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Happy salary week 🎉

If you’re looking for something nice to spend your salary on, the $3,500 Apple Vision Pro should be off your list—and not just because it’s above your pay grade 😬.

Pre-orders for the Vision Pro are sold out. The company has sold over 200,000 of its niche MR headsets already, and some analysts predict it could sell over 500,000 pieces before the year runs out. 

If this teaches you anything other than how FOMO works, it should tell you that some of your friends are lying about not having any money. 

Mobility

SafeBoda to relaunch in Kenya

SafeBoda drivers
Image Source: SafeBoda

SafeBoda is coming back to Kenyan roads. 

Per BenjaminDada, the ride-hailing startup is set to make a return to Kenya on February 4 after a three-year hiatus. SafeBoda paused its operations in the country due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some experts also attribute SafeBoda’s exit to increasing competition from established startups like Boltboda, uberBODA and Juuboda. 

SafeBoda has yet to present a reason for its return, however, it’s in for some feisty challenge. The startup now has to win over its previous riders who have now joined its competitors. Before shuttering its operation in Kenya, SafeBoda reportedly had over 4,000 riders. It is unclear if SafeBoda has gotten regulatory approval to resume operations from Kenya’s transport regulator, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Zoom out: Following its departure from Kenya in 2020, the ride-hailing startup also left Nigeria in 2022. It, however, doubled down on its Ugandan market introducing new services like electric bikes, trip insurance, and SafeCar, its car-hailing service. It remains to be seen if Safeboda has the same play in mind for its Kenyan renaissance.

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Fintech

Zilla’s interesting BNPL lessons

Globally, buy-now-pay-later is a huge phenomenon. Klarna, one of the leading startups offering BNPL services, is valued at $6.7 billion and in 2022, the value of all items customers used Klarna to pay for was $83.7 billion. 

Yep, let that sink in. 

In Nigeria, while we’ve seen fintechs offer BNPL, we’ve not seen a lot of data that helps us understand how customers use the service. 

In the last three years, startups like CDCare, Carbon Zero and Zilla have been leading the charge to convince Nigerians to pay for items installmentally instead of putting down huge upfront payments. 

It feels like a no-brainer that people would love this service. Yet, our exclusive reporting today on Zilla, a BNPL service launched in 2021, suggests that there may be cultural problems slowing down the adoption of BNPL by customers. 

At least, that’s what the company thinks. And that’s why the company is pausing its BNPL offering. “One of our biggest challenges has been that a lot of people don’t understand how credit works and think it is about owing people,” one employee told TechCabal. 

However, some merchants who allow their customers pay with Zilla have an altogether different theory. One vendor, for instance, believes repayment periods of two to four months don’t work for a lot of customers. When people buy expensive items, they want to stretch the payment for up to a year.

It may very well change the way we think about offering credit and asset financing. 

Go deeper.

Secure payment gateway for your business

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Fintech

Interswitch buddies up with OPay

Nigerian fintech heavyweights Interswitch and OPay have partnered for the launch of a new payment gateway.

What payment gateway? Stylised as “Interswitch Payment Gateway (IPG)”, the feature will allow OPay users to make online payments. This simplifies online payments for millions of OPay users, who were previously limited to cards, bank transfers, or QR codes. The new collaboration will allow users to make purchases online and get debited through their OPay wallets.

Why does this matter? The new feature, which presents a more seamless way to make online payments, opens up an avenue for increased online purchases. Currently, over 200,000 businesses transact on the Interswitch platform daily, and a synergy withOPay’s 30 million registered users and 100,000+ merchants will boost Interswitch’s numbers. 

OPay’s registered users and merchants also provide additional revenue streams for Interswitch whose estimated annual revenue is about $313.6 million per year. The move also signals a potential market expansion for Interswitch, which is dominant in traditional card payment processing and merchant acquisition in Nigeria. 

Zoom out: This is not the first synergy between fintech giants in Africa. In 2006, Kenyan Mobile payment platform, M-Pesa paired up with Equity Bank’s extensive branch network to allow for seamless transaction of funds between users. Both players saw significant growth and solidified their dominance in the Kenyan financial landscape.

Introducing Transfers to bank accounts in Ghana

Paystack merchants in Ghana can now send single and bulk transfers to Ghanaian bank accounts from the Paystack Dashboard and via API. Learn more →

Internet

Zambia upgrades communication towers to 3G and 4G

Zambia’s communication towers are receiving a 3G and 4G makeover.

The Southern African country has commenced the upgrade of 87 communication towers in its northern region—Muchinga province—from 2G to 3G and 4G networks. 

Per Felix Mutati, minister of science and technology, internet access improved by 5% in 2022, reaching 58% by 2023. This upgrade will bring better and faster mobile internet and social media access for many residents who don’t have internet access. access.

