VC Trends Watch: April 17–21, 2023

Another Friday’s here! And the end of yet another month. Where’s 2023 flying to?

So, it’s no secret that African venture funding has slowed down considerably, given the numbers in Q1 2023. It’s almost like a VC winter.

Should we be worried or hopeful? They say the last thing a man should ever lose is hope. So, we’ll go with that inspiring emotion. Who knows what Q2 holds for the ecosystem?

While we watch, here’s what happened in the space between last week.

Jumia Appoints Charles Ballard as New Kenya CEO

Last week, Jumia announced Charles Ballard as the new CEO of Jumia Kenya, effective in March. Charles takes over from Juan Seco who left after eight years to join a pan-African player in the FinTech space.

This comes months after the E-commerce giant took major steps to climb out of a rut and put itself on track to deliver on long-coming plans of reducing losses and speeding up progress towards profitability. Jumia undertook significant headcount reductions in the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in over 900 position terminations.

The company also claimed to have significantly reduced its presence in Dubai where certain management functions were located, reducing headcount by over 60%.

Charles joined Jumia Kenya as Head of Performance and Planning before being appointed COO overseeing the expansion and deployment of Jumia activities in Kenya in 2021. He acted as the Senior Vice President of Commercials in 2022 before being appointed CEO. As part of his legacy, Charles is committed to driving the e-commerce narrative in rural Kenya, where over 70% of the population lives.

Nigeria’s Autochek Acquires Egypt’s Autotager

Autochek, the automotive technology company making car ownership more accessible and affordable across Africa, announced the acquisition of a majority stake in AutoTager, an Egyptian automotive technology company that makes it easier to find and buy cars.

The deal is part of Autochek’s move to deepen its presence in North Africa and support the company’s ongoing growth.

The acquisition is the third for Autochek in less than a year and the sixth in under two years. The automotive company acquired Cheki Kenya and Cheki Ghana in 2020, then Cheki Uganda in 2021. Autochek went ahead to acquire Moroccan company, KIFAL Auto, in a move to drive its expansion into North Africa, and subsequently CoinAfrique, a classified ads marketplace operating in French-speaking Africa, to accelerate the penetration of its services in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and other French-speaking African countries, early last year.

Founded in 2011, Autochek now has active operations in nine countries across East, West and North Africa, with a partner-led footprint of over 2,000 dealers and workshop locations. The startup has raked in more than $16M in funding with backing from top investors such as 4DX Ventures, TLcom Capital, and Mobility 54.

Senegalese Logistics Start-up, Chargel, Raises $2.5M Seed Funding

Chargel, a trucking platform, raised a $2.5M seed round led by Logos Ventures. The round included $500K debt and a $750K that the startup announced last year.

Launched in 2018, Chargel matches clients with the most suitable providers (truck and driver) from its network of transporters. Senders can track their goods while on the move and receive notifications once delivery is done. The platform also pools together independent transporters, giving them new earning opportunities.

Other investors in the round included Ventures Platform, Foundation Botnar, DFS Labs, and Seedstars.

Deal Street Roundup

  • CoaChess, a Tunisian startup founded in 2021, announced securing a pre-seed funding round worth 600k TND ($191K) from Omicrone.
  • Nigerian anti-counterfeiting startup Chekkit secured additional funding in a round led by Adaverse, to help it scale its blockchain-powered drug safety and tracking solution. The round also included RTA, HoaQ, Launch Africa Ventures, and Blockchain Founders Fund.

Until Friday next week. . . and next month!


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