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African Guarantee Fund Secures $20 Million Capital Increase for Green SME Financing

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African Guarantee Fund CEO, Jules Ngankam and IFU’s CEO, Torben Huss (Source: African Guarantee Fund)

African Guarantee Fund has today received a capital increase of USD 20 million from the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) to facilitate green SME financing in Africa. The capital increase is partially financed by the Danish Government, as part of the Danish “COVID-19 Development Assistance” package. Including the additional USD 20 million, the total Danish investment in AGF amounts to USD 72 million.

The capital increment into the African Guarantee Fund will increase the Fund’s capacity to unlock financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. SMEs in the continent have experienced a deterioration in their creditworthiness as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 2020 survey reports business closure, lack of operational cashflow and a drop-in demand as the top challenges facing African SMEs as a result of the pandemic.

“The initial Danish capital injection into the African Guarantee Fund not only generated economic and social impact but also helped to attract more capital from other Development Finance Institutions. AGF is currently supporting financial institutions and SMEs to contain the impact of Covid-19 and to eventually recover in the post-covid context. Our target is to keep SMEs afloat while maintaining their workforce; and to ensure SMEs’ green transition. With this capital increment, our capacity to offer more green guarantees to financial institutions is enhanced and will facilitate sustainable financing for green transition in Africa” said AGF’s CEO, Jules Ngankam.

“Private SMEs are vital for creating and safeguarding decent jobs in Africa, but they face huge challenges in the Covid-19 crisis. AGF is well placed to ease the negative consequences and help African SMEs to build back better and greener. IFU´s 20 million dollars investment provide funding of SMEs´ green transition, making more companies fit for a low carbon climate resilient future and create jobs. We are confident that our investment will attract other investors to exploit the proven potential of AGF filling the huge gap in SME financing in Africa,” said IFU’s CEO, Torben Huss.

AGF’s key objective is to reduce the SME financing gap currently estimated at more than USD 300 billion. With IFU’s capital increase, AGF will be able to achieve even more economic and social impact, given the investment will unlock more than USD 400 million of financing for SMEs.

AGF

 

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MoneyHash Raises Six-Figure Pre-Seed to Build the Middle East and Africa’s First Payment and Fintech Super-API

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MoneyHash Founders Nader Abdelrazik (CEO), Anisha Sekar (CPO), and Mustafa Eid (CTO)

MoneyHash, an Egyptian US-based fintech startup that uses a universal API and a unified checkout experience to help businesses consolidate and grow their payments and financial tech stack across Africa and the Middle East, closes a six-figure pre-seed round to launch its services across the region. The round was led by UAE’s venture capital firm COTU Ventures, with participation from the Ventures Platform, Kepple Africa Ventures, and angel investors.

MoneyHash was founded late 2020 by three co-founders: Nader Abdelrazik (Egyptian), Mustafa Eid (Egyptian), and Anisha Sekar (American). Combined, they have over 30 years of experience and worked for 11 startups, in addition to a portfolio of employers and education such as Microsoft, UpWork, NerdWallet, UC Berkeley, SigFig, and Brown University. The startup provides a unified checkout experience built on top of a secure Super-API that aggregates payment and fintech solutions through a single integration and a central dashboard consolidating technical infrastructure and centralizing data and operational reporting.

According to a company statement, MoneyHash is currently in a private beta with plans to go live soon in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. The startup aims to be fully operational across various countries in Africa and the Middle East by 2022.

“MEA is one of the fastest growing emerging markets with a rapidly evolving payment and fintech scene. As many companies in the region and abroad plans their expansion across the region, they are faced with a devastating technical and operational hassle: building a separate connection with each service provider while providing a unified experience for their customers. This results in a complicated tech stack wasting valuable resources with increased vulnerabilities to errors, fraud, and technical debt. MoneyHash’s technology abstracts the complexities of this fragmented market and allow businesses to scale and grow with a complete focus on their product, and without compromising security and efficiency,” said Nader Abdelrazik, co-founder and CEO of MoneyHash

“We are crafting a comprehensive revenue solution built for flexibility and scaling. With a unified checkout experience powered by a single API integration, businesses throughout MEA can instantly access the providers and products they need to grow. We increase speed to market and save weeks of effort upfront, and with a complete view of the revenue stack, we provide insights, automations, and smart routing to save time and money in the long term. Our mission is to build an efficient, secure, comprehensive solution that helps – rather than hinders – growing businesses.” said Anisha Sekar, co-founder and CPO of MoneyHash

“It’s rare to find such a well-rounded and complete team with deep domain experience and technical prowess so early in a company’s life. We’re very excited to back Nader, Anisha and Mustafa, as they look to tackle a problem that suits a fragmented region like the Middle East. The clarity with which they articulated their vision and strategy, and the chemistry we felt from the start, convinced us to support them in kick starting their plans to build a payments super API for the region and beyond. We are grateful they chose us as partners and are looking forward to what’s ahead.” said Amir Farha, Managing Partner of COTU Ventures

“We are excited to back the MoneyHash team. The team’s vision is compelling, and the product enables companies to scale their products and services across Africa and the Middle east with minimal friction. They are essentially powering the growth and expansion of startups and enterprise across the region.” said Kola Aina, Founding Partner of Ventures Platform

 

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Dubai-based Opontia raises $20 Million to acquire and accelerate e-commerce brands in Africa and Middle East region

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Dubai, UAE Opontia Founders, Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer (Source: Opontia)

Dubai, UAE: Opontia, a Dubai and Riyadh-based startup that acquires and grows e-commerce brands has raised $20M in seed funding, one of the largest seed rounds in the Middle East and Africa region. 

