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Meet two Tunisian entrepreneurs set to make millions in $390-million AI-firm sale

They will also be eligible for performance-based future milestones.

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Karim Beguir.

Karim Beguir and Zohra Slim, two Tunisian entrepreneurs who have made a significant impact in the technology industry with the success of their AI and machine learning (ML) company, InstaDeep, are set to pocket millions of dollars in a $390-million deal with German biotechnology company BioNTech.

Beguir, the CEO and co-founder of InstaDeep, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role with a background in applied mathematics from France’s prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and experience as a Program Fellow at NYU’s Courant Institute. His mission to make AI accessible to a wide audience has been a driving force behind the success of InstaDeep.

Similarly, Slim, the self-taught software and system integration expert and co-founder of InstaDeep, has made a significant impact in the AI industry. She has led the company to become a leader in the field of artificial intelligence by leveraging her in-depth knowledge, unique drive, and unparalleled people management skills.

These skills have been instrumental in the company’s success and have helped her to build a thriving tech company with her unique combination of skills.

Since the two Tunisian entrepreneurs founded InstaDeep in 2014, the company, which specializes in decision-making enterprise AI products, has quickly grown to become an EMEA leader in AI and ML, with headquarters in London and offices in several other EMEA cities.

The success of InstaDeep caught the attention of BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, which recently agreed to acquire the InstaDeep for a total upfront consideration of £362 million ($390 million) in cash and BioNTech shares. 

The fact that Beguir and Slim will be making millions of dollars from their investments and work in the company thanks to this acquisition not only proves their financial success, but it also speaks highly of their talent and commitment.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, follows BioNTech’s initial equity investment in January 2022 as part of InstaDeep’s Series-B financing round.

But the sale of InstaDeep is more than just a financial win for Beguir and Slim; it also highlights the growing impact and influence of African entrepreneurs in the global technology industry, as the two entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the democratization of AI, making it accessible to a wider audience and improving the efficiency and ROI of businesses worldwide.

Through their success with InstaDeep, they have demonstrated that with the right combination of skills and dedication, African entrepreneurs can thrive in the competitive tech industry.

As they embark on a new chapter with BioNTech, Beguir, and Slim, leave behind a legacy of innovation and a commitment to making AI accessible to all. Despite the sale of their company, they will continue to play leadership roles in driving the integration of InstaDeep into BioNTech.

Their unique combination of skills and expertise has proven that anything is possible with hard work and determination, and with the inclusion of other investors in InstaDeep, the two entrepreneurs will also be eligible for additional performance-based future milestone payments of up to £200 million ($215 million).

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Kanye West faces new hurdle in business and personal life as Australian visa denial looms

The potential denial of a visa may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Kanye West.

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Ye
Kanye West, now formerly known as Ye.

African-American multi-industry creative, Kanye West, who is now formerly known as Ye, may face a new hurdle in his business and personal life as he may be denied entry into Australia.

The African-American rapper-turned-mogul had reportedly planned to meet the family of his new partner, Melbourne native Bianca Censori, but his anti-Semitic comments in October may prevent him from entering the country.

The news of a potential ban was confirmed by Australian Minister for Education Jason Clare, who stated that individuals who have made similar comments have been denied visas in the past and that Ye will have to go through the same process and answer the same questions.

“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected,” Clare said. “I expect that if he does apply, he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions that they did.” 

Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovich and opposition leader Peter Dutton have joined in calling for Kanye West to be banned from entering Australia due to his “appalling” comments.

The backlash from Ye’s anti-Semitic remarks (Kanye West) has already had a significant impact on his business ventures and wealth. In October, he lost all of his partnerships through his brand Yeezy with companies such as Adidas and Balenciaga.

The termination of the Adidas partnership, which began in 2013, had a substantial impact on Ye’s net worth. Forbes reported that the termination of the deal led to a decline of more than $1.6 billion, taking Ye’s net worth from $2 billion to $400 million.

The cancellation of the partnership that grew the Yeezy line into a brand that accounted for up to €1.5 billion ($1.47 billion) of Adidas’ total sales over the last decade is expected to cost the German behemoth up to €250 million ($247 million) in earnings.

