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Did African startups raise $496M, $1B or $2B in 2019?

Five years ago, it was hard to come by any numbers for annual VC investment in Africa. These days the challenge is choosing which number to follow.

That’s the case for three venture funding studies for Africa that turned up varied results.

The numbers and variance

Investment stats released by media outlet Disrupt Africa, data-base WeeTracker and Africa focused fund Partech have left some people scratching their heads.

From high to low, Partech pegged total 2019 VC for African startups at $2 billion, compared to WeeTracker’s $1.3 billion estimate and Disrupt Africa’s $496 million.

That’s a fairly substantial spread of $1.5 billion between the assessments. The variance filtered down to country VC valuations, though it was a little less sharp.

Africa VC markets 2019Partech and WeeTracker shared the same top-three countries for 2019 VC investment in Africa — Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt — but with hundred-million dollar differences.

Disrupt Africa came up with a different lead market for startup investment on the continent — Kenya — though its $149 million estimate for the East African country was some $500 million lower than Partech and WeeTracker’s VC leader, Nigeria.

So what accounts for the big deviations? TechCrunch spoke to each organization (and reviewed the reports) and found the contrasting stats derive from different methodologies — namely defining what constitutes a startup and an African startup.

Partech’s larger overall VC valuation for the continent comes from broader parameters for companies and quantifying investment.

“We do not limit the definition of startups by age of the incorporation or size of funds raised,” Partech General Partner Tidjane Deme told TechCrunch.

This led the fund, for example, to include Visa’s $200 million investment in Nigerian financial-services company Interswitch . The corporate round was certainly tech-related, though few would classify Interswitch — which launched in 2002, acquires companies, and has a venture fund — as a startup.

Nigeria’s Interswitch confirms $1B valuation after Visa investment

Partech’s higher annual VC value for Africa’s startups could also connect to tallying confidential investment data.

“We…collect and analyze undisclosed deals, accessing more detailed information thanks to our relationships within the ecosystem,” the fund’s report disclosed.

WeeTracker’s methodology also included data on undisclosed startup investments and opened up the count to funding sources beyond VC.

“Debt/loans, grants/awards/prizes/non-equity assistance, crowdfunding, [and] ICOs are included,” WeeTracker clarified in a methodology note.

Disrupt Africa used a more conservative approach across companies and investment. “We are a bit more narrow on what we consider a startup to be,” the site’s co-founder Tom Jackson told TechCrunch.

“In the clearest scenario, an African startup would be headquartered in Africa, founded by an African, and have Africa as its primary market,” Disrupt Africa’s report stated  — though Jackson noted all these factors don’t always align.

“Disrupt Africa tackles this issue on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Partech was more liberal in its definition of an African startup, including investment for tech-companies that count Africa as their primary market, but not insisting they be incorporated or operate HQs on the continent.

Andela FoundersThat opened up inclusion of large 2019 rounds to Africa focused, New York headquartered tech-talent accelerator Andela and investment to Opera’s verticals, such as OPay in Nigeria.

In addition to following a more conservative definition of African startup, Disrupt Africa’s report was more particular to early-stage ventures. The site’s report primarily counted investment for companies founded within the last five year and excluded “spin-offs of corporates or any other large entity…that [has]…developed past the point of being a startup.”

Commonalities across reports

For all the differences on annual VC counts for Africa, there were some common threads across WeeTracker, Partech, and Disrupt Africa’s investment reports.

The first was the rise of Nigeria — which has Africa’s largest population and economy — as the top destination for startup VC investment on the continent.

The second was the prominence of fintech as the most funded startup sector across Africa, gaining 54% of all VC in Partech’s report and $678 million of the $1.3 billion to startups in WeeTracker’s study.

VC inequality

An unfortunate commonality in each report was the preponderance of startup investment going to English speaking Africa. No francophone country made it into the the top five in any of the three reports. Only Senegal registered on Partech’s country-list, with a small $16 million in VC in 2019.

The Dakar Angel Network launched last year to bridge the resource gap for startups in French-speaking African countries.

Final sum

There may not be a right or wrong stat for annual investment to African startups, just three reports with different methodologies that capture unique snapshots.

