Zambia-based online microlending tech startup, PremierCredit has received a $650 000 investment from US Venture Capital fund, Enygma Ventures.
Zambia-based startup receives $650 000 investment
Sarah Dusek, Managing Partner and co-founder of Engyma Ventures comments on the performance of PremierCredit.
“PremierCredit has a proven track record of supporting the informal sector and making informal trading possible for many by providing timely and appropriate loans to help businesses thrive. After an extraordinary year, it has been incredible to see women-owned businesses still thriving and creating expansion plans despite the pandemic.”
Operating since 2019, PremiderCredit online platform offers its services in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The fintech startup offers micro-loans to local entrepreneurs and small scale businesses, allowing entrepreneurs to grow their business and positively contribute to the economy.
Partnering with a bank in Zimbabwe, PremierCredit is able to provide affordable bicycles, smartphones, and solar equipment on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis to the underserved communities across Zimbabwe.
Chilufya Mutale, co-founder and CEO of PremierCredit comments on receiving the investment and what it means to the startup.
“We are extremely elated about our partnership with Enygma Ventures. The financial and strategic support will allow us to execute on our vision to service multiple countries across the region.”
Enygma Ventures has committed to supporting women-led ventures and startups and this investment adds to its existing portfolio. In 2020, the venture capital fund has reportedly carried out 10 investments.
Currently, Enygma Ventures has applications open for talented entrepreneurs in the SADC region to apply for available funding.
Applications can be submitted online and close on 31 December 2020.
Lelemba Phiri, Principal and Operating Partner of Enygma Ventures concludes that the investment will have a domino effect on the local community, providing much-needed access to a range of services.
“We are excited about this investment and are confident in PremierCredit’s ability to execute and expand regionally as they are a formidable team. The ripple effect of such investment goes beyond the immediate business because it in turn enables access to capital for underserved traders and communities.”
Featured image: (From left to right) Eugene Mwila and Chilufya Mutale, founders of PremierCredit (Supplied)
West African tech startup launches app in Gabon
West African tech startup Gozem has announced the launch of ‘Super App’ taxi booking service in Libreville enabling consumers to travel with ease.
West African tech startup Gozem has announced the launch of ‘Super App’ taxi booking service in Libreville, Gabon.
Gozem launches Super App in Gabon
Cecilia Kouna, Deputy Country Manager of Gozem Gabon comments on the launch of the service in Libreville.
“We’re very excited to start our operations in Gabon with a simplified, safer, and more convenient taxi booking solution. We’re confident that this innovation will create real value for passengers and drivers in the Gabonese market. And very soon afterward, we’ll continue to add value by expanding the range of services Gozem offers in Gabon to include delivery services and more.”
Gozem’s Super App in Libreville
The launch of the taxi booking service will enable Libreville residents to take trips in the capital of the nation by simply downloading the free app which is available on Android and iOS devices.
The launch of the app will not only enable Libreville residents to travel with ease but also provide an opportunity for drivers to secure an income. Functioning similarly to Uber, the Gozem Super App is easy to use and a customer must simply open the app, enter their location, select their desired destination, and request a ride with the nearest Gozem driver being alerted to pick them up.
According to Gozem, at the end of the trip, the app calculates the price based on the distance travelled with the assistance of its built-in GPS technology.
Customers will be able to pay for the rides in cash, Airtel Money, Moov Money, or by credit card.
Raphael Dana, co-founder of Gozem explains that this is the first of many steps for the tech startup in its African expansion.
“We’re proud to offer this high quality, everyday service that responds to the needs of the Gabonese population while continuing to expand Gozem in the region. Our ambition is to consolidate our status as the premier super app in Africa, and this expansion to Central Africa, our first foray outside of West Africa, also allows us to prepare our upcoming expansion to Cameroon.”
(Supplied)Gozem Super App
Gozem launched its Super App in 2020 that offers a suite of services to Sub-saharan Africans. The African tech startup’s suite of services provides access to transport, eCommerce payments, delivery, and financial services for its users. The app is available on Android and iOS.
Featured image: Gozem, Facebook
Ajua acquires Kenyan fintech WayaWaya
Ajua has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.
Nairobi-based Ajua, the integrated Customer Experience Management solution for businesses in Africa, has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.
WayaWaya’s innovative platform enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms for an undisclosed sum.
Ajua acquires WayaWaya to help SMEs improve their customer experience
Kenfield Griffith, founder, and CEO of Ajua comments on the acquisition.
“The acquisition of WayaWaya is an important milestone for us, as we make a significant leap in ensuring the customer experience journey for businesses across the continent is seamless. Integrating WayaWaya’s technology significantly complements our product suite and gives us the ability to automate our clients’ businesses and grow their revenues, which is an extremely powerful proposition for our customers of all sizes, across Africa. From our experience in this area, we understand the CX fundamentals that drive growth for our customers and we want to bring this intelligence to SMEs across the continent.”
