Gokada Shuts Down, Really? Here are the Reasons for the Shutdown – the Gokada 2.0 Initiative

Yes, the news is true. From Wednesday, August 14th 2019, the motorbike hailing service, Gokada, has partially shut down its operations after the CEO faced “operational” hurdles during a ride. All Gokada pilots are currently off the road and the Gokada app has been shut down.

A check on the Gokada app shows that it is currently undergoing maintenance work. A message on the app reads that, “Gokada is currently undergoing a scheduled relaunch of our service. We will be back online better than ever, August 26th! Sorry for the inconvenience.”

That’s right, Gokada is not shutting down permanently. Also, Gokada is not shutting down according to the perceived reasons of too much competition, insufficient funds, and what have you. According to the CEO and Co-Founder, Fahim Saleh, it all started when he took a trip which was supposed to last 5 mins from the Mainland Bridge to Victoria Island, but turned out to be 15 mins.

While narrating this disappointing experience, he asked some pertinent rhetorical questions, “How could I be the CEO of Gokada, the company that pioneered motorcycle ride-haili9ng in Nigeria and be experiencing this?”

Speaking further, he said, “I was disappointed in Gokada but most of all, I was disappointed in myself. I told the pilot to pull over to the side of the road, I would hop over the median and wait for an Uber. ‘This is what it has come to,’ I thought

The problem Saleh faced is not uncommon among users of the various ride-hailing platforms in Nigeria. Even with the Google Maps for navigation, this problem is still prevalent. What’s more, some drivers are known for the uncouth act of taking longer routes to the destination in a bid to maximise profit.

As a way forward, Saleh, after his criticisms, have said that there will be a change in the perception of bike taxi in terms of convenience, safety and transparency, starting from Gokada. He further announced the Gokada 2.0 initiative which involve;

  • brand new bikes of much better quality
  • Drivers retrained on hygiene, customer service, navigation use and driving
  • New Bluetooth helmets, adhering to maximum speeds and all traffic laws
  • Happier Drivers

Apologising to users on the temporary shutdown, Saleh said, “Big problems require big solutions. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you in the short term. But in the long run, we firmly believe that when you want to get somewhere fast, safe, and hassle-free – there won’t be any other app you’d want to open than Gokada. Stay safe. Stay green

Read Full Story of Saleh Experience

In a medium post, Fahim Saleh narrated his full experience,

“Well, a little over a week ago I had taken a Gokada hoping to avoid traffic to get to the mainland bridge from VI. From there I planned to take a car. I opened the Gokada app, requested, got a pilot, and waited patiently for him to arrive. I called to confirm my location which the pilot said he knew. 5 minutes pass by.. and the pilot had not moved. Another 5 minutes pass and the pilot was going in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes and three phone calls, the pilot finally arrived at which point I’m thinking it might have been faster to take a car all the way through. Upon questioning the pilot, I learned that he didn’t use GPS on his phone because the earplugs he had were broken. Irritated, I motioned him to get started with the ride as I was in a hurry. It should be pretty obvious how to get to the mainland bridge from VI, so I didn’t concern myself with providing him directions but I knew from Google Maps using the best route, it should only take 10–15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, we were still on the road. I hastily took out my phone and did a quick input of the directions to the bridge and realized we were still 15 minutes away. This pilot had taken a long route to get to the bridge, one that would have been completely avoided had he used the map. I motioned that I would direct him based on the Google Maps navigation. Unfortunately, just as we were about to reach the bridge I directed the pilot to a wrong turn which would have required us to turn all the way around. At this point, it was obvious that a car would have been much faster even with all the traffic.”

 

Cowrywise Travel Stole Its Idea from WeMove Rally. Is This True?

       

In a recent Twitter thread, WeMove Rally accused Cowrywise of getting the inspiration for the newly announced Cowrywise Travel from Wemove. Could this be true?

Cowrywise is a secure Nigerian savings and investment platform. Founded in 2017, it is a digital wealth platform for African millennials that helps users to plan, save and invest securely to meet financial goals. The platform allows Nigerians to access mutual funds that invest in companies like Dangote Cement, Total Nigeria, GTBank, Nestle and other high-quality fixed income securities with just NGN100.

Recently, Cowrywise announced the Cowrywise Travel platform which allows users to pay for trips within the Cowrywise app. Users are only required to save daily, monthly or weekly by joining the Cowrywise trip cycle.

The company partnered with high-flying experience creators to launch the “first of its kind” which ensures that users can have their dream vacation. According to a company statement on Twitter on the 5th of August, “the launch of cowrywise.com/travel is in line with a core commitment – to help you invest with a goal in mind. Don’t just invest for investing sake, invest for something beautiful.”

