The Brief: Nigerian Startup, LifeBank Raises Seed Round, Africa’s Agri-tech Ecosystem Grows by 110%

In this week's roundup, blood bank, Lifebank, raises seed fund to extend its services to other supplies, the agri-tech ecosystem within Africa experiences 110% increase in growth since 2016, and OyaPay leverages Bluetooth Low Energy to process online payments


Nigerian StartUp LifeBank Raises Fund with Support of EchoVC

Based in Nigeria, LifeBank has raised an unrevealed seed round. EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, CcHub Growth Capital, and a healthcare angel investor were amongst the investors.

The fund has important implications for LifeBank.

Since its inception in 2016, LifeBank has concentrated on optimising its blood supplies. However, the company aims to use the fund to extend its services. Other health supply areas such as oxygen, vaccines, blood components and rare drugs would be included in its product list. Furthermore, this fund will enable LifeBank to cover different parts of Nigeria, especially the Northern area.

The startup has other transformative plans for the future. Lifebank plans on using supply chain-focused strategies. The company will employ AI techniques for predicting blood needs at the hospital level. Furthermore, LifeBank will utilise blockchain technology to keep authenticated non-alterable product information and drones to reach clinics in isolated and rural areas.

LifeBank is a medical supply chain company which locates, organises and delivers important medical products such as blood supplies to hospitals. The company’s online platform has 41 authenticated blood banks, which have in turn delivered supplies to around 170 hospitals, saving 1,000 lives.

EchoVC Partners is a seed, early stage, and growth technology business capital fund which focuses on financing teams and business models in sub-Saharan Africa and North America.

nHub Nigeria Launches Service to Help Untrained Young People Find Work Placements

nHub’s outsourcing service helps inexperienced young people secure placements with remote companies and organisations.

The Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daser David, made a comment about the company’s service. “Our best bet is to offer them on remote placements, knowing that we would still have them to inspire the next cohorts. So we took this option. This year alone we have received calls on a daily basis for their services.”

nHub’s outsourcing programme is a sustainable strategy. Thirty-two remote developers work for companies inside and outside of Nigeria.

Startupbootcamp Africa Partners with the Google Cloud Startup Programme.

Startupcamp Africa signed a partnership agreement with the Google Cloud Programme. This partnership offers selected startups more than $20,000 worth of technology support.

According to Naama Yanko ( the main Google Cloud contact for the Startupbootcamp Africa finalists), “The Google Cloud Startup Programme is designed to help startups build and scale using the Google Cloud Platform. We are a small team with startups in our DNA”.

Successful startups from the camp will become members of Google’s programme.

Nigeria’s OyaPay Leverages Bluetooth Low Energy to Process Online Payments

Based in Nigeria and founded in 2017, Oyapay is a fintech startup that is now utilising Bluetooth Low Energy to make offline payments available to its customers.

The payment method is called Bluepay, and it uses a wireless personal location network technology which operates on a minimal number of bytes. With this service, in-store merchants can accept multiple contactless payments from different people, which alleviates lengthy queuing.

Abdulhamid Hassan provided information about the company’s mission to Disrupt Africa saying “Our mission as a company is to make smartphone payments as ubiquitous as cash in Africa.”

Africa’s Agri-tech Ecosystem Grew by 110% Over the Last Two Years.

The Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 revealed that Africa’s agri-tech ecosystem has increased by 110% during the last two years.

Spanning across two years, Africa has gained 43 ventures in the agri-tech sector. According to the report, West Africa is the leading player in the market. Kenya and Nigeria have the strongest agri-tech markets within Africa, while Ghana comes in at third place. Combined together, these three countries account for more than 60 per cent of agri-tech startups in the continent.

Senegalese Initiative, Women In Africa, Supports Businesswomen

West Africa has established initiatives such as SheTrades, which helps women in the entrepreneurial scene. These initiatives provide businesswomen with support, learning and networking opportunities, and workshops. However, any type of fundamental change requires time and effort.

West Africa continues to seek strategies which tackle economic and social issues experienced by businesswomen in the region. Women In Africa (WIA) is an organisation that helps and funds businesses by African women.

Aude De Thui founded this initiative, which recently held its first regional Summit in Dakar. Over 180 women from 15 countries attended the event.