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Standard Chartered to invest $193k into Cohort 3 of the Women in Tech Incubator startups

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Standard Chartered in partnership with Strathmore University @iBizAfrica is excited to announce that the search for women in technology is back. The call for application for the Women in tech incubator cohort three is now open for women led small and medium businesses leveraging on technology.

Today’s event demonstrated how the @iBizAfrica and Standard chartered have supported and guided over 20 women owned small enterprises through mentorship and funding.

Speaking during the launch, CEO Kariuki Ngari said applications will be open online effective 11th September 2019 to 31st November 2019. “The Bank will then identify ten start-ups through a rigorous process who will go through a 12-week incubation period with the top five finalists benefiting from a seed funding of KES 1,000,000 each,” added Mr. Kariuki.

The Bank has set aside KES 20 million for capacity building for women-owned small enterprises leveraging on technology. “To date, from cohort one, 4 out of 5 of the companies have received investor funding ranging from USD 50,000 – 150,000, and their businesses have grown revenue and sales in double digits. In addition to growing their businesses, some of the companies have been able to form strategic partnerships with multinationals like MasterCard and Uber,” added Kariuki.

Strathmore University Vice Chancellor designate, Dr. Vincent Ogutu said ‘’Over the last 2 years through the Women in Tech programme @iBizAfrica has incubated over 20 women led startups, 10 of whom have received USD 10,000 in funding for their businesses. We have offered mentorship, coaching, legal and financial advice to help them better understand how to leverage more on the opportunities that they have in order to place their business at an advantage in the Kenyan market. This is yet another year, another opportunity for more women in Kenya to apply for this programme and give their business a great chance at success.”

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Speaking at the same launch, Permanent Secretary, Ms Betty Maina said, The Women in Tech Incubator program will help identify, grow and bring to the market unique business ideas and change the fortunes of women entrepreneurs and business owners in Kenya. “This program is well aligned with the government’s Big Four Agenda with some of these entrepreneurs playing in different sectors like Manufacturing, Food Processing and Healthcare services,” added Ms Maina

The Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator Kenya is Africa’s leading women in tech incubator, aligning with calls for more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence. The program is an initiative of Standard Chartered in partnership with Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica.

The program combines world class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities.

After successful rollout of a similar initiative in USA and Kenya, the bank has now rolled out the program in Pakistan, UAE and Nigeria with plans to expand to more countries across Africa and Middle East. The Bank first launched the programme to support women in technology in 2014 at the City College of New York where it created the Women Entrepreneurs Resource Centre. The US program includes a dedicated workspace, mentorship, coursework and access to an extensive network designed to support entrepreneurs navigating the challenges of starting a business.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite launched in Kenya, starts selling on February 10th

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Samsung’s latest smartphone in the Kenyan market is one that has received quite the acclaim abroad.

Unveiled at the start of the year alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite after weeks of rumours, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a follow up to last year’s Galaxy Note 10 but for those on a budget.

The feature set is also different.

Whereas the Galaxy Note 10 packs all the latest and “greatest” features, the Note 10 Lite makes do with yesteryear components like the dated Exynos 9810. Of course, that also means that the base model packs 128GB internal storage space which is quite a lot but pales in comparison to the Note 10’s 256GB starting point.

It also skips on the IP rating of the Note 10.

However, it shows its muscle in the amount of memory (6GB, the 8GB variant isn’t available locally), a bigger (6.7-inch vs 6.3-inch) Super AMOLED display panel and a bigger battery (4,500mAh vs 3,500mAh).

It also packs a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot, both of which are missing on the Note 10.

What makes “a Note a Note”, the S Pen, is available on the Note 10 Lite, marking the first time since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco (which saw the release of a “watered-down” Note device) that Samsung has made the Note lineup available at a “less-than-premium” price.

Starting on Monday, February 10th, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite can be had in the country for Kshs 58,000. So much for a “less-than-premium” price, eh? It’s at least a tidy fraction of the Note 10’s high price.

