The Daily Brief: Elkrem raises $75K, Jack Ma's early retirement, & more

It is a new week, and a lot of activity has happened across the continent. This includes Elkrem raising $75K, Jack Ma's retirement letter, and Careem entering Sudan. Here are the top 10 stories of the day.

1. Egypt blockchain startup Elkrem closes $75k from ConsenSys Ventures

Elkrem, a Cairo-based blockchain startup has closed a $75,000 round. The investment came from Tachyon, an accelerator by ConsenSys Ventures.

The investment follows Elkrem being admitted into Tachyon accelerator program, together with 16 other companies, which kicked off on September 07, 2018 in San Francisco. Full story on Digest Africa.

2. Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency OneGram to Launch in South Africa

Gold-backed cryptocurrencyOneGram has entered the South African market to offer investors the possibility to invest in tokenized gold and to diversify away from more volatile cryptographic assets. OneGram was co-founded by Ibrahim Mohammed to become the first digital coin backed by gold reserves as well as provide full compliance with Shari’ah law. Full story on Bitcoin Africa.

3. SA startup PropertyFox acquires local platform Steeple for an undisclosed amount

Online estate agency PropertyFox has acquired fellow Cape Town-based property platform Steeple. PropertyFox did not disclose the amount it had bought the company for. PropertyFox revealed in a press release today that in terms of the deal, the two agencies will effectively be consolidated, with PropertyFox taking on all Steeple’s clients. Full story on Ventureburn.

4. Two African Fintech startups selected for 2018 FinTech Hive

The financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, FinTech Hive has announced the commencement of its 2018 accelerator programme in partnership with Accenture. Amplified Payment System Ltd (Nigeria) and PaySky (Egypt) were selected. Full story on Tech Gist Africa.

5. Ghanaian, Nigerian startups selected for Google fintech programme

Ten startups have been chosen for Google's finance-focused Launchpad Studio, with Ghanaian identity verification startup Inclusive part of the cohort. The Germany-based Frontier Car Group, which is an investor in Nigerian used car marketplace Cars45, also makes the cut. Full story on Disrupt Africa.

6. Safaricom’s Masoko venturing into delivery of fruits and vegetables

Masoko, Safaricom’s e-commerce portal, is set to venture into the whole food business with Masoko Fresh. The company has been offering electronics, beauty products, food and drinks among others. Full story on Digest Africa.

7. UC Davis awarded $1.7 Million grant from USAID

USAID is partnering with the University of California, Davis to take on this challenge by establishing the world’s first agricultural index insurance quality certification in Kenya.

The $1.7 million initiative, “Innovations to Improve the Quality and Uptake of Agricultural Index Insurance in East Africa,” will help ensure that products for small-scale farmers across East Africa truly can promote long-term resilience. Full story on enStartup.

8. Uber’s middle East fierce rival, Careem, has entered Sudan

Careem, Uber’s fierce rival in the Middle East, has entered the Sudanese according to Reuters. The company has so far hired 10 employees and already signed up ‘thousands’ of drivers to launch operations.

It is also looking to grow its number of employees in the country to at least 30 as well as expand to at least one other city in the northeast African country by the end of the year. Full story on Digest Africa.

9. Taxido is the latest to join Africa’s ride-hailing space

Taxido is the latest ride-hailing startup to join the African market. That is according to the conversation I have heard with the team. The startup kick-started operations on September 1, 2018, in three markets at ago; Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Though Taxido hasn’t yet made a formal announcement of its entry into the markets, they are already hiring drivers. Full story on Digest Africa.

10. Blockbank, a blockchain bank, purchases stake in Kenya’s Spire bank

Blockbank, a blockchain bank, has today announced that it bought a stake in Kenya’s Spire bank. After the purchase, both will go ahead to partner on several services. “Blockbank purchase[s] stake in Spire bank & declare strategic FinTech partnership,” read the press release. Full story on Digest Africa.

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get The Daily Brief in your inbox.

Bonus: The letter Jack Ma has written to Alibaba staff about his retirement

Towards the end of last week, Alibaba founder – Jack Ma – told the New York Times that he was stepping down from the company that he founded 19 years ago. However, Ma will remain on the board of the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant until Alibaba’s shareholder meeting in 2020 according to Bloomberg. Full story on Digest Africa.

– Douglas

Digest Africa


Digest Africa Technologies Ltd
Ntinda Complex,
Block B, Level 3 Ntinda,
Kampala, Uganda

© Digest Africa Technologies Ltd 2023.
All Rights Reserved.