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Friday, 25 August 2023

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Good morning!

In this week's edition of our running series, State of the Ecosystem, we are in conversation with Ireayo Oladunjoye, the MD and CEO, Endeavor Nigeria. She has some nuggets for getting investments and finding a mentor.

Then, LemFi (formerly Lemonade Finance) has raised $33 million in a Series A round to scale its financial services for immigrants globally. The round was led by Left Lane Capital, with participation from Y-Combinator, Zrosk, Global Founders Capital, and Olive Tree.

In these harsh economic times, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) is considering hiking the prices of SMS, data and calls. The chairman said the current rate is just "unsustainable."

Then TikTok is launching a Kenyan office and will be working with the government to on content moderation activities. (wink, wink)

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    Below are the tech stories and news you need to know to start your day, carefully curated by Technext.
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    A word from

    We are thrilled to share that has successfully raised pre-seed funding of $1.25M! This round was led by Ventures Platform and Founders Factory Africa, with participation from TechStars Toronto.

    With this funding, we can strengthen our operations in Nigeria and strategically fuel our expansion into other African markets. Join us on this exciting journey as we tackle the issue of inadequate insurance access, coverage and affordability in Africa and beyond!

    Sign up at or email [email protected] now!
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    Summary of the news

    • LemFi (formerly Lemonade Finance) has raised $33 million in a Series A round
    • Over N5.46 billion was carted away in fraudulent loans
    • ALTON is considering hiking the prices of SMS, data and calls
    • TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew said the companywill luahcn an office in Kenya
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    LemFi new raise: LemFi (formerly Lemonade Finance) has raised $33 million in a Series A round to scale its financial services for immigrants globally. The round was led by Left Lane Capital, with participation from Y-Combinator, Zrosk, Global Founders Capital, and Olive Tree.

    LemFi’s CEO, Ridwan Olalere, who drew from his own experience as an immigrant, said: “Having lived on three continents and leading a multicultural team, our mission is deeply personal: creating a world where financial services are universally accessible. We’ve already made life easier for over half a million people, but we’re only just getting started.”

    “LemFi has been very deliberate and strategic in acquiring licenses and building a robust network of financial institution partners to facilitate cross-border payments for immigrants,” said Matthew Miller, Principal at Left Lane Capital, who joined LemFi’s Board of Directors as part of the transaction. “We’re excited to support LemFi as it expands its product offering to serve more immigrant communities globally.” (Technext)

    Other ecosystem news:
    • The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) is considering hiking the prices of SMS, data and calls. “What we are charging today, is certainly not sustainable. It is actually only a matter of time; either it will impact on scale of service or the industry’s performance and service availability," Gbenga Adebayo, the chairman of ALTON said. (Technext)
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    State of the ecosystem

    In today's edition of our running series, State of the Ecosystem, we are in conversation with Ireayo Oladunjoye, the MD and CEO, Endeavor Nigeria. As CEO, she oversees the company's operations, including selecting founders who come into Endeavor's highly selective mentorship program. Moniepoint's Tosin Eniolorunda and Paga's Tayo Oviosu are members of its community.

    The interview has been edited for clarity.

    Why is mentorship important, especially in Nigeria?

    In Nigeria, where entrepreneurship is a vital driver of economic growth and job creation, mentorship plays a pivotal role in supporting and nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is crucial in Nigeria as a guide through complex markets, offer local insights, build networks, avoid mistakes, and foster personal growth, all tailored to Nigeria's unique business environment.

    What are you typically looking for in the founders you pick for mentorship at Endeavor?

    Mentorship is the core of our service deliveries to the entrepreneurs in our portfolio. At every stage in our selection process, we look for/assess three things: (1) entrepreneurs who are bold, ambitious, audacious leaders and have proven their ability to scale a company; (2) businesses that are scalable and are at an inflection point; (3) cultural fit/alignment with Endeavor and our give-back motivation - entrepreneurs who want to mentor, support, invest in other high-impact entrepreneurs in their local ecosystems as well over time.

    What mistakes do you find very common people make while looking for mentorship?

    Approaching well-known figures solely based on their reputation without considering whether their expertise aligns with the mentee's needs. While seeking guidance from high-profile figures is tempting, the best mentorship often comes from individuals with knowledge and experience relevant to the mentee's business goals.

    Entrepreneurship involves navigating multifaceted issues, and expecting mentors to provide quick fixes can lead to disappointment. True growth requires time, effort, and a willingness to learn from successes and failures.

