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Olumide Soyombo Launches Pan-African VC Firm, Voltron Capital

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Olumide Soyombo, one of Africa’s most prolific and active early-stage investors in tech startups, has today announced the launch of Voltron Capital – a Pan-African pre-seed & seed firm for elite tech founders tackling critical problems in the continent’s largest markets.

Co-founded alongside Abe Choi, CEO of Simple Dealer, the new firm will deploy capital in up to 30 startups across a range of sectors and marks a major bid to address the severe lack of access to early-stage funding for African tech companies. 

With a ticket size of $20,000 – $100,000 per company, Voltron Capital’s portfolio will primarily focus on startups in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Northern Africa, and is headed by a founding team with a robust investment track record.

In Soyombo, who is also the Co-Founder of LeadPath Nigeria and Bluechip Technologies, the team has over 10 years of experience of early stage investing, with a portfolio of 33 African tech startups including Mono, PiggyVest, Spleet, Migo, TeamApt and Paystack.

During his time as an investor, Soyombo’s portfolio has raised over $70m, ranging from pre-seed to Series A, and he has also overseen two secondary and one primary exits.

Voltron Capital’s Co-Founder, Abe Choi, has also invested in 15 tech startups – two of which have been exited and collectively, the founders’ existing portfolio spreads across a vast range of sectors including finance, energy, logistics, retail and education. 

Speaking on the launch of his new firm, Olumide Soyombo, Co-founder at Voltron Capital, says “Voltron Capital is the beginning of another incredibly exciting journey for Abe and I, but it is also a celebration of the road Africa’s entire tech space has travelled to-date.” 

Soyombo was an early investor in Paystack, the fintech company that exited to Stripe in October 2020. The exit and subsequent liquidity event revealed a maturing in the African tech market, validating early investment decisions. His work in corporate Nigeria has also allowed him to access non-traditional capital for the tech VC ecosystem. 

Soyombo continues, “We hold a track record of identifying and supporting some of Africa’s most high-growth startups to-date with capital at pre-seed stage and also hold long-established relationships with corporates and regulators, which can make what can often be a difficult path for African startups much smoother.

We want the next wave of African tech success stories to not only make an impact on the continent, but to be truly global; through Abe’s strategic connections to the USA, we’re confident we can provide our portfolio with the best possible opportunities to achieve this through our US and global network. ”

Despite total funding for African tech startups passing the $1bn mark last year, according to Briter Bridges, more than half of these deals were attracted by a select group of late-stage startups, leaving numerous early-stage tech firms competing for a limited share of funds.

According to the IFC, 82% of African tech startups face major problems in accessing capital with insufficient seed funding and a lack of angel investors, some of the most prominent issues mentioned. 

With Africa’s internet economy projected to contribute over $180bn by 2025, emerging tech companies are set to play a crucial role in unlocking this value across the continent’s key verticals.

However, without early-stage funding, many of the startups primed to drive this growth are missing out on vital capital to support their early operations and generate revenue, which is a key requirement for securing later rounds of funding and larger scale.

The end result of this could not only impact the immediate lifespans of these businesses, but also result in a major loss in value for Africa’s consumers, wider tech ecosystem and ultimately, its economy. 

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VAT: Lagos, Rivers Can’t Survive Without Population – Governor Masari

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Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari has spoken against the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by states, saying the North contributes to the economic development of Lagos and Rivers.

Speaking exclusively with Daily Trust, Mr Masari described the agitation over tax collection as a joke.

“What is Lagos without the rest of Nigeria? The market Lagos is boasting of is dependent on the larger part of the country. Benin Republic has a port, Togo has a port; do they have the population to back up the ports? Without us providing the demand part, what will be Lagos?” Mr Masari said.

Mr Masari told the media outlet that both Rivers and Lagos were reliant on population from other parts of the country to sustain their economy, adding that states benefited from each other in the revenue equation.

“VAT serves them and us. We provide the bulk of the market because without the rest of the states what is Lagos or Port Harcourt?” Mr Masari said.

According to him, “Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking. We provide the demand that makes Lagos what it is.”

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Beer Sectoral Group announces appointment of Baker Magunda as Chairman 

By Sandra Ani

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Baker Magunda

The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG), a section of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has announced the appointment of Baker Magunda as Chairman of the Group with effect from 1st August 2021.

Baker Magunda replaces former BSG Chairman, Jordi Borrut Bel who has moved on from his position as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Breweries Plc, to take up new responsibilities within the Heineken Group.

The BSG is a trade association comprising beer manufacturers in Nigeria who are members of the Manufactures Association of Nigeria.

Its membership includes Nigerian Breweries Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc and International Breweries PLC.

Baker Magunda is the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria Plc.

Prior to joining the Guinness Nigeria team, Baker was Managing Director of Diageo Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean Markets.

He gained his first degree in Economics at Makerere University in Uganda and Makerere University Business School.

He also attended IESE and Strathmore Business Schools for postgraduate studies in Business and Leadership.

Baker Magunda started his career in Sales and Marketing at Coca-Cola Sabco in 1991. He was made Head of Sales in 1996 before joining Diageo in 1999.

At Diageo, he served in several marketing roles before becoming Managing Director for Diageo’s businesses in Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon.

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Lagos Government Denies Moves To Take Over Lekki Concession Company

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The Lagos State Government has debunked the report that the state House of Assembly has granted it the go-ahead to take over the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said in a statement that the government did not make such a request.

Its request was to convert the African Development Bank loan from a private sector (commercial) loan to a sovereign (public sector) loan, which attracts a lower interest rate. This will enable the company to make some savings, Omotosho said.

“The government, in fact, acquired the full shares/equity of the former owners of the company in 2014. There was no need to take such a request to the House.

“Following the Lagos State Government’s full ownership of LCC in December 2014, the loan became eligible for conversion to a sovereign facility with an attendant significant lower interest rate of LIBOR plus 80 basis points and extended tenor.

“In the recent past, there have been discussions amongst LCC/LASG, AfDB and the relevant Federal Government Ministries and Agencies concerning conversion of the loan to a Sovereign facility. Upon the completion of the conversion, there will be a significant reduction of applicable interest rate and extended tenor,” he added.

According to him, the sovereign loan conversion will also lead to a crash of the applicable interest rate on the facility to circa 1.8%pa compared to the current interest rate of circa 4.12% p.a. Besides, the conversion will increase the tenor of the facility from the current five years to 15 years.

This has the impact of spreading the cash flow impact by an additional 10 years.

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