Partech and WeeTracker offer a broader view of multiple types of financial support going to tech companies operating in Africa. Disrupt Africa’s assessment is more specific to a standard definition of VC going to startups originating and operating in Africa.

Three reports with varying numbers on the continent’s startup investment is a definite upgrade to what was available not so long ago: little to no formal data on VC in Africa.

Dakar Network Angels begins startup investments in francophone Africa


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Developers take on COVID-19 with open-source projects, hackathons

In the past few weeks the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold in the United States, and the disease will continue to have a massive impact around the world for the foreseeable future. But even in the midst of panic and uncertainty, communities are coming together to do what they can. People are 3D printing face shields and sewing masks for healthcare workers, offering to buy groceries and household supplies for the elderly or immunocompromised, and even donating their computer’s GPU power to the cause. 

And developers aren’t absent from this list of people trying to do whatever they can to help. A quick glance into the trending section of GitHub shows that a good portion are COVID-19-related, and there are a number more than that living on GitHub.  While medical professionals are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, developers are fighting the disease from their computers. 

The open-source projects related to COVID-19 cover a wide variety of areas, from informational dashboard to DIY designs. Here are just a few examples of projects targeting COVID-19:

An interactive dashboard tracking the number of cases, deaths, and recoveries – by country, based on the open COVID-19 dataset provide by Johns Hopkins University
Folding@Home, which has been around for some time now, but is redirecting resources to COVID-19 research. Folding@Home allows PC owners to donate their GPU computing power to run simulations of protein dynamics. The organization behind Folding@Home is now focusing efforts on researching how the virus’ proteins work and designing therapeutics to stop them
A design for a low-cost open-source ventilator made from a CPAP machine. The US currently does not have the number of ventilators needed to support a large portion of the population needing them at once, and this might be a viable last resort. 
A website where people can self-report symptoms to combat lack of testing
A list of tech companies and the status of whether or not their internship programs have been cancelled
We Are Still Open, a website created to support local food businesses struggling during COVID-19 by connecting their take-out or delivery options to consumers. 
COVID-Net, a project that aims to help more quickly and accurately identify COVID-19 infections from chest x-ray.

“In the midst of the uncertainty and seriousness of COVID-19, we’ve been inspired to see a global community of scientists, government officials, journalists, programmers, and concerned citizens come together to collaborate on a variety of projects with the shared goal of understanding COVID-19 and coordinating on the best response. Even though many of these projects aren’t traditional software projects, the same collaborative development model is being applied to curated data sets, DIY instruction sets, and more,” Martin Woodward, director of developer relations at GitHub, wrote in a post

According to Woodward, these projects aren’t just limited to developers. “Depending on your background, there are lots of ways to lend a hand even if you are not a developer,” said Woodward. 

For example, COVID-Net is primarily being worked on by researchers and data scientists, though DarwinAI CEO Sheldon Fernandez said that developers are still needed for things like writing software to collate and cleanse data, creating tools to assess sample quality and variance, or wrapping the application in a nice UI to make it easily accessible to radiologists and healthcare professionals. 

Daniel Krook, chief technology officer of the Call for Code Global Initiative and IBM Code and Response, added that last year’s Call for Code winning team included a firefighter, a nurse, a project manager, a data scientist, and a developer.

Call for Code expands focus to COVID-19
This year’s Call for Code will be another avenue for developers to contribute to the COVID-19 fight. Call for Code 2020 had an initial theme of projects that would help fight climate change, but the organization has recently expanded their scope by adding a second track focused on the pandemic. 

Call for Code’s website calls for projects that address three main COVID-19 areas: crisis communication, remote education, and community cooperation. “Our goal for Call for Code in the COVID-19 track isn’t to find vaccines, it’s not to do deep research, it’s not to enable medical solutions,” said Krook. “What it’s focused on is a few of the social, the business, the community aspects of how this pandemic is affecting people.”   

According to the organization, communications systems are often the first to be overwhelmed in a crisis. Technologies like chatbots can help respond to thousands of messages a day and can be critical in helping communities get the information they need, such as proper hand washing techniques, how to properly detect symptoms, or local updates on quarantine.

Several communities are being impacted by schools being closed or going remote, which presents a number of challenges, especially for parents who are now working from home with no child care. Call for Code is asking for projects that can help parents and educators navigate remote education.

