Issue #59: Kazyon Raises $165M from DPI-led Consortium, While Smile Identity Acquires Appruve

Last week was a busy one in the African startup ecosystem, with seven funding deals recorded. Capria Ventures also announced the first close of its new $100 million fund. 

Let’s dive straight into the details.


Mecho Autotech Inc, a Nigeria-based automotive aftersales platform, has received an undisclosed amount of investment from Global Brain, a Japanese venture capital firm.

Founded in 2021 by Olusegun Owoade and Ayoola Akinkunmi, Mecho Autotech has built a network of vetted in-house and third-party mechanics with business and retail customers’ affordability in mind.

Global Brain will assist Mecho with part procurement from Asian suppliers as well as business development for the new services in order to penetrate Nigeria’s fragmented market.

Storspay, a Nigerian fintech startup, has raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding and has been accepted into the Techstars NYC accelerator program.

Founded in 2022 by Adebayo Alonge, Win Min Oo and Sabrina Zhou, Storspay has developed a decentralized retail lending infrastructure platform for the internet, connecting retail investors looking for alternative asset investment opportunities with small businesses all over the world that need more affordable capital to grow.

The funding will assist the startup in scaling its platform., a Tunisian e-commerce platform, has received $336,000 (TND1.2 million) in seed funding from 216 Capital Ventures.

Founded in 2020 by Omrane and Malek Mzabi, Drest is an e-commerce platform that sells everything from ready-to-wear to beauty, as well as accessories and fashion items. intends to use the proceeds from this round of funding to improve its supply chain and reduce costs and delivery times. The startup also intends to continue its international expansion, with the opening of its first store in Algeria. 

Maholla, a South African consumer rewards startup, has raised $1.5 million (R27 million) in seed funding from Buffet Investments, Castleton Capital, Praesidium Capital Management, and GalloProvincialis.

Founded in 2021 by Adam Reilly and Jed da Silva, Maholla users are rewarded for scanning receipts from any store, whether it is a formal retailer, restaurant, wholesaler, or informal trader. Users can earn instant airtime, 1Vouchers, and in-app games as rewards. The company then collaborates with consumer packaged goods companies, restaurants, and consumer research firms to provide real-time insights into consumer purchasing behavior.

The funding will be used by the startup to expand its rewards platform to millions of users and to strengthen its technical moat.

d.light, a Mauritius-based energy solution provider, has received $1.9 million in additional funding from Swedfund, the Swedish development finance agency. 

Founded in 2007 by Ned Tozun and Sam Goldman, d.light specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of solar lighting and power products in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

This additional investment follows Swedfund’s initial investment in d.light five years ago, demonstrating the company’s continued success in the energy market.

42Markets Group, a South African fintech incubator and investment group for financial and capital markets, has raised $10 million in growth funding from Convergence Partners, a private equity investor focused on technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Founded in 2008, 42Markets Group is focused on the digital transformation and improved efficiency of African capital markets, with its portfolio including Mesh, a trading platform, Andile, a financial and capital markets advisory platform, and South African-based FXFlow, a foreign currency risk management system that provides a real-time view of your foreign currency exposure and hedges.

The investment will support 42Markets’ portfolio companies, with the majority of the funds going to Mesh. The addition of Convergence Partners as new investors will also allow 42Markets Group to accelerate growth through product and geographic expansion.

Kazyon, an Egyptian retail chain, has received a $165 million equity investment from Development Partners International (DPI), with participation from British International Investment (BII) and South Suez Capital, among others.

Founded in 2014 and considered one of Egypt’s largest discount supermarket chains, the company’s competitive prices and proximity to customers in most Egyptian governorates and neighborhoods have allowed it to quickly establish a strong market presence. Kazyon currently operates over 600 stores in 18 governorates throughout Egypt.

Kazyon will benefit from DPI’s expertise in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and impact, to help accelerate its expansion strategy. Kazyon will also implement new ESG action plans in order to become more sustainable and institutionalized for future growth.


Smile Identity, an ID verification and KYC compliance startup, has acquired Inclusive Innovations, the parent company of Appruve, a Ghana-based developer of identity verification software.

This strategic acquisition will broaden Smile Identity’s footprint across Africa and cement its position as the continent’s leading identity verification and digital KYC provider. It will also result in an expanded suite of APIs, including mobile money, data, and anti-fraud checks, providing customers with a more comprehensive digital identity verification solution.


GreenHouse Capital and EMURGO Africa have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of a fintech and cryptocurrency investment and advisory platform in the Middle East and Africa.

GreenHouse Capital is a leading African fintech investment fund, while EMURGO Africa is a subsidiary of Cardano’s founding organization, EMURGO. The partnership intends to co-invest in blockchain, Web3, and fintech startups while also providing advisory services to ensure that selected projects grow in global markets.

Bitget, a Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange, has partnered with Core DAO, an organization dedicated to the development of the Satoshi Plus ecosystem.

A $200 million ecosystem fund will be established to support decentralized applications (DApps) built on the Core Network Layer-1 blockchain as part of this collaboration. The Ecosystem Fund, which is supported by strategic partners such as Bitget and MEXC, will provide funding to early-stage projects for R&D, recruiting, marketing, community-building programs, and other priority growth initiatives.

Venture Funds

Capria Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm, has announced the first close of its Global South Fund II, which is expected to raise $100 million. Gates Ventures, Crystal Springs Foundation, OIP Investment Trust, Sall Family Foundation, Brakeman Family Trust, and two Pioneer Square Labs founders are among the fund’s investors.

The new fund will invest in 20 to 25 early-stage startups, with a particular focus on businesses in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. The VC firm seeks founders and firms that leverage generative AI across sectors such as agritech, fintech, edtech, healthtech, HR tech, logistics, and climate tech.

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