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TechCabal Daily โ€“ We will not be shaken 😐

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TechCabal Daily โ€“ We will not be shaken 😐

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26 AUGUST, 2021

Good morning โ˜€๏ธ ๏ธ

On Tuesday, we asked you a rather rhetorical question: Sex sells but for how long?

Well, content subscription service OnlyFans has changed its mind on the answer to this question as it turned back on its decision to restrict sexually explicit material from October 1st. The reason? It has gotten some assurance and is back to being โ€œa home for all creators.โ€

In todayโ€™s edition:

  • MaxAB raises largest series A round by Egyptian startup
  • Nigerian fintech app users confident despite regulatory crackdown
  • Facebook wants to support NFTs
  • Xiaomi is killing Mi Softly

MaxAB raises largest series A round by Egyptian startup


There has been a ton of money coming into the African tech ecosystem this year and MaxAB is proof of that.

The Egyptian eCommerce platform that serves food and grocery retailers, has raised an additional $15M from existing investors bringing its total Series A funding to $55M, the largest ever by an Egyptian startup.

In addition, it announced its acquisition of WaystoCap, a Morocco-based e-commerce and distribution platform that connects retailers with suppliers across Africa.ย 

Meet WaystoCap: Founded in 2015 by Niama El Bassunie, Mehdi Daoui, Anis Abdeddine, and Aziz Jaouhari Tissafi, WaystoCap was originally a cross-border trade platform for transacting business goods in Africa. Two years later, the company got into Y Combinatorโ€™s 2017 Winter batch, making it the first company accepted from Morocco. It subsequently raised a $3 million seed round.ย 

Zoom out: WaystoCap is the second African YC-backed company to exit over the past year after Paystack got acquired by Stripe for more than $200 million last October. This acquisition will see MaxAB accelerate its expansion into the Maghreb market โ€“ Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia โ€“ empowered by WaystoCapโ€™s expertise in the region.ย 

Read more: MaxAB extends Series A to $55M, largest ever by an Egyptian startup

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Nigerian fintech app users confident despite regulatory crackdown


Last week was a pretty rough week for Nigerian tech startups as they were dealt with a combo of regulatory punches.ย 

First, the Nigerian Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) proposed amendments to its regulatory Actย came with fines; then came the Central bank freezing the bank account of four wealth-tech platforms.

While the suspension affected four retail trading apps โ€” Trove, Risevest, Bamboo, and Chaka, there is a tendency that such clampdown can result in contagion; a situation where a crisis affecting some companies spreads to other players in the industry.

So we reached out to customers of Nigerian fintech platforms to hear from them.

We found out that while some users took to social media to express their shock and others made moves to withdraw their funds, the majority of them held on.

โ€œTo be honest, I considered withdrawing my money. I remember logging into the app and checking when my next due date for withdrawal was. But then I just told myself that they would figure it out. I mean Nigerian startups almost always have a way of figuring things out,โ€ Stephanie Osaji, a Cowrywise Customer said.

In this article Michael looks at how these customers are responding and why the majority of them have held on in the face of a regulatory crackdown.

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OPPORTUNITIES

Arab Bank has launched its fintech-focused corporate accelerator program โ€œAB Acceleratorโ€ in Egypt.ย 

Whatโ€™s in it for Startups? They are able to receive funding of up to $500,000 and a host of unique benefits as part of their collaboration with Arab Bank.

Egyptian entrepreneurs who wish to join Arab Bankโ€™s โ€œAB Acceleratorโ€ portfolio of companies may apply online here.

Facebook wants to support NFTs

Social media giant Facebook is considering building products and features related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the digital assets that have taken off with the rise of blockchain technology.

โ€œWeโ€™re definitely looking at the number of ways to get involved in the space because we think weโ€™re in a really good position to do so,โ€ Facebook Executive, David Marcus, said earlier this week.

Remind me again, what are NFTs?

The meaning of NFTs lies in the name itself. Non-fungible tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that cannot be changed or replaced by something identical.

NFTs are unique certificates for intellectual property and they are stored on the blockchain. A person who owns an NFT owns whatever media has been tied to it and has proof that they own it. I hope you get it, Iโ€™ll stop here and direct you to our explainer on NFTs.

Back to Facebookโ€™s plans

Marcus who leads F2, or Facebook Financial, the internal group developing the companyโ€™s Novi digital wallet also hinted at plans to use them to hold NFTs.

According to him, Facebookโ€™s digital wallet is ready but the company has been waiting to launch it until alongside Diem, the digital currency previously known as Libra, which Marcus co-founded from within Facebook in 2019.

On Diem

The project faced immense pushback from lawmakers and regulators when it was unveiled in 2019, and while Facebook is still a partner on the project, Diem is now run independently. Plans are for Diem to offer a so-called stablecoin backed by the U.S. dollar, but itโ€™s unclear when the coin will be introduced.

Zoom out: NFTs are still the rave of the moment. Benyamin Ahmed, a 12-year-old coder is set to earn over $400,000 after about 2 months selling NFTs. Also global payments processor, Visa, on Monday jumped into the NFT craze, buying a โ€˜CryptoPunkโ€™ for $150,000.

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Xiaomi is killing Mi Softly


Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi is dropping the name of its most recognizable product series, โ€œMiโ€.

From the third quarter of 2021, new additions to the โ€œMiโ€ product range will feature the name Xiaomi.

Why? Xiaomi is now confident that their products are relevant and identifiable enough not to need additional branding.

As per Verge, โ€œThe Mi brand was largely used in Western markets, presumably for readability and pronunciation reasons โ€” phones like the Mi 11 are already called the Xiaomi 11 in China, for example. But Xiaomi evidently believes its company name is now recognizable enough and better represents its products.โ€

Howโ€™s Xiaomi doing?

Things are going really well for Xiaomi as it overtook Apple as the worldโ€™s second-largest phone maker during the second quarter of 2021. Xiaomiโ€™s smartphones accounted for 17% of the worldโ€™s shipments in Q2 2021, an astounding 83% increase over its sales during Q2 2020.

What drove this growth? Overseas sales. Its shipments increased more than 300% in Latin America, 150% in Africa, and 50% in Western Europe.

Big picture: Over the years Xiaomi has been criticized for copying the design of Apple products but that strategy seems to have worked for it. Coupled with the fact that Xiaomiโ€™s phones are still largely skewed toward the mass market and when compared with Samsung and Apple, its average selling price is around 40% and 75% cheaper respectively.

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You can register here.

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