The seed round was led by Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Presight Capital, and Kingsway Capital with participation from angel investors like Tushar Ahluwalia, CEO of Razor Group, Jonathan Doerr former CEO of Daras and co-founder of Jumia, and Hosam Arab the CEO of Tabby and the former CEO of Namshi. 

Launched in March 2021 by Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer, Opontia enables e-commerce entrepreneurs to realise the full potential of their brands, both in terms of getting an exit as well as profiting from future growth. Furthermore, Opontia aims to nurture and build the entrepreneurial e-commerce ecosystem in the region.

Opontia will use the funds to acquire exceptional e-commerce brands and to invest in a team of experienced e-commerce experts in the Middle East and Africa who will be responsible for managing and growing brands after acquisition. The company has already recruited a top-tier team with notable experience from Amazon, Noon, McKinsey, Uber-Eats and Namshi. 

Commenting on the successful financing round, Philip Johnston CEO of Opontia said:We are extremely thankful to our partners who joined us on this journey to transform the MENA e-commerce ecosystem. We founded Opontia to enable e-commerce entrepreneurs to realise the potential of their brands, both in terms of getting an exit now, as well as benefiting from future growth. We saw that many sellers had started their brand because they were passionate about their product and their customers but had hit a ceiling in terms of how far they could grow due to constraints on working capital, operations, logistics, and e-commerce commercial management. This is where Opontia comes in. We enable entrepreneurs to sell their brand and we take care of the daily operations while encouraging them to be involved in the part they enjoy – building the brand. Many sellers tell us that this frees up time to enable them to start their next venture or take a hard earned break.”

Manfred Meyer co-CEO of Opontia added: “The market in the Middle East and Africa region is currently less mature than in the West but is growing much faster than any other market in the world, with the number of entrepreneurs selling on marketplaces growing at over 50% per year.  The business model will work here because there have been so many amazing entrepreneurs in the Middle East coming up over the last few years. It’s a great opportunity for sellers to be able to realise some of the hard work from building their brand so they can take some time off or work on their next big thing” 

Opontia currently operates in Dubai and Riyadh, with plans to open offices in Istanbul, Cairo, and Lagos in the coming months.

 

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Almentor, The Leading Video Based e-learning Platform In MENA Region Raises $14.5 million

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almentor Founders, Dr. Ihab Fikry and Ibrahim Mostafa Kamel (Press Release and Image source: Reem Jenkiz)

almentor.net, the leading video e-learning platform in the MENA region, has announced raising $6.5 million in series B Funding. Partech led this financing round, with the participation of Sawari Ventures, Egypt Ventures and Sango Capital, thus bringing the total financing that the company has garnered since its inception to $14.5 million.

Speaking about the company’s goals and endeavors, Dr. Ihab Fikry, CEO and co-founder of almentor, stated: “ We are now leading the continuous video learning industry in the Arab region, and we have a responsibility that goes beyond our ambitions for Almentor Company. Our responsibility now is to work unceasingly to improve the industry as a whole in the Arab region, and this can only be achieved through gaining the confidence of the Arab learners in the value, professionalism and impartiality of the content provided by the platform, and working in line with the global learning trends.” He added, “almentor.net library has an abundance of courses and talks that are capable of nurturing Arab youth, enhancing their personal experiences, and serving their career paths by providing them with what they deserve to advance their careers on all fronts.”

The platform was launched in 2016 to compensate for the lack of online learning content for Arabic speakers. With over 2 million successful learning experiences, and 80+ Enterprise partnerships in the MENA region, the platform offers a wide range of exclusive training courses and talks by distinguished experts who have succeeded in their personal lives and professional careers. Through its rich content, the platform supplies learners with unique solutions across a diversity of disciplines including health, technology, humanities, entrepreneurship, business administration, and many more.

“We are very proud to lead this latest round of financing” stated Cyril Collon, General Partner at Partech. “Since our first interaction, we have been very impressed by Ihab & Ibrahim, two fantastic mission-driven entrepreneurs who have been executing on a bold vision since 2016, and who built the leading Arabic self-learning go-to content provider in the Middle East and Africa. We are looking forward to supporting the company in its next phase of growth to serve the 430 million Arabic-speaking population and expand access to on-demand cutting-edge personal
learning & developments options.”

From his side, Wael Amin, Partner at Sawari Ventures said: “We have supported almentor’s mission from its beginning and are pleased to participate in this latest round. Almentor has achieved notable traction in a space where there has been limited success for regional players, and have managed to efficiently deliver during the pandemic. We are impressed by what the team has achieved and are excited to be part of the journey,” he added.

 

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