…
Oct 5, 2018
Google South Africa's Mich Atagana on reflecting everyday Africans online
This super-chill conversation, taped at the fringes of Africa Tech Summit 2018, features Google South Africa’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Mich Atagana. Mich is an exceedingly well-travelled former-journalist who, as Editor of Memeburn and Ventureburn, previously covered emerging tech and startups on the continent. Mich was a GSMA Global Mobile Awards judge for 4 years (from 2014 to 2017), and also formerly penned a column for CNN which featured insight about leading tech companies around the world. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Mich reveals how Google is working to ensure that Africans coming online - as access to the internet improves - are equipped with relevant educational resources to help them thrive in digital terms, and are served with content that reflects their world. Look out for some fun cameos in this episode. Editorial Disclaimer: Airbnb (https://airbnb.com) is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African Tech Roundup (https:…
Oct 3, 2018
Kenya's Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala on progressive policy frameworks
Honourable Najib Balala is Kenya’s Minister of Tourism and Wildlife. After previously serving in that cabinet position once before, from 2008 to 2012, and subsequently serving as Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Hon. Balala was re-appointed as Kenya's Tourism Minister in 2015. Following the establishment of Kenya’s new Constitution in 2012, Hon. Balala was responsible for delivering the country’s reformed Tourism Bill and providing the sector with a policy designed to promote growth and sustainability through public-private cooperation. Listen in for insights from a man credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery following the country’s tragic post-election violence in 2008, and for being the chief architect of what is widely considered one of the continent’s most progressive tourism policy and legal frameworks. Editorial Disclaimer: Airbnb (https://airbnb.com) is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African…
Oct 1, 2018
Travelstart's Stephan Ekbergh on startup success in Africa's online travel booking industry
Stephan Ekbergh is the Founder and CEO of Travelstart. He is a Swedish entrepreneur who is probably best known for growing Travelstart from a provocative online travel startup in Scandinavia to one of the world’s largest online travel agencies servicing emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. Prior to founding Travelstart, Stephan was a touring DJ and entertainment entrepreneur who performed at events all over Europe. After founding Travelstart in 1999 and steering the business to profitability, he moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 2004 to expand the firm into Africa. In 2010, he decided to sell Travelstart's European division to focus on growth into the Middle East, and in 2016, Travelstart took on $40 million dollars of investment in a round led by Amadeus. Listen in to learn how Stephan succeeded in bringing his African startup dream to fruition and to hear why he's bullish about the business potential of Africa's travel and tourism industry. Editorial Disclaimer: Air…
Sep 27, 2018
The Sunday Times' Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi on lifestyle journalism politics & travelling while black
Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi is the Lifestyle Editor at the Sunday Times (South Africa). Pearl was voted one of Mail and Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2015 and assumed her current role in 2017. She previously served as Editor of Daily Planet, an intersectional pop culture and social commentary website covering the arts, feminism, racism, social media and digital consumer trends. In addition to working at the Sunday Times, the self-proclaimed "Blonde Bombshell" writes and curates for her blog, FeministMakoti.co.za— a platform for black female voices to convey perspectives on love, sex, marriage, relationships and everything in between. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Travel Summit 2018 (http://africatravelsummit.com) - Pearl unpacks her aspirational editorial approach to crafting an “intelligent lifestyle product” that is both representative and market-relevant. Listen in for some straight-talk about the sociopolitical and economic importance o…
Sep 25, 2018
Airbnb's Chris Lehane on growing the sharing economy and democratising travel and tourism
Chris Lehane is Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy, Public Affairs and Communications. Chris engages with policymakers around the world to safeguard the rights of people who have bought into the travel industry giant's home sharing proposition. He also frequently contributes to public discourse around the societal hazards, economic benefits and democratisation potential of the new "experience economy" Airbnb is propagating. In the 1990's, Chris served in various positions in the Clinton Administration, including Press Secretary to Vice-President Al Gore and Special Assistant Counsel to President Bill Clinton. Today, he is easily one of the world’s most high profile sharing economy proponents and in this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Travel Summit 2018 (http://africatravelsummit.com) - Chris unpacks some of the idealistic values influencing Airbnb’s strategy and fuelling their growth. He also tackles some of the very real challenges that society will need to conf…
Sep 24, 2018
Pesapal's Mark Mwongela talks fintech's impact on Africa's travel and tourism industry
Mark Mwongela is the Co-founder and CEO of Pesapal, a leading Kenyan mobile, online and point-of-sale (POS) payment platform operating in seven African countries including Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Previously, Mark served as Technical Director at Pesapal— overseeing the firm's product development efforts, and prior to that, he was Managing Director of Variant Technology Management Consultancy. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Travel Summit 2018 (http://africatravelsummit.com) - Mark shares the rationale for Pesapal's Pan-African hospitality business focus and factors in on how home-grown fintech innovation is contributing to the growth of the continent's travel and tourism industry at large. Listen in to hear how a travel blog targeting Kenyans living abroad led to the development of what is now one of Kenya’s leading mobile, online and point of sale platforms servicing hundreds of hotels, tour companies and travel operators. Editoria…
Sep 17, 2018
Hacking Remittances and Other Stories feat. Herbert Banhire of AMA.ZING (Zing Holdings)
According to a recent World Bank report, it's more costly to send money to Africa than to anywhere else in the world. On average, a 12% remittance fee is charged for every USD200 sent to the continent. Just last year (2017), African Diasporans reportedly sent home USD38 billion, and doubtless, a solid chunk of that sum served to line the pockets of financial incumbents who are only too happy to promote the status quo. In this episode of the African Tech Roundup, Herbert Banhire, AMA.ZING's Head of Zimbabwean Diaspora SA, joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host, Tapsnapp Founder, Vije Vijendranath, to chat about some leading tech and innovation ecosystem trends and to talk about the Zing Holdings' (http://ama.zing.world) ambitions to disrupt Africa's remittance industry via their first B2C virtual coin-based remittance offering, AMA.ZING. The Mauritius-registered Zing Holdings was founded by South Africans Jason Perthel (CEO) and Warren Venter. AMA.ZING is poised to help Zimbabweans liv…
1 hr 30 min
Sep 7, 2018
Tonjé Bakang of African Leadership Academy on Afrostream's demise and failing forward
You might recall that in September 2017 the Cameroonian former Founder & CEO of Afrostream and current Chief Brand Officer of African Leadership Academy's Anzisha Prize, Tonjé Bakang, published a heavily-publicised Medium post in French announcing that his VOD streaming service was shutting down. Here is Tonjé's letter in English— translated by Audrey Lang: http://bit.ly/tonjéokayafrica. Our very own Andile Masuku even wrote a syndicated op-ed for Business Report South Africa (http://bit.ly/tonjeoped) celebrating Tonjé's decision to chronicle how and why his company failed. By founding Afrostream, Tonjé set out to capture the loyalty of an underserved customer segment that lay within the confines of a super-competitive streaming market. We’re talking a well-defended industry dominated by international rivals like Netflix, and by increasingly confident African startups like IROKO— the former reportedly spending something like €33 million on marketing alone in the first yea…
Aug 30, 2018
Konnect Africa's Jean-Claude Tshipama on Eutelsat's African satellite broadband strategy
Congolese Jean-Claude Tshipama is the CEO of Eutelsat's Konnect Africa subsidiary which delivers satellite broadband connectivity services in Africa. Jean-Claude has over 16 years’ experience in telecommunications, computer and Pay TV industries’. He holds an MBA from HEC-Montreal in Canada and a Master’s degree in Economics from the Protestant University in Congo. Jean-Claude was formerly the Commercial Director at Celtel in DR Congo, and also previously served as Director of Sales and Distribution at both the Digicel Group and at the Microsoft Corporation's Africa business. Prior to joining Eutelsat, he was notably CEO of Canal+ in DR Congo, and he currently serves on the board of Equity Bank in Kenya. In this conversation with Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga - taped at Afrobytes Tech Marketplace 2018 - Jean-Claude discusses his new role at Eutelsat and shares some of the values that inform his personal and professional mission. Listen in to hear him respond to questions abou…
Aug 23, 2018
Uber crypto-geek Simon Dingle unpacks his book In Math We Trust: The Future of Money
South African Simon Dingle has worked with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since 2011, designing products that make it easier to engage in an increasingly digital world. He has proved to be especially gifted at using his broadcasting, writing and speaking talents to make complex crypto-related matters simple for audiences all around the world Simon previously led the product team at one of the world’s earliest Bitcoin exchanges and spearheaded collaborations on several other popular fintech products. Today, he spends most of his time designing and investing in projects that "make money more fair". Simon is a passionate cryptocurrency proponent who believes that "a new kind of money" can save the world from tyranny and allow global citizens to trade without needing to rely on greedy third-parties. In this sparky conversation with Andile Masuku, he unpacks some radical ideas contained in his book entitled, In Math We Trust – The Future of Money, and makes a case for why we shoul…
Aug 17, 2018
Ìmísí 3D's Judith Okonkwo is bullish on VR and AR tech adoption in Africa
At the fringes of Afrobytes Tech Marketplace 2018, Andile Masuku caught up with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) evangelist, founder of the Lagos-based Ìmísí 3D and co-founder of the We Will Lead Africa initiative, Judith Okonkwo, to take in her compelling arguments for why VR tech ought to be more enthusiastically embraced across Africa. Listen in to hear how Judith and her team at Ìmísí 3D - an "Extended Reality (AR/VR) creation lab dedicated to growing a community of AR/VR developers in Nigeria" - are working to turn 3D adoption sceptics into believers by creating market-relevant solutions using AR/VR tech, and providing educational and engagement experiences with AR/VR.
Aug 7, 2018
Thomson Reuters' Sneha Shah on delivering market-relevant data, insight & tech business solutions
As Managing Director of Thomson Reuters Africa, Kenyan-born Sneha Shah oversees the firm's Financial, Risk, Tax and Legal businesses across the continent. Initially founded as a news agency in 1851, today Thomson Reuters is frequently cited by media watchdogs as an "invisible information giant" worth monitoring closely as it delivers unprecedented amounts of data, along with automation and digitisation solutions to financial institutions, governments and corporates around the globe. Sneha holds a BA (Hons) degree in Politics with International Studies from the University of Warwick in the UK and prior to joining Thomson Reuters in 2001, she was a Commodities Trader for Cargill in South Africa and traded money markets and foreign exchange at CFC Bank in Kenya. Sneha is a member of the Board of the US Chamber of Commerce US-Africa Business Center, the One Young World (PYW) Africa Local Organising Committee, the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the African Leadership Network (ALN)…
Aug 2, 2018
aKoma Media's Chidi Afulezi on viable digital media models and backing African content creators
aKoma Media Co-founder and COO Chidi Afulezi is "a Naija boy true and true". Chidi is an electrical engineer with product-development experience earned working in America's digital wireless network industry. Chidi's resume also features executive stints at top media and entertainment brands such as Time Warner, Sony Music and CNN. While at CNN, Chidi met and began plotting a media coup with one the network's leading international anchors, the Kenyan Zain Verjee, with whom he co-founded aKoma. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, taped at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018, Chidi shares why he is bullish about African storytelling and why he is enthusiastically backing African creators. Listen in to better understand some of the pain points aKoma is looking to solve for and to learn how African media makers, intent on shaping the way the world perceives the continent, are harnessing tech innovation to assert themselves on the global stage.
Jul 27, 2018
Gebeya's Amadou Daffe & TechPoint.ng's Adewale Yusuf talk Ethiopian tech swag and taking on Andela
This year's Afrobytes Tech Marketplace event attracted a large, impressive Ethiopian delegation of tech innovators sporting some serious swag. Ethiopia boasts a solid track record of meaningful digital innovation in spite of the fairly insular political and economic outlook that prevailed in the past. Today, tech ecosystem heavy-hitters like the Ethiopian founder of investment advisory firm Ibex Frontier, Zekarias Amsalu, and the Senegalese founder of the IT expert online marketplace Gebeya, Amadou Daffe, are bullishly surfing a wave of renewed global investment interest catalysed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's changes to economic policy. In this chat with Amadou Daffe and TechPoint.ng Founder Adewale Yusuf - taped at the fringes of Afrobytes Tech Marketplace 2018 - Andile Masuku learns more about why Ethiopia, with its population of 100 million people and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is well-positioned to assert itself as one of the continent's leading t…
Jul 19, 2018
BongoHive's Simunza Muyangana on delivering context-relevant tech ecosystem support in Zambia
BongoHive Co-Founder and Director of Entrepreneurship, Simunza Muyangana reckons that Lusaka has what it takes to become one of Africa's choicest tech and innovation hubs. When it launched in May 2011 BongoHive was Zambia's only technology and innovation hub. Today, no small thanks to Simunza and his team's context-relevant ecosystem upliftment efforts, the early-stage startup scene in Zambia is more vibrant than its ever been. In this throwback conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at African Angel Investor Summit 2017 - Simunza chats about BongoHive's portfolio of startup and tech programmes, workshops and events, which are all focused on making Zambia Africa’s next hotbed of innovation. Listen in to learn more about BongoHive's relatively new investment arm and why Simunza believes that the time is right for his organisation to bet on local startups.
Jul 9, 2018
#VillageDiariesAmsterdam Pt 2 w/ Augustina Austin, Babusi Nyoni, Danai Musandu & Tania Habimana
On Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 the international African Tech Roundup LIVE Tour launched with a live podcast event in The Netherlands dubbed #VillageDiariesAmsterdam. For the second (and final part) of the evening's programme, hosts Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga were joined by a stellar lineup of African tech and innovation ecosystem insiders who have past and present links to Amsterdam. Namely, Tania Habimana (Co-founder and Head of Digital and Strategy: Nonzēro Africa), Babusi Nyoni (UX Designer: Booking.com), Danai Musandu (Investment Associate: Goodwell Investments) and Augustina "MS.ABA" Austin (Artist, Entrepreneur and Host of HiRadio Netherlands' "Africa on Focus"). This meandering roundtable conversation features unvarnished views on what it's like to navigate Amsterdam's increasingly Africa-focussed impact and innovation scene while African and confronts several awkward truths that are too frequently swept under the rug.
Jul 5, 2018
Secha Capital's Rushil Vallabh & Brendan Mullen on proving a hybrid SME investment model
South African Rushil Vallabh and American Brenden Mullen are the co-founders and co-managing directors of a Johannesburg-based, venture capital outfit called Secha Capital. Secha’s mission is to “provide patient capital to established African SMEs” - primarily within FMCG and agri-business industries - and to support them by providing access to best-in-breed, hands-on business consulting. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Rushil and Brendan expound on Secha’s hybrid investment thesis and explain how they are channelling all the skills and competencies they acquired at Bain (where they both formerly worked) into promising businesses.
Jun 28, 2018
Cellulant's Ken Njoroge & Velocity Capital's Allard Luchsinger on 2018's biggest fintech deal so far
A couple of hours before the recent #VillageDiariesAmsterdam event went down, Andile Masuku managed to land a sit-down with Cellulant Founder and CEO, Ken Njoroge, and Director of Private Equity at Velocity Capital, Allard Luchsinger, in order to glean insider perspectives on what went into closing Cellulant's historic round of funding. A few weeks ago, digital payments firm, Cellulant, announced the close of a $47.5 million investment round led by TPG Growth— a deal which included Endeavour Catalyst, Satya Capital as well as Velocity Capital. Listen in to hear Ken explain why landing investment is a demanding full-time job, shed light on the toll fundraising has taken on him and his team, and most importantly, how Cellulant plans to deploy the fresh funds they've reeled in.
Jun 22, 2018
#VillageDiariesAmsterdam Pt 1 - A fireside chat with HYBR Founder & CEO Charles Ojei
On Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 the international African Tech Roundup LIVE Tour launched with a live event in The Netherlands dubbed #VillageDiariesAmsterdam. For the first part of the evening's programme, hosts Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga were joined by headline guest, Nigerian Partner and CEO of HYBR, Charles Ojei. Prior to founding HYBR, Charles was Director of Enterprise Business at Samsung Electronics West Africa and earned nearly two decades of sales, business development, strategy and technology professional experience while embedded at Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Samsung, and DuPont. He implemented projects in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe across multiple industries such as retail, healthcare, food, agriculture, technology, education, hospitality and financial services. Charles has completed the Executive Leadership Program at THNK School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam and holds a B.Sc in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lago…
Jun 1, 2018
HEADS UP: Andile and Musa are going to Amsterdam and Paris
Look out, Amsterdam! We're coming!
May 28, 2018
Joel Macharia of Abacus on creating access to African financial markets via micro investments
Joel Macharia is the Founder and CEO of Abacus (https://abacus.co.ke), a Kenyan fintech firm that builds web and mobile software designed to help people anywhere in the world gain access to African financial markets. Joel previously founded and headed up the consumer financial news publication, PesaTalk.com, and prior to that, he served as the Africa Head of Product Development for the Mobile Money team at the Kenyan mobile commerce and payment technology provider, Cellulant. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Joel provides insights into Kenya's dicey financial services regulatory environment and explains how Abacus is doubling down on providing safe, affordable micro investment options both for Kenyan citizens who might otherwise have been excluded from participating in securities markets, as well as more affluent Kenyan investors based abroad.
May 21, 2018
Edmund Olotu of TechAdvance on building out digital payments infrastructure in Nigeria
In this conversation with Andile Masuku, TechAdvance CEO, Edmund Olotu, sketches Nigeria's digital payments infrastructure landscape and explains why he feels the time is right for his company to participate more actively in the discourses around the next wave of data analytics-driven tech in Nigeria. Listen in to hear Edmund unpack TechAdvance's ambitions to take the game to competitors like Interswitch and position to be the platform partner of choice for big corporate and government-owned enterprises looking to reduce payments friction, as well as newer fintech startups looking to deliver digitized financial services to the masses.
May 13, 2018
Interoperability, Data Ownership & Steward Ownership feat. Oliver Sauter of WorldBrain
In this episode of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Oliver Sauter— Co-founder and Head of Strategy, Product & Operations at https://WorldBrain.io, joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga for a meandering conversation that explores the link between the trend towards interoperability and idealised notions of individual data ownership. As Africa grapples with the reality of large swathes of its population being either digitally "invisible" or completely oblivious to the commercial value of the personal data they are palming off so freely, Oliver, Musa and Andile discuss how interoperability might contribute towards private citizens wielding control and commercial agency over their personal data. Also, listen in to hear why Oliver and the rest of the team at WorldBrain have chosen to embrace the non-mainstream "stewardship-ownership" model of corporate guardianship - as unpacked in Armin Steuernagel's recent TEDxZurich talk(http://bit.ly/stewardownership) - as they attempt to solve the g…
1 hr 21 min
May 10, 2018
Boomplay Music's Chinasa Udeala on delivering Africa-relevant music streaming services
Chinasa Udeala is Regional Director for East Africa at Boomplay Music. The music streaming platform is a subsidiary of the Chinese firm Transsnet Ltd which also owns TECNO Mobile. In this quick chat with Andile Masuku, Chinasa explains how Boomplay is attempting to outsmart the likes of Spotify and Apple Music to deliver localised digital downloads and streaming service offerings that are relevant to key consumer markets on the continent. Listen in to hear Chinasa unpack Boomplay’s revenue streams and speak to some of the challenges they have to overcome in terms of building a solid catalogue of local music and delivering on differentiated curation.
May 2, 2018
Helen Anatogu of Nigeria's iDEA incubator on how African founders should position to land funding
Helen Anatogu is the Chief Executive and Programme Director of the Information Technology Developer Entrepreneurship Accelerator (IDEA) in Nigeria. In this throwback conversation with Andile Masuku – taped at the African Angel Investor Summit 2017 - Helen shares her thoughts on the startup investment landscape and factors in on how African founders ought to position themselves to land much-needed funding.
Apr 24, 2018
YegoMoto's Karanvir Singh on surfing the mobility wave to launch an ambitious platform play
Kigali-based Singaporean, Karanvir Singh, is the CEO and MD of Yego Innovision Ltd— a company which has launched a cashless transport service called YegoMoto in Rwanda, which is essentially an 'Uber for motorcycle taxis' or "motos" as they are commonly called. In this conversation with Andile Masuku – taped at the Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 (www.africatechsummit.com/kigali/) – Karanvir fields questions about surfing the global mobility wave to launch an ambitious platform play with the potential to become a ubiquitous part of Rwandan civic life— a prospect that has some people worried about issues like data privacy, given YegoMoto's pretty cosy relationship with the Rwandan government.
