Connect with us

Hot News

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces plans to invest $50 million in African startups

He made the announcement while speaking at a virtual event on Oct. 7.

Published

on

Google CEO Sunday Pichai.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced the company’s plans to invest up to $50 million in high-growth African startups through its Africa Investment Fund.

The CEO made this known while speaking at a virtual event yesterday, Oct. 7, Techcrunch reported. He stated that the newly announced $50-million Africa Investment Fund will enable the company to take equity in high-growth African startups in exchange for various check sizes.

In his statement, Pichai added that the $50-million investment in African startups will be made under its African Investment fund, a $1-billion commitment to support digital transformation and the growth of businesses on the continent over the next five years.

The initiative was set up to provide support ranging from improved connectivity via Google’s subsea cable Equiano to investments in small businesses and startups in Africa.

Startups and venture capital activities in Africa are dominated by Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt. Pichai explained that the investment will be open to other African countries, as applications from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe will not be overlooked.

In addition, the company said it has partnered Kiva, the San-Francisco-based nonprofit lending organization, to disburse $10 million in low-interest loans to small businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa to alleviate hardships occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Google Managing Director of Sub-Saharan Africa Nitin Gajria said the innovative African tech startup scene is inspiring. The continent recently witnessed more investment rounds into tech startups than ever before. 

“I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and startup founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs,” Gajria said.

Google’s previous commitments in Africa 

In previous years, Google has met its commitments by supporting startups in Africa through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa Program and the newly created Black Founders Fund. 

The tech giant noted that more than 80 startups, including Twiga, Paystack and Piggyvest, have benefited from the accelerator program’s equity-free mentorship and resources over the last three years, with more than $100 million generated in venture financing.

Under the behemoth’s Black Founders Fund, a non-dilutive financial award to Black-led companies in three regions, 50 startups have been chosen to participate in the program pegged to commence on Oct. 13.

The startups will receive up to $100,000 each in equity-free funding, as well as Google Cloud credits, Google.org ad grants, and other resources.

The Black Founders Fund manages a $5-million fund in the United States, a $3-million fund in Africa and a $2-million fund in Europe.

Hot News

Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

Published

on

Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

Continue Reading

East Africa

Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

Published

on

Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

Continue Reading

Hot News

Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista to acquire Avalara business software for $8.4 billion

Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy.

Published

on

Robert Smith.

Avalara Inc., a leading tax compliance automation provider for businesses, has agreed to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 billion.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by America’s richest Black person, Robert Smith.

The transaction received unanimous approval from the Avalara board of directors and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions such as shareholder and regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, including Avalara’s net debt.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Vista has secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from private lenders as part of the move to bring in institutional investors as co-investors.

The purchase price represents a 27-percent premium over the company’s closing share price on July 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the deal.

“For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision of automating global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world,” Avalara Co-Founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said.

“As a category leader, we believe that continuing to invest in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees,” he said. “We are excited to work with Vista and will benefit from their enterprise software expertise as we build and improve our cloud compliance platform.”

After the conclusion of the deal, Avalara shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Avalara will become a private company managed by Vista.

Smith has an $8-billion stake in Vista and directs its investment strategy.

He also serves on its executive committee, the company’s governing and decision-making body for all matters affecting overall management and strategic direction. He has supervised more than 570 completed transactions, with a total transaction value of more than $265 billion.

Continue Reading

Trending