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23 - 01 - 2020

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Telkom, a South African telecoms company, is planning to sack 6,000 employees by the end of 2020, says the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA). Partly owned by the government, Telkom had originally claimed the retrenchment would affect 3,000 workers and will be done in two phases. However, FEDUSA says the company plans to cut 3,000 jobs as part of phase one alone and another 3,000 cuts sometime during the year. The union is resisting the move. Previously South Africa’s leading telco, Telkom has lost its place to MTN and Vodacom, a mobile company it sold in 2008 to focus on its fixed lines business. After the Vodacom sell, Telkom has had to build its mobile services from scratch. Although its mobile business is growing, it is expensive. Between April and September 2019, more than half of its capital investments went to mobile. Its net debt stood at $838 million in November 2019. To improve profitability, Telkom has had to cut jobs. It dropped over 2,000 employees between March 2018 and March 2019. The new round of retrenchments comes as the company’s share price crashed nearly 70% from R99.50 to R30 over the last six months.
--- CanGo, an on-demand bike hailing platform in Congo, is shutting down after it failed to raise new funding, Disrupt Africa reports. The startup was founded in 2014 by Peter Kariuki and Barret Nash and had previously raised $1.1 million. CanGo had been hoping to secure $1 million Series A funding and wanted to become Central Africa’s first superapp. Read more here.
--- UNICEF has launched the first African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) in Malawi. The academy will provide drone technology skills for Africans during a 12-week course and will train over 200 cohorts by 2021. ADDA was launched in partnership with the Global Fund and governments of Germany, Scotland and Sweden. It is expected to launch in other African countries. More on that here.
--- Glovo, the on-demand delivery service from Spain, is exiting the Egyptian market for good. The news comes a few weeks after it secured $166 million Series E funding. The company has had a tough time in the North African country. Egyptian authorities had accused Glovo of engaging in anti-competitive practices, forcing the company to short down temporarily in the country last year. Now it says it is time to pull the plug. It is exiting the Egyptian market and three other markets as part of a plan to reach profitability by 2021. Read more here.
--- 14 North African startups have made it to the semi-finals of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition. There are eight startups from Egypt, including Dmails, Paynas, Sysgravity, Trella, Baramoda, Entaleq, Kashat, PraxiLabs and virtual assistant app Rafiq. Two finalists are from Tunisia: Iris Technologies and gaming company Historio. While Morocco has one representative: GreenWatech, an environmental tech startup. The winning startups would receive $120,000 equity-free funding. Here's the link to read more.

The countdown to Afrobytes 2020 continues. Afrobytes is the premier event that brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and more to explore business opportunities between the African tech ecosystem and players in the global tech world. Here are key reasons why you should attend Afrobytes 2020:

  • Finance: pitch world-leading Africa-focused tech funds
  • Network: connect with global companies and African tech leaders
  • Scale: find tech partners at the largest startup campus
  • Feature: talk to international media covering African markets

Get your early bird ticket here

--- VerifyMe, a Nigerian identity verification startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding. The investment came from by Consonance Investment Managers, a Lagos-based firm. Founded in 2017, VerifyMe solves the problem of client verification in Nigeria where the government is yet to develop an efficient and integrated national identity system. With its new funding, it is also planning to expand to other countries.
--- LifeBank has secured a partnership under the newly launched Maternal Outcomes Matter (MOMs) Initiative. the MOMs initiative is a project by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Merck for Mothers, Credit Suisse and the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID). Backed by $50 capital, it aims to mobilise capital to support maternal and child health care businesses in Africa and Asia. The initiative provides either technical assistance and or funding to companies. Lifebank would be the first MOMs beneficiary and application is currently open to more companies.
--- Jumia Nigeria has a new CEO. The company has appointed Massimiliano Spalazzi, as the new CEO for its Nigeria operations. Spalazzi will also retain his role as Executive Vice President Marketplace at Jumia Group. Juliet Anammah, the former CEO of Jumia Nigeria has moved up the ladder. She is now head of Institutional Affairs at Jumia Group and will also serve as Chairwoman of Jumia Nigeria.
--- The Second Edition of the South-South/South-East Innovation Community Stakeholders' Summit holds on February 7-8, 2020. The summit will discuss the state of the ecosystem, human capital development and collaborative goals for the regions' innovation community leaders. Speakers include Kingsley Eze, (Founder of Tenecee), Arinze Chilo-Offiah, (SA, SME Development and Head, SME Centre, Enugu), Ibifuro Asawo, (Co-founder Cinfores & SSA, ICT, Rivers State) and others. To attend, kindly register via this link.
On February 28, 2020, TC Townhall: Emerging Tech will convene entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and corporate organizations including telcos and financial institutions to examine how businesses, individuals and countries across the continent can maximize the benefits of emerging technologies, specifically AI and Blockchain.  There will be a session dedicated to VR/AR, 5G, Big Data and other emerging technologies asides AI & Blockchain. Tickets are now available for purchase and a 15% early bird discount is available for readers who buy their tickets by January 31st with the code TCEM15%OFF. Further discounts apply for companies/individuals buying at least 5 tickets. Click here to redeem our 20% corporate discount.
That's it for today,  
We'll see you tomorrow - Abubakar       Share TC Daily with your friends!
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