Everyone falls to peer pressure, even multimillion-dollar companies.
This time, it’s TikTok that’s following the crowd.
Yesterday, the app announced it would be launching “TikTok Now”, a new feature that sends daily notifications that prompts all users to capture photos or 10-second videos with both their front and back cameras.
Sounds similar? It’s because it’s the entire premise of BeReal, a photo-sharing app that sends out notifications at random times to ask users to post photos from both cameras within a two-minute period. BeReal was launched in 2020, but it only rose to prominence this year, garnering over 10 million active daily users last month.
Since it rose, both Instagram and Snapchat have adopted a dual-camera feature similar to BeReal’s.
TikTok is the latest to join the trend with TikTok Now.
Hopefully, TikTok Now will imitate everything but BeReal’s unavailability in African countries.
You’ve probably heard people speaking about “The Merge” over the last few weeks.
Well, it’s now done and dusted.
Yesterday, a massive overhaul of the second-biggest blockchain ethereum—not to be confused with the cryptocurrency ether—was completed.
Prior to The Merge, ethereum, like bitcoin, was run under a complex mechanism called proof-of-work where crypto miners use high-powered computers to solve complex problems. Now, ethereum has been moved to proof-of-stake, a new mechanism that cuts out crypto miners and requires very little energy.
How does this concern you? Well, it’s good for the environment which is good for you. Mining crypto takes a lot of energy; for example, operating and mining bitcoin globally is estimated to consume as much as 127 terawatt-hours (TWh), a little more than the annual electricity consumption of Norway.
Ethereum, on the other hand, uses 112 terawatt-hours per year, and The Merge will reportedly cut down this consumption by 99.95%.
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RIDE-HAILING OPERATORS FACE REGULATORY HURDLES IN KENYA
Kenya is driving its ride-hailing operators crazy.
In a few weeks, Kenya’s National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will enforce a regulation that caps commission for all ride-hailing companies in the country at 18%.
Why have I heard this before?
Because something similar happened in Tanzania a few months ago.
Earlier this year, Tanzania’s Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA), which regulates the taxi sector, restricted commissions earned by ride-hailing companies from a maximum of 15%.
After the announcement was made, Uber, which charged its drivers a 25% commission, exited Tanzania. Months later, Bolt toned down its offerings, announcing that it would only provide its services to corporate clients.
How’s Kenya taking the news?
For operators like Bolt and Uber, it’s bad news. This time, however, Uber is choosing fight instead of flight. Last week, TechCrunch reported that the company is contesting the regulation with an appeal to the Supreme Court to nullify the decision.
Uber says the regulation is not only unconstitutional and discriminatory, it also discourages foreign investments. Bolt is keeping mute.
For local ride-hailing companies, however, the regulation couldn’t have come at a better time.
Little, for example, has taken the opportunity to announce itself and its 15% commission offer. CEO Kamal Budhabhatti has stated that his company is fine with the regulation as it creates fair ground for local startups that can’t offer incentives like discounts because they already charge low-commission fees.
ADOBE WILL ACQUIRE FIGMA FOR $20 BILLION
Image source: Stack Diary
In not-so-surprising news, tech behemoth Adobe Inc has acquired its biggest competitor, Figma, for $20 billion.
Early yesterday morning, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that Adobe was nearing a deal to acquire Figma.
Side bar: Just in case you don’t know, Adobe and Figma are software tools that help designers and creators bring imaginations to life. While Adobe—founded in 1982— is an enterprise behemoth software that offers various products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro (a tool used to edit many Marvel Movies), Figma is a web app founded in 2016 that offers design software.
According to Figma, the deal has been in the works for 10 months and “is a huge opportunity to accelerate the growth and innovation of the Figma platform with access to Adobe’s technology, expertise and resources in the creative space.”
When the news was released many users were concerned. Why? Figma offers excellent design software with a freemium plan; it’s free for individuals and small teams, a good catch compared to Adobe’s seven-day-only free trial plans.
Also, Figma is also web-based which means designers can access it and their designs on any device with a browser. On Adobe, designs have to be in the cloud and devices must have the app before any designs can be accessed. As Big Cabal Media’s head of design Dumebi Iwuchukwu said to TechCabal over a chat, the basis of users’ concern is that the acquisition would see Figma abandon its community and freemium-based models, and adopt Adobe’s aggressive monetisation style.
To this, Figma CEO Dylan Field stated that the team will remain committed to keeping Figma running autonomously. The CEO also announced that the company had no plans to change Figma’s pricing.
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This week, Kenyan-based insurtech company Turaco raised $10 million in a Series A equity round led by AfricInvest (through the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund) and Novastar Ventures. Other participating investors include Enza Capital, Global Partnerships, Zephyr Acorn, Operator Stack, Asi Ventures Limited, and Push Ventures.
Here are the other deals this week:
Kippa, a Nigerian financial management app, raised $8.4 million in an undisclosed round. Participating investors include Goodwater Capital, TEN13 VC, Rocketship VC, Saison Capital, Crestone VC, VentureSouq, Horizon Partners and Vibe Capital.
Nigeria’s blockchain payment startup, Bitmama, raised $1.65 million in an additional round of funding, bringing its total pre-seed round to $2 million. This new round includes investors from its initial round as well as new investors. These include Tekedia Capital, GreenHouse Capital, ODBA, Five35 Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, Enrich Africa, Thrive Africa, Angellist Ventures, and angel investors including CELO founders: Rene Reinsberg and Marek Olszewski, and Honey Ogundeyi.
BusyMed also raised an undisclosed amount from Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs Africa (E4E Africa).
If you haven’t signed up to attend #FOC2022, what are you waiting for?
At this year’s Future of Commerce 2022, our conversations will centre around ‘money on the streets.’
More than 30 business leaders and experts will discuss how innovation in payments, social media, and logistics are powering Africa’s commerce. We will discuss the current state, challenges, and solutions, from the key players in the commerce ecosystem.