29 JUNE, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

Elon Musk turned 50 yesterday. In the past six months he’s been more popular for influencing the price of cryptocurrencies but let’s look at his life so far.

As Sahil Bloom succinctly put it, “At 31, he made about $180 million when PayPal was acquired by eBay. Instead of retiring, he bet it all on SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Now, he’s worth about 165 billion and those “bets” are changing the world.”

In today’s edition:

  • Centre Stage
  • Egypt’s Cameo-like celebrity shoutout platform, Minly, raises $3.6 million
  • Jiji acquires Cars45

An engineering manager’s guide to working in sync with all parties

That’s Ojimaojo Udale-Ameh, who also goes by his moniker OJ.

He’s an engineering manager at PiggyVest. A straight shooter adept at using his unique set of technical skills to stay at the top of class and game. 

Trivia: His tweet was the inspiration behind the Centre stage column.

In this week’s edition of Centre stage, Koromone talks to him about his role as an engineering manager.

What kinds of fears do engineering managers have where their roles are concerned?

We worry about leading unmotivated people. Thankfully I don’t have that problem at PiggyVest, but speaking generally, no one wants to lead an unmotivated team. There’s also the fear that comes with working with third-party providers. On the one hand, our ecosystem cannot thrive without partnerships. Still, on the other hand, someone has to be responsible for soothing customers when something goes wrong on the other end.

Backend vs Frontend… tell me why one is equally as important as the other?

Frontend development is vital because it combines two essential concepts: user experience and user interface. When a customer opens your app, they are interacting with the work of one or more frontend developers. On the other side of the coin, no matter how appealing your Frontend is, your user will feel the impact if your backend is faulty. 

Read on to hear more about his engineering hacks, content he likes and what good leadership looks like for engineering managers.


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Egypt’s Cameo-like celebrity shoutout platform, Minly, raises $3.6 million

Which celebrity would you love to get a shout out from? I know I’ll love a shout out from Osita Iheme, the Nigerian actor whose image is above. 

For many people, the only thing better than a shoutout from family and friends, is one from a celebrity. Even if they know the celebrity was paid to do so. 

Well, the business of buying celebrity shout outs through a marketplace was popularised by Cameo, which launched in 2017. Recently, it’s grown popular in Africa.

Amid the many players, Minly, a Cairo-based celebrity video startup, secured $3.6 million in seed funding co-led by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, and Global Ventures. 

Sounds like validation

Yes, it does. The Cameo-like platform enables fans across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) to buy personalised video messages and shoutouts – for themselves or their loved ones – from leading celebrities of the region. There is also the option to record reactions and publish them. 

How it works: On Minly, celebrities set the prices of shoutouts themselves with some guidance from the startup. It costs $499 to get a shoutout from Tamer Hosny, an Egyptian singer with over 50 million social media followers across different channels.

Alternatively, fans can exchange messages and voice notes with the celebrities on the platform albeit for a fee lower than video shoutouts. 

In exchange for making this happen, Minly makes money by taking a cut from every transaction on its platform and donates a percentage of proceeds earned to charity.

Zoom out: Apart from Minly, players in the space include Starzly, Halahi, and Starprise, all of which try to differentiate from one other by acquiring the exclusive rights of celebrities for their platforms. With the new funding, Minly wants to expand its products and services to become what it says will be a “full-stack passion economy” platform. 

Read more: Egypt’s Cameo-like celebrity shoutout platform, Minly, raises $3.6 million seed


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Jiji acquires Cars45 as it expands beyond its classifieds model

Africa’s leading classified marketplace Jiji has acquired Cars45, Nigeria’s leading automotive trading platform for an undisclosed amount.


For Jiji, it’s also beginning to look at other business models aside from classifieds. It chose Cars45 because vehicle listing is the second most popular category on Jiji behind real estate. The platform’s total listing is worth over $10 billion, with real estate ($7 billion) and vehicles ($3 billion) making up the bulk of it. 

Why it matters

Jiji: Over the years, Jiji has been plagued by trust and safety issues from users. The acquisition of Cars45 will help reduce this risk, as it offers a different car buying and selling experience via a transactional marketplace model. 

Jiji will also leverage Cars45’s network of inspection centres where cars are inspected by more than 200 parameters. Unlike a classifieds marketplace where checks are inadequately carried out, transactional models employed by platforms like Cars45 ensure quality checks and detailed reports on a car’s condition with various databases.

Cars45: This acquisition will enable Cars45 to grow the vehicles category. Cars45 will merge its operations in its three African markets – Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, to increase efficiency. It will also give Jiji an upper hand in consolidating its position as the classifieds marketplace leader.

Read more: Jiji acquires Cars45 as it expands beyond its classifieds model


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Edwin Madu


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