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SA crypto exchange VALR raises $50M Series B to expand across Africa

South African cryptocurrency exchange VALR has raised a US$50 million Series B funding round that values the company at US$240 million and will use the proceeds to expand across the continent. Launched in 2019, VALR is a digital asset platform that allows customers to buy, sell, store and transfer Bitcoin and 60 other cryptocurrencies – the widest selection of any platform in Africa – seamlessly and securely. It has so far processed over US$7.5 billion in trading volume and serves over 250,000 retail customers and 500 institutional clients from across the world.

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Peruvian startup Leasy secures $17M in debt, equity to provide auto loans to Latam ride-hailing drivers

March 3, 2022

Leasy, a startup that offers automobile financing to ride-hailing drivers in Latin America via a subscription model, has secured $2 million in equity and $15 million in debt. They founded Leasy in 2018 with the mission to help people who would like to earn incomes as ride-hailing drivers be able to afford cars, thus earning a steady income. Traditional financial institutions charge outrageous interest rates and require hefty down payments, making it nearly impossible for members of a lower-income population to afford to purchase their own car.

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Ivorian healthtech startup Susu has $1M to scale its family-centric insurance product across Africa

March 3, 2022

As more Africans now suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, the need for more access to quality healthcare due to the ill-equipped nature of hospitals and lack of insurance, is critical, now more than ever. Healthtech startups across Africa, such as Ivory Coast- and French-based Susu are stepping up to fill this need. And in a bid to continue providing affordable and accessible healthcare for its customers in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon, the Ivorian startup is being backed with $1 million in pre-seed funding.

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Meta Releases Lying, Offensive AI and Pretends to Be Surprised

November 23, 2022

Like trouble, bad behavior by Meta shows up whether you look for it or not.  The latest is an open-source language model that was supposed to provide reliable search results because it was trained on academic papers.  Alas, it was quickly withdrawn after reviewers found that it returned results that were grammatical and plausible but also incorrect, not to mention filled with “antisemitism, homophobia, and misogyny.”  How can this be a surprise?

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