The third area that projects could focus on is community cooperation. Technology can help communities better deal with a crisis by incorporating information like weather data or local food and medical supply information. 

IBM is offering starter kits for each of these three areas. The crisis communication and community cooperation starter kits both provide access to Watson Assistant, which can be used to “build, train, and deploy conversational integrations into any application, device, or channel.” The remote education starter kit includes a set of open-source tools that will allow educators to make content more readily available for their students. 

“The goal is, and as it always has been for IBM’s role in Call for Code, is to take those really important pressing issues that have been identified by our partners, like the United Nations, and give people the tools they can use today to immediately start building solutions,” said Krook.

Like previous Call for Code events, the winning project teams will get support from IBM in deploying their projects. According to Krook, the timeline of Call for Code will be accelerated this year. Deadlines will not change, but any projects submitted before the initial submission deadline will be judged and have the potential for mentorship from IBM prior to the deadline.

Hackathons forming to deal with the crisis, too
Hackathons are also popping up to deal with COVID-19. A big one right now, which has the support of the World Health Organizations and major tech companies like AWS, Facebook, Microsoft, and Slack, is the COVID-19 Global Hackathon

The hackathon is suggesting six areas that projects could focus on: health, vulnerable populations, businesses, community, education, and entertainment. The team behind the hackathon intends these to be areas to spark ideas, not necessarily a restrictive list of areas a project could address. 

“Given the isolation currently being experienced within communities right now, we want to create an online space where developers can ideate, experiment and build software solutions to help address this crisis,” the team wrote in a post

Project ideas, along with a two-minute video walkthrough, may be submitted through March 30 at 9:00 AM PST, and accepted projects will be announced on April 3. 

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SD Times news digest: Google cancels I/O 2020, Intel opens oneAPI DevCloud, and GraphQL Mesh

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Google announced that it is completely cancelling its I/O Developers Event that was set to happen May 12 – 14th.

“Please know that we remain committed to sharing ongoing Android updates with you through our developer blogs and community forums,” Google wrote in a tweet. 

Intel opens oneAPI DevCloud for coding
OneAPI DevCloud is a development sandbox with cloud access to the latest Intel hardware and oneAPI software.

All DevCloud users now automatically get free access through July 1st. DevCloud offers increased capacity and expanded hardware capabilities, updated software development tools, and new simplified access that includes immediate sign-up access; a new, modern IDE-like experience via JupyterLab; and a simpler Secure Shell (SSH) client experience.

The company also offers Intel DevCloud for the Edge, which provides developers access to a wide range of hardware configurations in order to test their applications for IoT Edge Solutions.

Running ARM apps on the Android Emulator
Android released Android 11 system images as part of its Android 11 developer preview.

Android 11 system images are capable of executing ARM binaries with significantly improved performance. Previously, developers who were dependent on ARM libraries and could not build an x86 variant of their app either had to use system images with full ARM emulation, which are much slower than x86 system images, according to Android. 

“Going forward, we plan to roll this technology out across a wider variety of API levels and ensure that it supports testing all use cases that a physical device would,” Android wrote in a blog post.

GraphQL Mesh released
GraphQL Mesh is an open-source library that enables developers to leverage the power of GraphQL without requiring changes to the technology that already runs on an organizations’ servers.

GraphQL Mesh lets users choose the fields they want, get full type-safety for remote APIs, schema unification and the ability to stitch for any source. 

GraphQL Mesh can run as a standalone gateway, as a data source, or run as a local, distributed GraphQL SDK to simplify service-to-service communications.

Additional details are available here.

Akamai March 2020 release
Akamai delivers fast deployment and edge computing, with greater velocity, security, and visibility in the latest release. 

Akamai’s EdgeWorkers puts computation and logic as close as possible to users for fast development and implementation of modifications to digital experiences. New properties can be spun up and configuration changes deployed in a matter of minutes using the service’s UI, APIs, or connectors, according to the company. 

Additional details are available here.

 

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J.Crew says a hacker accessed some customer accounts

Clothing giant J.Crew said an unknown number of customers had their online accounts accessed “by an unauthorized party” almost a year ago, but is only now disclosing the incident.

The company said in a filing on Tuesday with the California attorney general that the hacker gained access to the customer accounts in or around April 2019.