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Daystar Power raises $4m from SunFunder for rapid buildout in Nigeria

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Daystar Power, a commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer,  has raised $4 million from SundFunder to provide solar power and energy efficiency solutions for businesses in the commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

Daystar Power says the funding will result in significant reduction of power costs, diesel consumption and pollution in Nigeria.

SunFunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets, invests up to 3MWp of C&I projects for clients including top tier financial institutions and other small and medium-sized enterprises will mitigate 102,410 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

According to Rim Azirar, Investment Officer at SunFunder, “We are delighted to support Daystar’s growth with a project finance-like structure that can support the company’s strategy for rapid buildout in Nigeria, through their highly scalable business model.” 

Daystar’s mission is to provide an African sustainable energy solution that results in a minimum 20 % reduction in energy costs and 50% reduction in diesel consumption for end users.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Nigeria has the largest potential for C&I solar in Africa because of the scale of the opportunity for diesel replacement. Daystar is a pioneer in the market, offering end-users increased reliability as well as lower energy costs through solar and storage systems.

Christian Wessels, co-founder and executive of Daystar Power, comments: “We are happy to partner with SunFunder in our mission to bring clean, continuous and affordable power to West African businesses in support of their growth and environmental goals. The support of SunFunder enables the beginning of a new phase of accelerated growth for our company.”

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In October, Daystar Power announced it had installed its 100th solar energy system in Nigeria since it was founded in 2017. In May the same year, it raised EUR 500,000 via Trine for captive power installations in Togo & Senegal. The amount was a debt round raised via crowdfunding site Trine, a Swedish investment platform to finance solar power systems.

In April, Daystar Power entered Ghana after raising $10m for West Africa expansion. The Ghana office was its second branch in West Africa with an office in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

In March, Daystar Power received 10 million US Dollars for expansion of solar power operations in West Africa. The $10 million USD investment was led by Verod Capital Management and Persistent Energy Capital LLC.


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Twitter Makes $1bn Quarterly Revenue For The First Time

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Twitter has pulled in one billion dollars in quarterly revenue for the first time. The revenue grew by 11 per cent from a year earlier to $1.01bn, also beating the expectation of $996.7m from the previous projections.

The high revenue is attributed to the tremendous efforts the company has made In the most recent days. Among them, it has made make its platform more user-friendly sending its shares up 14 per cent in early trading.

Prior, the company forecast it’s first-quarter revenue between $825m and $885m. The Wall Street had an estimate of $872.6m in revenues.

The companies CEO Jack Dorsey during an earnings call with analysts said,” Rolling out new features at a faster pace is one of Twitter’s top priorities for the year. The time it takes to go from an idea to shipping something remarkable to customers simply takes too long”

“2019 was a great year for Twitter. Our work to increase relevance and ease of use delivered 21% mDAU [(monetizable Daily Active Usage)] growth in Q4, with more than half of the 26 million mDAU added in 2019 directly driven by product improvements. Entering 2020, we are building on our momentum – learning faster, prioritizing better, shipping more and hiring remarkable talent. All of which put us in a stronger position as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead.” he added.

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Twitter has also focused on relevant content and notifications which has boosted average monetizable daily active users.

The metrics rose to 152 million in the fourth quarter through December from 126 million the previous year. From the records, it has beaten the average analyst’s expectation of 147.5 million according to Aljazeera.

Twitter revealed that the firm’s revenue for the whole year was $3.46 billion which represents a 14 per cent increase. The yearly costs and expenses added up to $ 3.09 billion. This pulled down to an 11 per cent operation margin and operating income of $336 million.

The United States, which is its major market generated $591 million of revenue. This is an increase of 17 per cent from the previous year.

Further, this year’s goals are to increase its workforce up to 20 per cent or more in engineering, product design and research. Among other investments, Twitter foresees a new data centre this year.


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