However, on the same day Cowrywise Travel was announced, WeMove Rally tweeted saying that that it inspired the development of Cowrywise Travel. “I’m glad we were able to give them inspiration, but we dey come, we dey pursue money. Make the money land”, said  Celestocalculus, a software craftsman at rally.wemove.co

WeMove Technologies is a transport technology development company with a focus on product design to ease transportation in Africa. It currently runs an online vehicle hire portal, www.wemove.co, where users can find and hire any vehicle they require in Nigeria.

The platform supports vehicle owners listing of their commercially viable vehicles to gain access to a wider niche of customers. The company services include truck hire, van hire, moving, removal, document translation, preview tour, orientation tour, car hire, bus hire and cab services.

In reply, a certain Black Jaguar, speaking for Cowrywise, explained how the plans for Cowrywise Travel has been in works since 2017.

I am quite impressed by the work you do. Given your past experiences, I can understand why you think you inspired this. Now, let me show how this idea evolved. 2017-Early 2018 We realized that a lot of people saved just for the purpose of saving. No solid goals. We decided to help them go further – save for goals. This was the reason we launched Life Goals. Vacation has always been a Life Goal plan on Cowrywise” he said.

He went on to explain the foundation of the travel page in 2017, attached a screenshot, and also explained how they got it to launch in 2019.

Speaking about WeMove Rally, he said that the operations are different from that of Cowrywise Travel.

He further proposed the possibility of a partnership with WeMove, saying, “Honestly, what we should be discussing is a partnership. We have a system that makes payment simpler at no cost to the operators. The more paying clients, the more bus operators need”.

Then, he refuted the claim of WeMove Rally as unsubstantial, and attached a link to a post that indicates that other people can also have a similar idea.

Yesterday, WeMove in reply, explained how it had initiated discussions with CowryWise and how a meeting was held early last year. “And we reached a gentleman’s agreement on what WeMove needed to do, to feed Cowrywise the tours which would be on the app”. He went on to say that he didn’t send an email because of his former relationships with the “bosses” at Cowrywise”.

He concluded by saying, “But I’ve told my people that we won’t make this mistake next time, no matter the relationship.”

A front-end developer, Ibukunoluwa Salau, in a comment on this Twitter thread, mentioned ontripp.com as performing the same operations as  WeMove Rally and Cowrywise Travel.

FCMB Invites Nigerian Agritech Startups to Apply for the FCMB-Wennovation Agritech Incubation Program 2019

The FCMB Agri-Tech Incubation Programme run by Wenovation Hub now has its applications open to Nigerian early-stage agric-tech startups.

The Wennovation Hub Programme is, in partnership with the banking firm, FCMB, targeting innovators across Nigeria who are developing tech-based solutions that can ensure food security in the country. The goal is to help them test and validate their ideas, and also gather their first set of customers. This will be achieved through a combination of financial support, guidance and training.

The applications for this year’s program should focus on four problem areas, namely Production, Input, Processing and Storage, and Marketing and Sales. The Hub is looking for MVP-stage startups with some form of market validation.

The goal of this year’s program is to reveal the root of the pre-defined problem statement to ten teams across Nigeria, by merging an in-depth problem definition strategy with an immersion process.

The program will also support these teams with a demonstrable Minimum Viable Product to build a sustainable business model by taking them through a design thinking workshop, and a 3 weeks incubation program subsequently.

Even more, the program is to support at least two of the top selected Agri-tech startups with seed investments and grants, and offer access to experienced mentors and a cohort structure that encourages peer learning and support. Of course, the attending Agri-tech startups will have several opportunities to connect with potential investors and customers.

In fact, the programme commences with a one-week immersion component where the startups will have the opportunity to interact with community members through Wennovation Hub immersion partners. Startups who complete the immersion programme and other required reporting commitments successfully will be invited to a two-week bootcamp in Lagos.

The program will come to an end in September with a pitching competition at the demo day where two Agri-tech startups win a total sum of N3million in grants. All the successful startups are to be taken into a six-month post-bootcamp aftercare programme.

Click here to apply.

Ride-Hailing Platform, Gozem to Launch Digital Wallet Product and Delivery Services

The on-demand, ride-hailing startup Gozem which operates in Benin and Togo has recently revealed plans to launch a digital wallet and a food and parcel delivery service in 2020.

According to the Managing Director of Gozem, Emeka Ajene, the company is executing the first phase of its strategy, which will lead to the build of a robust ride-hailing business across two to three markets.

