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Jordan Crook

African tech leaders Fope Adelowo, Ken Njoroge, Tayo Oviosu to speak at Disrupt SF
African tech leaders Fope Adelowo, Ken Njoroge, Tayo Oviosu to speak at Disrupt SF 150 150 Jordan Crook

Africa’s startup scene is growing by leaps and bounds, and three tech leaders are set to share insights on this vibrant space at Disrupt San Francisco.   

Paga CEO Tayo Oviosu, Helios Investment Partners Vice President Fope Adelowo and Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge will take the stage September 7 to discuss topics such as fintech, Africa’s founder experience, data privacy, VC investment and the continent’s future unicorn and IPO prospects.

Nearly two decades of improved stability, economic growth and reform have created some bright spots on the continent, rapid modernization and a growing technology scene among them.

Africa minted its first unicorn — e-commerce venture Jumia— in 2016, and over the last five years, just about every big-name U.S. tech company, including Facebook, Google and Netflix, has expanded there.

The continent now has 442 active tech hubs, accelerators and innovation spaces across IT hotspots in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda. Thousands of African startups are moving into every imaginable sector: from blockchain, logistics and education to healthcare and agriculture.

And hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital is flowing to these startups, with the expectation that some of their solutions for Africa’s 1.2 billion people will produce significant ROI.

Two of those ventures are Oviosu’s Paga and Njoroge’s Cellulant. Paga has become one of Nigeria’s leading digital payments providers in a market where many people are just signing on to financial services. Since 2012 the company has processed 57 million transactions worth $3.6 billion, reached 9 million users and achieved profitability, according to Oviosu.

Cellulant — a Nairobi-headquartered pan-African payment startup — has also posted some impressive fintech stats. The company offers B2B and P2B services to clients that include some of the continent’s largest banks. In 2017 Cellulant’s payment platforms processed $2.7 billion across 33 countries, according to Njoroge. And in 2018 Cellulant raised one of the continent’s largest VC rounds — $47.5 million — led by TPG Growth’s Rise Fund.  

Paga and Cellulant have the potential to become early public African tech companies, and both Oviosu and Njoroge mentor younger startups as angel investors in their respective markets.

On IPO prospects, Helios Investment Partners’ Fope Adelowo has been on the forefront of VC into Africa’s breakout startups. She serves as board observer to two of the firm’s high-profile Africa investments, e-commerce site MallforAfrica and payments company Interswitch. MallforAfrica recently launched a global e-commerce site with DHL, and Interswitch said it plans to become one of the continent’s first tech IPOs on a major exchange by 2019.

Google isn’t sure how to spell ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’
Google isn’t sure how to spell ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ 150 150 Jordan Crook

The launch of Fortnite Battle Royale has left Google in a slight predicament. While Google is in no way hard up for cash, Fortnite Battle Royale for Android certainly represented the potential for a relatively big revenue stream for an app. That is, until Epic Games decided it would launch Fortnite for Android from its own website, circumventing the Play Store.

But revenue aside, there’s also the matter of Google probably not liking the idea of huge titles circumventing the Play Store as a precedent. Plus, the lack of Fortnite Battle Royale within the Play Store poses a slight security risk to users, as there are quite a few V-bucks scams and malicious clones looking to capitalize on the popularity of Fortnite.

That’s why the Google Play store now displays a message to users in response to searches for “Fortnite,” “Fortnite Battle Royale” and other similar search queries.

“Fortnite Battle Royal by Epic Games, Inc is not available on Google Play,” reads the message.

That’s right. Google misspelled the “Royale” in Battle Royale. It was likely an honest mistake, but given the fact that Epic Games is making upwards of $300 million in revenue a month, which Google is not getting a cut of, it makes for some fun back-and-forth for us spectators.

Google lists PUBG Mobile, Fortnite’s biggest competitor, at the top of all Fortnite Battle Royale queries, but doesn’t include anything in its message around how to actually find the real Fortnite Battle Royale for Android .

While Google Play’s app review process should catch the vast majority of malicious clones, the message is at least moderately helpful for folks hearing about the Android version of Battle Royale without knowing the details around Epic’s launcher.

For what it’s worth, Fortnite for Android isn’t yet available to everyone. The game launched yesterday as a Samsung exclusive for folks with a Galaxy S 7 or higher, and will become available to all Android phone owners on August 12.

[via 9to5Google]