Beyond the North: In sync with Zambia’s current network upgrade, recent reports highlight a surge of active internet users, climbing from 10.4 million in 2021 to 11.1 million, representing a 6.73% growth in 2022. The surge coincides with MTN’s launch of 5G in January 2022 and Airtel Zambia securing an additional 60MHz spectrum across the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands in October 2022.

While the government has not mentioned what Zambia’s upgrade will cost, Uganda’s 2023 5G rollout offers a glimpse into potential expenses. MTN Uganda invested UGX 95.4 billion (US$25.4 million) to upgrade their 4G network to 5G, starting with specific locations in Kampala.

Zoom out: Although the allure of 5G is undeniable, Zambia’s network upgrade from 2G to 3G and 4G suggests that a portion of the country’s population, particularly in rural areas, still lacks access to basic 3G connectivity. Prioritising these technologies ensures they’re not left behind in the digital age and lays the groundwork for future 5G adoption.

Energy

South Africa’s EV Charge

X owner Elon Musk is not keen on bringing his companies home. Over the weekend, the Tesla founder reiterated a statement he made five years ago: Tesla isn’t bringing its vehicles to South Africa anytime soon. Musk’s renewed criticism of South Africa stems from its car import taxes, which can reach a staggering 45%. 

Teslas are in South Africa, Musk just isn’t setting up shop there. In 2021, cleantech company Rubicon entered a partnership with Tesla to sell EV charging parts. 

While South Africa currently boasts the most advanced e-mobility market in Africa, its EV market share remains small compared to other global markets like the US where Tesla has sold over 500,000 cars since 2022.

EVs are too expensive? South Africa’s minute EV market has one major catalyst: its pricing. EVs cost about six times the amount—$5,700—South Africans spend on cars annually, making EVs potentially out of reach for many. The current most affordable EV in South Africa is GWM’s Ora Cat, which starts at R686,950 ($35,800).

Zoom out: While high import duties cited by Musk may deter Tesla, others see potential in the nascent ecosystem. Zero Carbon Charge, an electric vehicle charging station contractor plans to complete South Africa’s first fully off-grid EV charging station this year. The energy company plans to roll out 100% renewable energy-powered EV charging stations by Q2 this year. 

Similarly, BYD and JAC are set to release cost-effective EVs in the country. Per MyBroadBand, BYD is launching its BYD Dolphin which currently retails for R625,000 ($34,000). Also, Chinese carmaker, JAC, plans to launch the country’s first electrified double-cab bakkie in 2024 with a 400 km range. 

Should Musk reconsider his stance, it remains to be seen if current EV brands can build sustainable momentum.

Start and scale your company on Notion

Thanks to TC Daily, startups can apply to get up to 6 months free, including unlimited AI. To register your interest fill this form here by February 1, 2024.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3

Source:

OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $40,062

– 1.76%

– 7.94%

Ether $2,344

– 2.78%

+ 2.61%

Manta Network

$2.38

– 10.41%

+ 5.03%

Pyth Network $0.38

– 6.43%

+ 4.05%

* Data as of 06:10 AM WAT, January 23, 2024.

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The company behind the $40 billion collapse of Terra, Terraform Labs, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Reuters reports that the company has $100 to $500 in assets and the same amount in liabilities, and is now looking for breathing space to organise its affairs. The filing comes a year after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Terraform Labs’ founder Do Kwon for defrauding investors with crypto schemes. 

A Federal Judge, in December 2023, also ruled that Do Kwon and his company violated U.S. law by failing to register two digital currencies that collapsed in 2022.

Meanwhile, Do Kwon, is presently facing civil and criminal charges in the US, and civil charges in South Korea—with both countries requesting extradition from Montenegro where the founder was arrested in March 2023 after being caught with a fake passport. The founder has extradition requests from both countries but recently agreed to face his charges in the US.

Opportunities

  • Applications are open for the Lagos Innovates x Firstfounders Idea Hub 8.0! a springboard to build a competitive, profitable and game-changing startup. There will be 8 weeks of transformative mentorship, tried-and-tested growth templates, exceptional masterclasses and unparalleled networking opportunities. Apply here.
  • Goethe Institute Studio Quantum has opened applications for its new residency programme in Germany for artists from Nigeria. Throughout the residency, artists will receive invitations to travel to various locations, where they can integrate quantum technologies into the thematic content of their work. These artists are encouraged to create pieces utilising quantum technologies accessed through the cloud. Apply by February 11.
  • Gen F, an initiative facilitated by Founders Factory is set to invest in startups from Africa through its Entrepreneur in Residence program. Selected startups will receive a $250,000 seed funding injection upon successful pitching. Apply here.

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