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VentureBuilder to finance off-grid solar startups in Africa

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VentureBuilder, which is focused on scaling African-owned and managed off-grid solar enterprises, launched today to expand energy access to underserved populations in Africa.

VentureBuilder’s launch will enable it to pioneer a new investment model that provides ‘patient’ early-stage capital to its local partners across Africa, combined with a specialized suite of technical expertise that will accelerate each partner’s path to scale. 

The initiative is backed by the DOEN Foundation, Facebook, Shell Foundation, and USAID and will partner with existing local African distribution enterprises that cater to rural underserved communities, provide ‘patient’ capital to enable entrepreneurs to scale their business and help in rigorous tracking of key metrics associated with business performance and social impact.

“As Africa’s off-grid solar revolution has evolved, many industry insiders have recognized the need to empower a new generation of local enterprises,” said Dan Murphy, Managing Director of VentureBuilder. “We’re excited to partner with these local businesses and provide them with the human and financial resources they need to sustainably and profitably scale their impact”.

VentureBuilder has been co-developed by Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors and Open Capital Advisors since 2017, leveraging both companies’ decades of experience in building, advising, and financing off-grid solar companies. The development phase was made possible with support from Facebook, who also committed additional financing alongside the DOEN Foundation, Shell Foundation, and USAID for the implementation phase. 

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“The DOEN Foundation has supported dozens of energy access initiatives over the years. We believe VentureBuilder can be a gamechanger in supporting and scaling indigenous enterprises across Africa, in areas most in need,” according to Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation.

Sam Parker, the Director of the Shell Foundation added, “Research shows that achieving SDG7 requires an additional 300+ companies to deliver energy services to millions of consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. Supporting local entrepreneurs with established distribution networks to expand into household solar energy services represents a vital delivery mechanism and we are excited to support VentureBuilder to demonstrate this in practice.”

Over 100 million African households lack access to modern electricity services, typically spending considerable sums on stopgap lighting via kerosene, candles, and dry-cell batteries, and relying on costly and inconvenient charging services to power mobile phones. VentureBuilder will tackle this challenge, helping indigenous distributors grow into high-impact solar companies that deliver modern, affordable, and reliable electricity.


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Catch Taxi Kenya, with Ethiopian roots, wants to be East Africa’s super app

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Catch Taxi Kenya is a new entrant into the African ride-hailing industry that prioritizes safety, comfort, and efficiency.

Catch Taxi Kenya, launching to take on Uber, Bolt, MaraMoja Transport, Safeways, Cabby, Ride, Jayride among others, is operated and owned by Africans for Africans and brings local creativity and insights to get improving the experience of riders and drivers.

Founded by Nafie Omar, Catch Taxi’s vision is to make an app that captures all local African needs into one super App from ride-hailing to complete ecosystem services.

“Nairobi is Africa’s technological hub. In terms of ride-hailing, Nairobi is a more mature market compared to most cities in Africa. Our goal at Catch Taxi is to be able to create a footing in all African markets-both young and mature markets,” said Omar. “We will also be expanding into Sudan next year and West Africa and other Southern African countries later.”

Catch Taxi knows there are several other platforms in the market but says its disruptive entry to market ensures strong earnings for its driver partners. It’s also introducing an affiliate programme to allow third party drivers, influencers and ordinary individuals to make passive income.

Its business model is simple. Catch Taxi will get you where you want to go at the best prices, safely and comfortably. It charges its drivers a 15% commission from every trip. The firm has raised an undisclosed amount of seed capital and is not afraid to take on giant Uber and Bolt which just raised €100m from London-based Naya Capital Management.

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However, the ongoing pandemic has been a huge blow to how Catch Taxi would have wanted to grow. COVID-19 slowed down its efforts both in Addis Ababa this April and Nairobi. Just 2 weeks after its launch in Addis Ababa, it had to redirect its efforts to compensating its drivers by giving them incentives.

Benard Gavana, Catch’s VP Growth and Expansion told TechMoran.com that the Kenyan startup decided to start operations from Ethiopia because of its huge population and attractive market but its whole executive team is Kenyan and is based at its HQ in Nairobi, Kenya.