Apr 12, 2018
Facebook's Breach of Trust + Blockchain Straight Talk feat. Marvin Coleby of Raise Impact
It's fair to say that Facebook is the elephant in pretty much every room at the moment. In this month's instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Marvin Coleby joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga to factor in on some of the biggest tech and innovation headlines that have trended over the last month or so— not least, Facebook's diabolical data privacy gaffes. Marvin is a venture lawyer who hails from The Bahamas and his startup, Raise Impact (http://raiseimpact.io/), is harnessing blockchain technology to build a tokenized impact exchange to democratise private investments made in companies based in emerging markets. Listen in as Andile, Musa and Marvin wade through some of the more promising Africa-relevant blockchain and crypto developments happening around the world and grapple with the potentially problematic concept of “impact investment” concept. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Image…
1 hr 17 min
Apr 6, 2018
NISK Capital's Sara Oon on providing turnkey startup and SME advisory in East Africa
The Kigali-based Sara Oon is Co-Founder and Partner at NISK Capital, a Nairobi-head quartered boutique advisory and investment outfit serving Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Sara, a Singaporean, holds business degrees from Princeton University and the University of California, and in this conversation with Andile Masuku – taped at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 (www.africatechsummit.com/kigali/) - she speaks on the challenge of helping East African startups and SME’s overcome the funding gap, and about assisting investors who struggle to identify investible prospects to sink their funds into.
Apr 2, 2018
RapidLion Film Festival's Eric Miyeni on African cinema asserting itself on the global stage
The runaway global success of the Marvel blockbuster sensation, Black Panther, has ignited debate about the influence and business potential of African cinema. In this Mapo Radio (http://bit.ly/MapoRadio) interview, Thembekile Malindi speaks with South African author, filmmaker and founder of the BRICS-focussed RapidLion Film Festival (https://filmfreeway.com/RapidLion), Eric Miyeni, about the state of South Africa's feature film industry and the need for Africans to master the business of marketing and film projects. Listen in to hear Eric's candid take on how African film producers might go about 'reclaiming the African narrative' and asserting themselves more confidently on the global stage.
Mar 26, 2018
Caine Wanjau of Twiga Foods on the challenges of scaling an actual business and why not to ICO
Caine Wanjau is the Chief Technology Officer of Twiga Foods, a Nairobi-based distributor of fresh fruit produce that's leveraging tech to introduce business efficiencies to one of Kenya's more logistically-challenged industries. Caine holds degrees from Monash University and Strathmore University specialising in Computer Technologies and Engineering (Hardware). In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 (www.africatechsummit.com/kigali/) - Caine talks about what life at Twiga Foods has been like following the successful close of a $10.3 million Series A funding round in 2017. Listen in to hear Caine's advice for African diasporans who might be keen to emulate him in terms of leaving a comfy overseas gig at a leading bank in order to participate in Africa's emerging tech and innovation scene.
Mar 20, 2018
Insight Publicis Nigeria's Feyi Olubodun on his book The Villager: How Africans Consume Brands
Feyi Olubudun’s new book, The Villager: How Africans Consume Brands, puts forward a lens for helping Africa-focussed brands and businesses achieve commercial success by correcting their perception of the African Consumer, or as he posits, “The Villager”. Feyi is the CEO of Insight Publicis Nigeria, one of West Africa’s leading creative agencies, and in this chat with Andile Masuku he unpacks insights gleaned from observing many brands fail to crack "the African opportunity". Listen in to hear him share some of the most common mistakes that foreign international businesses make in approaching African markets and how you might avoid making the same ones yourself.
Mar 12, 2018
Lagos Angel Network's Collins Onuegbu on traditional angel efforts vs. business angel investment
Collins Onuegbu is the Nigerian Founder of Signal Alliance as well as a Director of the Lagos Angel Network. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 (https://www.africatechsummit.com/kigali/) - Collins frames the massive business opportunity that is Nigeria, explains the difference between business angel investment efforts and less disciplined traditional angel funding activities, and unpacks why he believes that Africa’s early-stage startup scene would be best served by indigenous money.
Mar 7, 2018
A Peek Under the Hood Of South Africa's Mobility Scene feat. Obakeng Morapeli Matlhoko
Back on the show for the first time since contributing his fair share of involuntary hot takes on Episode 109 entitled "Investor Bias Debate 2.0 + Should Africa Embrace Uberisation?" (http://bit.ly/investorbias) Tapsnapp Founder, Vije Vijendrenath assumes co-hosting duties in Musa Kalenga’s absence. Andile Masuku chats to him about the workarounds he's deployed to secure funding for two startups that he previously struggled to get investors to take seriously-- namely, www.tapsnapp.co and www.youbabyandi.com. Then, joining Andile and Vije on the show for a deep dive into South Africa's mobility scene is Obakeng Morapeli Matlhoko, the Founder of AftaRobot-- South Africa's ambitious "Uber for minibus taxis". Obakeng shares trench insights into his company’s audacious attempt usher in a new paradigm for the country’s notoriously fragmented minibus taxi industry. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
1 hr 24 min
Mar 5, 2018
Andela's Wambui Kinya unpacks Andela's gig economy strategy and addresses common misconceptions
Wambui Kinya is the Chief Strategy Officer at Andela-- a startup helping companies overcome tech talent shortages by delivering high performing distributed engineering teams that leverage some of Africa's finest coding talent. Wambui joined Andela after spending over eighteen years working within the professional services space (spanning digital, mobile marketing and technology consulting) in North America, Europe and Africa for companies such as ThoughtWorks (where she notably served as Group Managing Director, Pan-Africa and South America), Praekelt Consulting and IBM Global Business Services. In her current role, Wambui has been tasked with developing partnerships with top tech organizations across the continent and with spearheading Andela's tech leadership recruitment efforts. In this candid chat with Andile Masuku, taped at African Tech Summit Kigali 2018 (https://www.africatechsummit.com/kigali/) she unpacks Andela's distinctive approach to capitalising on the global gig econo…
Feb 25, 2018
Karabo Songo and Musa Kalenga of House of Brave on evolving creative agency models
Karabo Songo and Musa Kalenga are the savvy business minds behind FastGro-- the 100% black-owned investment firm which just acquired a 25.1% share of the independent agency, House of Brave (HOB). As part of the deal, Karabo has been appointed the business' Group CEO, while Musa has assumed the position of Chief Future Officer. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Karabo and Musa share how they plan to go about applying platform thinking and leveraging technological innovation to thrive within an industry that's currently taking serious strain.
Feb 22, 2018
Venture Garden's Bunmi Akinyemiju on Sure Remit's ICO success and executing smart platform plays
Bunmi Akinyemiju is Co-founder and CEO of Nigeria's Venture Garden Group-- a global technology firm which owns several fully-developed SaaS intellectual properties. Bunmi has over 16 years of entrepreneurial experience in high-tech sales, solutions development and management, and has so far led the development of over 20 proprietary technologies in multiple sectors globally. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Bunmi unpacks the platform strategy driving Venture Garden's approach to incubating, funding and operating early-stage tech firms, and shares the rationale behind what is now the biggest African ICO to date-- Sure Gift's $7 million raise to launch the Sure Remit remittance platform.
Feb 19, 2018
What's Trending at #ATRULive Meetup Kigali (Feb 13, 2018)
So, we invited friends of the African Tech Roundup podcast to join us for drinks at the Kigali Marriott's Iriba Bar between 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM on Feb 13th, 2018-- the day before the Africa Tech Summit Kigali conference. And when the homies demanded an impromptu podcast session, we gladly obliged. Listen in to hear what was trending at the recent #ATRULive Meetup Kigali.
Feb 5, 2018
The Fake News Episode feat. Anim Van Wyk of Africa Check
We aren't even halfway through the first quarter of 2018 but already, we've seen a fair amount of questionable 'factual' content do the rounds on social media. In this episode of the African Tech Roundup, https://AfricaCheck.org Editor, Anim Van Wyk, joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga to examine the seriousness of Africa's fake news problem and chat through recent highlights from Africa's emerging tech and innovation scene. Listen in to hear Anim explain why you shouldn't trust anyone - not even fact-checking organisations - without verifying their claims. She also explains why debunking false information on platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat is especially tricky, and shares handy pro tips on spotting and preventing the dissemination of "alternative facts" and fake news. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
1 hr 29 min
Jan 30, 2018
Lidya's Tunde Kehinde on addressing Nigeria's $30 billion small business credit gap
Tunde Kehinde is the co-founder of Lidya, a branchless internet bank that aims to ease Nigeria's estimated $30 billion small business credit gap. Tunde holds a honours degree in finance from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He previously co-founded the logistics startup, Africa Courier Express (ACE). Before that, he co-founded Jumia.com and served as the e-commerce giant's Managing Director. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Tunde reflects on his founder experience and explains why investors keen on helping Lidya deliver on their mission best be ready to put some serious skin into the game.
Jan 22, 2018
Kola Aina of Ventures Platform reckons African capital and local context are underrated
Kola Aina is the Founder and CEO of the Nigerian-based pan-African seed-stage fund and accelerator, Ventures Platform. The firm's portfolio includes well-publicised Nigerian rising startup stars like Paystack and Printivo, as well as promising, lesser-known ventures like the Cameroonian wifi entertainment platform, Viva. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Kola unpacks his firm's investment thesis and their Y Combinator-esque approach to startup incubation and acceleration. He also shares his concern about what he considers to be a deep-seated tendency to underestimate the value of African capital and local context.
Jan 15, 2018
On Your Marks for 2018: Is the Lean Startup Approach Legit?
In the first full African Tech Roundup podcast of 2018, Andile Masuku mulls over Gefira Solutions Founder and CEO Bert Bruggeman's assertion that we can't just "app our way" to solving all of Africa's problems. Then, he ponders which hybrid investment approaches might prove successful in fueling African startups in 2018, and echoes the questions posed by Seyi Fabode’s blog post entitled: “Is It Time To Dump The ‘Lean Startup’ Approach?” Also, in this episode, Andile gives a quick update on the #NotOurManifesto dumpster fire that Co-Creation Hub Nigeria co-founder Femi Longe lit late last year and shares some encouraging news regarding the https://africamanifesto.com initiative that was subsequently launched. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Jan 12, 2018
Bert Bruggeman of Gefira Solutions on why hardware development is key for Africa
Bert Bruggeman is the Belgian Founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based technology advisory firm, Gefira Solutions. Bert has an impressive 25-year track record of successful technology product development and C-level leadership in a broad range of high-tech industries. Gefira Solutions is keen to act on their expansion agenda within Africa's hardware development and innovation space. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Bert unpacks his organisation's vision and explains why Africa can't simply "app its way" to solving all its problems and achieving digital transformation goals.
Jan 4, 2018
mSurvey's Kenfield Griffith on why he's bullish on 2018 and why data analytics is a gamechanger
Montserrat native Kenfield Griffith is co-founder and CEO of mSurvey-- a data analytics SaaS startup based in Nairobi Kenya. In 2012, Kenfield partnered with Kenyan Louis Majanja to launch the business following an extended visit to Nairobi to conduct some research for his MIT PhD on the use of technology as a means to improving communication. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Kenfield explains why he's bullish on 2018 and unpacks how mSurvey's data analytics platform is delivering solid business results for an impressive roster of big-name clients in East Africa, the US and the Caribbean.
Jan 1, 2018
Rich Tanksley of NeuBridges on the massive growth potential of commercial digital media in Nigeria
Rich Tanksley is the Senior Vice President of Special Projects at the Nigerian-American consultancy, NeuBridges. Formerly the CEO of Pulse.ng, Rich continues to be the Ringier-owned online media platform's brand ambassador. Prior to that, he spent three years working at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Ghana as a senior faculty member and headed up Africa operations for Seedstars. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Afrobytes Tech Conference 2017 - Rich speaks on some of the gaps he perceives within Africa's innovation culture and factors in on issues that he reckons make doing business in Africa a tricky proposition for naive outsiders. He also comments on the massive growth potential of Nigeria's commercial digital media scene.
Dec 22, 2017
Alec Fokapu of FiftyFor on bridging the cultural divide between big business and African SMEs
French-born Cameroonian Alec Fokapu is the founder and CEO of FiftyFor, a B2B rating platform for African companies. FiftyFor uses an algorithm to compute ratings on governance structure, financial strength, operational capability, and the social and environmental impact of African companies. Alec has 10 years of experience working as a financial analyst in international infrastructure projects at Total and Crédit Agricole CIB. Prior to launching FiftyFor in 2014, he founded an investment firm dedicated to financing promising African SMEs and entrepreneurs. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Afrobytes Tech Conference 2017 - Alec explains why business rating not only helps big business interests vet prospective African investees and suppliers but can also assist local SME’s in improving their investibility and bridge the entrepreneurial culture gap between them and the developed world.
Dec 13, 2017
The 2017 Year-end Rundown + African Venture Capital Done Right feat. Rushil Vallabh
By this time last year, Africa's tech and innovation media community had started to go into hibernation for the Festive Season. But this year’s different… Bitcoin is doing the thing, America’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to put net neutrality out of its misery, Uber is bracing for a severe regulatory backlash after trying to conceal a 2016 data breach affecting 57 million users, and complex corruption allegations continue to dog the JSE-listed IT service management giant, EOH, as well as Naspers (who now indirectly own a piece of Spotify thanks to the streaming service’s recent mini-merger with Tencent Music). The tail-end of Q4 2018 has also featured some encouraging local tech ecosystem developments— like several promising African startups landing much needed early-stage funding and key ecosystem stakeholders (founders, investors, policy makers and innovation hub runners) participating in vigorous public debates about maximising the creation and exch…
1 hr 26 min
Dec 11, 2017
Maya Horgan Famodu of Ingressive Capital on becoming a venture capitalist in 2017
2017 has seen Maya Horgan Famodu transition from overseeing efforts to assist corporations and investors integrate into the African tech ecosystem via Ingressive's market entry and operations services, to becoming an early stage tech venture capitalist at Ingressive Capital. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Maya explains how she's leveraging her Nigerian-Swedish-American heritage, her bullet-proof professional reputation and the insights she's continuing to glean via Ingressive's legacy activities to take on the challenge of participating in the continent's emerging early stage investment scene.
Dec 5, 2017
Co-Creation Hub Nigeria's Femi Longe factors in on the #NotOurManifesto farce
This Medium blog entitled, "Startups4Africa: This is NOT OUR MANIFESTO" by Co-Creation Hub Nigeria Co-founder Femi Longe has caused quite a stir on social media: http://bit.ly/2AxCEMv. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Femi explains why he couldn't keep his pen still after he returned to Nigeria following the recent EU-Africa Summit, where a "collaborative" document entitled "Startups 4 Africa: Manifesto for the development of a thriving community of African-European startup ecosystems" was presented.
Dec 4, 2017
Khaled Ismail on how KI Angel and HIM Angel funds pursue inter-Africa startup growth
Khaled Ismail is the Chairman and Founder of two Cairo-based angel funds— KI Angel and HIM Angel. He also serves as advisor to Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s leading technology venture capital outfit, which focuses primarily on Series A and Series B investments in Egypt and the MENA region. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at the fringes of African Angel Investor Summit 2017 (www.AAIS2017.com) - Khaled relates how he went from being a career technologist to founding seven tech ventures since 1991 (including a 4G mobile tech firm which was acquired by Intel) before accidentally falling into structured angel funding activities. Khaled also explains how he’s acting on his idealistic desire to tear down trade barriers linked to Africa’s colonial past. He's determined to normalise the interchange of both angel funding and startup founding talent across the continent.
Nov 28, 2017
Ido Sum explains how TLcom Capital got in on Andela's $40M Series C
Israeli investor Ido Sum is a Partner at TLcom Capital— a venture capital firm with a presence in Nairobi, Lagos and London. Since 1999, the firm has invested in Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT) companies in Europe, Israel and Sub Saharan Africa and currently manages total commitments in excess of €200 million. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at the fringes of African Angel Investor Summit 2017 (www.AAIS2017.com) - Ido fields questions regarding the prevalence of investor bias, the appropriateness of certain VC approaches on the continent, and of course, TLcom's participation in one of 2017’s most well-publicised startup investment deals— Andela’s $40 million Series C, led by South African Pule Taukobong of CRE Venture Capital. Here's a link to Ido Sum's crowdsourced African Investment Landscape Database: http://bit.ly/2Abm8lj. If you are actively involved in early-stage investment efforts on the continent, Ido welcomes your contributions to the spreadshe…
Nov 22, 2017
Kenyan post election reflections with PesaCheck.org Managing Editor Eric Mugendi
In this conversation, Andile Masuku asks PesaCheck.org Managing Editor, Eric Mugendi, to reflect on the unprecedented leveraging of digital technologies by leading actors in Kenya's controversial elections, and to factor in on how the country's emerging tech ecosystem is doing in the aftermath.
Nov 20, 2017
Should Africa-focused Investors Hunt Gorillas, Gazelles Or Unicorns?
Last week, Africa’s early stage investor community came together for the 4th annual African Early Stage Investor Summit (#AAIS2017). At this exclusive investor-only event, hosted at Workshop17 in Cape Town, South Africa, key stakeholders in the ecosystem exchanged insights on best practice, shared lessons learnt, and debated what the roadmap for the future ought to look like. In this African Tech Roundup episode, Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga discuss some of the more contentious issues unpacked at the conference-- including whether or not the hunt for the "African Unicorn" is constructive and how Africa-focused investors might best go about investing with exits in mind. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Nov 10, 2017
Timothy Kotin on how SuperFluid Labs delivers business value via data analytics solutions
Timothy Kotin was born and bred in Ghana. He is the co-founder and chief executive of SuperFluid Labs-- an ambitious African data analytics firm which supports enterprise clients spread across multiple sectors. Superfluid has offices in Kenya, Ghana and Germany. Kotin holds an MPhil. in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Harvard University. Prior to co-founding Superfluids Labs, he worked as a research scientist at IBM as part of a team which developed financial services innovations for multinational enterprise clients in Africa. Before that, he worked for Dalberg’s New York and Nairobi offices— playing consultant to key public and private sector development actors such as the U.S. Government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the UN Foundation. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Timothy relates how he…
Oct 30, 2017
Do African Startup Pitch Competitions Offer Anything More Than Pre-allocated Peanuts?
The Facebook-sponsored TechCrunch Startup Battlefield competition which took place in Nairobi recently brought together fifteen African startups for a glitzy pitch session that offered entrants the chance to win $25,000, as well as the opportunity to go on and compete for $50,000 at the Disrupt Cup, which will be held in Silicon Valley next year. After the Kenyan logistics startup, Lori Systems, won the Nairobi event murmurings of alleged tournament rigging started doing the rounds and eventually surfaced in media reports. This palava has got Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga wondering what, if any, value startup competitions are adding to Africa's emerging tech ecosystem, and has inspired them to interrogate the motives and modus operandi of various commercial interests who are looking to position themselves as enablers of Africa's tech industry. Also in this African Tech Round-up podcast, Musa and Andile discuss South Africa’s recent data breach-- the largest in the country’s hist…
1 hr 1 min
Oct 23, 2017
Yannick Lefang of Kasi Insight reckons reliable market research is key to business success in Africa
Electrical engineer, Yannick Lefang, is the Founder and CEO of Kasi Insight-- a research and advisory firm that provides African consumer data and actionable insights. Since 2013, Yannick's firm has been intent on empowering business leaders and entrepreneurs with the game-changing insight they need to tap into the continent's fast-growing markets. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at Afrobytes Tech Conference 2017 - Yannick explains why even some of the most-quoted macroeconomic statistics published by leading NGO's and top-flight global consultancies can be misleading. He also gives some real-world examples of how research conducted by his firm has helped clients meet business objectives.
Oct 19, 2017
Divercity's Sean Godoy says proptech could help Africa overcome post-colonial property challenges
Sean Godoy is the Founder and Executive Director of Divercity Property Solutions. He has cross-sector experience in the property industry in both South Africa and the UK. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Sean explains why he's excited about the global rise of real estate tech aka proptech. He believes that this trend could facilitate the democratisation of land and property ownership in Africa and help iron out the continent's complicated post-colonial land and property situation.
