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Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [19/05/2020]
At least 75% of small businesses in South Africa will close down if the lockdown runs past 30 June, according to a new survey.
This, as a UK man stuck in Benin because of the Covid-19 pandemic, has teamed up with local health professionals, entrepreneurs and tech talent to create an online Covid-19 kit app which helps to share information on the disease.
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.
At least 75% of small businesses in SA will close down if the lockdown runs past 30 June, a new survey has found
Those with any news releases relating to Covid-19 and Africa’s tech startup sector can send these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here then is the latest on the coronavirus and African tech startups:
Running out of runway: At least 75% of small businesses in South Africa will close down if the lockdown runs past 30 June, according to a survey (opens as a PDF) of 2280 business owners by entrepreneur organisation HeavyChef. The survey, which sampled a range of fintech customers, is mostly reflective of very small or micro enterprises — mostly services and retail firms — run by mostly white business owners. Just a third of those sampled were black business owners, while almost 90% had an annual turnover of less than R6-million. Sadly, the grim picture the results paint may therefore be even worse than this survey makes it out to be.
Word on VC: SA venture capitalist and 4Di Capital general partner Justin Stanford says startups that get investment right now shouldn’t be concerned about trying to get the perfect terms and conditions. “If you can raise cash now, you’re very lucky. Don’t sweat the valuation and terms right now. Rather, get funded, then go and press your advantage. At a time like this, if you can raise money, that will be an advantage,” he said during a webinar last week run by Flourish Ventures. Meanwhile, 4Di Capital revealed yesterday that it had taken part in an investment round in August last year, in SA insurtech CompariSure (see this story).
Boom in online life insurance: The Covid-19 pandemic is driving demand for online life assurance and related products. Cape Town-based insurtech Simply Financial Services, which sells products underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer Limited, says it’s seen a more than 40% month-on-month growth in its retail life, disability and funeral cover sales since February. Simply CEO and co-founder Anthony Miller says people are getting used to the digital economy where things are done remotely. Commented Miller: “It’s a no-touch approach that suits the current environment”.
Stranded Brit gets stuck in: A UK man stuck in Benin because of the Covid-19 pandemic, has teamed up with local health professionals, entrepreneurs and tech talent to create an online Covid-19 kit app which helps to share information on the disease. The app, which Adam Bradford (pictured above, second from left with colleagues) launched last week, will be shared throughout African countries, beginning in Benin and Nigeria. Bradford’s organisation AdamStart has also partnered with Teens World Empowerment, a Nigerian youth organisation, to host training courses for youth in the areas of web design, graphic design, 3D printing and entrepreneurship. Said Bradford: “Rather than wallowing in the fact that I am stuck abroad, I am mobilising a global movement out of Africa which will come up with solutions that can impact the world”.
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [18/04/2020]
Featured image: Adam Bradford, founder of AdamStart, with colleagues (Supplied)