FEATURE: The week in startups 27/04/2014

Nigeria has seen great opportunities this week, with a former Goldman Sachs manager investing in one of the country’s startups while another secured funding from the United States.

PublicVine, a Nigerian-founded online social video marketplace that enables video vendors and their consumers to connect, transact and get paid, hassecured US$5 million in funding in the United States (US).

Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Nam Mokwunye said the platform will launch on June 6 and revolutionise video content distribution and use across the world.

He said the company is currently participating in video vendor registration (VVR) events from February to May for video vendors in Nigeria, South Africa and the US.

Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management,has invested in Paga, a Nigerian indigenous mobile payments service company.

The investment was announced by Tayo Oviosu, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Paga in a statement, and coincides with Paga’s fifth anniversary.

O’Neill first developed an interest in Paga when he interviewed Oviosu as part of a series on BBC radio discussing the MINT group – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.

Also in Nigeria, newly launched online grocery delivery service Supermartng.com has logistics in place todeliver to its customers within three hours, in an industry where the average delivery time for many online retailers is around one week, co-founder Raphael Afaedor told HumanIPO.

Afaedor said the platform helps users to avoid the time-consuming process that characterises shopping in Lagos, with the goal of elevating the level of service provided to customers of online retail outlets.

Afaefor also told HumanIPOhe is proud of what he, Gbolahan Fagbure and Tunde Kehinde built at Jumia.

Reminiscing on how they were able to impact Nigeria’s e-commerce sector, Afaedor said they created about 1,000 jobs and trained many people in job roles that were previously unheard of in Nigeria.

Working for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria isat the core of Nigeria’s largest local search engine VConnect’s operations since it launched, general manager Deepankar Rustagi told HumanIPO.

Rustagi said the company is always introducing new products and announcing new partnerships that would empower SMEs.

In East Africa, Kenyan technology companyDigital Vision EA has announced the release of its Chamasoft Enterprise edition, which enables financial institutions to better manage the records of investment groups banking with them.

DEMO Africa finalist Chamasoft, which last weekscooped a prize at the Vision 2030 innovation awards in Mombasa, said its new installable and customisable version that enables easy integration with existing banking systems and mobile money systems.

The Savannah Fund has partnered with Knife Capital and the University of Cape Town tooffer a venture capital (VC) course at the iHub incubator in Nairobi, Kenya, offering startups insights into how to approach seeking funding.

The course will be held on July 29 and 30 at the iHub, and is open to anyone with a vested interest in entrepreneurship and business building, be they entrepreneurs or investors.

Adgraft.com, a next generation mobile site for online classifieds and auctions in East Africa, isallowing its users unlimited and direct contact to their potential markets.

The website is headquartered in Busia, Kenya, and was founded by Olwal M Otieno last month.

“Adgraft.com is very different in that we are three sites combined in one. Adgraft.com is an ad classified site, it is an auction site and an online store,” said Otieno.

Juliana Taylor, founder of Start Smart Ghana, has urged entrepreneurs tobe cautious about bringing in investors too early, as it could influence how they run their business.

Speaking to HumanIPO, Taylor said such entrepreneurs may not get a good valuation of their company, one of the things her organisation was seeking to assist with.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock



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