Pacer Ventures has announced a $3M fund for early-stage African startups that are solving some of the most critical problems on the continent. The focus will be on verticals expedient to the African continent including healthcare, financial inclusion, education and agriculture.
The United Nations has projected that Africa will have a population of 1.68 billion people by 2030, while the GSMA Mobile Economy Report states that 84% of Africa’s population will have access to a sim connection by 2025. This high mobile penetration has and will continue to enable the continent to leapfrog technology consumption, as Africa is expected to account for up to 30% of global consumption of technology and technology-driven solutions within the same period.
“We see a huge opportunity to support early-stage founders making meaningful contributions to their local economies and communities,” said Gbemi Akande, Managing General Partner at Pacer Ventures.
“We are providing much-needed funds to founders leveraging mobile penetration to solve problems at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ across the continent,” he concluded.
Pacer Ventures has already begun to support early-stage founders by participating in seed rounds, including VPD.Money and others.
With an average cheque size of $100k, Pacer VC is positioned to add substantial value to its portfolio companies.
According to Antoinia Norman, Pacer General Partner in charge of Southern Africa, “we won’t just write a cheque, we will enable founders to work in and on their business, by supporting them every step of their journey, with technical and financial skills, team building, access to markets, resources, and our networks.”
The General Partners of Pacer VC have over 40 years of combined experience in consulting, marketing, entrepreneurship, deal flow sourcing and ecosystem development.
Pacer VC’s differentiator is the fund’s focus on sourcing high potential early-stage African startups, while leveraging its strategic partnership with Founder Institute chapters all over Africa to identify and recommend winning teams with solutions that meet market needs.
“Our partnership with Founder Institute gives us an undeniable edge particularly with quality deal-flow at an early stage, which we will leverage to strategically expand Pacer VC’s footprint across multiple African Markets,” said Chukwuemeka Agbata, Regional Director of Founder Institute in Africa, Co-founder, techbuild.africa
Speaking on the Pacer VC Investment thesis, Geoffrey Weli-Wosu, a General Partner at Pacer VC and Co-Founder at VoguePay and Domineum, stated, “We are leveraging our in-depth experience in startups, deal flow sourcing and ecosystem development to take advantage of the early-stage funding gap in Africa.
Our target is seed-stage founders and companies who are usually under the radar of a lot of investors. We know the markets, have access to the founders and our investment team is well qualified to execute this thesis.”
ECOWAS Court To Digitise Operations In January 2021
A new electronic case management system that will digitise the entire case management processes of the ECOWAS Court of Justice will become operational in January 2021.
The President of the court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante made the disclosure in statement issued by the court in Abuja on Tuesday.
Asante, who spoke at a training for staff on the use of the new system, said that it would allow for electronic filing and processing of cases.
The president said that the introduction of the system would not only align the court’s case management system with international best practice but also enable the remote filing of documents by parties.
He said that the new process would eliminate the necessity of travelling to the seat of the Court in Abuja with the attendant cost implications.
He told the participants, who are mainly the end users of the system, that the system would ensure that interaction among stakeholders in the proceedings before the Court would henceforth be based on the use of the new electronic management system.
The President noted that it would not only eliminate the problems associated with the use of paper during proceedings but would also increase the performance of the court.
According to him, the digital process will also enable the saving of data relating to cases and eliminate the problem associated with the use of files including mutilation and loss.
“Moreover, it is more cost effective for all parties because it will not only bring the Court closer to the litigants but also improve its visibility and accessibility as applications and other filings will be made electronically,” he said.
Asante charged the participants to familiarise themselves with the new tool, asking them to pay close attention to detail to ensure that the system corresponded to realities of the Court.
In his remark, the Deputy Chief Registrar, Mr Athanase Atannon used the opportunity of presenting the objectives of the training to congratulate the management for bringing the project to fruition.
“This training, which will run until 5 December 2020 for different staff, will provide the judges and staff with all the necessary skills to operate the platform”, he said.