Oct 13, 2017
Adebayo Alonge explains how RxAll's AI-driven spectrometer authenticates medicines
Adebayo “Ade” Alonge is the Nigerian co-founder of RxAll, a platform which provides patients in the developing world with authenticated and verified medicines. Prior to this, Ade was a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, and before that, he spent eight years working a Sanofi, Roche, and BASF. In this absorbing, not-so-quick chat with Andile Masuku, Ade unpacks the state of play within Nigeria's pharmaceutical mass market, and explains how RxAll is enabling direct access to affordable, high-quality medicines while helping to reshape drug purchasing habits within markets rife with counterfeit product.
Oct 3, 2017
The Great Bitcoin Surge And Cryptocurency Mining feat. Simon Dingle
South Korea has reportedly become the latest notable nation to follow the likes of Nigeria and China by outlawing the use of cryptocurrency. Given these developments, policymakers all across the continent are no doubt mulling over the merits of banning Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). They are probably concerned that by shunning cryptocurrencies, they might end up being on the outside looking in on a lucrative financial trend that may well prove impossible to rein in regardless. In this episode of the African Tech Round-up podcast, cryptocurrency enthusiast, Simon Dingle, joins Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga to discuss the great Bitcoin surge that is fueling the world's current obsession with virtual money. Simon explains why some people are displeased with the likes of PR journalism outfit, Memeburn, and CBS's cable channel, Showtime, for allegedly taking advantage of their audiences to mine crypocurrency. And in the wake of all the recent moving and shaking by some African virtual cu…
Sep 29, 2017
Bertil van Vugt on how VC4Africa's new startup academy is boosting aspiring founders
Bertil van Vugt is Business Development Lead at the Amsterdam-based organisation, VC4Africa. In this quiet chat with Andile Masuku, taped at Afrobytes Tech Conference 2017, Bertil gives us a sense of the mind space tech industry business opportunities occupy in the average European. Given his vantage point, he's also well-placed to factor in on how Africa's tech ecosystem is coming along in terms of growth. Finally, Bertil also unpacks the noble rationale behind the recent launch of VC4Africa's online startup academy (https://academy.vc4a.com), and explains why he's bullish on the e-learning trend.
Sep 25, 2017
Internet Society's Michuki Mwangi separates hype from reality regarding Africa and the internet
Michuki Mwangi is the Regional Development Manager for Africa at the Internet Society where he has worked in the African Regional Bureau to promote Internet growth and sustainability since 2008. As the Internet Society is celebrating its 25th year anniversary in 2017, Michuki reflects on the progress being made to enable more and more Africans harness the life-changing potential of the internet. Among other things, Andile Masuku asks him who can be trusted to help bring Africa online given the numerous political and commercial interests around the world who are keen to exploit the internet to advance selfish ambitions.
Sep 20, 2017
African Billionaire Watch And Other Political Conversations feat. Sinclair Skinner
A few weeks ago, Africa's richest man, Nigeria's Aliko Dangote, baffled many pro-African investment proponents by telling Bloomberg that if things go the way he plans, come 2020, a significant chunk of his wealth will be deployed abroad. In this African Tech Round-up episode Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga are joined by Bitmari co-founder and self-proclaimed "pre-racial thought leader", Sinclair Skinner, for an unfettered family-style straight-talk session which literally went all over the place-- including reacting to Mr Dangote's recent revelation. Beware the scorching candid views and unintentional hot takes on everything from Naspers' problematic links to South Africa's apartheid past and Tanzania's new drone delivery program, to the big ticket maneuverings happening in South Africa's fintech scene courtesy of South Africa's wealthiest black man, Patrice Mostepe. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
1 hr 30 min
Sep 6, 2017
Adedana Ashebir on Village Capital's investor bias report + do expats & repats care about Africa?
**Apologies for the poor sound quality** Adedana Ashebir has recently been tasked with heading up Village Capital's business on the continent. In this conversation, Adedana walks Andile Masuku through some of the thinking behind and the findings published in Village Capital's implicatory Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded report called Breaking the Pattern: Getting Digital Financial Services Entrepreneurs to Scale in India and East Africa. Among other things, this fintech-focused research highlights the fact that more than 90 percent of funding for East African fintech start-ups typically goes to expatriate founders (European or North American), and the fact that despite East Africa posting a record haul in terms of start-up investment ($84.7million or R1.13billion) over the last two years, a whopping 72 percent of that funding has gone to just three companies - namely, M-Kopa, Off-Grid Electric and Angaza. Adedana factors in on the lively debate that's ensued in the wake of t…
Aug 31, 2017
George Asamani on how DooWapp music messaging could become as ubiquitous as emojis
George Asamani is an exceedingly well-traveled 39-year-old Ghanaian who currently calls Addis Ababa home. He is the co-founder of a music and messaging app called DooWapp-- an alumnus of Telefónica's Wayra startup accelerator in the UK. In this conversation, taped at the Enterprise Africa Summit 2017 hosted by the British Council in Accra some months ago, George gave Andile a sense of the positive innovation vibes that he's absorbed while living and working in various African markets over the years. They also chatted about the importance of responding readily to market feedback when iterating a passion-driven 'nice-to-have' software product.
Aug 21, 2017
Kenya's Twiga Foods Closes $10.3M Series A Investment Round Led By Wamda Capital
The last few weeks have seen three promising African tech startups land significant investments-- namely, the Nigerian digital payments firm, Flutterwave ($10 million), the Kenyan mobile-driven food supply platform, Twiga Foods ($10.3 million), and the South African fractional investments service, EasyEquities ($7.5 million). In this installment of the African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga discuss the merits of the Flutterwave and Twiga deals, but somehow, we forgot to chat about the EasyEquities transaction on this episode (our bad). That particular transaction stands out somewhat, owing to the fact that 30% of the company was acquired by the South African financial services giant, Sanlam. Here's to hoping that the Sanlam-EasyEquities deal signals a trend towards African institutional investors becoming savvier at identifying and financing home-grown start-ups before their overseas counterparts swoop in to snap up promising businesses from right under their noses. M…
1 hr 1 min
Aug 20, 2017
Charlene Chen reckons Bitpesa is well-positioned to surf the blockchain wave
Charlene Chen is the Chief Operating Officer of BitPesa-- an online payment platform founded in Kenya that leverages Blockchain settlement to lower the cost and increase the speed of business payments to, from and within sub-Saharan Africa. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Charlene explains how BitPesa helps clients, that range from African businesses and multinational companies paying suppliers as far as China and Dubai to international remittance companies, use their API services for white-label payments to dozens of bank networks and mobile money operators across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, and the DRC. She also unpacks why BitPesa hasn't gotten caught up in speculation regarding Bitcoin and sheds light on the company's prospects following the successful close of their $5.7 million Series A in January 2017.
Aug 14, 2017
Eunice Baguma Ball explains why the Africa Technology Business Network is backing #FoundingWomen
Eunice Baguma Ball is the Ugandan Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN). For over 10 years, Eunice has worked at the intersection of tech and social enterprise - leveraging her engineering background to build an impressive reputation as a tech and innovation specialist. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Eunice gives her take on the state of African women in tech, comments candidly on some of the cultural hurdles women continue to face in what is still largely an unwelcoming, male-dominated industry, and gives us the low-low on a ground-breaking book she hopes to publish in December 2018, called Founding Women. Founding Women will put the spotlight on African Female founders who are building technology businesses across Africa and the Diaspora-- with the aim of creating visible role models to inspire young African women to reach their full potential as innovators and tech leaders. Listen in to hear how you can contribute to an ongoing Indiegog…
Aug 13, 2017
Kenya General Election 2017: The fake news factor with Eric Mugendi of PesaCheck.org
Eric Mugendi is the Managing Editor at PesaCheck.org. In this chat with Andile Masuku, taped on Monday, August 7th, 2017 - a day before Kenya's General Election - he factors in on how fake news has influenced public sentiment in the lead up to the highly-contested polls. We deliberately asked Eric to weigh in on the fake news situation before his insights were clouded by the election results. We've also been intentional about waiting for the official outcome to be declared before releasing this podcast, in respect for Kenya's democratic process.
Jul 31, 2017
Investor Bias Debate 2.0 + Should Africa Embrace Uberisation? feat. Vije Vijendranath
A couple of weeks ago, a think piece by Andile Masuku entitled "We simply must not allow investor bias to persist" - featured in African Independent and Business Report - caused a bit of a stir on Twitter. The hubbub surrounded the article's tackling of the sensitive issue of investor bias that appears to be prevalent in Africa's startup finance scene. Cited in Andile's piece are research findings published in a recent Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded report by the American VC outfit, Village Capital. According to the report, more than 90% of the funding that's gone into East African fintech startups over the past year or two has benefitted firms with expatriate founders. This has lead to some local founders complaining that their ventures aren't being fairly appraised for investibility in terms of their potential and financial viability. In this episode of the African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga are joined by Tapsnapp founder and CEO, Vije Vijendranath, to un…
1 hr 22 min
Jul 27, 2017
Barbro Ciakudia on how Invest Africa is stoking enthusiasm for African investment in London
Barbro Mutombo Ciakudia is VP for Business Development at Invest Africa. Invest Africa is a private members club based in Mayfair, London and was founded by Rob Hersov in 2013 as a means for business leaders, private investors, and entrepreneurs to gain insight into Africa and to be exposed to the continent's vast opportunities. They offer a multi-service platform for access and investment into Africa which aims to be a link between capital and expertise into Africa, and information and opportunity out of Africa. In this chat, Babro gives us a sense of how bullish members of their network are about investing in Africa and talks about what sort of investor support they typically need to act on their enthusiasm.
Jul 24, 2017
Jean-Paul Melaga went from Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi exec to co-founding Smart Phorce
Jean-Paul Melaga is a recovering finance professional who's had a successful career in top-tier international banking. Jean-Paul worked for the likes of Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi before becoming co-founding the mobile market research startup, Smart Phorce. In his last banking gig before pursuing a more personal entrepreneurial agenda, Jean-Paul served as Head of Africa at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, where he was tasked with turning powerful people within that organisation on to Africa's investment potential-- basically, turning sceptics into believers. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Jean-Paul reflects candidly on his corporate experience and reveals how his banking background set him up for his second career in tech.
Jul 20, 2017
Arthur Musah's documentary Naija Beta highlights the untold potential of Lagosian youth
Naija Beta is a documentary that follows a team of Nigerian and Nigerian-American MIT students who dream of shaking up education in Nigeria and head to Lagos one summer to teach technology to high-schoolers through a competitive robotics camp. As they seek to contribute to a new and better Nigeria, their ideals are tested by reality. Arthur Musah is the film's director and hails from Ghana and Ukraine. Naija Beta premiered in 2016 at the Pan African International Film Festival in Cannes, and won Best Documentary Feature at the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta, an Achievement in Documentary Film Award at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival, and the High Output Director Award at the Arlington International Film Festival. Naija Beta was also screened at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, where it won Best Documentary Short Film at the Roxbury International Film Festival. Arthur continues his exploration of African identities in a globalised age through his upcoming feature O…
Jul 17, 2017
Uber Drivers In South Africa Are Now Considered Employees Of The Ride-hailing Service
According to a ruling made by South Africa's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), an employer-employee relationship does, in fact, exist between Uber and driver-partners. This follows Uber being dragged to the CCMA several months ago by seven driver-partners who alleged that they were unfairly deactivated by the service. The ride-hailing service has long contended that it is simply a virtual marketplace that connects drivers and passengers and not an employer-- citing the fact that Uber doesn't own cars or have drivers on their payroll. In this African Tech Round-up episode, Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga discuss some of the legal implications of this ruling, and how they might compromise Uber's business model. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Jul 13, 2017
Baba Zoumanigui reflects on his fruitful executive career at IBM
In this chat with Baba Zoumanigui, IBM's General Manager for French Speaking Africa, he shares insights drawn from his international IT career. Baba gives us a sense of the lucrative value IBM is determined on unearthing in Africa and reflects candidly on what it takes for an African IT pro to navigate and thrive in a corporate scene dominated by Europeans and North Americans.
Jul 7, 2017
Rebecca Enonchong on #BringBackOurInternet and why she's fed up with African foreign aid
Rebecca Enonchong is an award-winning Cameroonian-born technology entrepreneur who is affectionately known as the "Queen of African Tech". Rebecca is the founder and CEO of AppsTech, and quite notably a co-founder and Vice-President of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN). In this catch-up chat with Andile Masuku, Rebecca reflects on the #BringBackOurInternet campaign she continues to back, explains why she's annoyed by all the foreign aid money flooding Africa's tech scene and gives us a status update on her very public spat with MTN.
Jul 6, 2017
Cisco's Shaun Kirby on why the global mobility industry is ripe for disruption
Shaun Kirby oversees product development for Cisco's automotive and connected car business unit. He is responsible for evangelising and acting on trends that will disrupt and transform the world's mobility industry. In this conversation, he explains why he's excited about IoT and talks about whether it's sensible to anticipate that Africa will leapfrog the traditional motor vehicle to adopt more advanced mobility options, this as the global trend towards ride-sharing and self-driving vehicle deployment continues.
Jul 6, 2017
Wolf Stinnes on Dimension Data's cutting-edge top-tier sport and health IoT solutions
Wolf Stinnes is smart buildings and digital cities solutions architect at Dimension Data. In this conversation, he talks about some clever top tier sport and health tech solutions that he and his team are beta testing and taking to market at the moment.
Jun 30, 2017
Naspers CEO Bob Van Dijk Accused Of Blowing Roughly $25.6 Billion Of Shareholder Value
It's no secret, Africa's largest tech company by market cap, Naspers, has been buckling under the pressure to perform for some years now. The fact is, the company hasn't scored any big wins in any of the legacy internet and pay-TV verticals it once used to dominate with ease. Naspers' most recent financial results seem to validate the notion that except for the firm's exceedingly lucrative 33 percent stake in the Chinese cash cow that is Tencent, there seems to be little else to write home about in terms of outstanding performance. In this episode of the African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku and Musa Kalenga discuss the merits of an open letter penned by a certain Albert Saporta - the managing director of the Geneva-based investment advisory firm and Naspers shareholder, AIM&R - accusing Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk of destroying approximately $25.6 billion of shareholder value since his appointment more than three years ago. Sniper! Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.co…
Jun 26, 2017
Rockwell Automation's John Lewis doesn't buy that factory automation is destroying livlihoods
John Lewis is the Director Business Partnering at Rockwell Automation. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, taped at the Internet of Things World Forum 2017 hosted at London's Tobacco Dock (creaking floorboards and all), John talks about how his company is adapting to changing times by drafting software developers and tech-savvy business specialists who can speak to the myriad of optimisation challenges faced by their clients all over the world. He also rebuffs the widely-held belief that the global trend towards aggressive factory automation is destroying livelihoods.
Jun 23, 2017
Malawi Secures $72.4 Million Credit Line From The World Bank To Advance National Digitisation
The Sub-Saharan Africa heads of the likes of Huawei, Oracle, Cisco, IBM and perhaps even Amazon, Facebook and Google, have no doubt already booked first class tickets to Lilongwe to advise the Malawian government on what to do with the $72.4 million line of credit the country has secured from the World Bank to "help Malawi build the digital foundations needed to help the country connect to the global digital economy". This development comes in the wake of the World Bank resuming "budget support financing" for Malawi in May 2017 after a four-year hiatus. In this African Tech Round-up, Musa Kalenga and Andile Masuku discuss some of the things that Malawian policy-makers ought to prioritise as they engage with potential technology partners. News like this helps contextualise some of the sentiments expressed by David Meads, Cisco's Africa business head, in a recent IoT-focussed chat he had with Andile, in which he highlighted his organisation's commitment to assisting African governments…
Jun 16, 2017
Anton Jooste outlines what's at stake if Africa doesn't gear up for the new digital economy
Anton Jooste is Dimension Data’s Global Director for the Internet of Things. In this chat, he contextualises the promise of IoT for African enterprises and citizens, and candidly outlines what's at stake if Africans don't prepare themselves to participate in the new digital economy.
Jun 14, 2017
AppDynamics' Prathap Dendi unpacks the life-changing potential of IoT for the world's poorest
Prathap Dendi is an engineer-turned startup executive with over 15 years of experience in technology leadership positions in companies ranging from startups to giants. He is currently the general manager for emerging technologies at the application performance management and IT operations analytics start-up AppDynamics, which Cisco recently acquired in the US for a whopping $3.7 billion. Prathap hails from the South of India and in this conversation he shares insights regarding how technological innovation, not least IoT, might be wisely harnessed to deliver life-changing solutions to the world’s poorest populations.
Jun 14, 2017
Cisco Africa's David Meads is adamant that technology should benefit the average African citizen
David Meads has lead Cisco’s Operations across Africa since 2012 and is responsible for the company’s go-to-market strategy across the continent as well as the field execution of that strategy. As Cisco’s VP for Africa, David is responsible for how Cisco partners with African Government’s and private sector companies alike to help them define and implement Digital strategies that will help them unlock the full potential of the "Internet of Everything". In this conversation, David explains how his company hopes to ensure that the trend towards IoT adoption delivers value for the average African citizen.
Jun 14, 2017
Exclusive Africa-focussed Insights From IoT World Forum 2017
This week's African Tech Round-up is dedicated to sharing insights gleaned from the recent Internet of Things World Forum (2017IoTWF)hosted in London. The Global IT and networking giant, Cisco, convened the invite-only gathering to facilitate dialogue among key stakeholders and innovators in business, government and academia and to “bring industry leaders together to collaborate, network, partner and solve the challenges facing IoT”. To ascertain how the trend towards IoT adoption is likely to impact African enterprises and citizens alike we caught up with Dimension Data’s Global Director for the Internet of Things, Anton Jooste, David Meads, who heads up Cisco’s Africa business, Prathap Dendi, who is the general manager for emerging technologies at the application performance management and IT operations analytics start-up AppDynamics, as well as Alan Griffiths of Cambashi-- an analyst specialising in industrial IoT, cloud computing, and their effect on the technical softwar…
May 31, 2017
The Expat Founder Debate & A Busload Of Accidental Hot Takes feat. Mark Kaigwa
Kenya's finest digital-head, Mark Kaigwa, joins Musa Kalenga and Andile Masuku on this week's African Tech Round-up for two glorious hours of straight-talk. Using the biggest tech and innovation headlines from the past couple of weeks as a springboard, the trio chats candidly about everything from major broadband infrastructure developments to cyber security issues-- touching on the implications of M-PESA's imminent interoperability and even discussing the politics of Africa's startup funding scene. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
2 hr 11 min
May 29, 2017
Etop Ikpe talks about life after the successful close of a $5M Series A for Cars45.com
Etop Ikpe and his team at the Nigerian vehicle marketplace, Cars45.com, are no doubt feeling great following the successful close of the company's $5 million Series A funding round a couple of weeks ago. Given the tough time Nigeria's e-commerce industry has been having of late, the significance of this achievement is not lost on us. Previously the Commercial Director of Konga-- one of Nigeria’s largest online shopping platforms, and formerly the CEO and Co-MD of DealDey, Etop is unquestionably an e-commerce veteran at this point. Etop joined DealDey after the startup acquired Three Stitches-- Nigeria’s first e-commerce website dedicated to fashion, which he founded in 2008. Prior to that, Etop founded Tinker Bell Media LTD, which produced We Run the Game-- a syndicated sports program broadcast terrestrially across 12 Broadcast Networks. Cars45 is Nigeria's largest used car sales platform and runs local inspection centres in strategic locations around the country which help cust…
May 28, 2017
Nigeria's Cars45.com Riding High After Landing $5 Million Investment
Etop Ikpe and his team at the Nigerian vehicle marketplace, Cars45.com, are no doubt feeling great following the successful close of the company's $5 million Series A funding round a couple of weeks ago. Given the tough time Nigeria's e-commerce industry has been having of late, the significance of this achievement is not lost on us. Previously the Commercial Director of Konga-- one of Nigeria’s largest online shopping platforms, and formerly the CEO and Co-MD of DealDey, Etop is unquestionably an e-commerce veteran at this point. In this episode of the African Tech Round-up, he explains why Nigeria's e-commerce scene hasn't lived up to many of the lofty expectations that were set for it five or six years ago. Also in this show, Andile chats with Ammin Youssouf, who formerly founded and helmed the celebrated creative agency, Big Youth, before co-founding and serving as CEO at Afrobytes Ventures. Listen in to hear what Ammin and his team have in store for those of us attending Europ…
May 15, 2017
Scientists Successfully Remove HIV Virus From Mouse Cells Using CRISPR
Scientists have found a way to remove the HIV virus from the DNA in mouse cells using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. According to the journal, Molecular Therapy, use of the technique has led to the complete elimination of infection in mouse organs and tissue after just one treatment. Now, that's the kind of international tech news that really gets us excited around here! And, yes! The team at the African Tech Round-up is back from a much-needed break, and we're super-stoked to catch up on news like this CRISPR HIV breathrough, as well as dive into some of the other significant headlines that dropped while we were away. We're pleased to announce that Musa Kalenga will be joining Andile as a guest co-host on the show every fortnight starting this week to chat about the most important stories and to unpack major trends impacting Africa's tech ecosystem. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Apr 25, 2017
Monica Brand Engel of Quona Capital on why impact investment gets a bad rap
Monica Brand Engel is a Peruvian American investor and entrepreneur who has been involved with a number of investment vehicles and products aimed at broadening financial inclusion. Monica spent her formative years in Silicon Valley and is a disciple of agile development and user-centered design. The financial inclusion businesses she helped launch include Quona Capital, Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund and its predecessor fund, Frontier Investments Group, Anthuri Catalysts (Cape Town venture capital accelerator), a Calvert index fund (Bethesda based socially responsible mutual fund), lending intermediaries sponsored by The Development Fund (San Francisco based) and new business lines with Compartamos (now Gentera, the largest microfinance institution in Mexico). In this chat, Monica talks to Andile Masuku about Quona's recent investment in the South African fintech startup, Yoco, and comments on some of the criticism frequently levelled at the impact investment community.
