Jumia is looking to deal with fraud and loses, jumps into the ring with Paylater, RenMoney to start giving out loans

It’s no secret that Jumia is struggling to turn a profit; this was apparent during its last earnings call. Since its launch, it has burnt through more than a Billion dollars in a bid to dominate e-commerce in Africa.

JumiaPay, the payment arm of the company, which has been growing over the years, looks like a good candidate and channel for growth. During the earnings call, the CEO mentioned that it will be spun-off as an independent firm to enable it to take advantage of the growing Fintech sector across Africa. They recently posted on their website looking for a loan officer to join the payment team. This product will help give loan to the merchant in its marketplace to enable them to increase inventory and improve sales. The consequence of this is that they will have improved revenue in the coming quarters.

According to the job post;

“Our loan officer will assist in the development of Jumia Lending in Kenya by presenting our solution to our sellers. He/she will be helping our sellers to apply for a loan, and with the help of the loan officer will review the data collected and the applications. The loan officer will be part of the JumiaPay team in Kenya and work side by side with the loan officer,”

The candidate will work from Kenya, which has a more evolved Fintech than other areas in Africa. It will be a testbed for other Fintech products the company will launch in the nearest future.

What does this mean for the space?

Fintech is growing aggressively across Africa, Nigeria and Kenya are the hottest spots for the sector. From Paylater, to RenMoney, Branch and other loan platforms, the fight just got bigger. This product should be an easier sell than others, given that the company has live data about the customers’ sales numbers from the platform this should help them accurately predict revenue and the merchant’s ability to pay back.

Xenophobia Retaliations: MTN Nigeria Share Price Suffers Fluctuation

Due to the ongoing xenophobic attack against Nigerians in South Africa, there have been violent retaliation attacks against South African companies in Nigeria – MTN, Shoprite, and MultiChoice (Dstv).

Currently, these hostilities have led to reports of vandalism in and shut down of MTN outlet, Shoprite malls, and DSTV offices in Nigeria. Following these violent xenophobia reprisals, there appear to be fluctuation in MTN Nigeria’s share price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

On Tuesday, MTN opened with a share price of $0.38 (NGN 138.5), but during the course of the day, it gained 1.08%, closing trading at $0.4 (NGN140) per share. From Monday when news of the xenophobic attacks hit social media to Tuesday when the reprisal attacks started, the total number of trades on MTN stocks surprisingly went up from 1.8 million to 3.49 million.

MTN is a telecommunications giant in Nigeria with a 52.6 million Internet users, and a 65.26 million GSM subscribers. This share price fluctuation is coming few days after MTN win the tough battle with Dangote Cement on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

MTN Nigeria listed on the NSE in May with a market capitalisation of NGN1.3trillion, with a NGN782 billion margin between Dangote Cement. However, at the end of trading on August 19, MTN overthrew Dangote Cement as its market capitalisation stood at NGN2.82trillion as against Dangote Cement’s NGN 2.81 trillion.

However, as of today, the NSE ranks MTN as one of the top 5 decliners. Though it closed at NGN140 yesterday, it is now back to NGN 138.05, with a -1.39% negative change.

Given the pivotal role that MTN plays in the Nigerian economy, we can only wait to see how the telecom industry and the stock will far once the xenophobic dust settles.

 

Wallets Africa wants you to ditch your business bank account

 

Ever put together the cost of making payments from your corporate bank account?

Founded in 2016, Wallets Africa is a Nigerian fintech startup that is working to make banking in this digital age as seamless as possible.

It allows people to send money, receive money, and make payments using phone numbers around Africa. The company’s goal is to give its customers a unique and improved transaction experience.

Two days ago, on 2nd September, the company, the Co-Founder and CEO of the company, John Oke, took to his Twitter page to announce the launch of a new product that will further help the company achieve its goal. He said,

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to allow businesses enjoy modern internet banking just like our customers. I’m excited to announce the launch of Business Wallet Accounts on @walletsafrica. businesses.wallet.africa.”

