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Nigeria’s online travel-booking industry as a whole barely did any business in April, according to Wakanow CEO, Adebayo Adedeji. Bookings slumped by 98% relative to March. In March, volumes dropped by more than half compared to previous months.
“It’s a tough time and like every other travel agency, we’ve had to take some drastic actions to reduce our cash burn,” Adedeji told TechCabal. In the past few weeks, the online travel startup has made some tough decisions to stay in business, including shutting their head office and other physical outlets, reducing customer service hours and letting staff go.
It is now working on new products to adapt to whatever becomes the new normal for travel. One of those products is video selling. The
service will allow customers to schedule a video session with a Wakanow agent for a visual tour of potential destinations. Alex has the rest of the gist.
International money transfer and remittance company, Mukuru has acquired the operational assets of Zoona in Malawi. The latter is a fintech company that enables entrepreneurs to bring safe and reliable financial services to underserved communities in Malawi and elsewhere.
Mukuru CEO Andy Jury said in a statement that the acquisition will extend the company’s African footprint deep into Malawi’s urban and
rural areas. As a result of the acquisition, Zoona Malawi’s agents will operate as Mukuru agents.
MY LIFE IN TECH
Kyane Kassiri’s first real experience in the business of technology was as co-founder of a coding training platform for students; Young Tunisian Coders Academy (YTCA). He would later get into angel investing by chance years later. Kassiri has sourced, evaluated and closed deals as an associate and partner at various venture capital firms including LoftyInc, Acuity Ventures and MAVA Ventures.
Now Senior Associate at Lateral Capital, an early and growth-stage venture capital firm focused on sub-Saharan Africa startups, Kassiri dreams of a more connected technology ecosystem in Africa. His goal is to foster more connection between the fragmented ecosystems in the continent’s regions. This week’s #MyLifeinTech captures the journey, vision and aspirations of an African VC.
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With the lockdown lifted in Lagos, ride-hailing and bus hailing companies have re-opened for business. However, they now have to contend with ensuring that passengers remain distant and safe whilst staying profitable.
Some bus-hailing startups have adjusted the seating arrangement on their buses. The major players are now operating below optimum capacity. PlentyWaka, a major player, says fares will see a 20-25% increase during this period to make up for the reduced capacity per trip.
See the rest of the story here in which Kay examines the impact of the pandemic and resultant lockdown on bus-hailing companies as well as how they are adapting to stay alive.
LAY-OFFS & EXITS
Ride-hailing giant, Uber is laying off 14% of its staff members across the world. The layoffs will mainly affect those in support and recruiting. It will see the company eliminate 3,700 jobs and permanently close 180 driver service centers in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It is currently unclear which of its African businesses the layoffs will affect.
However, Uber’s food delivery service, UberEats announced in a regulatory filing and emails to customers that it is exiting Egypt and five other markets. According to its regulatory filing, UberEats is exiting these markets as part of its strategy to be in “first or second
position in all Eats markets by leaning into investment in some countries while exiting others.”
Nigerian financial service technology company OPay has joined Nigerians and the Government in rolling out a series of anti-pandemic and relief efforts.
As part of its #DoMore initiative, OPay made a donation of 40,000 medical face masks to the Lagos State Government.
BULLISH ON AFRICA
On May 15, 2020, TechCabal is holding a digital conference, themed Bullish on Africa, in partnership with
Pariti. The event will speak to the future of Africa’s tech industry with optimism and strength and critical thinking about what it takes to get to a stronger industry from where we are today.
This digital conference will bring together experienced tech thinkers and doers from Africa and across the world including entrepreneurs and investors to speak about the opportunities they are looking at and to share their experiences about what the continent should be building and how to build strong, sustainable and profitable companies in a moment of crisis.
for the conference include Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform; Andreata Muforo, Partner, TLcom TIDE Africa Fund; Benjamin Schmerler, Partner, SUNU Capital; Nisha Ligon, CEO, Ubongo; and Alain Nteff, CEO, Health Lane; among others.
If you are a startup in health or edtech willing to join our investor matchmaking session, please fill in this form. Startups in any sector expanding as a result of coronavirus can also apply. Investors interested in meeting startups can apply here.
Following a change in ownership structure, Safaricom has announced Sitoyo Lopokoiyit as head of the new joint venture managing MPesa. Before the new role, Lopokoiyit was Chief Officer, Financial Services at Safaricom. His appointment is the first step in putting together a leadership for MPesa Africa.
After 13 years, Safaricom and Vodacom acquired the intellectual property rights to the MPesa brand from Vodafone in April. Both companies now have “full control of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services,” through their new joint venture which Lopokoiyit will now lead.