According to the letter, the hacker obtained information found in customers’ online accounts — including card types, the last four digits of card payment numbers, expiration dates and associated billing addresses. Online accounts also store customer order numbers, shipping confirmation numbers and shipment statuses.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the hacker used a technique known as credential stuffing, where existing sets of exposed or breached usernames and passwords are matched against different websites to access accounts.

The spokesperson said a “small number” of customers were affected but did not say specifically how many.

Companies operating in the state are mandated to warn the state’s attorney general’s office of security incidents involving more than 500 California residents. The letter to the attorney general’s office said it’s a “multi-state” notification, indicating that customers in other states are also affected.

A bigger, unanswered question is why it took J.Crew took almost a year to detect and disclose the incident to regulators and customers.

The spokesperson said “routine web scanning” detected the improper access and that customers were “promptly notified.” It’s not known when the scanning took place or why the account breaches weren’t detected sooner. Under the laws of both California and New York — where J.Crew is headquartered — there’s no specific time period under which a company must disclose a breach, only that customers are notified in “the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.”

J.Crew becomes the latest in a string of companies disclosing security incidents as a result of credential stuffing. Amazon-owned doorbell maker Ring, Chipotle, Spotify and game streaming service Twitch have all seen customers complain of account breaches in the past year.

Startups face the same phishing risks as big corporations


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NativeScript 6.5 now available with experimental KotlinJS support

The latest release of the cross-platform app development framework NativeScript is now available. Version 6.5 expands the functionality of the ‘Tabs’ and ‘BottomNavigation’ components by providing means for creating them programmatically. The new release also includes new styling properties and experimental KotlinJS support.

The team explained it continues to support Kotlin on the front end side of app development, but is also introducing experimental support for writing NativeScript apps with KotlinJS. The Kotlin programming language is a statically typed programming language designed for the Java Virtual Machine, Android, browsers and native solutions. KotlinJS aims to transpile Kotlin to JavaScript.

“We must say that this is highly experimental and subject to change but nevertheless, we would be happy for the community to take a look at the HelloWorld sample with KotlinJS,” the developers behind the project wrote in a post

To support the dynamic creation of the ‘Tabs’ and ‘BottomNavigation’ components, two new properties were introduced as part of the TabStrip sub-component: iconSource which is used to programmatically create the ‘TabStrip’ icon and ‘iconClass,’ which sets the CSS class that will be applied to the icon.

Two new properties for the TabStrip component: ‘selectedItemColor’ and ‘unSelectedItemColor,’ were also introduced to allow easy modification of the color of TabStrip items’ icon and text.

In addition, iOS styling options were expanded by providing a property for tab strip alignment and also by providing options to apply extended CSS styling, according to the NativeScript team. To change the alignment for TabStrip, users have to set the iOSTabBarItemsAlignment property of the Tabs component.

Double-tap event data was added, extending common data by providing two methods for accessing the coordinates of the triggered double tap event: ‘getX()’ and ‘getY()’ which will return X and Y coordinates for the current interaction. 

Additional details on the new release are available here.

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Clearview said its facial recognition app was only for law enforcement as it courted private companies

After claiming that it would only sell its controversial facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies, a new report suggests that Clearview AI is less than discerning about its client base. According to BuzzFeed News, the small, secretive company looks to have shopped its technology far and wide. While Clearview counts ICE, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the retail giant Macy’s among its paying customers, many more private companies are testing the technology through 30-day free trials. Non-law enforcement entities that appeared on Clearview’s client list include Walmart, Eventbrite, the NBA, Coinbase, Equinox and many others.

According to the report, even if a company or organization has no formal relationship with Clearview, its individual employees might be testing the software. “In some cases… officials at a number of those places initially had no idea their employees were using the software or denied ever trying the facial recognition tool,” BuzzFeed News reports.

In one example, the NYPD denied a relationship with Clearview, even as as many as 30 officers within the department conducted 11,000 searches through the software, according to internal logs.

A week ago, Clearview’s CEO Hoan Ton-That was quoted on Fox Business stating that his company’s technology is “strictly for law enforcement” — a claim the company’s budding client list appears to contradict.

