Andela encourages its full-time engineers to become contractors instead
Africa's crypto-sphere is buzzing
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 07.09.2020
Welcome to TC Daily! In this edition, we check in with the latest (not) interesting development at Andela, Cowrywise's tense Friday evening, and a brief on the clash of swords in crypto world. Our next TC Live on digital identity will feature Mitchell Elegbe, Founder at Interswitch. Register here. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.
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ANDELA's VIRTUAL REALITY
The most unfair job interview question in the world is "what is Andela?" because the answer will probably change three times before the candidate musters a solid response. As of when this newsletter was written this morning, the company has all but transitioned into a full freelancer platform for software engineering jobs. Full-time employees are being nudged into exchanging their salaried positions for "similar" contractor roles, Weetracker reports. What? Remember when Andela went fully remote in July to open itself to applications from a wider pool of developers across Africa? Yea, that was a foundation laying ceremony. Since they have no physical offices anymore and devs can be brought on only when needed, why have excess full-time staff accruing software, employee management, and health insurance costs? It is only logical to have everyone sign up for a virtual bench, and rate their suitability for jobs based on the specifications for each contract. Andela is selling this as a positive for its engineers who can have an active contractor profile on bench, while taking up potentially more lucrative roles elsewhere. When you detach from it emotionally, it's really not that deep. A private company is making business decisions as it sees fit, even if that means moving in a staid direction to look more like its global competitors - Fiverr, Upwork, etc. Nothing to see here.
CUSTOMER SCARE
Nigerian savings and wealth management startup Cowrywise got unwanted exposure on Twitter this past weekend. A customer's "few million naira" (from two to probably more than ten thousand dollars) went missing from her Cowrywise account months ago and the company practically ignored her pleas to recover her money. In a response to emailed questions on Sunday, the company's CEO Razaq Ahmed acknowledged this incident to TechCabal (as they had done on Twitter in response to the customer). They believe someone who knew the customer's password carried out the transactions, and they have the digital paper trail. "What matters to us the most is recovering her money and getting to the root of how her email and login credentials got compromised and who is behind it," Ahmed said. We hope to see the full details of this sooner than later. It may be just one case but it has raised worthy concerns about the safety of all savings apps. Not the kind of consumer skepticism you want in a fintech environment billing itself as the secure choice for the millennial. We'll watch this closely.
TC INSIGHTS
Crypto Wars A few weeks ago, I got a call from yet another crypto startup looking to introduce itself. The call was mostly interesting because the startup had accomplished so little in such a short time and it had huge plans for the future. Nigeria now has many crypto startups, maybe hundreds. And there are quite a number of them across other African countries especially in East and West Africa. Last week two of the major African crypto startups, Luno and Yellow Card made major announcements. South-Africa-based Luno, arguably the continent’s largest crypto exchange, said it was expanding to Australia. Australia is its 12th operating market. In May, it launched in Zambia and Uganda and said it will soon expand to Ghana and Kenya. Luno said it had crossed 5 million customers across 60 countries by the end of 2019. It has raised $13.8 million and is backed by Naspers, Africa's most valuable company. If Luno is the Queen of the South, AZA Finance (previously BitPesa) is the Queen of the East. The startups were founded at about the same period. AZA Finance says it has 26,000 customers and covers about 85 countries. About 2.4 million transactions valued at $1 billion have been carried out on the platform. These startups are fighting for the heart of Africa’s 525 million internet population. They are relying on the need for financial independence and the bottlenecks in Africa's payments and remittances infrastructure. The battle is getting heated up. Nigeria’s Yellow Card raised $1.5 million from A-list crypto investors including Silicon Valley’s Andreessen Horowitz. Yellow Card says it will use the money to launch in Kenya and Cameroon. In August, Timi Ajiboye, co-founder of another local crypto startup, Buycoins announced that they received an investment from Silicon Valley investor, Balaji S. Srinivasan. But these startups all face regulatory risks. African governments are still hesitant and unsure about cryptocurrencies. Over 60% of them are yet to clarify their position on it. With the recent anti-innovation policy announcements, how long before it reaches the crypto industry? ~ Olanrewaju
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
Pumped for the week? Catch up on the latest episode of the TC Weekly Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, Google Podcasts, and Anchor.fm

See you tomorrow. - Alexander

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