By acquiring WayaWaya, Ajua will integrate the Kenyan fintechs’ janja.me product to automate its customer experience journey into its product stack. This patented and unique smart AI and ML product built by WayaWaya will provide SMEs the ability to automate responses.
Businesses will now be able to make use of the intelligent messaging through a number of social platforms such as Facebook messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, and others. It further enables consumers to conduct cross-border payments and automate customer support.
“The additional reach this acquisition brings allows Ajua to scale significantly within the SME vertical, as we provide our customers today, and in the future, the tools they need to grow in Africa and beyond. We continue to be bullish on the point that customer experience and customer engagement are the engine for growth for businesses across the continent and they are disciplines that are critical factors in driving productivity and revenue growth,” adds Griffith.
Founded in 2012, Ajua is an Integrated Customer Experience platform for businesses on the continent. The innovative company combines both technology and the customer experience. Ajua has created several products that provide real-time customer feedback at the point of service, for small and large businesses across the continent.
Ajua overall aims to digitise and grow African SMEs with its service and product offerings as it uses data and analytics to connect companies with their customers in real-time. This service provides SMEs with the tools to improve their customer knowledge and experience with the overall impact resulting in SMEs increase of sales.
Teddy Ogallo, founder of WayaWaya and new VP of Product APIs and Integrations for Ajua comments on the acquisition.
“Ajua’s focus on introducing and scaling customer service and customer experience for the continent – and essentially how they help businesses deliver excellence for their customers – is something my team and I have long admired. Seeing how WayaWaya’s technology can complement Ajua’s innovative products and services, and help scale and monetize businesses, is an exciting opportunity for us, and we are happy that our teams will be collaborating to build something unique for the continent”.
Read more: West African tech startup launches SaaS solution for African micro retailers
Read more: Flutterwave and Worldpay partner to improve online card payments for eCommerce businesses in SA and Nigeria
Featured image: Ajua (Supplied)
Liquidations rise by 49% year-on-year SMMEs hit the hardest –
Released on 26 April 2021, the report shows that 216 companies liquidated in March this year, compared to 178 the month before – a 21% jump.
Despite being over its second wave, the South African economy continues to struggle, brand-new data by Statistics South Africa indicates. Released on 26 April 2021, the report shows that 216 companies liquidated in March this year, compared to 178 the month before – a 21% jump.
This is almost 50% higher than March last year. Business consultants are concerned about smaller businesses, which bear the brunt of the hardship, and have developed some lifelines to help them through
Despite economic improvements, the situation in South Africa remains precarious, StatsSA’s latest Statistics of Liquidations and insolvencies report confirms. The figures have revealed the number of liquidations between March last year and the same month this year jumped by 49%. Compared to the second month of this year, this figure is 21% higher.
All in all, the total number of liquidations increased by 18.9% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020, StatsSA says. Of all sectors, financing, insurance, real estate, business services (77 liquidations), trade, catering, and accommodation (47), and manufacturing (10) are the hardest hit.
Business consultants say the hardship is a direct result of the past year and affects smaller companies the most. “It is not that more companies suddenly found themselves in trouble. Many of the businesses that have folded in March this year, in all likelihood mostly smaller and medium-sized businesses, have struggled for many months before having to close, if not longer,” says Lings Naidoo, co-founder of BeyondCOVID.
Launched last year during the hard lockdown, the BeyondCOVID Business Survey, conducted by specialist management consultancy Redflank, aims to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on SMMEs in particular. “Our research has shown that smaller, micro, and medium-sized businesses, in general, are 26 times more likely to close their doors in times of economic upheaval than their corporate counterparts.”
As such, 26% of SMMEs that participated in the survey had to close during the lockdown, temporarily or permanently, the BeyondCOVID Business Survey shows. In addition, 54% of respondents said they were working below their usual capacity, and a third expressed they needed funding to continue to trade.
BeyondCOVID, as a registered non-profit company, is determined to help businesses cope with whatever is coming their way this year and beyond, over and above, providing them with trends, forecasts, and information they can use to develop survival strategies. The initiative is, for instance, creating an enabling and supportive framework to help SMMEs scale, grow and mitigate obstacles. “We want to be part of the solution by making SMMEs more resilient and less vulnerable to economic shocks, whether it is a pandemic or a global financial crisis,” says Naidoo.
“We plan to do this by using our networks within the private and public sector to leverage funding and investments whilst providing access to resources, services, and technology to make them more robust, sustainable, and bankable.”
Naidoo explains that, so far, BeyondCOVID has engaged with Chambers of Commerce and various other players whilst organising smaller ventures into risk-sharing structures. “These are known as SMME Collectives and are supported by BeyondCOVID’s networks, services, and technological innovations.”
“It is true what they say: safety in numbers, also for businesses,” he adds. “Being part of a bigger organisation that has the means individual smaller companies lack, creates more stability. This is exactly what businesses and South Africa need in uncertain times. Covid-19 will be here to stay for a while. We need to work with, not fight, this reality.”
This article was written by Lings Naidoo, co-founder of BeyondCOVID.
Featured image: Lings Naidoo (Supplied)
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