Apr 18, 2017
Allard Luchsinger of Velocity Capital Private Equity talks making sound bets on African startups
Allard Luchsinger is the Director for Private Equity at the Dutch VC firm Velocity Capital Private Equity. Allard supports all of Velocity’s portfolio companies as an active board member for TradeKing, an innovative US online brokerage firm; 8 Securities, Asia’s next-generation online broker based in Hong Kong; Five Degrees, a progressive banking software provider from The Netherlands; as well as Cellulant, a leading mobile commerce and payment technology provider from Kenya. He joined Velocity Capital in 2011, after co-founding and serving as the COO of the groundbreaking San Francisco-based online brokerage firm Zecco. At Zecco, Allard drove all operations, growing the firm’s client base to more than 250,000 accounts. In 2012, Zecco merged with competing brokerage firm TradeKing in 2012 to create the industry’s sixth largest online broker, TradeKing Group Inc. Previously, Allard served as associate partner at the Dutch strategy-consulting firm Boer & Croon, as well as co-f…
Apr 15, 2017
Stephen Ozoigbo of the African Technology Foundation on plugging startup pipeline gaps
Andile catches up with Stephen Ozoigbo at the inaugural Enterprise Africa Summit that was recently hosted by the British Council in Accra, Ghana. Ozoigbo is the CEO of The African Technology Foundation. He has dedicated his energies to addressing the obvious gaps in Africa’s tech startup pipeline by championing some of the most high profile ecosystem growth initiatives on the continent— not least, by serving as Managing Partner of Lions@frica, being an key executive supporter of DEMO Africa and helping to organise the Geeks on a Plane Africa Tour which ended in April 2017.
Apr 6, 2017
Talking Ladders and Trampolines With Musa Kalenga
We’re still in celebration mode for crossing 100 weekly podcasts in a row. And so as promised, this week, we’re sharing more awesomeness from that event. Enjoy this candid fireside chat with the talented digital specialist, marketing maven, author, former Africa Client Partner at Facebook, current Head of Brand at IAB South Africa, and Founder and CEO of a new adtech startup called Microtising, Musa Kalenga. In this conversation, Musa shares loads of insights on starting up in Africa, and talks about the challenges of navigating Africa's corporate digital scene. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution
Apr 3, 2017
Jacques de Vos of Mezzanine Ware on harnessing IoT to improve business efficiencies
Jacques de Vos is the MD of the Vodacom IoT subsidiary, Mezzanine Ware. Mezzanine deploys mobile (GSM) enabled solutions and helps clients (primarily within the healthcare, agriculture and education services) develop innovative business models that harness IoT technologies to achieve cost efficiencies and improved accessibility.
Mar 29, 2017
The Big 100: State of the Startup LIVE
This is our 100th episode! To everyone who's ever listened in to the show, interacted with us via social media, recommended the podcast to other people, made an audio contribution, emailed a comment or question, been featured as a guest, attended one of our live events, tuned in to a live stream on Facebook, or even come on board as a podcast/event sponsor, thank you. We all did this. The love is real, and we salute you! To celebrate this milestone, we're publishing live audio taped at the African Tech Round-up LIVE: State of the Startup event we hosted a couple of weeks ago. At the gathering, Andile Masuku facilitated a lively panel discussion featuring special guests, Indresen Chetty (Managing Director: TRACE Mobile), Dominique Collett (Senior Investment Executive: RMI & Alpha Code), Ben White (Founder & CEO: VC4Africa) and Daniel Rubenstein (Co-founder: My Treasury). Happy listening and here's to the next hundred episodes! Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) M…
1 hr 17 min
Mar 22, 2017
Talking Access To Higher Education With Bola Lawal Of ScholarX
It's been barely a week since we hosted the African Tech Round-up LIVE: State of the Startup event in Johannesburg, and believe it or not, next week will mark the 100th podcast we'll have published in consecutive weeks. We've done our best to deliver the biggest digital, tech and innovation headlines from Africa and beyond while offering candid analysis and commentary, as well as useful insights gleaned from some of the Africa's leading entrepreneurs, executives, investors and technical talent. The conversation we're sharing on this week's show brings things full-circle in that the show's host, Andile Masuku, finally got to meet the Texas-based Nigerian, Bola Lawal, in person at our recent event-- after they interacted online, brought together by the podcast. It's humbling to realise how this little podcast has grown into a lively international community of people-- Africans and otherwise, who are actively involved and/or care deeply about the continent's growing tech ecosystem. Bol…
Mar 17, 2017
The Tech Minute 17-03-2017
The Tech Minute 17-03-2017 by African Tech Roundup
Mar 14, 2017
Etisalat Nigeria's Creditors Call In Massive Debt + Simon Dingle On Bitcoin And Blockchain Tech
Mobile telcos on the continent are certainly having a rough time of it on the continent. In the same week that MTN South Africa CEO, Mteto Nyati, announced his resignation, a consortium of banks including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank reportedly assumed control of Etisalat Nigeria over an outstanding $1.72 billion loan. Media reports suggesting that Etisalat Nigeria failed to meet its debt servicing obligations since 2016 have led to speculation over what might have contributed to this crisis-- could it be unsound management decisions or simply an unfortunate consequence of operating in Nigeria's recessionary environment? In this week's African Tech Round-up, Simon Dingle joins Andile on the show to comment on the week's biggest headlines and to discuss the import (or lack thereof) of Bitcoin reaching price parity with gold, as well as to share insights on the exciting potential of blockchain technology to revolutionise monetary regimes on the continent. Music Cre…
1 hr 6 min
Mar 10, 2017
The Tech Minute 10-03-2017
In this Tech Minute, Brian Lupiya shares the latest on Etisalat Nigeria's $1.72 billion credit dispute with a consortium of banks including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, and reveals which international VOD subcription service has set its sights on seven African countries. Music credit: Muzikid
Mar 8, 2017
The Tech Minute 08-03-2017
Oops... Amazon is still recovering from their embarrassing human error that caused a massive outage of their Simple Storage Service, leading to significant portions of the web to go down for several hours. For more on that story and one other major news item from the past week, listen in to this Tech Minute with Brian Lupiya. Music credit: Muzikid
Mar 8, 2017
Pule Taukobong of CRE Venture Capital on grooming African founders for success
Pule Taukobong is a Founding Partner at CRE Venture Capital (CRE VC), a seed-focussed fund which invests in technology-enabled startup companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their impressive portfolio includes stakes in startups like Andela, Esaja, Angani, Flutterwave and more recently, Yoco. Pule is responsible for the group's deal flow and performs industry and financial due diligence on both incoming business plans and targeted companies, while also sitting on several startup advisory boards. In this conversation, Pule unpacks his approach to identifying sound prospects and discusses what it takes to groom promising startup founders for success.
Mar 6, 2017
Nokia's New Dumbphone Dominates Headlines + The Kalenga Conundrum
Whatever you think of Nokia's re-introduction of the legendary 3310 device, you've got to hand it to HMD Global for completely owning Mobile World Congress 2017 in terms of capturing headlines. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to recall any other major announcement made at the world's premier mobile showcase this year. In this week's African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku is joined by Zambian author, speaker and marketer extraordinaire, Musa Kalenga, to work out how much of the hype surrounding Nokia's new/old "dumbphone" is actually deserved, and whether the handset has the potential to do well if it's rolled out in Africa. You should also tune in to hear Musa factor in on some of the biggest headlines from the last couple of weeks, as well as to hear him unpack insights from a second book he has in the works, The Kalenga Conundrum-- which is just one of the many projects keeping him very busy in the wake of giving up his client partner role at Facebook Africa in recent weeks. Music Cr…
Mar 2, 2017
The Tech Minute 02-03-2017
In this Tech Minute-- media reports have surfaced alleging SAP South Africa Managing Director Lawrence Kandaswami's involvement in a kickback scandal linked to the Department of Water and Sanitation. For more on this and other leading tech news from the past week, be sure to spare a minute to listen in. Music credit: Muzikid
Mar 1, 2017
Katlego Maphai of Yoco on innovating within South Africa's mobile payments scene
Katlego Maphai is the co-founder and CEO of the South African mobile payments startup, Yoco. Yoco launched out of beta in October 2015 and the venture has since acquired over 6 500 merchants, has gone on to process approximately $76,7 million (R1 billion rand) in annualised transactions. The company has recently announced the conclusion of a Series-A funding round (sum undisclosed) led by two foreign, fintech-focused institutional investors-- US-based Quona Capital (manager of Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund) and the Netherlands-based, Velocity Capital.
Feb 22, 2017
The Tech Minute 22-02-2017
In this Tech Minute, Brian Lupiya unpacks how Kenyan banks have teamed up to take on the disruptive threat posed by M-Pesa, and touches on two other leading stories from the latest African Tech Round-up podcast. Music credit: Muzikid
Feb 21, 2017
Business Angels, Blackberry and Tech Bubbles
We're often asked what informs our opinionated take on the biggest tech and innovation headlines each week. Our secret is having five to ten times as many conversations per week than most people. From established tech entrepreneurs and high-flying C-suite types to striving startup founders, career tech-heads, VC’s, business angels and everyday Africans who are leveraging tech to make a better life for themselves, we talk to everybody. On this week's African Tech Round-up we've decided to let you in on some typical offline chatter that tends to colour our worldview. Listen in to hear Chris Campbell, co-founder of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) catch up briefly with Candace Johnson at the World Business Angels Investment Forum that recently went down in Turkey. Candace is the co-chair of the Global Business Angels Network, and Chris got her to react to the presence of an African delegation at the event. Chris also tapped Nigerian Angel Investor, Tomi Davies for his though…
Feb 21, 2017
Tomi Davies of ABAN on Africa becoming a serious tech investment destination
While at the World Business Angels Investment Forum 2017, Chris Campbell, co-founder of both the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) and the South African Business Angels Network (SABAN) catches up with Nigerian angel investor and president of ABAN, Tomi Davies, to get his thoughts on how readily the world is starting to think of Africa is a serious tech investment destination.
Feb 15, 2017
The Tech Minute 15-02-2017
In the same week that Neotel officially became part of Liquid Telecom (a subsidiary of the Econet Group), Anglophone Cameroon clocked a month of going without internet access. Brian Lupiya shares the details in this Tech Minute. Music credit: Brian Lupiya Image credit: Edouard Tamba
Feb 14, 2017
Alison Treadaway of Striata on the merits of South Africa's Protection of Personal Information Act
Alison Treadaway is a director and shareholder of the South African eBilling and eMarketing software and services company, Striata. In this chat, Alison unpacks the noble aims of South Africa's imminent enaction of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), and highlights some of the pain points that this ground-breaking piece of legislation is expected to address-- gaps that other African countries will no doubt seek to plug through passing personal data laws of their own.
Feb 14, 2017
The South African Reserve Bank Is Warming Up To Blockchain Technology
The continent's two most prominent central banks-- the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), have decidedly different attitudes towards the notion of adopting virtual currencies. While the CBN has recently warned the country's financial institutions and citizens that virtual currencies are not legal tender, the SARB has displayed a willingness to emulate Tunisia by launching a blockchain-based digital version of the South African Rand. With bitcoin showing signs of maturing into a legitimate asset class, central banks the world over are grappling with a very real fear of missing out on the cryptocurrency wave. The surf's up, it seems. Also in this week's African Tech Round-up is a chat with Alison Treadaway, director and shareholder of the South African eBilling and eMarketing software and services company, Striata. Alison unpacks the noble aims of South Africa's imminent enaction of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI). She highlights…
Feb 7, 2017
The Tech Minute 08-02-2017
In this Tech Minute, Brian Lupiya gives the lowdown on an impressive large-scale green project in Cape Town, South Africa and touches on two other leading stories from the latest African Tech Round-up podcast. Music credit: Muzikid
Feb 6, 2017
Lionel Chmilewsky of Cambridge Broadband Networks is bullish on multipoint microwave tech
Lionel Chmilewsky is the CEO of Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBNL), a UK-based, privately-held multipoint microwave tech firm which has an impressive client list that includes seven of the world’s top ten mobile operators-- among them, African biggies like MTN and Vodacom. Lionel shares insights on the state of play on the continent’s wireless network scene, and explains why recent advances in multipoint microwave tech are potentially game-changing.
Feb 6, 2017
Internet Blackout Persists In Anglophone Cameroon
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are probably still celebrating their win against The Pharaohs of Egypt in the AFCON final. How ironic that roughly 20% of the Central African country’s population was unable to celebrate their national team’s win on social media thanks to the government’s ongoing broadband blackout following anti-government protests in the north-west and south-west regions of that country. No doubt some Cameroonians-- particularly the tech heads who make up the nation’s “Silicon Mountain” community, might even now gladly give up the country's recently won AFCON trophy if it meant getting their internet back. Increasingly, many African governments cannot be trusted not to tamper with public access to the web. With disturbing frequency, citizens across the continent are cut off without notice whenever their governments' interests are threatened. The unfortunate truth is that for the average African, the concept of internet access as a human right is a myth.…
Jan 31, 2017
The Tech Minute 01-02-2017
Got a minute? This brisk, energetic podcast presented by Brian Lupiya delivers the top three digital, tech and innovation stories featured in the latest episode of the African Tech Round-up (AfricanTechRoundup.com). Music credit: Brian Lupiya
Jan 30, 2017
Kwesé TV Poised To Give DStv A Haircut
Africa's 'high-end' VOD scene is hotting up, and for home-grown heavies, ShowMax and Kwesé, the race to achieving critical mass is on. ShowMax is on the prowl for mobile telco partners that can help it hack growth while leveraging the enviable stash of international licensed content that its mothership, DStv, has in its vault. Meanwhile, Kwesé has the benefit of being part of the Econet Group-- a huge potential advantage in that they might exploit Econet's established mobile distribution network. With Econet's Chairman Strive Masiyiwa promising that Kwesé will launch 60 channels across no less than 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, it's quite clear that the network's "mobile-centric" strategy will not be limited to carving out a decent share of the mobile VOD market, and so DStv could well be due for a haircut. This week's African Tech Round-up features a chat with Nzwisisa Chidembo, a programmer, business analyst and author of new book called Exploring Consumer Adoption…
Jan 24, 2017
The Tech Minute 24-01-2017
Got a minute? This brisk, energetic podcast presented by Brian Lupiya delivers the top three digital, tech and innovation stories featured in the latest episode of the African Tech Round-up (AfricanTechRoundup.com). Music credit: Brian Lupiya
Jan 23, 2017
Mastercard Launches 2KUZE Agtech Marketplace For Farmers In East Africa
Several well-respected voices we featured on the show last year predicted that we would see some major agtech plays happen in 2017. Sure enough, Mastercard made headlines last week for launching a digital marketplace platform called 2KUZE which connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The app allows farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural products via their feature phones. If this initiative works half as well as we hope it will, it should make a heck of a difference to small-scale farmers looking to sell their produce to the right buyers more efficiently and at the best possible prices. This week's African Tech Round-up features a conversation Andile Masuku had with Katherine Liew. Katherine is the Head of Digital Disruption at Barclays Africa. Given what's fixing to be an exciting year for fintech on the continent, he was keen to tap Katherine's mind to get a sense of how one the continent's largest banking incumbents…
Jan 18, 2017
Fintech News Dominates Holiday Headlines + Insights From CES 2017
The team at the African Tech Round-up has returned from the Festive break, and so we’re officially back to our normal programming. At the tail-end of this episode, Andile Masuku chats with Nicholus Steward, founder and CEO of the Swazi Bridge Project. He attended the world’s biggest tech show, CES 2017 in Las Vegas two weeks ago, and he’ll be sharing insights he gleaned from the event. We’re also catching up on some biggest stories that broke while we were on holiday, including Standard Bank acquiring Firepay— the company behind the SnapScan payments app, the George Soros-backed VC, Leapfrog raising $800 million to invest in Africa's finance scene, and the Nigerian fintech startup, Paystack, closing a $1.3 million seed investment round involving Tencent, Comcast Ventures and Singularity Investments. There's no doubt about it, folks. Fintech is definitely a hot ticket at the moment! Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Common…
Jan 9, 2017
Discussing Inclusive Value Chains With Simon Carpenter of SAP Africa
We are one week away from returning to our regular coverage of the week’s biggest digital, tech and innovation headlines, once the team at the African Tech Round-up returns from the Festive break. This week's show features yet another sneak preview of Season 6 of the African Tech Conversations series. Andile Masuku chats with Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Officer at SAP Africa. With 2017 well and truly underway, Andile finds out what innovation trend Simon is most excited about. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution
Dec 30, 2016
Unpacking Africa's Solar Power Revolution With Chad Larson Of M-KOPA Solar
This week's episode of the African Tech Round-up features a snippet from Andile Masuku's full-length sit-down with Chad Larson-- one of the three founders of the Kenyan solar power start-up M-KOPA Solar. Chad serves as the company’s Finance Director and Chief Credit Officer. He has lived in Nairobi with his wife and three boys since the company launched in 2011. Chad is a qualified CFA and an Oxford MBA who previously served as the CFO of the Africap Microfinance Investment Fund, based in Johannesburg, and prior to that, he spent 10 years in the investment banking division of Bank of America in Sydney and New York, working on fixed income, structured finance, and derivative transactions. M-KOPA Solar is aiming to be a $1 billion company by providing pay-as-you-go energy to off-grid homes. To that end, the company successfully closed a $19 million round of financing led by Generation Investment Management LLP in December 2015. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)…
Dec 23, 2016
Talking Venture Capital With Eline Blaauboer of TBL Mirror Fund and Safaricom Spark Venture Fund
This week’s African Tech Conversations sneak-peek is drawn from an in-depth chat Andile Masuku had with Eline Blaauboer, Managing Partner at both TBL Mirror Fund and Safaricom Spark Venture Fund. Eline’s worked in the venture capital and private equity sector in both Europe and Africa for last 14 years— gaining loads of experience with new investments and portfolio management, negotiation and structuring of investment rounds and deal flow generation. Her latest undertaking is something called 'Africa Tech Ventures' - a venture fund focussed on investing in and accelerating the growth of disruptive tech-enabled start-ups and businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Eline and her team at Africa Tech Ventures are currently in the process of fundraising and on the look-out for investors interested in collaborating with them. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution
Dec 20, 2016
Olivier Laouchez Of TRACE on evolving in the digital media space
Olivier Laouchez, who hails from Martinique (French West Indies), is the charismatic co-founder and CEO of Trace, one of the world's leading urban entertainment platforms which reaches over 200 million multicultural and multiethnic youth in 140 countries around the world. Initially a print magazine published in New York and London, Trace was relaunched as a multimedia group in 2003, and now operates 20 TV channels under several sub-brands and formats: TRACE Urban, TRACE Tropical, TRACE Toca, TRACE Gospel and TRACE Sports Stars. More recently, Trace has continued to invest aggressively in on-demand digital video, mobile services, content production and event production.
