When it comes to computer games, there are a number of good ones. They include Autochek, Wave, Stitch, Qwili, and 54gene. What’s more, they’re all free to play and can be downloaded right from your desktop. But which one’s the best?
Wave is the latest African unicorn to enter the fray, following in the footsteps of Flutterwave and OPay. Like its fellow African tech startups, Wave is offering mobile money services. Its platform is similar to PayPal, allowing users to make deposits and transfers without paying any fees.
The company, which was previously a subsidiary of Sendwave, has raised $290 million so far, and claims to have at least 10 million users across its operating markets. At its last fundraise, Wave was valued at $1.7 billion.
Earlier this month, Wave laid off about 15% of its workforce. The company also secured a loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This move is part of a larger push to expand into newer markets. In addition to Senegal, Wave offers mobile money services in Ivory Coast.
54gene was one of the largest COVID testing providers in Nigeria. Founded in 2011, the company has been able to raise more than $44.5 million from investors including the likes of Adjuvant Capital, Plexo Capital, and the Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund. As a result, it has become one of the most successful African startups of its kind.
In its short tenure, 54gene has rolled out several products and services that make it an attractive acquisition target for bigger hitters such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. These include a new genetics and medical data analysis lab in Lagos that has a full suite of genomics tools and a robust telemedicine offering aimed at improving access to quality healthcare. It also offers an extended health insurance coverage period for three months.
Among the countless mobile apps and services available to the average mobile user, Qwili stands out as a smidgen of a shaker. Its flagship product is a low-cost NFC enabled smartphone that can do a number of things, not least of which is make payments. The company processes a cool $75,000 monthly GMV and plans on scaling up to meet the demand. While the company has yet to unveil details on its financials, it has been known to lay off 15% of its workforce.
In addition to the smartphone, the company offers a high-yield savings account, digital banking and mobile money service to name a few. Qwili is not alone in this space. The likes of Mercury, Wave and Moove are among the many mobile lenders vying for attention.
Moove, a new African fintech startup, is democratizing access to vehicle ownership in Africa. The company provides vehicle financing to riders on ride-hailing platforms, such as Uber. Moove has expanded its reach to seven African cities. It was founded in 2019, by Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi. They were previously part of the team that created Flutterwave. In addition to vehicle financing, Moove also has other services, including vehicle rental, logistics, and courier.
Moove has received investment from two major financial institutions. First, it was announced that BII would invest $20 million in Moove over four years. This financing will help the company purchase fuel-efficient cars in Lagos.
Among the many exciting startups in Africa is Stitch. They are a fintech company that allows users to easily make payments online. They do this by providing full API access to financial accounts. You can use their products to confirm your identity, initiate a once-off bank transfer or even set up recurring bank transfers.
To date, they have raised $27 million in funding. The company has been soft launching a pay-by-bank feature in South Africa, and are planning to expand into Nigeria in October. Currently, they have a few clients, including Franc, Paystack, Yoco, Chipper Cash, Flexclub, Sanlam and Mono in Kenya. In addition to their consumer-facing products, they also offer an API for businesses that want to build applications that integrate with their customers’ financial accounts.
Cheki is not a new name in the car financing game, having expanded operations in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia in the last couple of years. In that time, they have amassed a modest user base of roughly 700,000. The company is in a good position to take advantage of the growing market for used vehicles in Africa. They have also tapped into the burgeoning ridesharing and gig economy with the Moove mobile app. While the name might not be as enticing as Uber or Postmates, the Moove slings a pretty slick financing package for the aforementioned gig economy.
A recent YC graduate, Topship, is raising a seed round. Its investors include Starling Ventures, Soma Capital, Olive Tree Capital, and Y Combinator. Flexport is also a lead investor. The company recently raised a $2.5 million seed round. In addition to YC, Topship has received funding from Capital X, Soma Capital, and True Capital. Its CEO, Immad Akhund, is an individual investor.
Mercury Financial Services restricted a large number of African startups’ bank accounts. This was because the company had to deal with compliance issues. As a result, it may be a good idea to consider Identitypass, an app that prevents such events from happening in the future.