African startups Yellow Card, Remedial Health, Julaya, Exits.me get VC funding
Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange Yellow Card, which raised $15 million in Series A funding a year ago, has now bagged $40 million in its Series B funding round led by Polychain Capital.
Others who took part in the new round were Valar Ventures, Third Prime Ventures, Sozo Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Fabric Ventures, DG Daiwa Ventures, The Raba Partnership, Jon Weiner, Alex Wilson, and Pat Duffy.
Since launching in Nigeria in 2018, the US- and Africa-based Yellow Card team has sought to make Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stablecoins, and other cryptocurrencies accessible to anyone in Africa.
The company, led by CEO and co-founder Chris Maurice, has expanded its footprint to 16 countries over the last one year with the addition of Gabon, Senegal, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Nigerian health-tech startup Remedial Health, which raised $1 million in a pre-seed funding earlier this year to roll out its digital procurement and PMR (patient medication records) platforms, has now raised $4.4 million in seed funding.
The fresh capital will help it accelerate its expansion across the home market and provide access to credit for inventory purchases for neighbourhood pharmacies, Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and hospitals in the country.
The seed funding round was led by Global Ventures, a Middle East and Africa venture capital firm, which re-invested after participating in the previous round.
Tencent, Y Combinator, Cathexis Ventures, LightSpeed Venture Partners Scout Fund, Ventures Platform, Alumni Ventures and True Capital Management also participated in the round. Prominent angel investors such as Guillaume Luccisano and Christopher Golda pitched in, too.
The startup seeks to make it easier for neighbourhood pharmacies and PPMVs to access medicines. It is part of the Winter 2022 cohort of Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator accelerator. It was founded by Samuel Okwuada, a pharmacist and software engineer, and Victor Benjamin, a pharmaceutical field sales agent.
PPMVs are businesses without a trained pharmacist that sell pharmaceutical products on a retail basis for profit. They provide the main source of medicines for many common illnesses and account for more than 80% of all the drugs sold in Africa’s $45 billion pharmaceutical industry.
Since January 2022, Remedial Health has seen a seven-fold percent increase in sales volumes and the company now covers 16 of Nigeria’s 36 states compared to six states at the beginning of the year. This new funding will support the roll out of its services across the rest of Nigeria, and also lay the groundwork for expansion across Africa in 2023.
Julaya, an Abidjan-based fintech startup facilitating B2B payments in Francophone Africa, has extended its pre-Series A round by $5 million. It had raised $2 million in a pre-Series A funding round last July.
The extension round was led by European VC fund Speedinvest with participation from EQ2 Ventures, Kibo Ventures, angel syndicates Unpopular Ventures and Jedar Capital, existing investors Orange Ventures, Saviu, 50 Partners besides angel investors including professional football player Édouard Mendy.
This comes two months after The Capital Quest first reported that the startup was topping up its last round.
The startup is currently present in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. It is now looking to enter two other countries in West Africa by next year.
Julaya was founded four years ago by French fintech firm LemonWay’s former executives Mathias Léopoldie and Charles Talbot. It seeks to digitize financial transactions for small merchants as well as small and medium enterprises.
The startup allows companies to digitize payments to workers and suppliers rather than dealing with cash with disbursements tied to mobile money and mobile banking wallets.
Julaya had previously raised around $800,000 across a pre-seed and seed investment round from angel investors in 2018-19.
The firm had claimed last year it processes over $1.5 million transactions monthly for around 50 customers. Its client base is believed to have grown 5x since then.
Julaya had ended 2021 with customer deposits of around $18 million and revenues just shy of $200,000 and is expecting a four-fold growth in both metrics in the current year. It has over 50 people in its team.
Egypt-based investment marketplace Exits.me has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round from a group of investors including Baseeta Investments Holding and Mawelni Holding for Financial Investments.
Founded earlier this year by Mohamed Aboulnaga, Ahella El Saban and Ayman El Tanbouly, Exits.me automates merger and acquisitions transactions and investment deals for startups and SMEs through its marketplace.
The company was earlier acquired by PiE, an M&A consultancy firm founded recently by Aboulnaga.
The platform is also looking to procure a crowdfunding license from the Financial Regulatory Authority to manage and arrange crowdfunding campaigns.
De Novo Dairy
Moroccan VC firm UM6P Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount in South African firm De Novo Dairy, a company that produces animal-free dairy products.
Led by Jean Louwrens, De Novo Dairy seeks to cost-effectively produce premium proteins that are animal-free, sustainable, and nature identical. It specializes in the production of milk proteins using precision fermentation of yeast strains.
“Dairy alternatives have gained global traction over the last few years due to the health-related and environmental benefits they present,” said Ikram Labtaini, Scientific Development and Operations Lead, UM6P Ventures.