While motorcycle-hailing is not as exciting as it was months ago
Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest: SafeBoda says it has crossed the 250,000 ride milestone, Twitter has new leads on how over 30 verified accounts were breached and TradeDepot is running pilots in two African cities outside Nigeria.
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Excitement has cooled in Nigeria’s motorcycle-hailing sector in the last couple of months. It seems like ages ago that branded commercial motorcycles zigged through the streets of Lagos, the country’s commercial capital.
While the players in the motorcycle-hailing sector expanded to other cities outside Lagos, there was always the sense that Lagos was the real market. Lagos is home to an estimated 21 million people and the city sags under the weight of its population.
Traffic congestion can last for hours and motorcycles, unencumbered by size, snake through the traffic. Motorcycles were a way to get anywhere on time, from the airport to the office.
But in one fell swoop, MAX.NG, Gokada and ORide lost the Lagos market. Gokada pivoted to deliveries but ORide and MAX.NG turned their attentions to Ibadan, Nigeria’s third most populous city.
SafeBoda which had been mulling a Nigerian entry since 2019 also chose Ibadan as launchpad in March 2020. Since their launch,
there have been interesting changes in the motorcycle-hailing landscape.
OPay has suspended ORide, and there it is unclear what MAX.NG’s position in the market is. It has allowed SafeBoda the opportunity to grow, with the company reporting that it had crossed the 100,000 rides milestone in June.
Barely two months after that, the company’s country head, Babajide Duroshola shared with me that they have now completed 250,000 rides while covering only a fourth of the city.
According to Babajide Duroshola: “500,000 rides is the next milestone and I’m sure we can do this in a month or two. If we cover half
of the city, we should be able to hit one million rides.”
A funding announcement is often what the casual news observer can find in a news cycle. But there’s a lot under the hood for startups and VCs in the dance leading up to funding.
Alexander Onukwue says: “Venture capital firms are attracted to an investment on the basis of the business case a founder makes. It’s for the founder to sell an imagination, and it’s for the firm to verify how realistic the dream is by undertaking due diligence.”
So what can founders expect from a VC due diligence at pre-seed and seed stage? Alexander answers that question in this article.
On July 15th, over 30 verified Twitter accounts were hacked. Some of the verified accounts breached belonged to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Apple. The hackers used these verified accounts to post fake donation links and collected 13 bitcoin amounting to more than $110,000.
It is the biggest privacy breach in Twitter’s history and details are now emerging on how the breach happened.
TheVerge reports that a 17-year-old boy named Graham Clark has been placed under arrest after allegedly convincing a Twitter employee that he worked in the Twitter IT department and tricked that employee into giving him the credentials.
But authorities say Graham Clark did not act alone and have arrested two other persons, 22-year-old Nima Fazeli in Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard.
Chinese Soft Power
Donning a sky blue tie and a navy blue suit, President Xi Jinping announced China’s famous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University. It was September 2013 and President Xi was there on his first state visit to the nation by the invitation of President Nazarbayev.
The initiative was originally announced to improve connectivity and cooperation on a transcontinental scale. As of 2018, projects executed or planned were
valued at $575 billion. Between 2000 and 2015, China issued an estimated $94.4 billion dollars in loans to finance more than 3,000 infrastructure projects across Africa.
In 2015, China announced the Digital Silk Road (DSR) project, the technology component of the BRI. A major part of the DSR project is to ensure that leading Chinese tech companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and Huawei can leverage it and the market access provided by BRI projects to compete in emerging markets with leading US companies in over the top (OTT) services.
These services include smart cities, cloud services, mobile payments, and social media applications. There are plans to eventually extend it to emerging technologies such as AI and IoT.
While there are serious questions about China’s intentions, data privacy concerns and the impact on the debt profiles of partner nations, Chinese tech is providing a more affordable alternative to existing Western
Weeks after raising a $10m pre-Series B funding round, the Nigerian B2B ecommerce startup, TradeDepot is expanding to two new African cities.
TradeDepot is working to streamline Africa’s fragmented informal retail sector and its recent funding round was to help drive expansion.
Disrupt Africa quotes the company’s CEO, Onyekachi Izukanne on their expansion plans: “we are running pilots in a couple of cities outside Nigeria,
and we will also be doubling down on our presence, to evolve from pilot stage to more extensive operations.”
TC LIVE: THE STATE OF TECH
Over the past three years, three countries, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa have defined Africa’s startup and tech industry. But across the continent in most countries, there’s a growing tech ecosystem from Chad to Morocco, from Zimbabwe to Zambia.
This Friday, August 7th, we are starting a new TC Live event series titled The State of Tech. The series will dig deep into the startup ecosystems and communities across the continent, outside Nigeria, TechCabal’s HQ location.
For the first episode, we are interviewing, Malinzi Kisadha, Country Manager at Eywa Miles, a tech-enabled transport company. Before Eywa Miles, Kisadha was Founder at Digest Africa, a leading provider of data and insights about African VC and startups. Kisadha is one of the most knowledgable persons about tech in Uganda and in the region.
Kisadha will answers questions about building a tech business in Uganda. Register here to attend the event.