Telegram now allows up to 1,000 people to join a group video call!
If a thousand people on a Telegram video call sounds like a lot to you, then grab a seat because Telegram plans to keep increasing this limit until all humans on Earth can join one group call. Quite ambitious innit ?!
In today’s edition:
Kuda Bank closes $55 million with half a billion valuation
New appointments at Microsoft, MTN, IBM
Ethiopia to reopen bidding for second telecoms licence
Bolt raises $712 million as it expands
Kuda Bank closes $55 million Series B round led by Paypal backers
The week started on a bright note with the announcement that Nigerian fintech startup, Kuda Bank, raised $55 million in a Series B round at a valuation of $500 million.
The latest round was co-led by existing investors Target Global and Valar Ventures, the firm co-founded and backed by PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. SBI Investment and other previous angels also participated.
Wait, didn’t they just raise $25million four months ago?
One question that came to mind when I saw this news was: what did Kuda Bank do with the $25 million?
Possible answer: In the second quarter of 2021, Kuda disbursed $20 million worth of credit to over 200,000 qualified users, with a 30-day repayment period.
How are the loans performing? According to Ogundeyi, Kuda has seen “minimal” default because of its approach. “We use all the data we have for a customer and allocate the overdraft proportion based on the customer’s activities, aiming for it not to be a burden to repay,” he said.
Looking forward: Kuda plans to use the funds to build on its new services for Nigeria as well as prepare for a continental expansion. According to Co-founder and CEO Babs Ogundeyi, Kuda aims to build a new take on banking services for “every African on the planet.”
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Ethiopia plans to reopen bidding for second telecoms licence
Looks like MTN’s wish is about to be granted.
Ethiopia has announced it will reopen bidding for the second telecoms licence. The good news here is that it has upgraded the licence to include a mobile money licence.
Remind me, how did we get here?
In May, we announced that Ethiopia’s telecoms licence was awarded to a consortium including Safaricom and the UK’s Vodafone. MTN lost out on the bid for the second license. It’s not clear why but we know that the winning team bid $850 million while MTN’s bid was $600m.
Why bid that low?
In the words of MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita, “We were particularly focused on the lack of mobile money in the licencing regime, and there were some issues around how the telco constructs would be accommodated within Ethiopia. We certainly priced for those things and near-term risks that we saw, and we felt that the financial bid there was appropriate.”
Sounds like the absence of a Mobile Money licence affected their bid?
Yes, the Ethiopian telecom licence didn’t include a mobile money licence as state-owned Ethio Telecom recently launched a mobile money service called telebirr.
With the inclusion of a mobile money license in this bid, MTN which has earlier indicated that it’ll bid again, is a step closer to gaining entry into the Ethiopian market.
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Bolt raises €600 million ($712m) as it expands across Europe and Africa
Bolt, the ride-hailing and mobility startup, has raised €600 million ($712m) in a round that pushes its valuation to over €4 billion ($4.75b).
The Investors: Bolt secured investment from Sequoia, Tekne, and Ghisallo, alongside existing investors G Squared, D1 Capital, and Naya
How’s bolt doing: According to Bolt, it now has 75 million customers across the markets it is active in. It currently operates across 45 countries in Europe and Africa, offering ride-hailing services, car-sharing, and e-scooters. For Bolt the ultimate goal is to replace private cars. “Our mission is to replace the private car,” CEO and Founder Markus Villig said.
Similar to its rival Uber, it recently launched takeaway delivery division Bolt Food and Bolt Market, which allows customers to order groceries from home. Bolt appears to be fashioning itself as a ‘super app’ for transport and deliveries.
Big Picture: This round has given Bolt more firepower to expand across its different markets and verticals, even as it faces fierce competition from rivals like Uber, Glovo, and Deliveroo.
You probably didn’t know this, but in 2020, the number of times Nigerians searched for “data science’ on Google doubled that for ‘software engineering’.
Google trends show that this popularity began in 2019, and today more young people are looking in and out of the country for opportunities that can help them build the skills they need.
One of such opportunities is the Digital Explorers programme which is funded by the EU. Through the second cohort of the programme this year, 11 female data scientists have secured skills enhancement training and internship opportunities in Lithuania, one of the world’s fastest-growing ICT markets.
Upon completing the programme, participants will also be supported to get employment opportunities with Nigerian companies.