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Africa-focused digital identity platform Smile Identity this week announced the launch of its service in South Africa.
This, while businessman and former Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba has hit out at the SA government’s ban on e-commerce (which excludes essential services), as well as tobacco and alcohol, as out of step with the rest of the world.
With the coronavirus (Covid-19) headlining news all over the world, Ventureburn has launched a regular daily roundup on the virus and how it is affecting Africa’s tech startup sector.
Africa-focused digital identity platform Smile Identity has launched its services in South Africa.
Those with any news releases relating to Covid-19 and Africa’s tech startup sector can send these to email@example.com.
Here then is the latest on the coronavirus and African tech startups:
Africa-focused startup launches in SA: Africa-focused digital identity platform Smile Identity this week announced the launch of its services in South Africa. The Oakland, California headquartered startup was founded in 2016 by Americans Mark Straub (pictured above) and William Bares and claims it is getting close to “hitting 1 million ID validations soon”. Straub said the platform is being used by the Nigerian government, among others, to identity beneficiaries for social welfare payments. The startup has also offered its services for free to all healthcare organisations who want to do ID validation prior to offering a telemedicine consultation. “There are several telemedicine companies piloting this service,” he added. The startup has raised $4.5-million so far, from a number of investors, including the Savannah Fund, though Straub confirmed that he had also put in “a significant chunk”. Straub said about 25% of the company’s ownership is African and 11 of the 16 staff are African (located in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda — the remainder are in the US and India).
Support for health professionals: SA healthtech EMGuidance is partnering with Business for South Africa (B4SA), the SA Society of Psychiatrists and other organisations to offer key information to health-care professionals on Covid-19, through its app and web platform. It is also providing health-care workers with support and access to mental health professionals and guidance. Furthermore, it is providing business resources, including advice on taxation, accounting and labour relations, to those running medical practices. This, while a chatbot on the platform is helping to provides information based on the Department of Health’s guidelines and local care co-ordination information. The Cape Town based startup was founded in 2016 by Yaseen Khan and Mohammed Dalwai.
‘At the mercy of their personal hobby horses’: Businessman and former Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba has hit out at the SA government’s ban on e-commerce (other than essential services), as well as tobacco and alcohol as being out of step with the rest of the world. “The arbitrary nature of these bans, and the desperate need for government funding and protecting jobs, point to just how South Africa’s economy is at the mercy of the personal hobby horses of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Bheki Cele,” he said, arguing in an opinion piece in Fin24 today.
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [07/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [06/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [05/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [04/04/2020]
Featured image: Smile ID co-founder Mark Straub (Supplied)