Dec 15, 2016
Ringing In The Festive Season With Dr Solomon Assefa of IBM
The team at the African Tech Round-up is on break, but while we’re away over the next four weeks, the show will go on! In place of our regular programming, we’ll share sneak-previews of episodes from the brand-spanking new season of the African Tech Conversations series which starts on Friday, December 16th, 2016. The series features the likes of Eline Blaauboer, Managing Partner at TBL Mirror Fund and Safaricom Spark Venture Fund, Chad Larson, Co-founder and Chief Credit Officer at M-KOPA, Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa, and more. This week we’re ringing in the Festive Season by sharing moments from Andile Masuku's in-depth conversation with the Ethiopian-born, Dr Solomon Assefa, who is the Director of IBM Research in Africa. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution
Dec 8, 2016
Brett Parker of SAP Africa on helping large enterprise clients maintain their competitive edge
Brett Parker is the Managing Director of SAP Africa. In this chat with Andile Masuku, he reveals some of the most critical strategic decisions made by SAP’s global leadership back in 2010, that helped the software giant maintain its dominant position in an increasingly competitive global market. Brett also highlights some of the fascinating greenfield opportunities SAP is pursuing on the continent and explains why SAP is well-positioned to partner with enterprises looking to navigate digital transformation issues.
Dec 8, 2016
Dr Chakib Bouhdary of SAP clears up commonly held misconceptions regarding digital transformation
Moroccan-born Dr Chakib Bouhdary is SAP’s global Digital Transformation Officer. In this chat with Andile Masuku, he shares some of the most common misconceptions he encounters regarding digital transformation when he interacts with executives around the world. Chakib also comments on the strategic mindset driving the trend towards large enterprises keenly making big plays outside their traditional businesses.
Dec 6, 2016
Zebra Cabs Raises $21.6 Million To Take On Uber And Taxify In South Africa
SA Taxi-owned Zebra Cabs has raised just over $21.6 million from Futuregrowth Asset Management to expand their owner-driver scheme in Johannesburg, and to take on Uber and Taxify. Their big hairy audacious goal is to have 3 000 cabs on the road by 2020. This development has got us wondering how many players Africa’s ride-sharing market can sustain. There must be easier ways to make a buck, but it seems the prospect of carving out a decent chunk of a potentially multi-billion dollar industry is clearly too much to pass up for VC's like Futuregrowth. The FOMO is real! It’s going to be interesting to see how quickly Zebra Cabs burns through their newly-found cash. Will they withstand the fierce price war that's almost guaranteed to ensue? How long will their financiers be willing to wait before they turn a profit? And will more funds be forthcoming when Zebra Cabs needs to extend their runway further down the line? Only time will tell. In this week’s African Tech Round-up we publ…
Dec 2, 2016
Dr Vukosi Marivate of South Africa’s CSIR on the importance of data security regulation
This is a lively chat Andile Masuku had with Dr Vukosi Marivate, a Data Scientist and Senior Researcher at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). They speak about the trend towards countries around the world passing laws that require the personal information of their citizens to be hosted on servers within their borders. We reached out to Vukosi after having some insightful engagement with him on Twitter last week; following our coverage of Russia blocking LinkedIn for flouting data security regulations.
Nov 29, 2016
Senegal Launches A New Electronic Currency
Senegal is now the second African country after Tunisia to adopt an electronic currency. eCFA is equivalent in value to the country’s physical tender and will be available on all mobile money and e-wallet platforms. This development has led to e-money proponents speculating which African country might be next to adopt electronic money. Zimbabwe, perhaps? It’s popularly been argued that given the persistent economic troubles that have dogged the country, Zimbabwe might very well be the continent’s best use case for the adoption of virtual currency. But for the time being, Zimbabweans will have to be content with the country’s newest currency-- bond notes, which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe started rolling out on Monday, December 28th, 2016. This week’s African Tech Round-up features a lively chat Andile Masuku had with Dr Vukosi Marivate, a Data Scientist and Senior Researcher at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). They speak about the tre…
Nov 25, 2016
Milena Taieb on how Believe Digital Studios is disrupting traditional broadcasting
Milena Taieb is the Head of Video for France, Africa and the Middle East at Believe Digital Studios— the world’s leading multi-channel network (MCN) specialising in multi-platform distribution, audience development and content monetisation. Believe Studios is YouTube’s #1 Partner in Europe, garnering 4 Billion views per month, across 60 Genre Channels and 10K Partner Channels. In this chat, Milena reveals how Believe has upended the traditional music and video production business, and why despite the plethora of self-publication platforms available to creators today, success is predicated on executing a killer digital distribution strategy.
Nov 21, 2016
Kenyan Agritech Startup WeFarm Secures $1.6 Million In Funding
How much of an over-achiever is Elon Musk fixing to become, though? In the last week, he’s added providing global internet coverage via a massive satellite network to his audacious To-do List. In this week’s African Tech Round-up Andile Masuku reflects on how Musk’s latest ambition might upset net neutrality watchdogs around the world who might not trust SpaceX to responsibly execute on something they don’t trust the likes of Google and Facebook to do. Also in this week’s show is more about perhaps the most publicised tech investment news of the past week, the $1.6 million investment haul made by the Kenyan agritech startup WeFarm. It’s exciting to see agritech startups start to excite the global VC community. It's absurd how millions of people on the continent go hungry every year despite how well-endowed Africa is in terms of natural resources. It’s about time we harness tech to work smarter, improve our yields, and get food to hungry people not just on the continent,…
Nov 15, 2016
Vodacom South Africa To Launch An SVOD Platform Called Vodacom On Demand
Trace TV is fixing to launch arguably the most hotly anticipated SVOD offering of the year, Trace Play. Their ambitious roll-out will involve making Trace Play available in English and French in 100 countries around the world. Trace’s Co-founder and CEO Olivier Laouchez is clearly serious about making sure that Trace TV remains the #1 urban network outside of the US. This past week, Vodacom South Africa announced the planned launch of an SVOD of their own called Vodacom On Demand. They plan to go live in 2017 with DSTV’s ShowMax onboard in a very cosy arrangement that’s left us wondering if their partnership could grow into something more substantial, like a deal to rival AT&T’s recent acquisition of Time Warner, for instance. Vodacom has said that they’re happy to partner with as many serious content players as might want to play with them, revealing that a future partnership with Netflix will happen in due course. We're fairly certain that a deal of AT&T-Time Warner propo…
Nov 12, 2016
Jason Njoku on iROKO exploiting traditional media plays on the way to a digital-led future
Jason Njoku is the inimitable Nigerian founder and CEO of the internet and entertainment group, iROKO. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Jason talks about how his group of companies is making lucrative traditional media plays while growing digital content platforms and producing local content for what's likely to be mobile-driven future.
Nov 12, 2016
Ntambwe Harlem Mufoncol of Baziks Pulse talks taking on music streaming in the DRC
Ntambwe Harlem Mufoncol, one of the co-founders of Baziks Pulse— a neat music streaming platform from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this chat Andile Masuku, Ntambwe shares how well African music lovers has so far taken to their recent launch and explains what makes their platform better suited for the African market than their global competition.
Nov 7, 2016
Highlights From DISCOP Johannesburg and Digital Lab Africa (featuring Jason Njoku of iROKO)
Andile Masuku and Brian Lupiya spent three days last week at DISCOP Johannesburg— Africa’s biggest multi-screen, multi-platform marketplace, assessing trends within the continent’s digital content scene. They spent most of our time collecting insights at the fringe of Digital Lab Africa (DLA)— a DISCOP partner initiative that aims to be a springboard for African multimedia talent looking to launch worthy projects and business ideas within digital music, web creation, virtual reality and video game development. So this week, in place of the bringing you the week’s highlights in terms of digital, tech and innovation news from across Africa, Brian joins Andile on the show to help present cool snippets from four of the many great conversations they taped both at DLA and in DISCOP’s main exhibition area. The aim is to give you a sense of the vibe, as well as point to where the future of digital content production and platforms on the continent might be headed. Look out for au…
Oct 31, 2016
The Kenya Revenue Authority Says Uber Will Not Be Subject To Value-Added Tax
In this week’s African Tech Round-up, we ask the question, “Should Uber’s wings be clipped before they change the world as we know it?” Lawmakers on the continent appear torn between adopting the pragmatic approach of embracing technological innovation and actively resisting the very real threat of change bringing with it the decimation of the traditional livelihoods of thousands of people who are simply not prepared or willing to adapt. In the past week, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has declared that for tax purposes, it will treat Uber as a technology company, rather than a transport company (meaning Uber needn't pay Value-added Tax), while in South Africa, the Competition Commission has dismissed complaints brought against Uber by the SA Meter Taxi Association who accused the ride-hailing service of anti-competitive behaviour. But in Nigeria on the other hand, Lagos State politicians are reportedly putting pressure on Uber to operate based on the old taxi franchise sy…
Oct 25, 2016
80: Kenya Commercial Bank Gets Hacked?
So, Episode 80 of the African Tech Round-up, aka the episode that nearly never happened, is finally out. In an interview Andile Masuku just taped for the upcoming season of the African Tech Conversations series, Co-founder and Chief Credit Officer of M-KOPA Solar, Chad Larson, shared words he lives by that epitomise why I’m glad the team didn’t give up on publishing the podcast this week— despite the ridiculousness that made it nearly impossible to do so. “Done is always better than perfect,” he said. So, here it is. There’s no doubt that this has so far been a bumper year for the world’s hacking community. Last week, one of Kenya’s biggest banks, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), spent a fair amount of energy trying to convince its customers that their personal data remains uncompromised-- this, following claims by a certain programmer who goes by @IrakChris on Twitter claiming to have accessed KCB's client data through vulnerabilities found in the bank's mobile app.…
Oct 17, 2016
Rwanda Launches World's First Drone Delivery Service
Rwanda has helped Africa beat the rest of the world to rolling out a commercial drone delivery service. The land of a thousand hills has partnered with the UPS Foundation, Gavi, and the Californian drone startup Zipline, to start using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies to hard-to-reach places in the country. Zipline's autonomous drones will now fly blood and plasma to places where poor road conditions often result in delays to time-critical deliveries of medical supplies for hours or even days. With drones, delivery time is reduced to minutes, even in bad weather. Take that, Amazon! Also in this week's African Tech Round-up is high-profile tech investment news involving Naspers, MTN, as well as William Kirsh-led Triptech Media's 20% acquisition of the social transit application GoMetro-- a startup which seems to be generating a fair amount of investor interest at the moment. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons:…
Oct 14, 2016
Julian von Plato on how PockitTV & Stream.Digital are pushing short-form digital content
Digital video content creator, streaming evangelist and co-founder of Pockitttv, Julian von Plato joins Andile Masuku to chat about VOD trends and the adoption of streaming technology on the continent. In this conversation, Julian explains why he believes that mobile is the future of video content consumption in Africa, and why PockitTV, Sstreamm's new VOD platform (in partnership with MTN), is a great way for savvy video producers to distribute their content.
Oct 10, 2016
Tecno Plans To Start Manufacturing Mobile Devices In Nigeria
This week’s African Tech Round-up episode is jam-packed. Digital video content creator, streaming evangelist and co-founder of Pockitttv, Julian von Plato joins me to chat about VOD trends and the adoption of streaming technology on the continent, then TechCabal.com’s Editor-in-chief, Bankole Oluwafemi aka Lord Banks factors in on MTN’s ongoing run-ins with the Nigerian Communications Commission. The past week saw internet access being blocked in Ethiopia in an effort to quell violent anti-government protests and MTN Nigeria rethinking its planned acquisition of Visafone, so Tecno’s announcement of its plans to start manufacturing mobile devices in Nigeria provided some respite. The company is looking to consolidate the rather impressive 25.3% market-share it has so far managed to carve out for itself in one of Africa’s most competitive mobile device markets while demonstrating its commitment to Nigeria’s growing mobile ecosystem. Finally, the team at the African Tech Rou…
1 hr 2 min
Oct 5, 2016
The Co-Founders of Airbuy on promoting financial inclusion
Andile Masuku chats with the four co-founders of a promising South African start-up called Airbuy— a business which plans to help people convert airtime into “airbucks” that they can use to purchase goods and services online. The chaps are still celebrating their recent win at an MIT Global Startup Labs competition hosted at Wits University, and they allow us a peek under the hood of their passionate entrepreneurial hustle.
Oct 3, 2016
MTN Group Accused Of Sneaking Nearly $14 Billion Out Of Nigeria
There’s blood in the water. Nigerian lawmakers are flexing their might with a confidence rarely seen in decades past— at least as far as taking large corporates to task for flouting regulations. According to some media reports a member of the Nigerian Senate has put forward a motion for the house to investigate MTN Nigeria’s potential collusion with leading commercial banks to facilitate the illegal repatriation of funds over the last ten years. MTN is being accused of sneaking just under $14 billion out of the Nigerian market, and despite MTN’s official declarations of innocence, lawmakers have vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly. And so MTN’s season of reckoning continues. Also in this week’s African Tech Round-up, net neutrality activists around the world are celebrating the USA handing over internet control to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over the weekend. This happened in the wake of a US federal judge denying a last ditch re…
Sep 26, 2016
Kenyan Solar Company D.Light Lands $22.5 Million To Fund Growth
In a week which saw Yahoo announce that it had suffered the worst cyber-breach in history, and all three of Egypt’s incumbent mobile telcos opting not to bid for the 4G licenses being floated by the Egyptian government, Kenyan solar company, D.Light, shone brightly by announcing that they had raised $22.5 million in funding from leading VC’s, debt financiers and non-profit organisations. The money will be used to grow D.Light’s PayGo business globally— a pay-as-you-go offering which enables low-income customers to buy solar products on credit. D.Light has already made its mark by delivering affordable solar-powered solutions in Africa, China, South Asia and the United States. The company has so far sold more than twelve million solar light and power products in 62 countries, and aims to light up the lives of 100 million people by 2020. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Nicholus, one of our US-based listeners, shares insights he gleaned at Intercommunity…
Sep 19, 2016
Barclays Africa's Blockchain Transaction A World First
It’s been a busy week for the continent’s fintech scene. The past week saw MTN South Africa announce that it would be discontinuing its mobile money service due to “a lack of commercial viability”. This revelation comes months after Vodacom South Africa ended it’s catastrophic attempt at copying and pasting Kenya’s M-Pesa magic. Meanwhile, Madagascar became only the second African country after Tanzania to to roll out mobile money interoperability across the country's mobile networks. But easily one of the catchiest headline stories of the past week was about Barclays Africa’s involvement in what’s being celebrated as the very first blockchain verified financial transaction in the world by a major banking institution. The pilot deal between The Seychelles Trading Company Ltd. and Ornua saw the two companies harness a blockchain platform developed by Wave to trade a letter of credit. This transaction has to be Barclays’ most overt show of confidence in the potenti…
Sep 18, 2016
Ernesto Spruyt of Tunga.io on plugging the world into African coding talent
Ernesto Spruyt is the founder of https://tunga.io, an online market network that provides international clients access to African coding talent. He also happens to serve as Chief Mentor for Telegraph Media Group’s DigitalX accelerator program in Amsterdam. Among some of the things Ernesto chatted to Andile Masuku about is what prompted him to come to Africa looking for coding talent, and what he reckons African coders who aspire to having international careers ought to be keeping top of mind.
Sep 15, 2016
Ismael Rachdaoui on how nextwi is leveraging WiFi technology in innovative ways
Ismael Rachdaoui is the young, Moroccan founder of nextwi, a marketing platform that leverages Wi-Fi technology to help small and large business owners (primarily in the the hospitality industry) engage their clients/guests more intuitively based on their social profiles and online preferences and behaviour.
Sep 15, 2016
Brian Ondari of AirKlip on building the perfect personal assistant for varsity students
Brian Ondari is both the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at AirKlip, a promising Kenyan startup that aims to become every university student’s personal assistant by creating a simple collaborative environment (app) for students and administrators.
Sep 15, 2016
Harry Hare of DEMO Africa on unearthing promising founding talent
Harry Hare is the founder and publisher of CIO East Africa, an ICT information platform that has a monthly print publication (CIO East Africa), an online ICT portal (www.cio.co.ke) and a series of events including the CIO Executive Breakfast Series, the CIO Golf Series and the CIO 100 Awards and Symposium. He is also the founder and Director of African eDevelopment Resource Centre, as well as the founder of DEMO Africa 2012, a flagship initiative of LIONS @frica which has showcased over 150 startups that have gone on to raise over US$11 million in venture capital.
Sep 11, 2016
Afrimarket Lands €10 Million To Deploy E-commerce Platform Across Francophone Africa
The French e-commerce startup, Afrimarket, has raised €10 million from the Global Innovation Fund and the private sector arm of the French Development Agency (AFD), Proparco, as well from as a handful of individual investors such as the co-founder of PriceMinister, Olivier Mathiot, who’s been granted a seat on Afrimarket’s board. At a glance, the company seems to have it made-- except that growth within the e-commerce sector across the continent has consistently failed to meet expectations, and foreign-owned, foreigner-run e-commerce copy-cat plays backed by the likes of Rocket Internet continue to have precious little to show in terms of solid success. The bottom line is that this is Africa, and Afrimarket’s founder and CEO, Rania Belkahia, better have a few good tricks up her sleeve, including a tonne of patience and access to a lot more cash, if her company is to achieve its ambitious aspiration of dominating the French-speaking West African e-commerce market. In this wee…
Sep 7, 2016
Lexi Novitske of Singularity Investments believes the world's next unicorn will be African
Lexi Novitske is the Principal Investment Officer for Africa at Singularity Investments. Lexi is based in Lagos and has interesting insights on picking winning investments as an outsider working in a continent with a notorious dearth of data. She strongly believes that Africa could very well deliver the world’s next unicorn.
Sep 5, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg Goes On A Charm Offensive In Nigeria And Kenya
Mark Zuckerberg’s much-publicised trip to the continent spawned dozens of think-pieces in the blogosphere this past week. Many pundits clearly view Mark’s 'surprise' visit to Nigeria and Kenya as an affirmation of the continent’s importance as a valuable source of under-utilised tech talent, and as a hot-bed of home-grown innovation. Others read it as a pre-cursor to a massive wave of foreign investment that's expected to wash over the continent’s technology industry. We, on the other hand, can’t help sensing the calculated profit motive wrapped up in Mark’s impeccably orchestrated African safari. 'Connecting Africa’ is no doubt a huge priority for Facebook, given the growth of the continent’s increasingly affluent middle class, the availability of relatively cheap labour, and the hundreds of millions of impoverished Africans who are prime for education— read monetisation. Now, on some level Mark Zuckerberg must care about humanity and all, but it is curious how rea…
Sep 4, 2016
Angel Investor Farouk Jivani on adopting a hands-on approach to investing in early-stage startups
Farouk Jivani is a business consultant-turned angel investor who has invested in a couple of Kenyan startups-- one of them being the music downloads platform, Mdundo.com. In this chat, Farouk describes the allure of African markets to angel investors based abroad, and shares on what it's like to be a hands-on investor in early-stage businesses that have the potential to be the next big thing.
Sep 4, 2016
Tsholo Mogotsi on the City of Joburg's smart-city aspirations
Tsholo Mogotsi in the Director for Economic Development Facilitation at the City of Joburg. In this chat with Andile Masuku Tsholo talks about the City of Joburg's commitment to lead the continent in providing it's citizens with the most advanced web-enabled infrastructure. He also sheds light on the role of public institutions in promoting innovation on the continent.
Aug 30, 2016
Amrote Abdella on Microsoft's efforts to remain relevant in the face of disruption
Amrote Abdella is the Director for Venture Capital & Start-ups and Africa Initiatives (Microsoft 4Afrika) at Microsoft. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Amrote shares what it’s like to be embedded in one of the world’s largest tech companies, and being deployed in arguably the world’s fastest growing tech market(s). Listen in to hear Amrote’s take on how Microsoft is responding to next generation tech biggies like Google and Uber’s disruptive ambitions and what Microsoft might consider their next big play.
