TechCabal Day by day – The search for customized chips

14 JANUARY, 2022


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MTN has launched 5G companies in Zambia. 

In partnership with Huawei, the telecoms firm joins South Africa as one of many solely international locations within the area to have the community. 

Whereas there are about 18 international locations—together with Nigeria and Kenya—throughout Africa testing or trialling 5G community, adoption charges are nonetheless low because of the price of improvement and rules. 

At the very least we’ve moved away from conspiracy theories on how 5G is the reason for Covid.

In as we speak’s version

  • Occasion: Constructing From Floor Up
  • Powering blockchain apps for Africans
  • Uganda’s plan to spice up e-transactions
  • Microsoft’s quest for customized chips
  • TC Insights: Funding Tracker



Whereas curiosity and use in blockchain has grown considerably in different areas of the world, in Africa, using this rising expertise remains to be fairly restricted. 

One cause, after all, is schooling on what blockchain is all about and the way helpful it’s. One other is the expense—in money and time—required to combine blockchain into enterprise processes. For instance, constructing crypto funds programs for retail platforms can take 5 months, and price $3,000 monthly to finish and keep.

A Bitr energy

The excellent news is that there are startups rushing up this course of

One is BitPowr, a Nigerian startup that gives African organisations with instruments to simply construct and combine blockchain purposes. 

Basically, BitPowr is the go-to platform for any firm seeking to create and combine blockchain purposes—from fintech startups that want crypto wallets for exchanges, to e-commerce platforms that wish to incorporate crypto funds.

BitPowr additionally cuts down bills by 96%, providing a $100 base charge for companies who wish to entry its infrastructure that helps at the least 10 blockchain nodes. 


East Africa is by far the biggest area when it comes to cell cash. In Uganda, the business is price $46 billion with over 26 million energetic cell cash wallets in circulation, and it’s nonetheless rising.

Present projections estimate that the business will develop by 26.6% by 2026 (strive saying that six instances in a row).

To assist this progress alongside, the Ugandan authorities has lowered limits on cheque funds from Ush 20 million ($5,645) to Ush 10 million ($2,822). This won’t apply to transactions made throughout the similar financial institution or over-the-counter cheque withdrawals.

Whereas the announcement was made in December final yr, it can take impact from January 15. By doing this, the federal government hopes to push the general public in the direction of utilizing “various digital cost choices, such because the real-time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), Digital Funds Switch (EFT) and cell cash amongst others”.

Despite the fact that cell cash and digital transactions proceed to develop in Uganda, cheques are nonetheless fashionable with the Financial institution of Uganda reporting that cheque funds grew by 5.17% in 2019. Equally, in Kenya, cheque funds additionally grew by 8.2% in 2021, amid the lockdown. 

For some cause—fairly presumably under-education on e-transactions—individuals nonetheless desire bodily funds and international locations aren’t standing for it. With its newest motion, Uganda joins South Africa and Lesotho—each of which have taken motion by discontinuing cheques in 2020 and 2021 respectively.


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It’s poaching season—the determined time of yr when corporations battle over worker retainment to plan for his or her end-of-year objectives. 

This yr, Microsoft is kicking it off with a brand new rent, high-profile ex-Apple engineer Mike Fillippo who will assist Microsoft obtain one among its urgent objectives—creating its personal customized chips. 

What sort of chips?

Sadly, not the digestible sorts. 😔

They’re pc chips for Microsoft servers that assist energy its cloud companies, and presumably its units. At the moment, Microsoft has a long-standing partnership with Intel and Superior Micro Units Inc. (AMD) to make use of their chips for its units.

Nonetheless, extra just lately, Microsoft has been seeking to make its personal homegrown chips. And it’s not the one one. Apple introduced its customized M1 chip in 2020, and each Alphabet Inc. (aka Google) and Amazon are additionally engaged on their very own chips.

What’s unsuitable with the stale outdated chips?

To place it in Amazon Internet Companies VP Nafea Bshara’s phrases, “Once we enhance the {hardware}, the whole lot that runs on it improves.”

Tech corporations wish to make chips which can be optimised for the companies and units they’ve, they’re not simply seeking to purchase mass-produced chips that may match any units or servers. 

There’s additionally the next demand for energy-efficient chips which eat low energy. Apple’s M1 chips, for instance, has not solely elevated the general efficiency of MacBooks, it’s additionally diminished warmth era and elevated battery life. 

Huge image: The drive for customized chips may be as a result of scarcity of chips producers have been experiencing. What this implies for everybody is that we will count on quicker units from Microsoft and Google quickly. It additionally signifies that corporations like Nvidia and Intel will seemingly expertise a drop in inventory costs.



Quidax is an African-founded cryptocurrency trade that makes it simple so that you can entry Bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies. In addition they make it attainable for Fintech corporations to supply cryptocurrency companies to their clients. 

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This week, Kenyan buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) startup Lipa Later secured $12 million from Cauris Finance, Lateral Frontiers VC, GreenHouse Capital, SOSV, Sayani Investments, and Axian Monetary Companies. The spherical was a mixture of debt and fairness.

Listed below are the opposite offers for the week:

  • SeamlessHR, an HR-tech startup primarily based in Nigeria closed a $10 million Collection A spherical led by TLcom Capital. Capria Ventures in addition to present buyers similar to Lateral Frontier Ventures, Enza Capital, and Ingressive Capital, and a number of other strategic personal buyers additionally participated within the spherical. 
  • Ivory Coast-based e-commerce startup Afrikrea, raised a $6.2 million pre-Collection A spherical and rebranded as “ANKA”. The spherical was led by Investisseurs & Partenaires, with participation from Alibaba’s govt Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, Bestseller Basis, VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay, and Rising Tide Africa.
  • Nigerian multi-merchant rewards platform ThankUCash raised $5.3 million in seed funding. This was co-led by 500 World and Unicorn Progress Capital, with participation from Professional Dojo, Predictive VC, SaaS Progress Ventures, Betatron, Accelerex Holding, former HSBC CEO Andrew Dell, Google Director of Technique and Operations Craig Fenton, and others.
  • BFREE, a Nigerian fintech, secured $1.7 million in pre-Collection A spherical from 4Di Capital, Octerra Capital, VestedWorld, Voltron Capital, Logos Ventures, and a number of other unnamed enterprise angels. 

That’s all we’ve acquired this week.

Observe us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for extra updates on funding offers.


Each week, we share job alternatives within the African ecosystem

There are extra alternatives right here. In case you’d prefer to share a job opening or a chance, please fill this manner.



Fincra is a cost infrastructure that gives fintechs, on-line platforms and international companies with dependable cost options for fast collections and payouts in numerous currencies. You may acquire entry to Fincra’s funds platform or combine their APIs for seamless funds processing. 

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What else we’re studying

  • Everybody needs to do it, you possibly can too. Right here’s how one can get a job in tech


Written by – Timi Odueso & Mobolaji Adebayo

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku


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