“It’s the easiest way to manage bulk payouts, make expense payments and perform transfers via API. Startups that you love … already use their business @walletsafrica account to manage day to day business internet banking operations. Request access businesses.wallet.africa.”

In an interview with Venturehunt, the company disclosed that the name of the product is Wallets for Businesses.

What is the process of opening Wallets for Business?

To open a Wallets for Business account, you have to request access to the Wallets for Business website. Your business has to be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission and have an RC number.

How is this different from normal banks?

Wallets For Business is really easy to set up and devoid of the typical bank charges that corporate customers are used to. This is mainly because Wallets Africa is not a bank, but a built relationship with banks to offer better experiences to our customers.

How are your charges different from the current bank charges?

All bank transfers on Wallets go for as low as N25 and if you’re sending to a Wallets account, the transaction is done for free.

How long will it take before this product is open to the public?

We will be open to the public soon but we’re currently running a closed beta where people can request for access to start using it.

Do you have a banking license, and will the businesses receive a bank account number?

We’re currently using Providus Bank and all businesses will receive a bank account number.

Can Wallets For Business be used to handle employee payments?

Yes, it can. It comes with the bulk transfers option that allows the user to transfer money in bulk by integrating with Google sheets. All you have to do is input the account details into a google sheet and you’re good to go.

Will there be a corporate expense ATM card?

Yes, there will. We’ve started testing.

Basically, it will allow businesses to manage bulk payouts, make expense payments, and make transfers.

Even more, it includes a feature that will allow companies to link their business account with Google Sheets and perform bulk transfers to bank accounts.

What is New in Gokada Following the Relaunch

Gokada, the pioneer motorbike hailing service in Nigeria, resumed its operations in Lagos, after going on a two-week suspension. The company went on a break on August 14, 2019, following the CEO, Fahim Saleh’s poor experience on a bike, which opened his eyes to the need to improve safety standards and skills of the firm.

Now, the question on the minds of Lagosians is, has anything truly changed in Gokada’s operations?

According to the company, in the two weeks it spent on break, it has upskilled existing and newly engaged drivers called GPilots in advanced knowledge of defensive driving behaviours for enhanced safety, GPS navigation, and optimised customer delivery.

These riders graduated from their training on Monday, August 26, 2019, and they resumed operations on Tuesday, August 27.

Here are some of the things that have changed about Gokada’s operations

Better-Equipped Drivers and New Motorcycles

As the CEO promised, Gokada has introduced new motorcycles  and better-equipped drivers who have received extensive training in safe driving standards, GPS navigation, and customer service.

There is a unique code printed boldly on each new bike and helmet, and a Gokada rider claims that it helps customers commend, report, or give general feedback about the rider. However, currently, it is still difficult to get the services of a GPilot, as only a few bikes are operational on Lagos roads.

Bluetooth Helmets

Besides upgrading the skills of riders and acquiring unique TVS motorbikes, the brand has also fitted its drivers with Bluetooth enabled helmets allowing for better seamless communication and navigation experience.

The GPilots were trained on how to effectively use Google Maps for navigation, and the Bluetooth helmets allows them to make calls without having to look at their phones and also use the voice feature of Google Maps for bike navigation.

Speaking on this, Saleh said that the company has always prided itself on setting the standard in the market for safety and service.

“Hairnets, DOT-certified helmets, extensive training – these are all reasons safety on our bikes have been so consistent and how we were able to convince many to give this new-age bike taxi a shot … We took the risk to pause for a moment and improve on that template to provide our customers with exceptional service at scale.”

Ayodeji Adewunmi, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of the company, stated that Gokada 2.0 is all about unflinching commitment to customers, ensuring that now is an excellent time to use the Gokada services. He also said that Gokada would be surprising several of its users with gifts, and one lucky passenger will be receiving an iPhone X.

However, some recent users have complained that they still experienced inaccuracies with the arrival time of the rider, and that some GPilots are not paying strict attention to the Google Maps for navigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jumia and Techpoint to host NBA Superstar Investor, Andre Iguodala, in Nigeria

Jumia in conjunction with Techpoint would be bringing Andre Iguodala to Nigeria for an interactive session with some techpreneurs on September 11th 2019.