Aug 30, 2016
Stephen Ozoigbo talks leaving investment banking to promote African innovation
Stephen Ozoigbo is the CEO of the African Technology Foundation and the Managing Partner of the US State Department-backed Lions @frica initiative. In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Stephen talks about his journey from investment banking to being one of Africa's foremost tech and innovation evangelists. Stephen's high-profile community-building efforts within the continent's burgeoning tech ecosystem allows him to eloquently address the challenge of keeping up with global innovation faced by African startups, VC's, angel investors, legacy enterprise players, as well as government agencies.
Aug 29, 2016
Naspers Wilting In The Heat + DEMO Africa 2016 Highlights
The gravy train may well be over at Africa’s largest tech company (by market value)— Naspers. Naspers CEO, Koos Bekker, told investors late last week that the coming year is going to be a trying one for the company. At this point, Naspers has only one card up its sleeve, and it’s called Tencent Holdings. After all, Naspers’ 33 percent stake in the Chinese technology company currently accounts for almost half its revenue, and its internet and pay-tv businesses are stalling at a time when they desperately need growth to keep competitors like Google, Facebook and Amazon at bay. Bekker’s cautionary statements led to a 0.3 percent decline in the firm’s share price-- which seems like a tame reaction by the market considering that S&P Global Ratings had already changed its outlook on Naspers' credit rating to BBB-, which is only one step up from junk status. In short, it’s rough in these streets. Last week saw DEMO Africa hosted in Southern Africa for the first time in its fi…
Aug 22, 2016
Econet Wireless Set To Roll Out Shine's Ad Blocking Service
Econet Wireless has recently announced that all ±40 million of their subscribers in Africa will benefit from Shine’s ad blocking service— starting with those in Zimbabwe. This deal represents Shine’s first deployment on the continent, following partnerships they’ve struck with the likes of the Caribbean mobile operator, Digicel, and Three Group in the UK and Italy. There’s no doubt about it, life is about to get a little tougher for online media platforms that rely on ad revenue to survive, as well as for web marketers that peddle online real estate. However, Econet’s subscribers are likely to relish the prospect of enjoying quicker loading times, and cleaner web pages free from unsolicited advertisements. In this week’s African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku chatted with Scott Lyons of the Ford Motor Company. Scott leads Ford’s SYNC AppLink European Business and the Partner Development Initiative within the Ford Connected Vehicle and Services Organisation. Their conv…
Aug 15, 2016
Not-so-little Trademark Faux Pas Leaves Safaricom and Craft Silicon Red-faced
Safaricom and Craft Silicon both took an “L” this past week. As it turns out, they neglected to trademark the Little Cabs brand name before launching their ride-sharing service some weeks ago. And now, they’ve had to drop the word “Cab” from their brand after the “Little Cab” trademark-holder went to court to defend his right to use that name. From now on, they are to be known as Little. The whole situation is more than a little embarrassing to say the least, and reminds me of the wisdom MiPhone Founder and CEO, Alpesh Patel shared on the show some months ago, about how important it is to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” when it comes to securing one’s commercial intellectual property. Nevertheless, I’m sure the folks at Safaricom and Craft Silicon have learned their lesson. This week’s African Tech Round-up also features a chat Andile Masuku had with Brendan Horan. Brendan is an executive vice president of MiX Telematics— a fleet and mobile asset manage…
Aug 14, 2016
Babusi Nyoni Of M&C SAATCHI Abel on the rise of AI-deployment
Babusi Nyoni is a Cape town-based Zimbabwean digital all-rounder. Babusi is the Digital Creative Group Head at South Africa’s #1 ranked through-the-line agency, M&C SAATCHI Abel. Andile Masuku catches up with Babusi to discuss an AI-enabled campaign he recently masterminded and executed for a global FMCG brand, and to chat about the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence in general. Tune in to hear him factor in on what the world might look and feel like when those technologies become common-place.
Aug 8, 2016
MTN Group Reports Losses In Mid-Year Results For 2016
MTN Group’s warning that their interim financial results for the period ending June 30th 2016 would be unpleasant did a lot to absorb the shock when reality struck last Friday— the day the report eventually dropped. Despite revenue for the interim period improving by ±US$5.7 billion, MTN reported an after tax loss attributable to equity holders of just over US$401 thousand. That translates to a headline loss per share of nearly US$0.20. Compare that with 2015’s headline earnings of just under US$0.48 per share, and it’s sobering to see how humbling this must be Africa’s largest mobile service provider. As expected, the mobile telco has put forward a long list of explanations for what went wrong. One of the more interesting items on that list is what they are calling “short-term losses” they’ve sustained thanks to their significant investments in Middle East Internet Holdings and of course, the recently rebranded Africa Internet Group— which now goes by Jumia. We w…
Aug 1, 2016
Kinnevik's Half-Year Financial Report Sheds Light On Their Investment In Nigeria's Konga
Who knew that a little quarterly update by a publicly-traded Swedish investment firm could get Nigeria’s e-commerce fraternity all worked up? Not we. So, as Kinnevik was going about its business last week, the firm released its Second Quarter Report which detailed the performance of its subsidiaries around the world. That simple act of due diligence on Kinnevik’s part (which admittedly is something that happens every quarter without fail, but only garnered media attention in Nigeria this time round) allowed us all to get a sense of just how well Nigeria’s biggest e-commerce platform, Konga, is doing— which in turn fuelled speculation around the health of Nigeria’s e-commerce sector in general. Perhaps the most shocking revelation contained in the report was that Konga only has 184,000 active customers— which translates to approximately 1.1% of the Nigerian population. In a word, that number is disappointing. It has lead to vigorous debate both on social media and in the b…
Jul 25, 2016
Telkom South Africa In The Lead With Game Changing Mobile Packages
Data costs need to come down significantly if Africa is ever going to realise the dream of making access to the internet available to every single person living on the continent. As things stand, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, an estimated 590 million Africans still do not have access to electricity, to say nothing of reliable web access. However, South Africa’s largest telecoms operator, the government-owned Telkom, has announced some game-changing 4G/LTE data-led mobile packages that may signal the beginning of the end of exorbitantly high data prices in that country. Aside from throwing down the gauntlet towards its rivals, Telkom seems to be committing to a business model that seeks to sign up the masses and incentivise them to consume ever increasing amounts of data, as opposed to attempting to profiteer in the short to medium term. What’s not to love about that? Also in this week’s African Tech Round-up, I speak to Frank Schutte, the forme…
Jul 18, 2016
Jaco Van Zyl Of PulseIt on navigating the challenges of the the online voucher business
Jaco Van Zyl is the co-founder and MD of the South African startup, PulseIt— a company which is looking to give online voucher firms like Vouchercloud, Groupon and Shazam a run for their money. In this chat Jaco Van Zyl explain swhy so many VC’s and African tech firms seem quite bullish on the online voucher business, and why he thinks his startup has what it takes to steal market share from more established international players and fend off newer players like ttrumpet who are just as hungry for success as he is.
Jul 18, 2016
Codeacademy Receives $30 Million Investment Lead By Naspers Ventures
There’s no doubt that online education is a hot ticket at the moment. While the folks at Andela are probably still celebrating landing $24 million worth of investment courtesy of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others, the New York-based Codecademy has closed a $30 million Series C investment round led by Naspers, through its Naspers Ventures division. Codecademy plans to use the funds to extend its global reach, build its mobile presence, and beef up its course content. It does seem that formal education business is well and truly on its way to being disrupted. In this week’s African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku catches up with Jaco Van Zyl, the co-founder and MD of the South African startup, PulseIt— a company which is looking to give online voucher firms like Vouchercloud, Groupon and Shazam a run for their money. Andile asked Jaco to explain why so many VC’s and African tech firms seem quite bullish on the online voucher business, and why he thinks his startup has wh…
Jul 11, 2016
Will Facebook's OpenCellular Crush BRCK?
Last week, the global digital behemoth that is Facebook announced that they’ll be rolling out the OpenCellular system worldwide. OpenCellular is said to be an inexpensive, weather-resistant and fully customisable platform that will be able to serve as a wireless access point for connecting devices using 2G, LTE or even Wi-Fi. While this move by Facebook is no doubt just a footnote in the company’s playbook for achieving complete digital dominance, one wonders if this could signal the beginning of the end for the likes of Kenya’s BRCK— a home-grown system designed to do exactly what OpenCellular promises to do, perhaps less reliably. One wonders if there is any chance that a minnow like BRCK can stand up to the fire and might of a beast like Facebook? It seems unlikely that BRCK has captured enough of the affordable WiFi deployment market to develop a legitimate first-mover advantage, and it’s equally unlikely that anyone over at Facebook is losing any sleep worrying about t…
Jul 4, 2016
African Spirit American Spin
It’s the 4th of July, and in honour of the fact that our biggest audience outside of Africa is based in the USA, this week’s African Tech Round-up episode has a decidedly American spin. Playing guest-host in this instalment is very good friend of the show, aka “The American Homie”, Trevor Wolfe— Co-founder and CEO of Delvv.io. Trevor is fresh off a plane from Europe and the States where he’s successfully closed a round of funding for his crowdsourced research startup. In addition to factoring in on the week’s headlines, Trevor shares some interesting insights on what it takes to launch and operate a tech startup on the continent, while maintaining a global outlook. But that’s not all, folks… This week’s show also features two Stateside-based personalities who are extremely active on Africa’s tech scene— namely, Maya Horgan Famodu, Founder and CEO of Ingressive, and Toro Orero, Co-founder and Managing Partner, at DraperDarkFlow. Listen in to hear Maya share s…
Jun 27, 2016
Kenya's Buni.tv Acquired by Trace TV
One of the more surprising things that came out of a recent conversation Andile Masuku had with BT’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Oliver Fortuin is his answer when asked (somewhat unfairly) what disruptive trend could potentially render BT redundant in the next decade. His answer? The trend towards consolidated media ownership. Listen in to this week’s African Tech Round-up to hear Oliver unpack that answer. Meanwhile, the French Urban television network Trace TV’s acquisition of Kenyan, pan-African VOD service Buni.tv made headlines last week. Buni.tv is believed to be one of the largest African VOD services offering home-grown content. Trace TV has revealed that this acquisition is part of their plans to gear up for the launch of a VOD platform called Trace Play later in 2016. Now, it does seem that aside from keeping an eye out for competitors like iROKOtv, DSTV and Netflix, aspiring VOD service providers like Trace TV might do well to anticipate the moves being…
Jun 20, 2016
Despite the considerable push-back Uber has experienced in certain African markets, the firm’s march towards utter and complete world domination continued last week as they launched in Tanzania’s capital city, Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam is the 3rd African city Uber has taken to in as many weeks (following Luanda, Uganda and Accra, Ghana) and their 475th location worldwide. Since launching in Johannesburg in 2012, Uber has quietly gone about silencing many of the doubts that sceptics have had about the viability of their business model in African markets that typically show little regard to hype-driven startups that roll in from the West expecting an easy ride. (No pun intended.) Basically, what might have appeared to some as being a casual African safari is gradually developing into a case study on lean, mean execution. Only time will tell if a home-grown platform like Little Cabs— the ride-hailing service Safaricom is set to launch, will be able to rain on Uber’s parade.…
Jun 13, 2016
Charles Murray of ttrumpet on the ultra-competitive world of lifestyle apps
Ever wonder what it might be like to run a startup that’s owned by a successful tech company, backed by one of Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneurs? Well, one thing is for sure— it’s no walk in the park. At least, that’s according to Charles Murray. Charles is a director of a messaging and internet calling app called ttrumpet that’s looking to capture a big share of Africa’s digital vouchering market. ttrumpet-- dubbed a "lifestyle app", is a subsidiary of Fastcomm, a tech group that boasts having billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe as one if its shareholders. In this conversation, Charles tells Andile Masuku why he reckons that ttrumpet isn’t just another mobile app, and shares how his company plans to thrive in an ever changing social media landscape.
Jun 13, 2016
Is MTN Nigeria's Nightmare Over? (feat. Charles Murray)
On Friday, June 10th 2016 MTN’s stock price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange jumped by 20%. This happened in the wake of the news that the firm’s nine-month Nigerian nightmare might finally be coming to an end. MTN has reportedly struck a deal with the Nigerian government, and is set to pay the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) $1.7 billion over three years— significantly less than the $5.2 billion they were initially fined for flouting SIM card registration regulations months ago. While MTN’s shareholders are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, the company is not out of the woods yet, as according to the NCC, one of the conditions linked to the monetary settlement is the requirement that MTN list its Nigerian subsidiary on the Nigerian Stock Exchange “as soon as is commercially and legally possible”. While the jury’s still out on whether this is the last we’ll hear of this story, one thing is certain, this case sets one heck of a precedent, and that can on…
Jun 6, 2016
Naspers Now Worth Over ZAR 1 Trillion
If there were a race to being Africa’s largest media and internet company, out of fairness to other firms in the running, Naspers would probably be asked not to enter. After seeing its share price rise to an all-time high on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange last week— reaching R2,320.73 per share, pushing its market value to R1,02 trillion (±$6,7 billion), it’s now a matter of “catch me if you can” as far as any of the firm’s competitors closing in on them. In this week’s African Tech Round-up, Andile Masuku shares some of the reasons why Naspers stock is such a hot ticket at the moment, and dishes on the firm’s latest high-profile investment in a popular American e-learning platform. Andile also catches up with the Founder of Venture Capital For Africa (VC4A), Ben White. Ben’s organisation has recently published a report called the 2016 Venture Finance in Africa which highlights growing investor appetite in African early stage startups. Listen in to hear him…
May 30, 2016
Ghana's Police Threaten Social Media Blackout
Turns out Ghana’s top cop— Inspector General of Police John Kudalor thinks that blocking social media access across the country might be necessary to ensure Ghana’s national security on election day in November 2016. Mr Kudalor reckons that Ghana might do well to learn from the example set by other countries on the continent and around the world that have take similar steps in the recent past— Uganda no doubt being top of mind. It's likely that the Inspector General’s comments might have been made to test public sentiment on the issue ahead of the polls. However, if the chill we're picking up on Twitter is anything to go by, Ghanaians don’t seem to be terribly concerned at the prospect of having to survive 24 hours or so without access to Facebook and Twitter come November 7th. Ah, well… Meanwhile, in place of our discussion segment on the African Tech Round-up this week, we feature part of a recent in-depth conversation Andile Masuku had with Stephen van Coller, who i…
May 23, 2016
Brian Anderson unpacks FIS Africa online stokvel (savings club) solution
Brian Anderson is the Head of Sales and Business Development at Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), a NYSE-listed firm specialising in banking and payments technology as well as consulting and outsourcing solutions— which acquired one of the world’s leading financial software and technology services companies SunGard in 2015. The company services 20,000 clients in 130 countries and has 55,000 employees and $9.3 billion in revenue. Brian speaks to Andile Masuku about the company's next big idea targetting developing markets in Africa-- an online stokvel (savings club) solution.
May 23, 2016
Uber Driver Partners Attacked In Johannesburg (feat. Brian Anderson)
Late last week a violent attack on two Uber partner vehicles in the Sandton Central Business District led to the injury of three police officers who attended the scene to calm things down, and also resulted in the damage of two law enforcement vehicles. The assault on the Uber partners’ cars is said to have been carried out by a group of meter taxi drivers unhappy with Uber’s disruption of their livelihood. One man has reportedly been arrested in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, the quiet chat with Brian Anderson featured in this week’s African Tech Round-up in place of our regular debate segment takes on a decidedly more civil tone. Brian is the Head of Sales and Business Development for Africa at NYSE-listed banking and payments technology firm, Fidelity National Information Services (FIS)— the company that acquired financial software company SunGuard late last year. Listen in to hear Brian talk to Andile Masuku about an ambitious new platform that FIS is poised to…
May 16, 2016
Vodacom Admits That M-Pesa Roll-out In South Africa Flopped (feat. Dominique Collett)
Vodacom is finally pulling the plug on their disastrous six-year attempt to roll out M-Pesa in South Africa. (The service will be shut down on June 30th 2016.) Funny thing is, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub has blamed his company’s diabolical failure to meet their target of enlisting at least 10 million active users on South Africa’s relatively well-established banking industry. (By the end of 2015 they had only managed to onboard a paltry 76,000 active users.) However, Joosub’s assertion does not sit well with our guest on this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up— the brilliant and insightful, Dominique Collett. Dominique knows a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t in terms of mobile money innovation on the continent. Following a successful exit at the incredibly successful fintech startup she co-founded-- Tyme (acquired by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for a rumoured ±USD30 million), Dominique has gone on to become a financial services investor and…
May 9, 2016
What's The Big Deal With WiFi? (feat. Riaan Graham)
Following our coverage last week of the partnership between VAST Networks and Ruckus Wireless to deliver on Africa’s largest single deployment of WiFi infrastructure at the recently opened Mall of Africa in Midrand, South Africa— we thought it might be a good idea to invite a certified WiFi-freak to help us understand why WiFi may indeed be “the next big thing” in terms of ushering in seamless connectedness on the continent. Joining me on the African Tech Round-up this week is Riaan Graham, Ruckus Wireless’ Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. In this week’s discussion, Riaan argues that the perfect wireless ecosystem requires the harmonious interplay between fixed line telecoms operators and mobile telcos, with WiFi playing a complimentary role. However, as fixed line operators and mobile telcos continue to grapple with diminishing voice revenues, and opt to back technologies like LTE and LTE-U over WiFi, that idyllic scenario is undoubtedly a long way off. Meanwhile, the gr…
May 2, 2016
Vodacom Eats Humble Pie Over Please-Call-Me Idea
There’s no doubt Kenneth Nkosana Makate is celebrating Workers’ Day in style following a South African Constitutional Court judge ruling that Vodacom owes him a big fat cheque for profiting from his Please-Call-Me idea for well over a decade. This brings to a close Nkosana’s 15-year legal battle with the mobile network. Or does it? In this episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and I unpack this landmark case and speculate over just how much Nkosana’s legal team might gun for in terms of compensation. We also try and determine whether the case is a good example of how “the little guy” can in fact triumph over a mighty giant, or whether Nkosana’s investor-backed victory is proof that justice might still be reserved for Africa’s well-heeled elite. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Apr 25, 2016
Tax Free Mobile Devices vs. Drone Delivered HIV Testing Kits
There is so much hype around the potential of technological innovation to lift Africa out of poverty and usher the continent into an era of peace and progress. I get a little annoyed when such rhetoric is bandied about by corporate marketers who know better than to think that free WiFi and cheap mobile devices will solve the massive structural socio-economic problems plaguing the continent. Providing the backdrop for this week’s discussion on the African Tech Round-up is the news that the Malawian government is experimenting with the use of drones to deliver HIV testing kits to mothers who have recently given birth in rural areas. Meanwhile, Zambian lawmakers are bidding to make mobile device imports exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) to try and improve internet penetration in that country. Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku will unpack the question of which technological innovation might most benefit Africa, and conversely, which innovation trend might be over-rated. Music Credits: Mu…
Apr 18, 2016
A Year Of Great African Tech Conversations
And so our First Birthday Celebration continues… Over the past year, our sister podcast, African Tech Conversations, has featured relaxed in-depth chats with leading entrepreneurs, innovators and thought-leaders from Africa’s tech scene. In place of this week’s discussion on the African Tech Round-up, we’re sharing memorable moments from the series. In this episode, you can look forward to hearing candid bits and insights courtesy of Mteto Nyathi, Alan Knott-Craig Jr, Matsi Modise, Ashley Veasey, Justin Spratt and Trevor Wolfe. We obviously couldn’t share snippets from every conversation we had, but you’re welcome to listen to every single one of them in their entirety at conversations.africantechroundup.com Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Apr 11, 2016
Celebrating The African Tech Round-Up's First Birthday!
