20 April, 2021

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In today's edition:

  • Andela’s expansion
  • Uber and Bolt drivers strike in Lagos
  • Showmax reduces its price
  • What would you like to ask an investor?

Andela expands to Latin and South America

Andela, the company known for connecting African software developers to global clients, is expanding its talent pool to welcome Latin and South American developers.

Backstory: In July 2020, Andela closed its physical offices in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda to become a fully remote company. The particular rationale at the time was to increase the number of Africans who could apply to work for the company as software developers.

The closure of its physical office was also during the lockdown, so the pandemic’s restriction on physical movement also validated the move. Andela’s physical offices were sited only in major cities in each country they operated (Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala; their Cairo operation was remote-first from day one). Anyone who wanted to be an Andela developer had to move to these cities. 

Bottomline: Andela has been evolving over the years, evolving from a source of technical talent to a full cycle talent partner. It’s expansion is a testament to the company’s ability to reinvent itself whilst still creating jobs.

Read more: Andela moves beyond Africa, now accepts developers from Latin and South America

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Uber and Bolt drivers in Lagos begin strike action today to protest “systemic slavery”

If Mondays set the tone for the week, then Uber and Bolt, the biggest players in Nigeria’s ride-hailing industry are in for a long week.

Under the umbrella of the Professional E-hailing Drivers and Partners Association (PEDPA), Uber and Bolt drivers in Lagos began a strike action Yesterday. 

The reason: The drivers want ride-hailing pricing to be reviewed because the prices are no longer reflective of the costs they put in. They also want both companies to reduce the commission charged on rides from 25% to 10%.

TechCabal spoke with Idris Shonuga, the National President of PEDPA, an association that was formed in 2019 and is affiliated with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria. He told TechCabal, “what they (Uber and Bolt) do is deploy an app which facilitates links with riders and they charge a commission. We bear the running costs of fuelling the car and take all the associated risk of managing and running our vehicles.”

Big Picture: The ride-hailing companies are in a fix here as whichever direction they turn, there'll be adverse effects. If they reduce the commission charged, it’ll affect their profit margins. If they increase the fare prices, riders will complain and possibly call for a boycott. Are the ride-hailing companies at fault here or are they simply victims of doing business in a country where the cost of living is always increasing?

Muyiwa digs deeper into the issue in this article

International Trade Centre Challenge

The ITC FastTrackTech challenge is aimed at start-ups tackling the issue of affordable and reliable internet connectivity in Africa with innovative and resilient tech solutions.

Applications are open to startups from the following countries: ECOWAS countries, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.

Interested? Learn more and apply here. Application closes on April 30th.

Showmax reduces prices

Yesterday, on-demand streaming service Showmax announced that it has slashed monthly subscription prices by up to 20%  for its African mobile subscribers.

Keyword: African Mobile Subscribers

The difference between the mobile versions of Showmax and the standard version is that while the former only allows for use on a  mobile device like a phone or tablet, the standard version can be accessed on more than one device like a laptop or a smart TV and is great for families who want to stream two shows concurrently.

Cheaper plans for Africa

One of the major challenges video streaming services face is the use of one account by multiple persons. Five years since its arrival in Africa, Netflix is still struggling to grow beyond the wealthiest segment of the population but it’s been held back by poverty, piracy and limited access to broadband. To combat it’s prominent challenges, in September 2020, Netflix revealed its plan to begin testing a cheap mobile-only subscription plan in Nigeria. It was reported to be priced at ₦1,200 ($2.65) monthly. The plan hasn’t kicked off yet.

Comparing Showmax with other streaming platforms

This move by Showmax places it among the cheapest video streaming services available to Africans. It’ll be interesting to see if this price cut would lead to an increase in its subscriber base.

What questions would you like to ask an Investor?

Who are the different investors in the African ecosystem? What kind of deals are they looking for? What mistakes do founders make? 

At one point or the other, every investee, startup founder, and CEO was once a newbie navigating the murky waters of institutional investment. Maybe they even got burnt because they didn’t know the right questions to ask or what to look out for. 

I’ll be asking those questions and learning from the different investors in the African ecosystem. Look out for the first edition of #AskAnInvestor tomorrow.

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Written by - Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by - Koromone Koroye & Edwin Madu

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