Raba + Stitch Summit | April 2022

Dear Friends of Raba,

Greetings from Cape Town!  Over the last few months, we’ve added six new companies to the partnership:

  • Bitnob - lightning network payments infrastructure.
  • BVNK - digital asset payments and banking.
  • Djamo - Francophone Africa focused digital bank.
  • Float Capital - DEFI infrastructure.
  • Nile - cross-border marketplace focused on food producers and buyers.
  • VALR - digital asset exchange and payments.

More on each company below.  Also, we will follow up this update with a call in early May to review the portfolio.  We’ll include several of our founders to talk about the opportunity ahead.

Review of Raba follow-on financings from the last few months:

  • Axis Pay raised a $7.5M Seed
  • Flutterwave raised a $250M Series C
  • mPharma raised a $35M Series D
  • Stitch raised a $21M Series A
  • Thndr raised a $20M Series A

While the capital raises for the very best companies have increased by orders of magnitude,

Africa as a whole represents less than 1% of all venture dollars invested globally.

We have seven existing Raba companies completing follow-on financings that we will share more details about in our upcoming updates.  Stay tuned!

Raba + Stitch technology summit:

We had over eighty partners and friends join us in Cape Town for the inaugural technology summit hosted by Raba and Stitch in late February.  It was incredible to see so many of you together and we couldn’t be more pumped about the relationships that were formed at the summit.  The event exceeded our expectations.  A big thank you to all of our partners and friends who made the trip to Cape Town.  And a special thank you to Katlego, Carl and Juan from Yoco for their presentation and hosting us at the Yoco offices, Laurin from FairMoney for his talk on fintech and credit in Nigeria, Eva and Zack from Ribbit Capital for their presentation on global fintech, and Kiaan and the entire Stitch team for being awesome co-hosts.

Important side note: Paul (our partner from Base) and I were the Padel tournament winners, and we expect you all to bring your A games to next year’s summit :)!

For those who couldn’t join, some photos below.

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Katlego @ Yoco.

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Grant @ Stitch and Eva @ Ribbit.

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Kiaan @ Stitch.

New additions to the partnership

Bitnob: Raba 2.0 is partnering with Bernard Parah and co-investors FTX Ventures, Kingsway Capital and Distributed Global in a $3.8m seed round.  Bitnob is building crypto payments infrastructure and a mobile app focused on consumers who use Bitnob to earn, save, borrow, send and receive bitcoin and stablecoin payments.  Bitnob is building on the bitcoin lightning network, a layer 2 network that enables ultra fast payments at low cost.  Learn more here.

BVNK: Raba 2.0 is partnering with Jesse Hemson-Struthers and George Davis in a pre-Series A round.   BVNK is a digital currency payments and banking platform serving customers globally.  Learn more here.

Djamo: Raba 2.0 is partnering with Hasan Bourgi and Régis Bamba in a $2.2M pre-Series A round.  Djamo is building a digital banking platform focused on Francophone Africa and has seen explosive growth, increasing users from 10K to 155K in twelve months.  Prior to founding Djamo, Hasan (CEO) founded and sold Busportal, a leading bus ticketing marketplace platform operating in LatAm to Naspers-owned Redbus.  Djamo marks Raba’s first investment in the Francophone region. 

Float Capital: Raba 2.0 is partnering with founder JonJon Clark and co-investors Alameda Research, Maven 11, MetaCartel Ventures and IDEO CoLab Ventures in a $5M seed round.  Float is a new DEFI protocol facilitating efficient tokenized exposure, long or short, to a variety of asset classes.  This new primitive is an important DEFI building block that unlocks value for tokenized funds, delta neutral vaults and other DEFI primitives. Try out the live float alpha at float.capital.

Nile.ag: Raba 2.0 is partnering with Louis de Kock and co-investors Naspers Foundry, Platform Investment Partners and Base Capital in a $5.7M seed round.  Nile is building a cross-border marketplace that connects farmers to retailers, processors and wholesalers across Africa.  Prior to founding Nile, Louis was a senior manager at Amazon Fresh in Seattle and moved back to South Africa to build Nile with co-founders Eugene Roodt (left JPM investment banking in London to move back to South Africa) and Rick Kleinhans (who was an early software engineering leader at Luno, one of the largest crypto exchanges globally with over 9M customers). Learn more here.

VALR: Raba 2.0 is partnering with Farzam Ehsani and co-investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research and Distributed Global in a $50M Series B round.  Prior to founding VALR, Farzam led blockchain initiatives for Rand Merchant Bank, a leading corporate and investment bank, and worked at McKinsey.  VALR is on a mission to democratize access to financial services, and is expanding across Africa and beyond. See VALR’s Series B announcement here and learn about the company here.

Existing company updates

Axis Pay: The Egyptian digital account and payments company acquired a mobile wallet and virtual Visa card license, enabling it to offer money transfers, bill payments, instant payouts, QR payments, and online payments.  This is the second license the central bank has offered in Egypt to date (the first was granted to the CEO/founder’s first fintech payments company, Raseedy).

Cloudline: Raised a seed extension of $1.2M from new and existing investors to grow its team to support their first commercial deployments this year.  Cloudline announced the hiring of Francois Castel, who had been the business development lead at Volansi, an unmanned aerial vehicle logistics company.  Check out Cloudline’s new site, here.

FloatPays: The earned wage fintech platform closed a $1M follow-on investment from Naspers Foundry, bringing their total seed round to $5M.  FloatPays is building fair financial services, and recently signed several significant partnerships, including Africa’s largest bank and a leading payroll provider, that will dramatically extend its distribution.

Kwara: The neobank for emerging markets powered by credit unions closed 20 more credit unions this past quarter.  The company also kicked off a major bank integration in Kenya to ease bank transactions for their 100,000 end-clients.  Kwara recently made senior hires from Nubank and Fairmoney, and is aggressively growing its team and talent. Learn more here.

Octo: The Egyptian digital bank focused on freelancers raised a pre-seed round led by the founders of leading fintech companies, including Basis, Carry1st, Cashi, Klar, Shara and Stitch.

Shara: The Kenyan digital banking and payments platform grew revenues 2.5X this quarter while doubling its merchant base.  The company is rolling out exciting product updates, and we will host founder/CEO Grant Brooke on our next partner call.

Stitch: The API financial infrastructure company powering African fintechs signed its 100th customer and had 40% MoM payments volume growth in Q1.  Stitch is launching several key accounts in Nigeria (to be announced), and recently launched LinkPay, the first bank tokenization method in Africa.

Yoco: Yoco continues to double YoY across core metrics with over 174% growth in new merchants added compared to the same period last year. It now has 250,000 merchants. The company also released the Yoco Khumo Print (learn more here), its second Android terminal, that enables merchants to process transactions in under 2s, access to the full Yoco software suite, 4G/Wifi as well as a built-in printer for receipts and reconciliation, all at a price point that is 50-75% less in cost than existing products in the market (despite existing products not offering nearly the same functionality).

In other news…

Stanford GSB:  It was awesome to be back on campus in January to share stories of the continued growth of technology companies building in Africa.  A special thank you to Steve for having me join the class.  This is my 5th year lecturing at Stanford and the level of interest in technology and Africa generally is awesome to see.  A big shout out to Nina who organized a dinner with GSB students, many of whom are looking to start or join African startups.

The Stanford Africa ecosystem continues to grow and we are excited to be part of it.  We will be participating in the Stanford Africa pitch competition on Saturday, April 16th.  If you are interested in attending virtually or in person, send Nina a note at nina@rabacap.com!

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