‘FBSuccessStory Campaign’ Debuts in Nigeria
Facebook says it has partnered with BellaNaija and Guardian TV to launch its Nigerian Small and Medium Business (SMB) success stories series.
Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday that the ‘FBSuccessStory campaign’ was aimed at spotlighting Nigerian entrepreneurs using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to grow their businesses.
It said the campaign, which would be running for six weeks, was designed to celebrate and inspire future entrepreneurs and highlight the tools available to scale their businesses.
Kezia Anim-Addo, Facebook’s Head of Communications, Africa said :“We are proud of the role that we have in enabling SMBs to grow and scale.
“We know that small businesses are the cornerstone of economies and they make significant contributions.
This campaign is a celebration of some of these Nigerian SMBs making an impact, both in Nigeria and beyond,” Anim-Addo said .
She added that the series, which would kick start on November 18 and end on Dec. 21, would air exclusively on both BellaNaija and The Guardian TV.
Anim-Addo said the special series would be showcasing four Nigerians that have experienced growth by using Facebook’s platforms and product offerings to overcome business challenges, connect to their target audiences, and achieve successes in their marketplaces.
“The four entrepreneurs selected include Tricia Ikponmwonba, owner of TriciaBiz, Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed, owner of The Gift Source, Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, owner of Augustsecrets, and Gina Ehikodi-Ojo, owner of Foodies and Spice, “she said.
Featured in the campaign, and commenting on Facebook’s impact on her business, Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed, a medical doctor turned entrepreneur and founder of The Gift Source, said : “My business experienced phenomenal growth using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
” I was able to build a formidable community on the platforms using audience insights, which helped me to deliver meaningful messages to new and existing customers,”
According to Facebook, others featured in the campaign are Tricia Ikponmwonba – founder of Tricia Biz, an online training and academy platform in Lagos, that provides affordable and quality business advisory service for micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs.
Also, Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, founder of Augustsecrets, an award-winning child nutrition brand in Nigeria that provides healthy, handmade cereals and snacks for babies and young children.
It added that Gina Ehikodi, founder of Foodies and Spice, Nigeria’s foremost food and travel show would also be featured in the campaign.
“As one of Nigeria’s foremost multi-media and news platforms, we are continually seeking new ways to share the authentic African story, media partner, Bunmi Amosu, Head of Video Content at The Guardian TV, said.
“It is exciting to partner with Facebook on this project to showcase entrepreneurs doing their best to rewrite the narrative about Africa.
Also Uche Pedro, Founder of BellaNaija said: “BellaNaija has always believed in celebrating people making an impact in their industries, Pedro said, delighted to work with Facebook to spotlight local entrepreneurs leading change within their communities in West Africa.
Kenya’s Telco, Safaricom, Rolls Out Five New Prefix Numbers
Kenya’s leading telco, Safaricom, has rolled out new phone number prefixes to meet increasing demand for its lines.
The new numbers are available free of charge with customers only required to activate their lines with a minimal airtime.
Currently, the service provider has over 35.6 million customers in Kenya whose population was 53.7 million as per the 2019 census.
The new prefix numbers are – 0111, 0112, 0113, 0114, 0115.
They were introduced nine months after Safaricom introduced two new prefix numbers. Customers choose the phone number they wish.
The move is part of the company’s customer initiatives to mark 20 years since it was launched.
Launching the numbers, Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, said the move will help meet a strong demand for the firm’s services.
The demand, which is strongly driven by new mobile data customers, has seen the company introduce ‘4G for Home’ internet that consists of a 4G enabled SIM card and a 4G router.
The 4G+ helps take advantage of high speed home internet in areas outside the company’s home fibre coverage.
With the unveiling of the new prefixes, Safaricom now has the capacity to add an extra 4 million customers to its network.
By December 2018, Kenya’s mobile telephony penetration had crested the 100 per cent mark.
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