UPDATE (31 March): The roundup has been updated to include that the Oppenheimer family have set up a new trust, the SA Future Trust (SAFT), to disburse the family’s R1-billion donation.

Announcements of new venture capital (VC) investments in African tech firms have dived with the onset of the coronavirus, according to one assessment. This, as funders are rushing to offer firms and citizens help during this period.

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) headlining news all over the world, Ventureburn has launched the first edition of a daily roundup on the virus and how it is affecting Africa’s tech startup sector.

Those with any news releases relating to Covid-19 and Africa’s tech startup sector can send these to editor@memeburn.com.

Announcements of new VC investments in Africa dived this month with the onset of the coronavirus

Here then is the latest on the coronavirus and African tech startups:

Oppenheimers to fund employees: The Oppenheimer family have set up a new trust, the SA Future Trust (SAFT), to disburse the family’s R1-billion that it has pledged to assist employees of small businesses, and which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, Business Day reported in an article today. Business owners can apply to access the fund via the country’s four main banks, the trust will disburse interest-free loans to employees over a five-year term.

VC funding dives: The amount of venture capital (VC) funding announced by African tech firms in March dived to well under $50-million this month, from almost $200-million announced in February, according to London-based research firm Briter Bridgers in a graphic tweeted yesterday (see below tweet). It’s not clear whether this is because such firms netted less VC funding than previous months or whether they have simply opted to hold off making investment announcements.

More lockdowns: Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe began lockdowns yesterday (Uganda’s kicked off yesterday at 10pm). The number of countries in Africa with lockdowns or curfews in place has grown in recent days. These include South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, the Democratic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Naspers commits R1.5bn: SA tech and media conglomerate Naspers has committed R1.5-billion in emergency aid to the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. The group will contribute R500-million to the government’s Solidarity Response Fund announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. In addition, Naspers will buy R1-billion worth of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to support SA’s health workers.

Funding medical products suppliers: SA’s National Empowerment Fund (NEF), which funds black entrepreneurs, has announced R200-million in funding for black-owned small businesses that manufacture and supply medical products, Fin24 reported in an article yesterday.

Stanbic provides reprieve: Stanbic Bank Kenya has offered small businesses with outstanding loans a three-month repayment holiday, from 1 April, due to the coronavirus, Kenyan newspaper Business Day reported in an article yesterday.

Bolt service: Essential services providers can now use Bolt Business Delivery to help fulfil orders during the SA government’s lockdown regulations, the ride-hailing company said in an announcement yesterday.

List of Covid-19 startups: VC4A CEO Ben White has shared a list of African startups in education and healthtech that have developed solutions or apps that can help tackle the virus and assist Africans during this time. Said White: “If you are working on a company relevant for this list please add your venture to the directory of ventures and tag VC4Africa on twitter. We can then add you to this list.” VC4A’s online platform aims to link African tech startups with investors.

Smart wage: A new Johannesburg based startup, SmartWage, is offering its solution — which gives employees instant access to their earnings for work they have already done — free to employees until end of May. The startup was founded in November last year by Nick Platt (pictured above), Simon Ellis and Alex Platt. The team is five in all. The startup has been funded so far by contributions from the founders and friends and family. “We are currently in the middle of a R20-million debt raise, which together with our own contributions we project to take us to August 2020, at which time we’ll look to raise a significantly larger sum,” Nick Platt told Ventureburn yesterday.

Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [30/03/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [27/03/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [26/03/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [25/03/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [24/03/2020]





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