    Another significant oversight is the failure to establish a meaningful, reciprocal relationship. Effective mentorship is a two-way street where both mentor and mentee contribute value. Some individuals approach mentorship passively, expecting mentors to provide all the guidance and insights. However, mentees who actively engage by asking questions, seeking advice, and offering their perspectives create a more dynamic and beneficial mentorship experience.

    Also, the lack of compatibility between mentor and mentee can hinder the effectiveness of the relationship. Ignoring personality clashes or communication style differences can lead to misunderstandings and unproductive interactions.

    Finding mentors with a natural rapport and alignment of values is essential, as this enhances the overall mentorship experience and outcomes.

    Many say founders should look for a personal angle towards finding an investor or a mentor. Does that ever work for you?

    The key is balance. Building personal relationships with mentors or investors can be effective, fostering trust and enhancing communication. However, it's crucial to maintain professionalism and ensure the relationship is built on mutual value and respect.

    While personal connections can create meaningful bonds, founders should prioritize demonstrating the potential of their business and the value they bring to the table. Balancing a personal approach with a strong business proposition is key for successful mentorship or investment relationships.

    You're very intentional with your fashion; what are some of your favourite Nigerian brands to shop from?

    Oh yes, I’m intentional about supporting Nigerian brands such as MyQLady, ZAshadu, MDM, and Flow Fabrics, to mention a few.
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    TikTok lands in Kenya: TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew said the company plans to partner with the Kenyan government to ensure its content conforms with the country’s regulations, after a meeting with President Ruto William of Kenya. It will also establish a local office to effectively monitor its operations in Africa.

    This decision follows last week’s petition to ban TikTok in Kenya. According to the petition which was delivered by businessman, Bob Ndolo, the platform had greatly contributed to moral decadence and cultural loss in the country. However, the Parliament responded that they can not fight technology, the innovation behind TikTok and other social media platforms. (Technext)
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    Giveaway with Yellowcard

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    Social Tech

    Fraudulent loans on the rise: Over N5.46 billion was carted away in fraudulent loans, accounting for 94.35% of the total losses associated with fraudulent activities in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, a report by the Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC) found.

    Per the FITC Fraud and Forgeries report, 24 commercial banks in Nigeria lost a total of N5.79 billion to fraud activities representing a 1,125.03% increase in losses compared with the N472 million lost in Q1 2023.

    The total figure – N5.79 billion, showed a significant increase in the total amount involved in fraud cases during Q2 2023 compared to Q1. The sum increased from N2.58 billion to N9.75 billion, representing a 276.98% increase.

    After fraudulent loans, mobile fraud came next resulting in 3.39% of the total loss amounting to N196 million. Computer/ Web fraud was minimal for the period under review as it amounted to only 1% of the total losses in Q2. N59.5 million was lost through the web in the 3 months. (Technext)

    Other social tech stories:
    • Reddit announced some new ways it will be supporting mods. It's adding a “Mod Helper Program,” trophies and flair for users in r/ModSupport, an answer bot to help mods find Help Center articles, and a forthcoming merger of the platform’s Mod Help Center and the main Help Center. (TheVerge)
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    Global News

    Layoffs at T-Mobile: T-Mobile is laying off “a little under” 7 per cent of its workforce, affecting about 5,000 roles at the company. The move will mostly impact workers in corporate, back-office, and technology roles, with those in retail or customer care positions remaining unaffected.

    Other carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, are contending with layoffs, but T-Mobile specifically promised to keep adding jobs following its merger with Sprint in 2020. Despite this commitment, the company laid off hundreds of workers shortly after, while a 2021 report from The Wall Street Journal found that T-Mobile employed 5,000 fewer people at the end of 2020 when compared to before it merged with Sprint.

    “What it takes to attract and retain customers is materially more expensive than it was just a few quarters ago,” writes CEO Mike Sievert in a memo to employees, adding that its existing strategies are not enough to “deliver on these changing customer expectations going forward.” In addition to the layoffs, Sievert says the company will need to work toward “re-prioritizing” its work and “optimizing every dollar” as it deals with rising costs. (TheVerge)

    Other global news:
    • Meta has released its open-sourced Code Llama, a machine learning system that can generate and explain code in natural language — specifically English. (TechCrunch)
    • A joint statement signed by regulators at a dozen international privacy watchdogs, including the UK’s ICO, Canada’s OPC and Hong Kong’s OPCPD, has urged mainstream social media platforms to protect users’ public posts from scraping — warning they face a legal responsibility to do so in most markets. (TechCrunch)
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    Latest in funding

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    Other stories we are following

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    Written by
    Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
    Edited by
    Tomiwo Ojo

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