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South Africa’s leading digital bank, TymeBank, has successfully raised $77.8 million in a pre-Series C funding round. The round was co-led by African growth-stage investor Norrsken22 and global impact investment firm Blue Earth Capital.  This increase of capital brings TymeBank’s total raised funds to over $260 million, marking a milestone in the bank’s growth and expansion plans. Existing investor Tencent, which spearheaded TymeBank’s $180 million Series B round in December 2021, also participated in this round, further increasing its stake to become the third-largest shareholder.  Strategic Investments and Growth Launched

On July 6, 2024, Serena Williams discussed her journey in founding WYN Beauty at the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, presented by Coca-Cola.  Participating in Beautycon’s “Passion to Profit” panel series, Williams discussed her journey with the vegan makeup brand she launched this year.  A Journey Rooted in Passion Williams shared that her interest in beauty began during her childhood in Compton, California. Inspired by her mother’s minimal yet impeccable approach to beauty, Williams developed a fascination with makeup.  “You kind of had to be fabulous growing up in Compton,”

Innovate Africa Fund has launched with an initial $2.5 million to support up to 20 early-stage startups over the next year, addressing challenges such as insecurity, unemployment, and poverty. Supporting Early-Stage African Startups Since 2019, the funding landscape in Africa has shown promising growth, with disclosed exits surpassing $2.3 billion.  However, despite raising $17.2 billion overall, early-stage founders often need help to secure the funding necessary to transition from ideation to market fit.  Innovate Africa Fund aims to bridge this gap by providing insight-driven capital to help founders accelerate their

Earlybird AI, a B2B startup that assists job seekers using innovative multilingual, voice-first AI technology, has raised £625,000 ($800,000) in pre-seed funding.  The investment comes from diverse backers, including Google, Resolution Ventures, and Ada Ventures.  Tackling Unemployment With AI Earlybird AI addresses a pressing issue: nearly 11 million people in the UK are unemployed, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4% between February and April 2024. Founded by Claudine Adeyemi-Adams and Boris Bambo, the platform improves employment support by directly engaging participants through simulated voice-powered connections. Adeyemi-Adams, who experienced homelessness

Seae Ventures has announced the acquisition of Unseen Capital following the death of Unseen Capital’s founder, Kayode Owens, in 2021.  The acquisition will use the strengths and missions of both funds to further serve underrepresented entrepreneurs and marginalized communities. Continuing Kayode Owens’ Legacy Owens, an esteemed investor and entrepreneur, founded Unseen Capital in 2020 to support early-stage healthcare companies led by underrepresented founders.  Despite successfully raising $30 million, Owens’ death from cancer in August 2021 left a void in the firm’s leadership.  Recognizing the importance of Owens’ mission, Eli Lilly,

Girls in Tech Inc., a global nonprofit focused on advancing women in technology, has closed due to insufficient funding.  Founded in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne, the organization aimed to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry, providing resources and opportunities for women and allies worldwide.  Despite its significant presence, with 130,000 members in 50 cities and 38 countries, the organization has struggled financially over the past few years. Relocation and Financial Struggles In 2022, Girls in Tech moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Nashville, a strategic shift intended

Driving Forces, a deep tech and fintech venture capital fund, is closing down despite its healthy performance. Solo general partner Sidney Scott explained the decision on LinkedIn, citing increasing competition in a crowded investment space as contributing factors. The Rise and Shift in Deep Tech Investment Scott launched Driving Forces five years ago, using his experience at Amazon with robotic fulfillment systems and optimization technologies.  His $5 million fund, driven by an interest in hard tech and a commitment to innovation, saw success in the company. The portfolio included investments

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards recently unveiled a plan to establish a new diversity tech and innovation center in Long Island City, slated to open in early 2025.  Empowering Minority-Owned Startups Partnering with Pursuit, a Queens-based non-profit, the Queens Diversity Tech Hub will occupy a 7,000-square-foot space in the Pursuit building at 47-10 Austell Place.  This state-of-the-art facility will serve as a launchpad for up to 50 emerging startups, targeting minority-owned businesses seeking seed and Series A funding.  The initiative is set to address the funding challenges faced by startups

Avenue Capital Group, managed by Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, is raising $1.5 billion for their sports investment fund with support from star athletes. Launched in October 2023, this fund aims to finance sports leagues and teams across North America and Europe and eventually extend to Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia.  With support from high-profile athletes such as Michael Strahan, Candace Parker, and Stephen Curry, the fund has already garnered significant attention and initial investment. Star Athletes Bolster Avenue Capital’s Ambitious Fundraising Curry, Lauren Holiday, Harry Kane, Parker, Strahan,

SOJO, a Deliveroo-style clothing repair and alterations collection and delivery app, has announced a new partnership with a major UK retailer The Black woman-owned platform will power Marks and Spencer’s (M&S) new clothing repairs and alterations service. Making clothing repairs mainstream Founder Josephine Philips was driven by a belief in a slower and more considered approach to society’s relationship with fashion, leading her to start SOJO in 2021. The collaboration with M&S aims to make clothing repairs more accessible and mainstream, aligning with both companies’ commitments to sustainability.  The partnership

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