Complete Farmer secures $10.4 million, MultiChoice's stock tumbles by 49% and Zimbabwe approves Starlink.

Complete Farmer secures $10.4 million, MultiChoice's stock tumbles by 49% and Zimbabwe approves Starlink.
Photo by SpaceX / Unsplash

Here are the noteworthy developments of tech around Africa for the week:

  • Complete Farmer secures $10.4 million
  • MultiChoice's stock tumbles by 49%
  • Zimbabwe approves Starlink

Complete Farmer secures  $10.4 million

Ghanaian agritech startup, Complete Farmer, has just secured $10.4 million in a pre-Series A funding round, consisting of $7 million in equity and $3.4 million in debt. The funding's main goal is to make its operations as efficient as possible.

The equity component of this funding round was jointly led by the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) and Alitheia Capital, collaborating with Goodwell Investments through its uMunthu II Fund. Additionally, Proparco, Newton Partners, and VestedWorld Rising Star Fund also participated. In addition, VestedWorld Rising Star Fund, Newton Partners, and Proparco took involved.

The business used to function as a contractor, focusing in agricultural cultivation for customers, before the COVID-19 epidemic. Later on, though, it changed to an aggregator and marketplace model. This strategy change was made in 2021, and it had an immediate positive impact on the company's growth, user base, and revenue.

Complete Farmer has significantly increased its reach since the 2021 pivot. They were successful in bringing together more than 12,000 farmers from Ghana's five main regions. Additionally, the business successfully reduced post-harvest losses by managing the cultivation of more than 30,000 acres of land and efficiently supplying commodities to markets in Asia, Europe, and other international areas. By the end of 2022, their yearly income had increased from $2.8 million to $5.3 million.

Multichoice stock tumbles by 49%

MultiChoice's stock has tumbled by 49% in the preceding half-year, erasing approximately (~$23 million) in shareholder worth. This decrease is encapsulated as follows:

- On March 6, 2023, MultiChoice's equity was appraised at R147, but come September 21, it had plummeted by 49% to R74.

- This decline can be ascribed to an array of occurrences:

- In March, MultiChoice unveiled a collaboration with NBCUniversal and Sky to introduce "ShowMax 2.0," initially giving a boost to its stock price. Nevertheless, on March 14, the company reported diminished activity in its South African operations due to power shortages and a fragile economy, resulting in a 14% dip in stock value.

- In April, MultiChoice established a technology division, resulting in a 10% reduction in its stock price.

- Between April and May, the stock price descended by 17%. In May, the corporation disclosed intentions to enter the payments sector with a novel integrated payments platform termed "Moment," developed in conjunction with Rapyd and General Catalyst. However, this endeavor failed to elevate the stock price.

- In June, MultiChoice cited foreign exchange losses and declared its decision to forgo dividends for FY23. Shareholders responded unfavorably, inducing a 3% slump in the stock price.

- In July, JP Morgan Chase & Co. downgraded MultiChoice's stock rating, forecasting heightened expenditures on Showmax, resulting in a 12% drop in stock price.

- Throughout August, the stock price experienced an additional 12% decline, partially attributed to the withdrawal of DStv from the Malawi market due to regulatory pressures.

- In September, despite alterations in leadership and a dispute with SABC regarding licensing rights, MultiChoice's stock price continued its descent.

The Zimbabwean government, after initially warning against Starlink's unlicensed usage, has officially disclosed its ongoing evaluation of the satellite internet provider's licensing application. The Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services in Zimbabwe, has affirmed the receipt of Starlink's operational license application by the country's communication regulatory authority.

The Mininster underscored that this application is currently under review by the Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ). It's noteworthy that just a few weeks ago, POTRAZ had issued a cautionary notice regarding the unauthorized utilization of Starlink, citing the widespread reselling of the service within the nation.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Muswere recalled, "To the best of my knowledge, they submitted their licensing application, and POTRAZ is currently in the process of assessing it. We naturally anticipate its approval."

Additionally, Muswere stressed that Zimbabwe's inclination to sanction Starlink stems from the challenges associated with implementing fiber-optic connections throughout the entire country. As per Starlink's official website, they have plans to introduce their services in Zimbabwe in the final quarter of 2023.

"The deployment of fiber-optic cables across the entire nation is logistically unfeasible. The reality is that satellite technology is indispensable for effective communication. The government's vision is to ensure universal connectivity, extending access from Binga to Chiredzi," elaborated Muswere.

In January 2023, Dark Fibre Africa, a subsidiary of Vodacom, divulged its intentions to leverage Zimbabwe's primary rail network to deploy 2,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure across the nation. Thus far, the initiative has successfully laid down 1,180 kilometers of fiber, spanning from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls during its initial phase. This development has spurred Zimbabwe to explore alternative avenues for internet connectivity.

Data from DataReportal reveals that Zimbabwe boasted approximately 5.74 million internet users as of January 2023, translating to an internet penetration rate of 35%. The nation's overarching objective is to surpass a 75% internet penetration rate by the year 2025.