African startups Chari, JaSure ink M&As; DXwand, VantagePay get funding

 African startups Chari, JaSure ink M&As; DXwand, VantagePay get funding

Chari is a B2B e-commerce and fintech platform in Francophone Africa. Photo credit: Chari/Facebook

Moroccan B2B e-commerce platform Chari, which recently secured bridge funding to get a $100-million tag, has struck its second acquisition this year.

Chari said that it has taken over Diago, an Ivorian app that connects neighbourhood shops to FMCG producers and importers, largely via an all-stock transaction.

The Diago app was started in 2021 by Amidou Diarra and Ali Ouattara, two former managers at Glovo and PepsiCo. It operates exclusively in Abidjan. The founder duo will remain at the helm of affairs and will oversee local business growth before expanding footprint to other sub-Saharan countries.

“The secret of a successful expansion is to build a local team that masters local market dynamics. We continue to surround ourselves with young and ambitious entrepreneurs from Francophone Africa to build together a pan-African giant of FMCG and financial services distribution,” said Ismael Belkhayat, co-founder and CEO of Chari.

The deal was handled by AF Legal and RBB International firms, representing Chari, and Houda Law firm, representing the Ivorian startup.

Earlier this year, Chari had inked a deal to acquire Axa Credit, the credit line of Axa Assurance in Morocco, for $22 million. This followed after Chari bought bookkeeping venture Karny.ma last October.

Founded in January 2020, Chari is an FMCG and financial services digital distributor targeting small retailers in Francophone Africa. Chari launched its operations in Morocco before expanding to Tunisia in early 2022.

JaSure

South African short-term insurer Santam has acquired the remaining 49% stake it didn’t already own in local insurtech startup JaSure. It had bought a 51% stake in JaSure two years ago.

“We believe we can open up the potential for increased value-add to our clients and the Santam Group through a 100% ownership,” said Edward Gibbens, Santam’s executive head of the C&P insurance business.

“We aim to leverage the existing and powerful client experience and younger market reach of JaSure, while maximising the Santam efficiencies and wider distribution capability, including the Sanlam Group.”

DXwand

Egyptian AI startup DXwand, which automates text and voice conversations between customers and businesses, has closed a pre-Series A investment round worth $1 million.

Huashan Capital led the round. Existing seed-stage backer SOSV and angel investors pitched in, too.

DXwand was founded four years ago by Ahmed Mahmoud. It said it will use the new investment to accelerate its growth across the region, expand its market share and accelerate its AI research to further differentiate its solutions in the market.

VantagePay

Mauritius-based payments technology startup VantagePay has raised an undisclosed amount from African fintech group Crossfin Holdings.

VantagePay was created four years ago and was previously known as V2. It brought a related firm engaged in white-label QR payment solutions, ZappGroup Africa, under its fold last December.

The company is headquartered in Mauritius, and has offices in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and London. It provides payments solutions to Ghanaian banks, telcos and fintech companies, and plans to expand into several African countries in the coming years.

Barry Lobel, VantagePay’s CEO and co-founder, said: “VantagePay has developed a leading cloud-based payments platform to address the massive latent demand for access to trusted financial services in Africa. The modular architecture of our platform enables a great deal of synergy and complimentary offerings between VantagePay and Crossfin’s portfolio companies.”

Vivek Sinha

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