Andre Iguodala is an American Basketball Player and Silicon Valley Investor, with investments in Facebook, Twitter and Tesla.

Even more, he is a member of the Jumia board; he joined the Jumia Board of Directors earlier this year as an ambassador, charged with promoting business development and technology in Africa.

Themed “Moving from Zero to Growth”, the aim of the interactive session is to address issues around funding and investment for local startups.

Andre is to lead the session, sharing his experience on how he has built his portfolio as an investor, and also offer insights on how local founders can successfully position their business for growth.

If you are a founder, local investor, hub owner or accelerator, then this interactive session is particularly for you. However, though the attendance for the event is free, Jumia and Techpoint  would be largely  involved in selecting those eligible to attend.

The session begins by 12:00 pm, on September 11, and the event venue will be communicated to shortlisted applicants.

If you are interested in attending this session, follow this link to register.

 

What Really Happened with the Jumia Internal Fraud?

Yes, this has been a question on the minds of several Nigerians. How could the largest e-commerce company in Africa suffer internal fraud amounting to $17.5 million?

On the 21st of August, Jumia Technologies announced its financial results for the quarter that ended in June 30, 2019. It was revealed at this Q2 2019 report that the company suffered some internal fraud relating to its sales and orders.

It disclosed that it recently uncovered instances of improper orders placed and subsequently cancelled on its marketplace platform wrongly inflating its order volume. The implication of this is the cancelled orders were not recorded as cancelled. Jumia says it is as a result of internal collusion involving members of its JForce (independent sales agents) with some sellers and employees inflating order volumes to earn more commission.

Speaking on this, Jumia Nigeria CEO Juliet Anammah said, “We received information alleging that some of our independent sales consultants, members of our JForce program in Nigeria, may have engaged in improper sales practices… We have terminated the employees and JForce agents involved, removed the sellers implicated and implemented measures designed to prevent similar instances in the future.”

Cumulatively, the improper orders generated around $17.5 million in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) value between the last quarter of 2018 and the first two quarters of 2019, the report shows. In case you were wondering, the GMV is the metric used by e-commerce companies to indicate the total value of merchandise sold throughout the site.

As a result of this fraud, JUMIA stock fell as much as 17.4% during trading on 21 August, 2019.

The first case raised involving the JForce sales team who were allegedly involved in fraudulent sales activities such ss bribing JUMIA employees for positive marketing accounts for 1% of JUMIA’s GMV during 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 he,

Next is the case revolving around orders cancelled before delivery. This particular fraudulent activity amounted to 2% of the company’s GMV in 2018, and 4% of GMV in the first quarter of 2019. JUMIA similarly reported that the “employees” involved have been suspended.

So, basically, when you evaluate the financials and the company’s statement on the fraudulent activities, it is obvious that the JUMIA executives are trying to wash their hands of the fraud, by implying that they had zero idea that such a crime was being committed.

Even if this is the case, shouldn’t these executives be held accountable for incompetence, seeing as it happened under their watch? One can almost say that, considering the huge sum of approximately $18 million involved, the response of JUMIA is lackadaisical. Imagine, till now, no one has been arrested, possibly proving that the employees are not the only ones to be held responsible. The company even when on to say that, “These transactions had no impact on our financial statements.”

Unbelievable!

 

 

Bosun Tijani – The CEO of CC Hub

You should have heard of CC Hub, as they keep making revolution waves in the tech and entrepreneurial space in Nigeria, and Africa at large. Have you ever wondered who the brains behind CC Hub are?

Meet Bosun Tijani, one of the brains behind CC Hub.

Born in 1977, Bosun Tijani is a Nigerian entrepreneur and the CEO of Co-Creation Hub, which he co-founded with Femi Longe in 2010.

