in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 21.07.2020
Hello there, Welcome to TC Daily! In today's digest: Bolt launches low-entry service for South African drivers; Kenyan central bank to regulate digital lenders and applications for the HiiL 2020 challenge is open. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.

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Estonian ride-hailing company Bolt has launched Bolt Go, a cheaper mobility  service, in South Africa. After successful trials in East London and Port Elizabeth, the company is rolling the service out to 35 cities and towns where its service is active beginning with secondary provinces and extending gradually towards urban centres. Rides will cost 20% less than its most basic plan Bolt (Sedan). On the driver side, the company is welcoming hatchback car owners to sign up on the Bolt Go platform as a way to reduce entrepreneurial barriers into the ride-hailing economy. Because prices are generally low compared to sedans and costs of maintenance are low, fares can be cheaper than what is obtainable on other Bolt services. It is unclear if drivers receive the same commissions as their counterparts on Bolt,  Isolate, Premium, XL and Van. The reduced entry barrier for drivers comes at a dire time. Unemployment in South Africa has soared to more than 30%, a record high. Between February and April, more than three million South Africans lost their jobs and President Ramaphosa warned in June that the unemployment situation was expected to worsen. The National Treasury has said that more than 7 million jobs in total could be lost in the coming months. For hatchback car owners with up-to-date licenses and car documents, this presents and ample income opportunity. Bolt, whose revenues were down 75% in March during peak lockdown periods across the globe as with many sharing services, has pivoted to deliveries and are exploring e-scooter micro mobility services in some of its markets as it looks to make a recovery. Even with customers paying less for rides in this one market, its June raise of €100 million gives it the cushion its competitors lack.

Six South African entrepreneurs have come together to launch the Entrepreneurs-for-Entrepreneurs Africa (E4E) fund. Backed by a founding investment from the South Africa SME Fund, the new venture capital fund will support very early-stage South African entrepreneurs in their mission to build globally successful businesses. There will also be a focus on supporting black-and female-owned businesses. With a starting US$8 million fund, the founding partners are hoping to put to use their years of entrepreneurial experience, network and know-how to help South Africa's younger crop of entrepreneurs succeed. Already, the group has begun working on a pipeline of entrepreneurs to bet on in the country.

Audiomack has opened a new office in Lagos, Nigeria and made three new hires of A-list executives. As a free music streaming platform, Audiomack allows artists upload their songs for free and generates revenue through ads and a premium tier subscription option ($5/month) from which it pays out artists. By allowing andconstantly shoring up new artists and sounds as well as having an offline feature that allows streaming without data, the company has built a considerable loyal fan base in Africa over the years and reportedly grew its audience activity by 1,600% in the past year. Its three new hires point to the direction their on-ground presence will likely take in its bid to establish itself in the city of Afrobeats and by extension, the continent. Audiomack will be building on their existing influence to connect new artists and audiences; possibly forge more offline music event partnerships as it has done in the past with events like Afrochella and Afronation as well as continue to spotlight African Afrobeat artists especially new artists.
Uber has debuted its Uber Bus intercity service in Egypt. An earlier intracity service launched in 2018. Egypt will be the first country globally where the mobility and logistics company will trial the intercity bus service. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, it has added new hygiene protocols including a reduced maximum number of passengers per bus ride from around 14 to eight and the use of card payments instead of cash. The pandemic has hurt mobility services across the continent with many pivoting to logistics to stay in business. Careem Bus, its subsidiary from its January acquisition of Careem Networks, earlier suspended its services in May citing economic reasons. With lockdown lifted in Egypt, individuals will show preference for safer mobility alternatives to overcrowded public transport buses in order to maintain healthy distances and prevent contracting the virus. Egypt is the second worst hit country on the continent with regards to the coronavirus.
Kenya's apex bank is in the process of enacting new laws to regulate the loan rates of digital lenders in the country. Proposed amendments to the Central Bank of Kenya Bill 2020 will mean that digital lenders will require approval from the apex bank to revise loan rates or launch new digital products. The move is in line with efforts to provide fair access to credit but more importantly, to curb predatory lending practices which many digital lenders have been accused of in the past. However, only half of Kenyans who borrow money from digital lenders repay their loans and with negative economic projections as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, default rates are expected to spike. Earlier in March, the apex bank asked lenders to extend repayment periods to cushion the economic effects of the pandemic on borrowers.
The Innovating Justice Challenge invites startups innovating in the justice sector to be a part of its 2020 accelerator cohort. Startups with justice-oriented products and solutions who employ strong business models and who are already showing serious traction and measurable impact are invited to apply. Applications close on August 5 .
That's all for today,

We'll see you tomorrow.
- Kay

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