The African Tech Round-up turns one today, and it’s difficult not be sentimental. It’s been an incredibly rewarding year! We set out to provide some much-needed coverage of the biggest digital, tech and innovation news stories from the African continent— minus all the PR-soaked click-bait and consumer-driven tech chatter one tends to find all over the web. We’ve certainly done our best to deliver on that mandate. In producing the show over the last 52 weeks, we hope that like us, you’ve come to better understand the intricacies of Africa’s emerging tech and innovation scene, and that you’ve found the discussions and debates we’ve engaged in as interesting and enlightening as we did. To celebrate our anniversary, on this week’s episode, Tefo Mohapi and I will be sharing audio highlights from the past year. Do join us in revisiting great chats we’ve had with some of the more memorable guests we’ve had on the show-- folks like Rebecca Enonchong, Emeka Okoye, Domin…
Apr 11, 2016
Mbwana Alliy of Savannah Fund on the advantages of being a homegrown venture capitalist
Mbwana Alliy is the founder and managing partner at Savannah Fund, an Africa focused Technology Venture Capital fund that runs both an accelerator and seed investments in e-commerce, gaming, education technology and social networking. In this not-so-quick chat with Andile Masuku and Tefo Mohapi, Mbwana shares insights on the venture capital scene in Sub-Saharan Africa, and fields tough questions about the very public troubles at one of his more high-profile investments-- the cloud data service startup, Angani.
1 hr 17 min
Apr 11, 2016
Tawanda Kembo of BitFinance & Vusi Ndebele of PayNow on Zimbabwe's emerging tech scene
At Afrikoin Joburg 2015, hosted at Alpha Code in December 2015, Andile Masuku spoke to two leading Zimbabwean startup founders with businesses in the fintech space, and asked them to unpack why Zimbabwe might be the perfect use-case for disruptive fintech innovations.
Apr 4, 2016
Nigerian House of Representatives Calls For MTN Nigeria To Pay Over $10bn
MTN’s West African headache is now officially a chronic migraine. Just as the MTN Group thought the worst was over, lawmakers in Nigeria’s House of Representatives decided to shake things up. Some members have declared any concession (promised or granted by the Nigerian Communications Commission) in terms of the $5.2 billion fine that MTN Nigeria was charged some months ago, “unlawful”. Others have gone as far as saying that if Nigerian law is correctly applied, the fine ought to be doubled. We’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on this situation for you, so keep it locked. In place of this week’s discussion on the African Tech Round-up, we’ve published a clip from my recent chat with two well-regarded poster boys from South Africa’s tech startup scene: Lungisa Matshoba, of Cape Town-based fintech startup, Yoco, and Shafin Anwarsha, of the Johannesburg-based mobile recruitment startup, Giraffe. Listen in to hear Lungisa and Shafin share key growth metrics for their…
Apr 3, 2016
Lungisa Matshoba Of Yoco & Shafin Anwarsha Of Giraffe on repping Africa's startup scene abroad
Lungisa Matshoba is a Co-founder & Director of the Cape Town-based fintech startup, Yoco, and Shafin Anwarsha is Founder & Head of Product at Giraffe— a Johannesburg-based mobile recruitment startup. The two are well-regarded poster boys for South Africa’s emerging startup scene. Both their firms are currently enjoying a season of relative success as their businesses continue to gain traction and land the backing of venture capitalist interests. Among other things, Lungisa and Shafin chat to Andile Masuku about some of the misconceptions about the realties of Africa’s startup scene that they have encountered when trotting out their businesses in foreign markets, and they get real about two of arguably the most important growth metrics— revenue and profit. They also share some of the mistakes they would avoid if they could start their entrepreneurial journeys afresh.
Apr 3, 2016
Geraldine Mitchley of Visa Sub-Saharan Africa on buying in innovation
Geraldine Mitchley is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Emerging Payments at Visa Sub-Saharan Africa. Andile Masuku caught up with her at Nest.vc's recent #WhatsNext #FinTech event in Johannesburg and asked her to describe Visa's approach to acquiring fintech startups that might be able to deliver the type of innovative solutions they might have difficulty developing in-house.
Mar 28, 2016
How Ridiculous Is This? South Africa Is Looking To Ban Netflix!
There are media reports doing the rounds regarding South Africa’s Film and Publication Board (FPB) Chief Operating Officer Sipho Risiba supposedly giving Netflix a two-week ultimatum to comply with its regulatory requirements (whatever those are), or risk facing tough sanctions. Word is, Risiba recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Film Commission in a show of support for Kenya's mission to regulate Netflix’s activities within that country. Despite details around this matter being sketchy, critics have already started accusing the FPB of functioning outside of its mandate, and senselessly seeking to regulate the internet. In Andile Masuku's conversation with Justin Spratt over a year ago, Justin alluded to the fact that the proliferation of internet usage in Africa would change the face of traditional broadcasting and media distribution— leaving various stakeholders within those industries scrambling to cope. He certainly called it! In this week’s disc…
Mar 25, 2016
Dare Okoudjou of MFS Africa on the future of mobile money in Africa
Dare Okoudjou is the CEO of MFS Africa-- a firm which specialises in “making simple and relevant financial services accessible through mobile phones across Africa”. His international consulting background and current role as overseer of MFS Africa’s business across 22 African countries inform his perspectives on what might be next for the continent’s fintech scene. In this chat with Andile Masuku, Dare factors in on a broad range of topics, including what financial services incumbents might be doing that makes them ripe for disruption, and why he reckons Africa is poised to lead the world in terms of fintech innovation within the next decade.
Mar 25, 2016
Sechaba Ngwenya of Creditable on playing nice with financial services incumbents (for now)
Sechaba Ngwenya is the co-founder of fintech startup, Creditable, that is currently enjoying the support of VC’s like Nest.vc while “playing nicely” with financial incumbents like DBS Hong Kong to establish the commercial viability to their innovative banking solutions. Sechaba lets Andile Masuku in on what it’s taken to get his company to the relatively peachy phase they are now operating in, and dishes on the tricky business of securing the trust of existing financial institutions that have historically done well at servicing business, but not nearly as well at meeting the needs of individuals.
Mar 20, 2016
Will These FinTech Startups Disrupt Incumbents?
Last week, the Standard Bank Incubator in Johannesburg played host to Nest.vc’s forum on finance and technology. The gathering formed part Nest’s monthly entrepreneurship speaker series and showcase dubbed #WhatsNext. It is the very first #WhatsNext event that Nest has hosted in Southern Africa— doing so in partnership with Standard Bank South Africa, and with support provided by iAfrikan and the African Tech Round Up. In this week’s discussion, Zimbabwean tech entrepreneur and Business Analyst Team Leader at Digital Planet, Nzwisisa Chidembo joins Andile Masuku to unpack some of the weightier insights shared by the panelists who spoke at #WhatsNext #FinTech— namely, Dare Okoudjou of MFS Africa, Gerry Mitchley of Visa, Sechaba Ngwenya of Creditable and Lungisa Matshoba of Yoco. Africa is seeing the unprecedented adoption of cutting edge financial technologies that some are hoping will accelerate financial inclusion on the continent. Incumbents within the financial services…
Mar 13, 2016
Vodacom Accused Of Stealing An Idea, Again!
Vodacom is reportedly fielding a lawsuit filed by a South African company called Ndabenhle Business Enterprises CC. Word is, Ndabenhle is alleging that Vodacom stole the “Airtime Advance” idea from them and ran with it, leaving them in the cold. Vodacom’s Airtime Advance innovation allows prepaid subscribers who run out of airtime to get R5 or R10 in prepaid minutes on credit and only pay it back when they recharge, with a little interest of course. In this episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku debate what constitutes a protectable idea and whether the plaintiff in this particular matter may have approached their interaction with Vodacom with naiveté. It’s worth remembering that former Vodacom employee Kenneth Nkosana Makate’s court case against Vodacom, in which he alleges that Vodacom stole his ‘Please Call Me' idea, is still pending. The one thing these two cases have in common aside from alleging that the folks at Vodacom are a bunch thi…
Mar 13, 2016
Aaron Fu on Nest.vc's distinct approach to deploying venture capital in Africa
Andile Masuku had a lively chat with Aaron Fu, Managing Partner (Africa) at NEST recorded during his first proper visit to Johannesburg in December 2015. They talked about everything from what he’s personally looking forward to in 2016 to what strikes his fancy in his professional capacity as the head of a leading VC firm on the continent.
Mar 13, 2016
Craig Wilson on the the best from Mobile World Congress 2016
Andile Masuku chats to Stuff Magazine South Africa Editor, Craig Wilson, about all the biggest news to come out of the Mobile World Congress 2016-- that went down in Barcelona.
Mar 7, 2016
Mobile World Congress 2016 (feat. Craig Wilson, Talib Graves-Manns & Brien Jordan-Jack)
Aspirational mobile trends like virtual reality are all well and good, but as Africans we must still grapple with the practical implications of having a massive percentage of mobile users on the continent continuing to rely on feature phones. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Stuff Magazine South Africa Editor and good friend of the show, Craig Wilson joins Andile Masuku to unpack some of the highlights of Mobile World Congress 2016— which wrapped in Barcelona just over a week ago. Also, be sure to listen into this week’s show to catch snippets of a conversation Andile had with Talib Graves-Manns (Start-up Founder & Entrepreneur in Residence with Google for Entrepreneurs and Code 2040) and Brien Jordan-Jack (Aerospace Engineer, Commercial Pilot & Founder of Axiom Group). Find out what Talib reckons sets Code 2040 apart from other “diversity in tech” initiatives aimed at creating access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latino/a engineering…
Mar 6, 2016
Talib Graves-Manns And Brien Jordan-Jack on starting up while black in the US
Andile Masuku got to hang with two interesting African-American entrepreneurs who were in South Africa on business, and gleaned insights on the start-up scene they hail from. Talib Graves-Manns is the Entrepreneur in Residence with Google for Entrepreneurs and Code2040 at the American Underground in Durham, North Carolina. Talib is also the Co-Founder of three startups: RainbowMe Kids, Point AB, and Life on Autopilot. Brien Jordan-Jack is an aerospace engineer, and a celebrated commercial airline pilot for a leading global carrier. He’s also had a long stint working in investment banking. Currently, he’s leveraging all his technical training, professional experience and impressive network into launching various ventures in new media and international property investments.
Feb 29, 2016
Nigeria's Communications Comission Accepts MTN Nigeria's 'Chump Change' Settlement
It would seem that MTN might be off the hook over the small matter of the several billion dollars it owes/owed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)— proving to many that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, or as Tefo Mohapi so eloquently put it in this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, “TIA”. MTN Nigeria seems to have taken the casual legal advice of a certain Kyle Torrington of LexNove who joined me on last week’s show and suggested that the least MTN ought to do is start demonstrating some goodwill by taking steps to right some of its wrongs on the continent. It’s just that relative to the $3.9billion fine levied by the NCC, MTN’s $250million show of “good faith” seems rather pithy. Listen in to this week’s show to hear Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku factor in on what is clearly the biggest break MTN has landed in months, that is, if the spike in the company’s share price is anything to go by. Music Cred…
Feb 22, 2016
Museveni Won, But Did Uganda Decide?
Uganda’s most closely contested election in decades pitted the victorious incumbent, Yoweri Museveni, against seven other candidates, including his former doctor, Kizza Besigye, and ex-prime minister, Amama Mbabazi. While polls leading up to the election showed that Mr Museveni had a comfortable lead over his nearest rival, there was still the open question of the winning candidate needing to secure more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off with the second-ranked contender. (Mr Museveni eventually won 60% of the Ugandan vote.) Following a government-ordered social media blackout, many Ugandan journalists, activists and even some presidential candidates spent last Thursday (election day) posting social media updates on ways people could access social media via VPN Services like Tunnelbear. And while it’s widely believed that Mr Museveni engineered the social media ban to ensure his victory, it has to be asked, was this a legitimate attempt to keep elections free and fair, or si…
Feb 15, 2016
Facebook is still smarting from having Free Basics kicked out of India. Clearly no one was more upset by India’s emphatic rejection of Mark Zuckerberg’s walled garden project than venture capitalist and Facebook board member, Marc Andreessen, who took to Twitter last week to express his frustration at the country’s decision— a move that was met by global outrage. Nevertheless, we have Andreessen to thank for inspiring our discussion on this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, and re-igniting the debate around net neutrality, and whether companies like Facebook ought to be supported in their efforts to provide "internet lite" to the world’s poorest who would not otherwise access the web at all. Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Feb 14, 2016
Siya Xuza And Dr Jerry Gule factor in on promoting homegrown tech innovation
Siyabulela Xuza is a young engineering graduate from Harvard, who got his start in science very young, experimenting with rocket fuel in his mother’s kitchen in a little rural town in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. While still very young, he would later become quite well-known for his prowess in the field of energy engineering, winning numerous awards and endowments from around the world— so much so that he even had a planet named after him. These days, he’s back on the continent, and alongside spearheading a business focusing on the commercialisation of solar cells and related solar technologies, he serves as Brand Ambassador for French oil giant, Total. This chat features Siya, and Total’s GM for the company’s Marketing Services Competency Centre (Pty) Limited, Dr Jerry Gule.
Feb 8, 2016
Should Uber Leave Kenya?
No doubt about it— it’s an unsettling time to be an Uber driver in Kenya. This past week, more reports of intimidation and violence against Uber drivers have been reported in Nairobi. And you can be certain that the beef is not over Uber’s shocking new logo. It appears Uber’s presence in the East African nation has begun to to seriously offend the nationalist sensibilities of some Kenyans. In this week’s discussion on the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and I try and wrap our minds around the angst surrounding Uber in Kenya and ask a simple question, “Should Uber Leave Kenya?” Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Feb 1, 2016
SEACOM Experiences Second Major Outage In As Many Weeks
The soul-destroying Twitter outages and more recent SEACOM broadband disruptions notwithstanding, the team at the AfricanTechRoundup.com has been extremely busy since we properly got 2016 on the go a few weeks ago. So busy in fact, that Tefo Mohapi was unable to join Andile Masuku on the show this week. (Heads up. This week’s episode will be uncharacteristically short, but informative, nonetheless.) Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Jan 25, 2016
Apple, Sony And Samsung Face Child Labour Allegations In The DRC
We had to face a tough truth this week. The fact is that we are complicit in the perpetuation of horrible crimes against humanity. And if you’re reading this right now, it’s likely that you are too. If you’re an enthusiastic user of the useful tech products made by the likes of Apple, Sony and Samsung (as we are), then you’re contributing to the on-going exploitation of children as young as seven years of age in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku discuss the disturbing implications of an exposé recently put out by Amnesty International and African Resources Watch (Afrewatch), which names and shames leading technology manufacturers who use cobalt sourced in the DRC in lithium-ion batteries found in their products. (Fast fact: The DRC produces at least 50% of the world's cobalt.) There’s no doubt that there’s an argument for how companies and governments need to be held to account, but we…
Jan 18, 2016
Why Is South Africa Looking To Regulate Services Like WhatsApp?