Named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Africa by New Africa Magazine, Bosun attended the University of Jos, where he got a diploma in Computer Science, and B.Sc. in Economics; the Warwick Business School, where he got an MSc in Information systems and Management; and the University of Leicester, where he is currently a Postgraduate Researcher in Innovation Systems.

An associate of the Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship, Bosun initiated and received the visit of Mark Zuckerberg for the first time in Nigeria in August 2016.

According to Bosun, his cofounding of CC Hub was fuelled by his quest for a more competitive Nigeria through knowledge application. With a deep sense of responsibility, Bosun together with Longe, took on a challenge of building a platform capable of spotting and supporting smart Nigerians to build a future of collective desire.

Funded by Google, Omidyar Network,and  Sainsbury Family Trust, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria Ltd operates as a venture capital firm, focusing on educational, health and wellness, digital security, fintech, and governance sectors.

Before this, he worked with International Trade Centre and Hewlett Packard on projects supporting African SMEs to leverage technology to grow their businesses. He later moved to Pera Innovation Network, where he worked as an European Innovation Manager, leading the networking and coordination of leading innovation agencies across Europe.

According to Bosun in an interview with Punch some years back, his passion is not necessarily in mentoring entrepreneurs, but in finding ways to make technology work for the society in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.

Speaking on this, he said, “That is why I have decided to do what I do, which is to find ways in which technology can be useful and one of those would be to find smart people. If my interest is in building technology solutions, obviously, I have to find smart and creative people that will build those solutions. So, find them, support them, invest in them and expose them to people who can help make their ventures grow

 

Andela Launches a Pilot Program in Nigeria for its Talent Marketplace

The African technology company, Andela recently announced the launch of its pilot program in Nigeria to enhance the effectiveness of its talent marketplace.

Andela, an African-based company, focuses on identifying and developing software developers. It launched its operations in Nigeria to help global companies overcome the severe shortage of skilled software developers.

With offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United States, the company aims to solve the technical talent shortage by developing distributed engineering teams with the most talented software engineers in Africa.

Currently, it has hired over 1,000 engineers out of more than 100,000 applicants and become known as the “Best Place to Work in Africa”. Two hours ago, the company took to its Twitter and LinkedIn pages, saying,

“We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a pilot program in Nigeria for our Talent Marketplace to help employers find and hire entry-level software engineers faster. Our pool of Andela Learning Community graduates is now open to technical recruiters”

In a comment under the company’s Twitter page, a follower commented, “Great Development! Does that mean the Andela Fellowship Program is over?”

The Andela Fellowship is a paid, full-time opportunity to advance your career by developing the skills needed to become a full-stack programmer. Participants work on global engineering teams alongside professionals professionals who can mentor them in their career.

Though there is no reply yet, we do not believe that this launch should interfere with the Andela Fellowship Program.

The launch of this program comes eight months after the company raised a $100 million Series D funding round led by a former US Vice President, Al Gore.

It was Andela’s model of promoting distributed teams and remote work that significantly won the conviction of Al Gore’s sustainability-focused Generation Investment Management. So, this launch can be seen as a move towards efficient application of the funding.

Opera-Owned OPay Formally Launches OBus Barely a Week after OTrike

Opera-owned OPay launches OBus, a bus hailing service, last Saturday in Lagos. This launch is coming barely a week after the introduction of OTrike in Aba.

Currently, Opera runs one of the biggest startups in Nigeria, and in its plan to become a multi-service commercial Internet platform, it has added personal loans, tricycle hailing, food hailing and now a bus hailing service to its platform within the past months.

The launch of OBus comes not too long after the launch of OTrike, a tricycle hailing service in Aba. With OBus, OPay appears to be on its way to beat the market dominance odds to becoming the go-to platform in Nigeria for quite a number of services.

As it is still in its Beta phase, OBus is only available in few locations in Lagos State, operating along the CMS-Ikeja routes. You can only access the OBus service using the updated OPay app. According to an OPay staff, “OBus is like normal buses but it is more comfortable and supports cashless payments.”

