What you must know when investing with agritech companies
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE & PLAQAD 19.06.2020
Hi there, Welcome to today's edition of TC Daily! In today's digest: Amazon to hire 3,000 remote customer service reps and technical experts in South Africa; taking precaution when investing in agritech companies and creating a harassment policy document for your startup as a new (or not so new) founder. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.
PARTNER CONTENT

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WFH
Amazon is hiring an additional 3,000 remote workers in South Africa. The virtual customer service and technical expert roles will see them providing 24-hour support to customers in North America and Europe. This will bring the total number of the online retailer's largely permanent workforce in South Africa to 7,000. Never has Amazon's services been more needed than now. With sales rising by 26% between January and March, the company is also hiring more than 100,000 new workers in the US to keep up with the sharp increase in demand for its services. But that has come with its challenges. In the last couple of months, the company has come under attack both internally and externally over the welfare of its staff members. In one facility alone, more than 100 people were believed to have been infected as at last month. Amazon's South Africa customer service unit goes as far back as 2010 although its e-commerce service is not available in the country. The new hires will receive a monthly internet stipend, contributions toward medical aid and provident fund, group life cover, and employee wellness programmes.
SOCIAL MEDIA

If you have an iPhone, chances are you may be able to use Twitter's new audio feature that will allow users accompany their tweets with a 140 seconds-long audio tweet. Social media companies like Twitter release new features every now and then, but with an audio feature such as this, not only are a segment of users potentially going to be sidelined, monitoring and handling abusive or problematic audio tweets may be more challenging. Twitter historically, hasn't always been proactive about moderating users' activities on the platform.

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AGRITECH
What is one investment lesson you've learnt since you began investing? Mine is to never put in money into a sector I do not understand or know its workings, at least on a basic level. Another sound advice might be to watch what interest rates are being promised. With the new wave of agritech companies in Nigeria, a wealth manager based in Lagos says anything above 20% from an agritech company should raise a red flag. To invest in agritech companies, individuals crowdsource funds to support farming activities from the comfort of their homes and receive a percentage of their capital in return after a farming season. Lately, compounded by the adverse effects of the pandemic, many are renegading on interest payments to the displeasure of investors. Even those seemingly backed by insurance policies. Two of the agritech companies TechCabal spoke with  say investors are aware of the risks of investing and 100% returns were never guaranteed but this is not an indictment on the sector wholly. As with all investments, individuals must seek proper understanding of where they put their monies, the risks involved and what soft landings are available to them in the event that an investment goes south.
FUNDING
Egyptian edtech company Zendy has launched an Arabic learning platform following a pre-seed investment of US$1.2 million from angel investors. The platform will offer over 200 entrepreneurial online courses and 400 animated video summaries of global business bestsellers, as well as over 5, 000 hours of AI-powered customised learning for users.Although Egypt attracted 22% of all MENA VC funds in 2018, very little of this percentage went to the edtech sector. Nonetheless, many are springing up using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to create platforms that supplement the country's educational institution. A handful like Zendy provide platforms that enable professionals build and grow in business and soft skills necessary for career growth. As with a lot of educational systems across Africa, schools are said to poorly prepare young Egyptians for the labour force.
WORK ETHICS
For many technology startups, human resource teams and policies tend to take a back seat as they race to improve product, scale and raise funds to grow their businesses. But according to HR consultant, Vivian Offodile-Adukwu, forming human resource policies should begin as soon as a company is conceived because it is a direct determinant of what a company's culture becomes. These policies should cover everything from onboarding new staff to harassment and discrimination with, according to Lexi Novitske, Managing Partner, Acuity VC, clearly stated reporting, investigating, responding, and disciplining processes. In this article, I speak to a policy expert, human resource consultant and investor about how startups can go about creating harassment policy documents for their companies on lean staff and lean budgets.
That's all,

Enjoy your weekend.
- Kay

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