“This list, if confirmed, is a privacy, security, and civil liberties nightmare,” ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler said of the revelations. “Government agents should not be running our faces against a shadily assembled database of billions of our photos in secret and with no safeguards against abuse.”

On top of its reputation as an invasive technology, critics argue that facial recognition tech isn’t accurate enough to be used in the high-consequence settings it’s often touted for. Facial recognition software has notoriously struggled to accurately identify non-white, non-male faces, a phenomenon that undergirds arguments that biased data has the potential to create devastating real-world consequences.

Little is known about the technology that powers Clearview’s own algorithms and accuracy beyond that the company scrapes public images from many online sources, aggregates that data and allows users to search it for matches. In light of Clearview’s reliance on photos from social networks, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have all issued the company cease-and-desist letters for violating their terms of use.

Clearview’s small pool of early investors includes the private equity firm Kirenaga Partners and famed investor and influential tech conservative Peter Thiel. Thiel, who sits on the board of Facebook, also co-founded Palantir, a data analytics company that’s become a favorite of law enforcement.


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Stack Overflow expands its Teams service with new integrations

Most developers think of Stack Overflow as a question and answer site for their programming questions. But over the last few years, the company has also built a successful business in its Stack Overflow for Teams product, which essentially offers companies a private version of its Q&A product. Indeed, the Teams product now brings in a significant amount of revenue for the company and the new executive team at Stack Overflow is betting that it can help the company grow rapidly in the years to come.

To make Teams even more attractive to businesses, the company today launched a number of new integrations with Jira (Enterprise and Business), GitHub (Enterprise and Business) and Microsoft Teams (Enterprise). These join existing integrations with Slack, Okta and the Business tier of Microsoft Teams.

“I think the integrations that we have been building are reflective of that developer workflow and all of the number of tools that someone who is building and leveraging technology has to interact with,” Stack Overflow Chief Product Officer Teresa Dietrich told me. “When we think about integrations, we think about the vertical right, and I think that ‘developer workflow’ is one of those industry verticals that we’re thinking about. ChatOps is obviously another one, as you can see from our Slack and Teams integration. And the JIRA and GitHub [integrations] that we’re building are really at the core of a developer workflow.”

Current Stack Overflow for Teams customers include the likes of Microsoft, Expensify and Wix. As the company noted, 65 percent of its existing Teams customers use GitHub, so it’s no surprise that it is building out this integration.


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Angular 9.1 released with build speed improvements

The Angular team has announced a minor release to its web application framework that containers new features and bug fixes. 

The 9.1 release aims to speed up builds by improving the speed of ngcc and allowing it to compile multiple packages at a time. Previously, the ngcc compilation pass covered library dependencies in logical order. 

RELATED CONTENT: Angular 9.0 released with Project Ivy

The release also features the latest version of TypeScript. TypeScript 3.8 was released last month with new ECMAScript standards features and type-only imports and exports. 

New in Angular 9.1 is the CLI component generator option ‘displayBlock’. Previously, Angular components displayed “inline” by default. The new update allows developers to use the display: block style automatically when they create new components. 

Other updates include support for grep and invertGrep with end-to-end tests, improved HTML and expression syntax highlighting, and the directionality query API. 

Also in this release are a number of bug fixes, performance improvements, and minor features. 

“This is the last planned minor release for 9.x. As we start work towards 10.0, you should expect to see 10.0 prereleases usually once per week, even though they will contain only minimal changes at first,” Stephen Fluin, developer relations lead at Google, wrote in a post.

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Traditional QA won’t address today’s performance issues

We test because something broke in the past, because we care about quality code, and we want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. Quality Assurance (QA) testing was a response to the realization that we should proactively seek out problems in our software, before any new code is deployed into production, so that customers are happy.

Today’s cloud-based, distributed architectures are complex and fail in different ways than our resource-limited, highly controlled test or staging environment deployments (much less a monolithic application). Our automated and human QA tests do not account for the rapidly changing production environments of today where services are constantly spinning up and shutting down in response to demand. 

RELATED CONTENT: The role of QA in a shift-left world

These distributed systems have emergent behaviors, responding to various production conditions by scaling up and down in order to make sure the application can deliver a seamless experience to increasing customer demands. In other words, these systems never follow the same path to arrive at the customer experience. Emergent behaviors also means emergent failures. Distributed systems will fail, but it’s unlikely that they will fail the same way twice.

