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South Africa’s gaming platform, Carry1st, raises $27 million in seed funding

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South African gaming platform, Carry1st, a publisher of social games and interactive content across Africa, has announced raising $27 million in pre-Series B funding round which will be “used to expand content offering, build its product, engineering, and growth teams, and recruit tens of millions of new users”, according to its, CEO Cordel Robbin-Coker.

Carry1st which was first launched in 2018, has also attracted funding from Google via its Africa Investment Fund and Avenir Growth Capital, with the company raising $20 million last year in a Series A funding.

The new round of funding, according to the CEO, was led by Bitkraft Ventures with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, TTV Capital, Alumni Ventures, Lateral Capital, Kepple Ventures and Konvoy.

“We now have, in our minds, the three best funds that focus on gaming and web3. And so it just adds even more resources, perspective and assistance to help us achieve our goal,” Robbin-Coker said while making the announcement.

Carry1st is one the most viable gaming platforms in South Africa with revenue tripping over the years since coming on board.

Other areas where the gaming startup has also experienced growth include Carry1st Shop, its online marketplace for virtual goods, which, according to the company, allows customers across Africa to pay for content and 100+ products across 120 different payment methods, including bank transfers, crypto and mobile money, a report by a research group in 2022 said of the platform.

In the report, it was inferred that South Africa led the continent in the population that plays games at 40%, leading Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia in that order.

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South African commerce startup, Clickatell, launches platform for WhatsApp mobile payments

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Foremost South African commerce and mobile messaging startup, Clickatell, has launched a Whatsapp Chat 2 Pay feature in conjunction with South Africa’s first low-cost airline, FlySafair.

During the launch of the platform on Saturday, Clickatell’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, Jeppe Dorff, said the feature will make FlySafair the first airline in the world to deploy Chat 2 Pay with a pay-by-link capability that allows its customers the convenience of effortless mobile payments via FlySafair’s WhatsApp channel.

“No one has time to stand in queues anymore, and almost every adult on the planet has a mobile phone,” Dorff said.

“There is a major opportunity for airlines across the globe to enhance their customers’ travel experience by making it possible to browse, book and pay for, as well as manage their travel bookings on their mobile phones.

“We are thrilled to work with FlySafair to transform its customers’ experience by making it possible to make payments using their mobile phones,” he added.

Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair, said the airline is delighted to have pioneered with Clickatell for the first of its kind innovation.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience and are therefore very excited that our customers can now pay for their luggage with a payment link shared to their mobile phones via WhatsApp.

“There is no need any more for our customers to go stand in a queue at the airport to pay for luggage.

“By adding Chat 2 Pay, FlySafair helps its customers to save time and safely make payments further by clicking on the Chat 2 Pay link delivered in a message in WhatsApp without requiring them to expose their personal payment information,” she explained.

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, launches platform to help small scale farmers access to credit

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, has successfully launched a new platform that will help small scale farmers access to loans, according to founder and CEO, Moustapha Seck.

Founded in January, 2020, to give fillip to local farmers who had no access to loan and credit facilities, Seck said the company has already signed a 12-month contract with a local bank to provide financing to 25,000 farmers in Northern Ghana.

“We penetrated the Ghanaian financial industry through research first. In October 2020, we partnered with 29 financial institutions to study the challenges in the rural banking space,” Seck said while announcing the launch of the platform.

“Through this engagement, we developed FLUID SafeSusu, a mobile application to create bank accounts and track savings deposits in rural areas without connectivity,” Seck, who left his job at the Canadian investment fund, Clearco, to pursue his goal of helping the poorest Africans access financial services, said.

He added that the FLUID SafeSusu platform has piloted with four banks and connected 26,000 bank accounts to its platform, with an investment fund base of $200,000 in savings deposits.

“Our research led us to discover that half of Ghanaians work in agriculture, but only 4.6 per cent of loans go to farming. This disparity leaves close to 12.5 million smallholders farmers in Ghana financially excluded.”

“While banks use many different technology providers to be closer to the field, only FLUID and AgroCenta, to our knowledge, focus on the huge market of smallholder financing. FLUID stands alone in its focus on mitigating risks for the bank and the farmer,” he added.

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