African lawmakers are struggling to come to grips with the opportunities and threats presented by various important innovations being spurred by technological advancement— this as they carry out the unenviable task of safeguarding public welfare. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku discuss some of the more troublesome regulatory issues that are cropping up in countries like South Africa, Kenya and even Morocco— where VoIP apps have recently been banned unless they operate under telecommunications licenses. Also in this week’s show, a snippet from a conversation Andile Masuku had with Rohan George— a Nigerian-born, South African Art Director who is now based in Mexico. Find out what Rohan considers to be invaluable to helping empower youth in the developing world to solve some of the most critical problems facing society. Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: B…
Jan 10, 2016
Netflix & Buffering (featuring Emeka Okoye and Aaron Fu)
We’re just loving this trend of brilliant Africans crashing our podcast recordings. The last time that happened we had a total blast with Rebecca Enonchong, Mark Kaigwa and Thebe Ikalafeng. This week, Nigerian software engineering heavyweight, Emeka Okoye, literally walked into the room as Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku were chatting about about how Africa seemed to be responding to Netflix’s surprise roll-out of its service to pretty much every corner of the planet. Be sure to listen in to hear him share his thoughts on the impact (or lack thereof) that Neflix’s entry into the Nigerian video-on-demand market is likely to have. Then, in place of our regular discussion segment this week, we’ll be sharing an interesting chat Andile had with Aaron Fu, Managing Partner (Africa) at NEST— recorded when he and Tefo hung out with him during his first proper visit to Johannesburg recently. They talked about everything from what he’s personally looking forward to in 2016 to what str…
1 hr 4 min
Jan 4, 2016
Musa Kalenga & Kali Ilunga Get You, Digital Africans, Pumped Up For 2016
Happy New Year! The African Tech Round-up team is only one week away from being back on strike to bring you the most important digital, tech and innovation news from across the African continent. This week though, we round off our coverage of the Annual Round-up 2015 with two awesome keynote addresses. The first is one is entitled, “Where To From Here” presented by Musa Kalenga who is Africa Client Partner at Facebook, as well as Head of Brand, IAB (SA). And the second talk entitled, “Digital African: Your Ides Matter” is presented by Founder & CEO of SeeSayDo, Kali Ilunga. (Apologies for the poor sound quality in the first half of Musa’s talk.) We couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year. After all, the only thing better than a single dose of inspiration is two. Digital Africans, charge! Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Dec 28, 2015
Craig Wilson, Kojo Baffoe and Jade Brennan Talk Gadgets & Apps Trends In Africa For 2015
We let you in on a panel discussion from the Annual Round-up 2015 that covered some of the past year’s highlights from from a gadgets and apps perspective. Andile Masuku leads this laid-back conversation with Deputy Editor of Stuff Magazine and Technology Analyst, Craig Wilson, Director of Project Fable, Kojo Baffoe and Digital Content Specialist at Caxton Magazines and Contributor at TechGirl.co.za, Jade Brennan. While we talked about everything from wearables to virtual reality— highlighting what tickled our fancy in 2015, we did eventually have to come to terms with what we, as African tech enthusiasts and early adopters, ought to care about far more than we currently do. After all, TIA. Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Dec 20, 2015
Andrew Taylor & Mich Atagana Discuss 2015 Tech Startup Trends For Africa
In the second instalment of our four-part Annual Round-up 2015 insights series, we bring you a panel discussion on African startups featuring Google South Africa’s Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Mich Atagana and Entrepreneur Magazine Columnist & Co-Founder of LexNove, Andrew Taylor. Mich has had the unique privilege of not only covering the birth, progress, and often, the demise of many startups on the continent, but also working for some as well. Her current role at Google gives her a unique vantage point— given how the company is arguably one of the world’s biggest and most successful startups ever, and is privy to tons of rich data. Meanwhile, as a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, and as a legal partner to many emerging small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa, Andrew operates at the coalface of the continent’s tech startup scene, and is well-placed to reflect on what kind of a year 2015 has turned out to be. Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod…
Dec 13, 2015
Dominique Collett-Antolik & Brandon Doyle Talk 2015 African Fintech & Telecoms Trends
Over the next four weeks the we are taking a much-needed break. Cue peaceful ocean sounds But we’ve made sure that over the next four weeks, in place of our regular programming, we’ll be sharing exclusive content from the Annual Round-up 2015 event we hosted at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg on November 26th 2015. The Event was powered by the good people at Opera Africa, who are totally all about helping us “do more” (on the web). This week, we kick things off by sharing a stimulating panel discussion around tech in enterprise facilitated by Tefo Mohapi— featuring Senior Investment Executive, RMI Holdings and former co-founder of the hugely successful fintech startup Tyme, Dominique Collett-Antolik and CEO & Founding Partner, Convergence Partners, Brandon Doyle. Another great reason to listen in is to find out if you’re one of the two lucky people who’ve won a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer in last week’s competition, sponsored by Google. This week, we ki…
Dec 7, 2015
Mbwana Alliy Talks About Startup Governance & Funding Tech Startups In Africa
We attended Afrikoin Johannesburg on 3 December 2015. At the event, Andile Masuku posed a question that led to a very lively debate about whether improved “access” to seamless, more affordable financial services does in fact equal “inclusion” for Africa’s poorest— especially given how centralised the world’s computing power is, and how huge stashes of Bitcoin are held by a relatively few well-resourced interests. We also caught up with Savannah Fund founder, Mbwana Alliy for a chat after the event. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-Up (the last full-length episode of 2015), you can not only look forward to listening to Andile and Tefo's impromptu chat with Mbwana in its entirety (including him sharing his thoughts on the Angani debacle), but you can also look forward to hearing two leading Zimbabwean startup founders explain why Zimbabwe might be the perfect use-case for disruptive fintech innovations. Then heads up, folks! For the next four weeks sta…
1 hr 53 min
Nov 29, 2015
Safaricom Becomes The Latest Mobile Service Provider To Be Sued
We're still buzzing from the great time we had at the Annual Round-up 2015, that Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku hosted at The Wanderers Club in Johannesburg last week. Many thanks to those of you who made it out on Thursday morning, and a big thank you to our incredibly generous and insightful guest panelists and speakers. Also, big up to our event partners, Opera Africa, Stuff magazine, and iAfrikan.com. It was an chilled morning of intelligent, retrospective conversations-- which took stock of the state of Africa’s tech scene. The programme featured three keynote talks and three lively interactive panel discussions covering enterprise, startups and gadgets and apps. The good news is that we’ll be sharing the conversations we had at the Annual Round-up in place of the African Tech Round-up podcast starting on Monday, December 14th— to hold you down till the show returns in mid-January 2016. There’ll also be plenty of cool extras we’ll be sharing exclusively on our Soundclou…
Nov 23, 2015
The Angani Saga Sets Silicon Savannah Ablaze
Kenya’s tech scene aka Silicon Savannah is on fire! At least, that’s according to commentators like Brenda Wambui, who’s recent blog posted on Medium threw serious shade the way of some looming figures in Kenya’s tech ecosystem following the diabolical fallout at cloud services firm, Angani. It turns out that some of the details surrounding this story that we reported on some weeks ago— details whose validity we later questioned, might in fact be accurate. In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku analyse the state of investor-founder relations at Angani in the light of Brenda’s candid piece, which clearly defends the honour of the company’s founders. We’ll also try to determine whether the allegations of corruption and abuse of power she levelled at the company’s investors are justified. Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Nov 16, 2015
The Mark Kaigwa, Thebe Ikalafeng & Rebecca Enonchong Episode
This week's instalment of the African Tech Round-up was recorded at the African Media Leaders Forum, which wrapped in Johannesburg on the weekend. And what a treat it is! The show is an all-Africa affair— what with Mark Kaigwa stopping by. Mark is easily one of Kenya’s leading proponents of social media, as well as a respected innovator within digital tech in general. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Nairobi-based digital agency, Nendo Ventures— well-known for the Nendo Social Media Trend Report. You can look forward to hearing his insider’s take on several of the week’s biggest stories. *tv informercial voice* But that’s not all… Cameroonian tech entrepreneur, Rebecca Enonchong, and South African business, branding and marketing legend, Thebe Ikalafeng, both make unexpected guest features on this week’s episode-- Rebecca sharing some strong views on whether she thinks the MTN will actually pay the $5.2 billion fine levied by the Nigerian Communications Commissio…
Nov 9, 2015
Dealdey Reportedly Sacks 60% Of Its Work Force
With so few high-flying start-up successes in Africa’s tech eco-system, one has to wonder just how alarmed we should get when word of job cuts and other such cost-cutting measures starts to dominate headlines. After all, this sort of thing happens in business all the time! That said, why does it seem like Nigerian startups are having a particularly hard time at the moment? Following signs of distress showing up at the countries startup poster children, Jumia and iROKOtv in recent weeks, Nigerian daily deals site, Dealdey, has reportedly sacked 60% of its workforce. Curiously, the news of this broke on a popular Kenyan blog, courtesy of “sources familiar with the matter”. In our discussion on the African The Round-up this week, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku will briefly discuss what could be fuelling this apparent season of hardship on Nigeria’s tech startup scene. Also, listen in for all the most important digital, tech and innovation news from the past week. Additional Musi…
Nov 2, 2015
MTN Nigeria Stunned By Unprecedented $5.2 Billion Fine
It’s been a truly awful week for the MTN Group— what with a $5.2 billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria (the group’s largest and most profitable subsidiary) by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards timeously, the news of which led to considerable market panic and a subsequent 16% drop in MTN’s share price. This week, MTN also started fielding allegations of engaging in highly sophisticated tax evasion practices such as using transfer pricing to ship profits off to distant tax havens via their off-shore ‘businesses’, namely MTN Dubai and MTN International in Mauritius. Meanwhile, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has confirmed that they will be investigating MTN for possible insider trading that may have occurred around the whole handling of information regarding the NCC debacle. And so far, the MTN Group’s CEO’s efforts to engage with the Nigerian authorities concerning the unprecedented fine have yet to yield any for…
Oct 26, 2015
Massive Downsizing At iROKOtv And South Africa Considering Police Body Cameras
This week’s African Tech Round-up is chock-full of important digital, tech and innovation news from across the African continent— not least, the unfortunate rumoured in-fighting and financial distress at Jason Njoku’s media startup, iROKO Partners. Also, we’re happy to have our content producer, Peter “The Enigma” Peele back from a a hectic trip to Dubai where he attended GITEX Technology Week 2015. We managed to convince him to jump on the mic with us this week and share some highlights from his trip. Meanwhile, Tefo Mohapi not only delivered a talk and facilitated a discussion at the the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute’s Leadership Conference this past week (the dude got to even have dinner with former South African President Thabo Mbeki himself), but also attended the Brand Africa 100 Awards. Be sure to catch him giving us the low-low on all that in this week’s episode. And finally, Andile Masuku's back from a week-long leave of absence due to eye surgery he had…
Oct 19, 2015
Mobile Service Providers In Africa Call For Regulation Of OTT Services Such As WhatsApp
Last week it was Strive Masiyiwa's Econet Zimbabwe alluding that OTT (over the top) services such as WhatsApp and BBM are the reason they are seeing a drop in voice calls revenue and overall revenue. Now this week, MTN South Africa CEO, Mteto Nyati, has called for South Africa's communications regulator, ICASA, to look into regulating these OTT players because they haven't invested anything in telecoms infrastructure and they are "reaping large profits". Is this a fair call? Isn't it up to us as customers what we use the data we purchase from mobile service providers for? Or do we need to protect African mobile service providers from OTT services reaping profits from their infrastructure investments? Also, this week, Tefo Mohapi (Andile Masuku is on medical leave) covers interesting technology, digital and innovation news from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Additional Music Credits: Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Music licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3…
Oct 12, 2015
Everything Is Difficult & Other Nuggets Of Wisdom From Nic Harry's Tech4Africa Talk
Tefo Mohapi was invited to speak at Tech4Africa 2015 last week. He shared on the important work that he and his team at iAfrikan are continuing to do in spearheading the ground-breaking Report Xenophobia campaign. While at the event, Tefo was lucky enough to sit in on a talk by Nic Haralambous, who opened his talk with this outlandish statement, "I believe everyone who starts a business is a bit broken." Nic is the founder of Nic Harry— a successful Cape Town-based “luxury men’s sock company” he built from scratch. Nic’s thought-provoking views on the realities of startup life and what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur sparked a great conversation that Tefo and Andile Masuku had on this week’s show. Along with all the week's most important digital, tech and innovation news, do listen in for the low-low on all the cool stuff members of the team at the African Tech Round-up will be getting up to in the final quarter of 2015. Here's what trending this week: -- South…
Oct 4, 2015
Volkswagen Up In Smoke As The South African Government Investigates
In what is arguably the largest cybercrime scandal affecting cars to date, Volkswagen has admitted to installing software in some of their diesel-powered cars to give out false emission data results during tests. This scandal affects their other brands like Audi, Skoda and SEAT and has seen the South African government, through the departments of Environmental Affairs and Transport as well as the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, state that it is investigating into Volkswagen South Africa after the parent company admitted to deceiving USA regulators with the software. Apart from this raising concerns around the environment and carbon emissions from cars, we also wonder what this large scale software fraud by Volkswagen means for the future of cars given the move to electric vehicles. As you might be aware, electric vehicles are more reliant on software than cars that have an engine and more so driverless cars. Do we have to worry about cars getting hacked? Can we tr…
Sep 27, 2015
What's The Big Fuss About Apple Ad Blockers?
As avid consumers of new media, it’s hard not to love the ad blocking features Apple has worked into iOS9, and the clever ad blocking apps that are selling like hotcakes on mobile app stores everywhere. But content publishers are claiming that ad blocking is tantamount to taking the bread out of their mouths, and warn that ultimately you and I will suffer as great content— traditionally funded through ad revenue, will no longer be viable to produce. Meanwhile, it doesn’t help that fake media traffic schemes— powered by bots, are eroding the confidence we all have in the internet’s ability to deliver an efficient and integrous way for advertisers to display ads to targeted audiences. In this week’s discussion, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku weigh the pros and cons of ad blocking, and discuss how this might shape the future of advertising on the web. Publishers will no doubt need to tweak their business models if they are keep the lights on. It will be interesting to see whe…
Sep 21, 2015
How To Build Products For Africa And Avoid Failing Like The Altech Node
Citing “increased competition” and “unfavourable market conditions” Altron is puling the plug on the Altech Node console and will discontinue its video-on-demand offering come the end of October 2015. The news comes in the wake of Naspers’ recent launch of the Netflix-clone, ShowMax, which the tech giant is clearly not sparing any expense in promoting. (By the way, you may as well take advantage of ShowMax’s free seven-day trial offer to check out what all the fuss is about.) The Node’s spectacular failure to appeal to consumers has led Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku to ponder the question, “What is the best way to build new tech products for Africa?” Perhaps there are lessons that big tech and startups on the continent would do well to learn from Altron’s costly misfire regarding how to effectively build and roll-out relevant and commercially successful products and services. Also in this week’s African Tech Round-up, all the week’s most important digital, t…
Sep 13, 2015
Cashflow Rules Everything Around Me Alludes iROKOtv's Jason Njoku
Launching a start-up in Africa is not for the faint-hearted. Very few promising ventures-- even those that achieve solid traction, can expect to land Silicon Valley-type investment offers that might allow a founder the liberty to concentrate solely on growth, versus say, survival. This week's discussion is inspired in part by a recent blog post by iROKOtv Founder and MD, Jason Njoku, written in response to a question posted on a popular Nigerian tech message board by someone who was curious to know how many Nigerian startups are in fact profitable. Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku weren't quite sure of what to make of both the question and and Jason's subsequent response to it, so they decided to bounce some ideas around to try and determine which of these three: 1) Growth, 2) Profitability, or 3) Being cashflow positive, African startup founders should focus on in order to succeed. Consider this just the start of a very long conversation that will definitely continue. We are joined…
Sep 7, 2015
Evolution Of Mobile Phones, What's Next?
You probably remember how popular Nokia's 3310 device was when it launched back in 2000. Affectionately known as “Die Hard” by ardent fans, it was for many the possession that would make them truly feel a part of 21st Century civilisation. It’s pretty incredible how far mobile telephony has come in the 15 years since Nokia launched the record-breaking 3310 handset. Who could have guessed that in 2015, Nokia would be a faltering giant, Africa would be at the forefront of the world’s mobile-first/mobile-only revolution, and that much of the continent’s “connected” population would be almost exclusively reliant on mobile devices to access the world-wide-web? In this week’s discussion, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku chat about some of what’s changed (or hasn’t) in the mobile phone technology space over the last decade and a half, and ponder what innovations we should expect to see emerge as we sail into a future which promises ever more technological advancement. Also…
Aug 31, 2015
What Defines An African Startup? + The Week's Biggest News
Back in Episode 3 of the African Tech Round-up we asked the question: “What is a startup?” A lively discussion ensued— inspired by an eloquent piece written by David Adamo Jr, a Nigerian Computer Science PhD student at the University of North Texas. Since then, the highly-opinionated founder of Hotels.ng, Mark Essien, and Project Isizwe CEO, Alan Knott-Craig Jr, have both since penned articles (When Startups In Nigeria Suddenly Got Serious and Venture Capital In Africa Is Hard) which contribute to answering a more pointed question we’re asking in this week’s show: “What defines an African startup?” Can African tech startups be defined in the same terms as those currently being born and raised in Silicon Valley? Are there certain universal standards (i.e. minimum levels of traction in the form user on-boarding, cashflow, etc) that must be met in order for a business owner to claim the coveted title of “startup founder”? Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku's discussion thi…
Aug 23, 2015
Does Africa Need More Cheap Smartphones? + The Week's Biggest News
For many recently married couples, the diamond engagement ring is one of their biggest assets— albeit an emotional asset, symbolising love and lifelong commitment. In financial terms it isn’t an asset at all, considering the fact that it loses at least 50% of it’s retail value the moment you leave the jewellery store. Rough, isn’t it? And yet still we feel compelled to buy diamonds for our loved ones, and continue to fuel a global billion-dollar industry. One has to admire the ingenious marketing strategy drafted and executed by the N.W. Ayer ad agency in the early 1900s for their client, De Beers, which resulted in the world attaching value to a commodity that’s not nearly as rare (or as necessary) as we were led to believe. In this week’s African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku discuss the the implications of low-cost smartphone penetration on the continent. The increase in internet use via mobile devices has undoubtedly delivered certain advantages. But wh…
Aug 17, 2015
Scary Software Upgrades + The Week's Biggest News
Microsoft certainly got millions of people excited a while ago when they announced that their latest version of Windows would be free. However, Windows users in most of Africa have begun to balk at the "not-so-free" implications of this recent innovation-- which by the way, is essentially a compulsory upgrade. Internet access is still relatively limited in most parts of the continent, and there's plenty of data showing that most people primarily connect to the web via mobile networks which deliver data at a premium. In this week's discussion, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku talk about how it appears tech companies like Microsoft seem unmoved by how forced software upgrades will negatively impact African consumers who must pay dearly for the privilege of staying up to date. Also in this episode of the African Tech Round-up-- all the week's biggest digital, tech and innovation news: -- Find out why two of Vodafone's biggest subsidiaries in Africa are in hot water for two very different…
Aug 10, 2015
Importance Of Accurate Data For Africa + The Week's Biggest News
There is no doubt that "wherever there is chaos, there is opportunity". A popular conspiracy theory suggests that the lack of quality data on the African continent suits devious corporate and government interests who are looking to maintain the status quo which enables them to continue making hay in the proverbial darkness. In this week's African Tech Round-up, we share the exciting news of the launch of a platform called Accur8Africa-- which aims to improve the accuracy of data on the continent, and provide global policy-makers with reliable data leading up to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York at the 70th United Nation General Assembly next month. Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku discuss the irksome consequences of Africa's current dearth of credible data, and why competent data analysis must accompany data cleaning efforts in order for Africa to reap any meaningful benefit from data accuracy initiatives such at Accur8Africa. Also in this week's show…
Aug 3, 2015
Hackathon Hype Or Help? + The Week's Biggest News
You know it’s a slow news week when the week’s biggest news involves the CEO and the CFO of South African telecoms firm, Neotel, going on leave. Granted, it is “special leave”. Be that as it may, broadly speaking we are totally digging the prevailing positive sentiment we are sensing in Africa’s tech scene. Following the “let’s launch an incubator” trend that we have observed on the continent in recent months, the “let’s host a hackathon” craze is increasing momentum— fueled by a number of companies and organisations looking to harness the growing public interest in all things nerdy, particularly coding. In this week’s discussion Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku ask whether coding competitions, such as one hosted by Hotels.ng this past week, actually contribute to improving the standard of professional coding skills in our eco-system. Or are they simply PR gimmicks that do not add value? Also in the news this week is the fact that Kenya is reportedly set to be…
Jul 26, 2015
What Are You Going To Do When They Come For You? + The Week's Biggest News
Think back to high school. Remember how the new dude always got all the girls whispering, or how the new girl got all the boys trying to walk her home? Now, if the newbie rolled into town with discernible signs of affluence (i.e. dope clothes, or an expensive scent), the singles market would get particularly frenzied. And when the newbie possessed a hint of exoticism (i.e. a foreign accent, or an unusual taste in music), even the kids involved in some of the most stable couplings might start feeling the pressure to reevaluate their options. In this week's African Tech Roundup, Tefo Mohapi and I discuss the pressure African tech startups are feeling in the face of local markets being invaded by experienced and well-resourced foreign-based interests. Local incumbents in many sectors of tech now find themselves fielding competition from abroad. In everything from venture capital investment to mobile money solutions, media streaming platforms and e-commerce solutions, the race to dominate…
Jul 19, 2015
Are Kenya And Ethiopia Violating Citizens' Privacy? + The Week's Biggest News
Many people are conflicted about the need for “cyber mercenaries” like Hacking Team to exist. Blind idealism might contend that it is simply not right for corporatised hacking syndicates with dodgy ethical standards to secretly assist government intelligence agencies (and well-heeled private clients) to snoop on targets. However, living in a world where the modern wonders of the internet and mobile devices are harnessed to conduct criminal activities in increasingly devious ways may demand that we hold a far more pragmatic attitude towards the need for “hackers for hire” firms to stay in business. This week, iAfrikan Startups Editor and Content Producer for the African Tech Round-up, Peter Peele joins me to discuss how Kenya and Ethiopia have been implicated in Hacking Team’s recent embarrassing hacking incident, and explain how the alleged incompetence of those countries’ intelligence officials-- as evidenced in leaked documents archived on WikiLeaks, could mean that com…
Jul 12, 2015
Nest.vc Launches In Africa + The Week's Biggest News
Everyone loves a good love story. Especially when things go according to plan: start-up founder meets venture capitalist with deep pockets, tons of real-world experience, great contacts and, of course, a tried and tested system for navigating to success. For most African tech startups who have been financed by one of Africa's leading venture capital funds, this idyllic scenario couldn't be further from reality. Exclusive to the African Tech Round-up, Hong Kong’s only private, full service startup accelerator, Nest, has told us the news of their plans to ride into Africa's startup funding scene like a knight in shining armour to "make an impact" by sweeping pretty damsels (aka promising startups) off their feet. Their first stop will be setting up offices in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen in to hear Nest's Africa Managing Partner, Aaron Fu, tell us what he and his team plan to offer investable prospects on the continent by way of finance, expertise and other key elements of startup support…
Jul 5, 2015
Net Neutrality Conundrum + The Week's Biggest News
Jun 28, 2015
Video Streaming Stuttering In Africa? + The Week's Biggest News
The race is still on to discover the formula for successfully distributing digital content in Africa. In a recent blogpost, Jason Njoku, the outspoken founder of iRokoTV, announced that his company would soon retire the desktop version of their platform (for African users) to concentrate on building a mobile application that he says will better service the African consumer. The article is basically an eloquent admission that iRokoTV's efforts to "win Lagos" and then conquer the rest of Africa have so far failed. In this week's African Tech Round-up, iAfrikan Executive Editor, Tefo Mohapi and I discuss the challenges that home-grown content streaming platforms like iRokoTV, Wabona, Tuluntulu and others may be facing in their attempts to profitably deliver digital entertainment content to African consumers. While YouTube's growing success in Africa is proof that consumers have an appetite for content streaming, it seems that African platforms are yet to crack the code for how to best to…
Jun 21, 2015
Game Over For Startup Seed Funds? + The Week's Biggest News
Nigeria's "company that builds companies", Spark, announced last week its plans to drop some startups it invested in. This announcement comes just a week after 88mph's notice that it will be "taking a break" from investing in African startups. While it is not uncommon for investment funds to pause on-boarding when funds available for employment are temporarily exhausted, it seems odd that 88mph would go out of its way to alert the public to something that would occur in the normal course of business. Similarly, given how startup failure is not uncommon - with some investment funds said to be aiming to achieve a success rate of approximately one in ten, why would Spark ceremoniously trot these "dead businesses" out in this manner? In this week's discussion, iAfrikan Executive Editor, Tefo Mohapi and I ask whether the current approach to tech venture capitalism in Africa is flawed. Perhaps investors are beginning to realise that successfully investing in African startups is in fact a…
Jun 14, 2015
Everyone's Not So Favourite Driver + The Week's Biggest News
Uber's Roman-style campaign to achieve utter and complete worldwide domination has encountered a teeny tiny setback in Kenya. Much to the surprise of many, the company is yet to enjoy the runaway success it has become accustomed to. In last week's episode of the African Tech Round-up we reported on Uber's plans to run a limited experiment to allow its Kenyan customers to pay for trips using cash and M-Pesa. This followed claims made by the company that the slow adoption of their service in Kenya was due to the fact that many Kenyans are unbanked and do not possess credit and debit cards. In this week's show, Andile Masuku and guest co-host Vouchercloud South Africa Managing Director Lyndon Munetsi discuss the challenges that Uber might be facing in rolling out its hugely successful business model in Kenya-- especially given the company's well-documented zero-quibbles approach to taking on new territories. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether their latest attempts to woo Ken…
Jun 7, 2015