Traditional quality assurance that runs tests at the end of a build and before deployment only covers a very small percentage of our software stack. And no amount of traditional QA testing is going to verify whether our cloud-native application, its various services, or the entire system will respond reliably under any condition, whether “working as designed” or under extreme loads and unusual circumstances.

Whether we practice Site Reliability Engineering, DevOps, or something nameless — all of our critical systems should have uptime objectives. We should be constantly seeking to better understand how our systems handle failure, as well as uncover unforeseen dependencies and issues within our own systems. Traditional QA testing methods will not catch these problems because those methods do not test the entire system as it exists in production. We must expand the scope of our testing and move to a more holistic approach with Chaos Engineering.

Chaos experiments are used to simulate things that we know have caused problems before, such as networking latency. Does the new service hold up under light testing? Medium? Heavy? We increase the testing magnitude and push the new instances hard and in production to have a true understanding of how our systems handle failure where our customers live. This is the only way to find systemic issues in today’s complex reality, regardless of whether we use canary deployments or not.

Chaos Engineering can test the quality of code at runtime, it can test for configuration drift, and it can be used for both automated and manual forms of testing. That makes it a powerful discipline that allows us to proactively seek out systemic issues before those problems cascade into failures that impact customers, doing in the cloud and at scale what we were once able to accomplish with QA in a smaller, more controlled environment with our single monolithic applications.

Start by designing the smallest possible experiment that will teach us something, making sure to keep our systems and data safe while our testing is in progress. When the experiment is complete, examine the monitoring and observability to see what we’ve learned. That data drives how we prioritize our efforts, mitigating small problems before they can become big problems, and handling any big problems that we find immediately. Then we follow up on our work by running the same chaos experiment again in the future, to confirm that the fixes we put in place were effective.

Whatever the solution, we designed it, we implemented it, we performed our automated traditional QA tests, and then we tested it with Chaos Engineering. As a result, it worked as expected when a production failure occurred that was out of our control and, more importantly, our customers never even knew it happened.

Innovation has brought us many great changes and challenges, and the new world is one of complex distributed systems. Our old approach won’t work, but many of the lessons learned still apply. QA people should join the march toward this new paradigm and bring their expertise to help organizations fulfill their mission — providing high quality software that customers love.

 

KubeConCloudNativeCon in Amsterdam, scheduled for March 30 – April 2, has been postponed. 

 

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Long term room-rental platform Badi launches its service in NYC

As things stand in many countries, renting houses and whole apartments is relatively straightforward, if you can afford it. But trying to find rooms in those apartments and houses to rent has been chaotic for many years and relies on hugely informal networks. Some startups have launched in recent years to address this problem of finding roommates and rooms for rent as the market becomes more competitive.

Roomi (NYC, raised $17M), Roomster is in NYC, and then there’s SpareRoom. All have appeared to try and capture this growing market. And of course, they have Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as competitors. 

Then there are other co-living companies include Common, Ollie, Quarters, Startcity, X Social Communities, and WeLive.

Backed by $45 million from U.S. and international investors like Spark Capital and Mangrove Capital, including $30 million from Goodwater Capital as their first investment in a Spanish startup, Badi is a Spanish-born startup (founded in Barcelona by Carlos Pierre) which is a long-term room rental platform, operating in cities like London, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin.

It’s now launching in New York City, after claiming to have surpassed more than two million users in Europe. Badi says its web and mobile app now features over 300,000 listings. After soft-launching in November of last year, it claims to be growing booking requests by 370%. 

Pierre says: “Every major city around the world is suffering from overcrowdedness and increasing rent prices. The strong interest from the participants in our beta group alongside the findings from our 2020 survey on NYC indicates that city dwellers are warming up to the idea of sharing and co-living arrangements.”

During its beta in NYC, Badi found that the majority think co-living is a growing trend and shared living spaces with shared resources are viewed favorably.

Badi’s main pitch is that it provides a safe and secure communications channel for users to get to know potential roommates without an intermediary, using a visual verification tool for ensuring renters profiles and photos of the rooms and amenities.

It’s serving a need. The United Nations projects that 2.5 billion people will live in cities by 2050. This will cause rents to skyrocket, of course.


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