The firm said it also provided free trips to essential workers and gave huge discounts to its riders. As the economies open up, Catch Taxi is focused on growing its market share in Africa through local recruitments, marketing, and fine-tuning its product.

The 38 person-team spread across operations, developers, customer service, marketing, and data analysis aims to be an everyday app that incorporates all consumer needs from ride-hailing, E-commerce, financial services, travel, hotel booking to delivery services in Africa.

After its Ethiopia and Kenya launch, Catch is looking to expand across East Africa and then into entire Sub-Saharan Africa banking on neural networks and ML algorithms to understand user patterns and be able to target them appropriately.


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KCB temporarily closes Mvita Branch after staff tests positive for COVID-19

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KCB Bank Kenya has temporarily closed its Mvita branch after one of the staff tested positive for COVID-19. The affected staff who were working with him at the time of testing have been informed and are currently undergoing counselling and screening to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

The Branch has since been temporarily closed for three days with the approval of the Central Bank of Kenya to enable immediate cleaning and disinfection of the premises. Regulation by the Kenya Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007, mandates an employer to ensure that a workplace is healthy and safe for visitors, clients and employees at the workplace.

In the present circumstances, employers are encouraged to take reasonable measures at the workplace to protect employees from COVID-19 and ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“Our priority remains to safeguard the safety and well-being of all our staff, customers and other stakeholders during these difficult times,” said KCB Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director Joshua Oigara.

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“As the fight against this pandemic continues, we have taken several precautionary measures internally, in line with the guidelines issued by government agencies. We continue to provide support to staff and their families during this period of the pandemic” he added.

KCB Mvita branch customers who access the bank on regular basis have been encouraged to use the Banks digital channels including: Mobile banking, KCB-MPESA, Vooma and Internet Banking or other alternative banking touchpoints such as KCB Mtaani agents, Cash recyclers, ATMs, Cash Deposit Machines.

In addition, Mvita Branch customers can visit nearby branches and agents for assistance.

 


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Best Online Video Editors Without Watermarks

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These are the best online video editors without watermarks.

There’s nothing more frustrating than editing videos then seeing a huge watermark on your video. The watermarks make it look unprofessional and reduces the quality of your work. However, if you’re looking for other option we compiled a few for you that you can try. In this article, you will get to know the best online video editors without a watermark to create and edit videos that attract thousands of views.

1.WeVideo

It’s compatible with android and iOS mobiles, Chromebook, Mac and windows without downloading it. Upload any file format, edit and share it on social media and web while on the go. To save your storage space, it has a cloud-based storage system that offers unlimited media storage space.

2.Movie Maker Online

The greatest advantages of using Movie Maker Online are no registration requirements, free to use and edited videos have no watermarks and site labels. Imagine uploading all kinds of photos and images for free with only one click! And to make it the best, the number of royalty-free music videos can take you months to edit.

3.Clipchamp

This is no doubt the most used online video editor no watermark no download software due to its simplicity and above all, free. The Clipchamp library is overstocked with all genres of videos and music. Its best features include creating and editing original videos, collecting videos from websites, recording, compressing and converting videos. There is a video template for every kind of video you want to create.

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4.VSDC Free Video Editor

With VSCD Free Video Editor, there are no free trials, no ads and no watermarks. Just download this software and start editing your videos for free. It works exceptionally well with all types of audio, video and image formats. The video effects are superb. You can alter the shape and position of images in the video quite easily.

5.OpenShot

OpenShot is a free online video editor without watermark software that’s compatible with mac, windows, and Linux. There are over ten features to ensuring the edited videos meet the desired specifications. They include trim and slice, drop and drag, slow motion and time effects, and audio editors. There are over 400 video transitions and effects to make your videos as stunning as possible.

6.MiniTool Movie Maker

How about using a video editor online free with effects no watermark developed by Microsoft? Surely, this makes you feel more confident when editing videos. This Windows Essential Software Suite is designed purposely for Window users to create, edit and share videos. Other features include video trimming, video splitter, title, and caption templates. Add transitions and effects and animations to make videos more thrilling.


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