To pay for bus trips, you have to use an OBus card, it is a QR-enabled card that comes in different denominations — as low as ₦200 ($0.55) and as high as ₦2000 ($5.51). You can purchase the cards at different designated bus stops from OPay agents.

Payments are made by placing the card over a sensor reader inside the bus. The sensor then reads the ticket barcode which was generated through the mobile app before the trip and withdrawal will be made immediately.

An OBus Card can be used for multiple trips until the credit is exhausted. Alternatively, payments can also be made through the OPay wallet, as with other OPay services.

One can only wonder what line of service the Norway-based company will go into next, and its next product line, given its heavy $50m funding. Perhaps, this is a means of proving to investors how effectively the recent funding is being utilised.

Regarding concerns about his company’s speed of product and services expansion, the OPay staff explains it away as a means of testing new waters.

“I admit that OPay is moving very fast. However, I believe we will learn from experience, just like Gokada which is having its share of challenges already.”

 

 

Elegbe: Financial Inclusion, Elections and Technology in Nigeria

Last week in New York, Verve, the 11-year-old Pan-African payment card brand owned by Interswitch, extended its reach to countries outside Africa to allow users make transactions in 185 countries around the world. Verve in partnership with Discover Global Network, a leading US card platform, released the Verve Global Card which allows for international and cross-border transactions.

In a recently conducted interview with thisdaylive, Mitchell Elegbe, the Managing Director of InterSwitch Group, spoke on the new Verve Global Card as the evolution of financial inclusion in Nigeria, and went on to discuss how the adoption of technology can change the outlook of the electoral system in Nigeria.

Accessing the financial inclusion journey in the country, Elegbe opined that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented lots of “improvement and new policies” towards achieving the financial inclusion targets in the country. As an instance, he mentioned the Payment Service Banks (PSBs), which is targeted at mobile network operators (telcos), because of their wide-reaching distributions.

Speaking on barriers to achieving the financial inclusion targets set by CBN, Elegbe said that for some financial inclusion is unnecessary, because they lack money which is a fundamental requirement for financial inclusion. He also said that, “For some others, it is in and out – as money is coming in, it is going out, so why should I save it. So, what that basically means is that the kind of transaction you need to do for them to be financially included should be an in and out kind of transactions, because they don’t have enough money to save

To buttress his point, he gave a convincing illustration, saying, “there are people that every day they would leave their houses to collect items from distributors, go to the roadside to sell them, like the hawkers in traffic. Those guys live from hand to mouth. If you tell them to bank their money, you would be wasting your time because their bank is in their pocket. The only way they would even listen to you is if you can create a product that looks at what they do. For instance, they always have issues with ‘change’ when someone buys from them in the traffic, that is why you see them always chasing cars. But if you give them a solution that eliminates the need for ‘change’ they would adopt it, because you have solved a problem for them.”

Explaining the root of the current financial inclusion crisis in the country, he said, “But what is happening is that some of us who wear suit and tie are designing products for people who don’t wear suit and tie. We don’t understand their lives and what they need most. But you can see that sometimes if you understand the way people live, it is easier to find solutions for them. So, one of the learnings for me is that if you want to solve my problems, you need to understand my problems and you need to feel it. Once you do that, then it is easier.”

On the issue of election challenges in Nigeria, Mitchell Elegbe claimed that technology is the solution. Speaking on this, he said, “There are easier ways to carry out voting that would not cost the entire country what it cost us today. Today, it is too expensive to conduct an election. So, like you rightly said, we have a combination of technology that can be used. There are people that have registered for national identity card, there are people who have Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s licence and so on.

So, once you know these people, we now have to make the various data base talk to each other, so that you can easily find out if someone has voted using his driver’s licence and he is attempting to vote again using his BVN. So, because you can see that person from the data base, you disallow that. We all know about blockchain. One of the big uses of blockchain is called the Single Source of Truth, which all of us can see what is happening because of the way it is designed. Blockchain will be a good solution to use for elections. The truth is that there is a way to make it happen and there is technology that can be used to make it a lot easier