Facebook's future

In a recent post Facebook VP, Dan Levy shared the product roadmap for the social media company over the coming years. It’s focussed on 4 key areas.

Privacy-enhancing technologies - this is Facebook ostensibly saying that they’re going to minimise the amount of personal data they process whilst maintaining efficacy for their advertisers.

Product and business discovery - improving their algorithms so that users can find more relevant and interesting products and services. Business tools beyond marketing - focussed on CRM, unified messaging across all Facebook apps and hiring via Facebook jobs.

It’s the fourth one which will most profoundly affect businesses in Africa, and that is commerce. Facebook is going all in on augmenting its commerce offering. Integrating its Shops product with the incredibly popular Marketplace.

Enabling AR (Augmented Reality) within the online shopping environment so that users can virtually try on items before they buy. Offering comprehensive payment solutions so users never have to leave the walled garden to make a purchase. This is all with a mobile-first viewpoint.

Africa skipped out desktop and jumped straight to mobile. With mobile penetration across Sub-Saharan Africa currently sitting at only 45%, the future growth of this space is gargantuan compared with that of North America and Europe.

According to the GSMA, Sub-Saharan Africa will have more than 130 million new mobile subscribers by 2025, half of which will come from just 5 markets: Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya. At the same time Africa’s unbanked will open bank accounts with the wide array of fintech companies gracing the continent.

With the confluence of these two events we can expect to see a shift to e-commerce, and the Facebook suite of apps (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp) will no doubt be a priority for these transactions.

Y Combinator summer cohort

9 African startups have made it into the now infamous Y Combinator summer cohort of 2021, for which there are only 2 intakes a year. The startups will each receive $125K in seed funding, expert mentorship, and access to some of the world’s most prestigious VC’s come demo day. The startups are spread across both Sub-Saharan and North Africa.

Nigeria is represented by car parts marketplace Mecho AutotechSuplias, a B2B marketplace for mom and pop stores, and Lemonade Finance. Egypt is represented by insurance brokerage Amenli, car parts marketplace Odiggo and last-mile delivery firm, ShipBlu.

Morocco has two representatives in the form of B2B e-commerce platform, Chari, and Freterium, a logistics SaaS platform. On-demand wage access platform, Floatpays, out of South Africa completes the list.

Home grown investment

We’ve recently written about the need for more investment into African startups by Africans. Well, last week showed that the wheels are certainly in motion. Lagos-based GetEquity closed a six figure pre-seed funding round to launch its first product - a venture-funding platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors.

Their mission is simple - to reduce friction between founders and investors by giving them access to a wide range of funding options. Startups can list themselves on the GetEquity platform and market to institutional investors and public users. Investors can buy equity in a listed startup for as little as $10.

In the News 🚀

🇳🇬 Nigerian unicorn, Flutterwave has appointed Oluwabankole Falade as Chief Regulatory and Government Relations Officer to help the company navigate the rather complex government policies that have caused the startup issues in the past.

🇳🇬 Nigerian ticketing startup Tix Africa has closed a six-figure pre-seed funding round to scale its product offering and also expand operations across West and East Africa.

🇿🇦 South African startup iNNOHEALTH has secured a seven-figure seed investment from an unnamed Hong Kong-based VC for its AI-based healthcare platform.

🇪🇬 Egyptian healthtech startup Yodawy has raised a $7.5 million Series B funding round to help grow out its product offering and expand into new markets.