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Extra Crunch roundup: Livestream e-commerce, growth marketing interviews, CEO for a day

This year, livestream viewers in China are projected to spend more than $60 billion on digital shopping experiences that let them interact with influencers in real time.
Promoting everything from cosmetics to food, social media stars use Taobao, TikTok and other platforms to livestream products and take questions from the audience.
On Taobao’s Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival in 2020, livestreams racked up $6 billion in sales, twice as much revenue as the year prior.
Sensing a trend, Western startups are getting in on the action, with companies like Whatnot and PopShop.Live raising rounds to build out their infrastructure. Looking …

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Airtel Africa gets an extra $200M for its mobile money business from QIA

Three months ago, Mastercard invested $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) — the mobile money business of telecom Airtel Africa. This was two weeks after it also received $200 million from TPG’s Rise Fund.
Today, the African telecoms operator has announced that it has secured another investment for its mobile money arm. The investor? Qatar Holding LLC, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar with over $300 billion in assets. The Middle Eastern corporation is set to invest $200 million into AMC BV through a secondary purchase of shares from Airtel …

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Egypt’s Minly raises $3.6M to connect celebrities and fans through personalized experiences

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a growing trend of creators adopting digital and social media, not just as a supplement to their media presence but also as a cornerstone of their personal brand.
The pandemic has surely accelerated creator economy trends. Many popular artists and figures have had to postpone concerts and live events, subsequently using social media to carry out these activities and engage their fans. Proliferating through Western and far East markets, the creator economy bug, which has made platforms like Cameo and Patreon unicorns, is beginning to take center stage in MENA.
Today, …

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Mercuryo raises $7.5M for crypto-focused cross-border payments after crossing $50M in ARR

Mercuryo, a startup that has built a cross-border payments network, has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round of funding.
The London-based company describes itself as “a crypto infrastructure company” that aims to make blockchain useful for businesses via its “digital asset payment gateway.” Specifically, it aggregates various payment solutions and provides fiat and crypto payments and payouts for businesses. 
Put more simply, Mercuryo aims to use cryptocurrencies as a tool for putting in motion next-gen cross-border transfers or as it puts it, “to allow any business to become a fintech company without the need to keep up with its …

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Trump congratulates Nigeria for Twitter ban, says more countries should do the same

Today, former President Donald Trump issued a statement supporting the Nigerian government’s decision to suspend Twitter activities in the West African country.
“Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President,” he said in the statement.
The ex-President also encouraged other countries to follow in Nigeria’s footsteps and ban Twitter and Facebook.
“More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech — all voices should be heard. In the meantime, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they themselves are …

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Bosta raises $6.7M to expand e-commerce delivery business across Africa and MENA

Per a recent report by Bain & Co., e-commerce is expected to grow to $28.5 billion in MENA by 2022 from a 2019 value of $8.3 billion. Egypt, one of the most active e-commerce countries in the region, is anticipated to grow 33% annually to reach $3 billion by 2022.
But for any e-commerce business to thrive, its last-mile delivery arm has to be well figured out. Bosta is one such company in Egypt helping small businesses with logistics and last-mile delivery. Today, the company is announcing it has closed a Series A investment of $6.7 million. U.S. and Middle East VC firm Silicon Badia led the round, …

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Google to offer 40,000 developer scholarships in Africa; continues accelerator program

Google today announced the launch of 40,000 new developer scholarships in Africa. Google will offer the scholarships — created in partnership with tech talent companies Pluralsight and Andela — to developers spread across mobile and cloud development tracks.
According to the statement released by the company, Google will give full scholarships (with certifications in Android and cloud development) to the top 1,000 students (beginner and intermediate developers) at the end of the training.
The announcement, which took place from a virtual event, was also detailed in the company’s blog post. The company hosted key stakeholders in Africa’s tech ecosystem and “reviewed opportunities …

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YC-backed Kidato raises $1.4M seed to scale its online school for K-12 students in Africa

In public schools across Africa, classrooms are often overcrowded and this affects how teachers and students interact. The large classroom creates too much work for teachers leaving students’ individual problems unattended.
Private schools are modeled to fix these issues, but they can be expensive for the average African middle-class professional with kids. Kidato, an online school for K-12 students in Africa, presents another alternative and is announcing today that it has closed its $1.4 million seed investment.
The investors who participated in the round are Learn Start Capital, Launch Africa Ventures Fund, Graph Ventures and Century Oak Capital, among other notable …

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How Pariti is connecting founders with capital, resources and talent in emerging markets

According to Startup Genome, Beijing, London, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Tel Aviv are some of the world’s best startup ecosystems. The data and research organisation uses factors like performance, capital, market reach, connectedness, talent, and knowledge to produce its rankings.
Startup ecosystems from emerging markets excluding China and India didn’t make the organisations’ top 40 list last year. It is a known fact that these regions lag well behind in all six factors, and decades might pass before they catch up to the standards of the aforementioned ecosystems.
However, Pariti, a Kenyan B2B management startup founded by Yacob Berhane …

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Fintech startup ClearGlass Analytics closes $3.6M for pension funds transparency platform

Fintech startup ClearGlass Analytics has closed a £2.6 million ($3.6M) funding round for its platform, which aims to create greater transparency on fees in the long-term savings market, such as pensions and the wider asset management market. 
The £2.6m seed round includes European VC Lakestar and Outward VC, the venture arm of Investec, as well as several angels from both the asset management and pension fund worlds. These include Ruston Smith, a pension trustee; Richard Butcher, Chair of the PLSA (UK pension trade body); Chris Wilcox, former Global Head of JP Morgan Asset Management; and Rob O’Rahilly, Sikander Ilyas and …

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