The aftermath of Ye’s anti-Semitic comments has been negative for his wealth and ranking as one of the richest Black individuals in the US and one of the richest businessmen globally.

The potential denial of a visa to enter Australia may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Ye because of his anti-Semitic comments. 

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James Mwangi’s Equity Group to receive $4.1 million for acquisition of Spire Bank

Equity Group is the largest financial services conglomerate in East Africa.

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James Mwangi.

Equity Group Holdings, the Kenyan financial services giant led by James Mwangi, is set to receive millions of dollars from Mwalimu Sacco’s acquisition of financially distressed Spire Bank, as the teachers-backed lender agreed to pay Equity Group Ksh510 million ($4.1 million).

The deal is structured as an asset purchase transaction, backed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), and will see Equity Group assume control over the assets and liabilities of the troubled bank.

The $4.1-million payment by Mwalimu Sacco to Equity represents the difference between the assets and liabilities of Spire Bank, implying that the bank holds zero value and the teachers have lost millions of dollars after purchasing a majority stake in 2014.

Mwalimu Sacco CEO Kenneth Odhiambo said the key consideration was to stop the bleeding and preserve Sacco’s bottomline for its members.

Equity Group will settle all redundancy costs for the more than 100 employees who will lose their jobs following the deal. The bank’s non-performing loans stand at Ksh2.63 billion ($21.1 million), and Equity’s immediate task will be to step up collections and recoveries.

The process of exiting Spire Bank was not as seamless as the initial acquisition, with Mwalimu Sacco citing the bank’s decline as beginning after the withdrawal of Naushad Merali’s deposits worth Ksh1.7 billion ($13.7 million), which represented one-fifth of the bank’s total deposits. 

The takeover of the troubled Spire Bank may present additional challenges and opportunities for Equity Group, which under the leadership of Kenyan businessman, Mwangi reported profits in excess of $280 million in the first nine months of 2022.

As of today, Equity Group shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange are trading at Ksh44.95 ($0.361) per share, a 0.99 percent decrease from their closing price on Fri., Jan. 27.

This values the company at Ksh170 billion ($1.36 billion) and Mwangi’s 3.38-percent stake at Ksh5.74 billion ($46.1 million).

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Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu’s food conglomerate achieves milestone with $195-million profit

Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, own 99.8 percent of BUA Foods.

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Abdul Samad Rabiu
Abdul Samad Rabiu. ©Billionaires.Africa

BUA Foods Plc, a leading food conglomerate majority owned by Africa’s fourth-richest man Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu, has achieved a milestone in its financial performance as it reported record-high earnings at the end of its 2022 fiscal year.

With a profit surge surpassing N90 billion ($195 million), the company’s latest earnings report highlights its impressive growth and financial strength. The Abdul Samad Rabiu-led food conglomerate has reported a record high in its financial performance, with its profit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2022, surging by a staggering 30 percent.

The unaudited financial statements reveal that the group’s earnings rose from N69.77 billion ($151.5 million) in 2021 to N90.4 billion ($196.3 million) at the end of 2022, driven by an increase in revenue from its diverse product portfolio of sugar, pasta, bakery flour, and wheat bran.

The remarkable growth reflects the company’s ability to continuously expand its offerings and maximize profitability in a competitive market.

BUA Foods’ revenue surged from N333.37 billion ($723.8 million) to N417.82 billion ($907.1 million) due to increased sales of non-fortified sugar N79.15 billion ($171.8 million) to N144.29 billion ($313.2 million) and other food items such as sugar molasses, bakery flour, pasta, and wheat bran.

The increase in consumer demand for food items, including stockpiling, resulted in higher prices and a corresponding boost in revenue for the group.

The robust performance led to an increase in retained earnings and shareholder equity from N192.66 billion ($418.26 million) and N200.7 billion ($435.7 million) in 2021 to N237.15 billion ($514.86 million) and N245.21 billion ($532.35 million) in 2022.

The outstanding financial performance is expected to result in a substantial increase in dividend earnings for Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, with their 99.8-percent ownership in the consolidated food conglomerate.

This will be a marked improvement from the N62.9 billion ($151.6 million) that they received in dividends last year.

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