9 NOVEMBER, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

There’s a $2 trillion club and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is now in it. 

Yesterday, Alphabet reached a $2 trillion value for the first time ever, joining Apple and Microsoft.

Seems like 2021 is the year companies are hitting the $2 trillion mark. Who do you think is next?

In today’s edition

  • SA, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria win with Google.org’s $25m challenge
  • sUber profitable ventures
  • Pornhub is about to lose access to 55 million viewers


Earlier in March, Google announced a $25 million call for project proposals geared at economically empowering women and girls who were on the losing side of a widening gender gap accelerated by COVID. 

Millions of people lost their jobs due to the lockdown, but women were hit harder with 5.5 million of them affected. That’s almost 1 million more than men. In addition, many more women faced increased responsibilities at home as the lockdown mandated work/school-from-home situations everywhere.

What Google.org did

Considering this, Google.org dedicated the 2021 edition of their annual impact challenge to fighting supporting causes that create economic opportunities for women, receiving over 7,800 applications from NGOs in 160 countries across the world.

Of the 34 selected organizations—all of whom will partake in a four-month accelerator, receive Google.org Fellowships and Google Ad grants—eight are from Africa, with three from Kenya, one from Rwanda and two each from South Africa and Nigeria.

Who’s doing what?

Rwanda’s Project Akilah is helping women in East Africa beecome self-sufficient through a training and job-matching program. 

Kenya’s RefuSHE, on the other hand, is providing a safe haven for refugee women and girls to learn digital skills, get counseling, and access day care.

And with Nigeria’s Women’s World Banking, low-income and underbanked women can get access to digital wallets and loans.

Learn more about the other selected organizations.


It’s been a long time coming.

Last week, ride-hailing giant Uber reported its first-ever quarterly profit since it began operations in 2009. The profit in question though is adjusted profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation

How much profit are we talking about?

Eight million dollars—which is small considering that Uber has burnt through billions of dollars in losses over the years. But when compared to the $625m it lost in the same quarter a year ago, this sure is an improvement. This improvement was as a result of its two main segments, ride-hailing and restaurant delivery, which experienced growth. The company saw 39% more trips last quarter than within the same time last year, and the total value of bookings was up 67%. 

Cost-cutting measures

Achieving this goal of profitability adds a feather in the cap for CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who came in 2017 to clean up the ethical mess left by co-founder Travis Kalanick. 

Since he came onboard, Khosrowshahi has implemented a few measures to set the company on the path of profitability. The company stopped working on its self-driving car project and has abandoned food delivery markets where it was failing to compete. It has also saved money by shifting a large share of its engineering workforce to India. Last year, in the wake of the pandemic, Uber laid off almost 7,000 people and closed offices around the world. 

Without the adjustment in profit?

Despite the adjusted profit being good news, Uber posted a growing net loss of $2.4 billion, driven primarily by a drop in value of its holding in Chinese ride service Didi and stock-based compensation. Didi, which went public in June, saw its market capitalisation drop by billions of dollars after China’s market regulator launched an anti-trust probe.

Zoom out: Uber’s not the only ride-hailing company that declared profit this quarter as its smaller US rival, Lyft, on Tuesday reported its second consecutive quarterly adjusted profit at $67.3 million.


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In the latest news, adult streaming corporation, Pornhub, will be banned from Roku. 

Starting March 2022, Roku will stop streaming porn channels on its platform, cutting off access to its 55 million users. 

Sidebar: Sorry to disappoint Avatar TLA fans, but the Roku we’re highlighting here is the media player which enables users in the US and Canada to stream digital content onto televisions. While the service comes in-built in some TVs, you can also buy Roku devices to stream content with. Think of DStv that is built into TV sets. 

Why’s this happening?

Roku’s move isn’t targeted at Pornhub, though. 

It’s targeted at all the non-certified channels on the platform, including Pornhub and other adult streaming sites like AdultTime and Wicked. Roku already has strict rules against streaming pornography, but they’ve also got a feature that lets developers test out new things on the streaming platform. Using this back door, porn channels pose as developers, build channels and add the channels to Roku users’ libraries. 

Harder and harder

Roku’s new change will take months to effect but it’s still the latest in a string of rigid kickbacks Pornhub is facing. Last month, Mastercard effected a new plan that requires adult platforms seeking to use its payment services to submit consent forms for every single video uploaded on their channels. 

The platform has also reached an out-of-court settlement with victims of a sexual assault scheme who launched a $50 million-plus lawsuit against Pornhub for promoting their videos even after several complaints.

Zoom out: There’s no data on just how many customers Roku or other streaming services route to Pornhub, but there is evidence to show that enough of these streaming services exist for adult sites to choose which they’ll piggy-back off.


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Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is now open for applications to its digital career accelerator programme. 

ReadyforWork is an immersive programme that uses AI and machine learning to equip entry-level job seekers with employment skills. The programme is open to applicants who want to build their careers in finance, digital marketing, and UX/UI fields.

Selected applicants will be enrolled in a six-week course filled with immersive modules and collaborative projects. They will also have direct access to employment upon completion of the course. 

Ready? Find out more here

What else we’re reading

  • Economic sanctions are driving money transfers in West Africa underground. Here’s how.
  • JUMO has raised $120 million to expand into Nigeria and Cameroon to provide longer-term lending options for merchants.


Written by – Timi Odueso & Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku


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