The Gozem strategy is an aggressive expansion plan with a product road-map that spans across the top sectors in Africa – transport, logistics payments, and even capital. The company is currently preparing for its second phase which includes the launch of its delivery services and digital wallet across all its markets.

 

About Gozem

The startup, Gozem, was founded by Emeka Ajena and the Singabore-based co-founder, Raphael Dana in 2018. Before co-founding Gozem, Ajene had led business development and operations for Uber Nigeria in 2016.

Gozem is registered in Singapore where it has been operating as a ride-hailing service that relies on auto-rickshaws, motorcycle-taxis and air-conditioned taxis. It only began operating in Benin last month after launching in Togo in 2018.

The plan of this startup is to achieve expansion to 10 other West and Central Africa countries over the next three years. These countries include Gabon, Ivory Coats, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Senegal.

Since its launch last year, Gozem founders have raised over $3 million in funding, and 800 drivers are registered to the platform. It is headquartered in Singapore because the greater percent of its founding teams are located there. The company aims to increase its drivers’ portfolio to 3,000 by the end of 2019, and to 300,000 by 2024. Currently, it has about 130,000 users.

Oluwatobi Boshoro Resigns as CEO of Nigeri’s Top Fintech Company, Renmoney

Exactly ten months after her appointment, Oluwatobi Boshoro has resigned from her position as the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Renmoney Microfinance Bank Limited.

Renmoney MFB disclosed her resignation in a statement signed by the Company Secretary, Igbiwi, on July 29, 2019. According to the statement, the resignation follows a decision to step away while she attends to personal matters.

In the meantime, the statement also claims that Mr Kieran Donnelly would renounce his position as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, and will lead as the Acting Chief Executive Officer, until a permanent CEO is appointed.

Renmoney is a fintech lending company which operates under a microfinance banking license in Lagos, Nigeria. It provides loans to small businesses and individuals through its contact centre, website, branches and agent network.

It also offers market-leading rates on savings accounts and fixed deposits. It is regulated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and is insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Boshoro worked with the Renmoney team to move the company forward by leaps and bounds while she served as the CEO. Under her leadership, the company recorded profit which resulted in their relocation to a bigger office space. It also grew to be known as one of the most popular non-banking lenders in Nigeria.

Renmoney also established mobile experience centres across Lagos state to make its services and operations available to more people. The company has about N170 billion in fixed deposit inflows, and has provided over 200,000 loans to small businesses and individuals in Nigeria.

Mines.io Raised $13M to expand big-data for lending in emerging market

Mines.io uses big-data to help lending companies to identify the risk profile of their customers in Nigeria and other emerging markets. Starting a lending startup in Nigeria is almost as quick as launching a WordPress site, this is made largely possible by Mines.io and other payment infrastructure in the country.

Mines.io has raised 2 seed funds and a debt financing before now and has been able to expand it’s customer base across payment service provider, telco company and lending startups.

With offices in Lagos and San Fransisco, the company is founded by high-flying computer scientists; Ekechi Nwoka and Kunle Olukotun. The funding will help them expand to other emerging market is South East Asia and South America.

Nigerian TaxiTV raised $50k in seed funding

Ever been in an Uber or Taxify and while you are on our ride, you watch TV skits with ads at intervals? Yes, it’s powered by TaxiTV, it’s a digital advertising company helping clients reach upwardly mobile professionals using Ride hailing services.

Raising $50,000 from Beta.Ventures, Collins Onuegbu of Sasware, Sam Senbanjo of Neon Ventures and group of angels it will help the company ramp up its product, expand the fleets it deploys to and also grow its client base.

Currently, with over 200 cars, 10 brands and 20 SMEs, we hope to see them accelerate this in coming months. The sector seems really exciting, executing this will help them take control of the market and probably take on other outdoor digital advertising startups.

 

Devjobs.ng launches to provide one stop site for all developer jobs in Nigeria.

We received a press release today, from DevJobs.ng. We have been following the growth of tech and developers in the country and thought this is a welcome development.

We estimate that close to 50 thousand new developers will join the labour market by mid-2019 and a job discovery platform is just a way to go!

Full Press Release Below

Introducing DevJobs.ng; One stop location for all tech jobs

Today, 12th July 2018, Devjob.ng a Lagos, Nigeria based startup as launched! The goal of the site is to aggregate and disseminate developer jobs in Nigeria.

Why DevJobs

Since last year, we have witnessed a massive increase in young people learning how to code, attending tech meetups and also sharing their success stories. However, countless companies still find it hard hiring developers. Comes Devjobs, our goal is to help companies find developers out there and also help developers find interesting jobs in the country.

How it works

For companies, all you have to do is to sign up on the site, and post jobs easily. The site is launch with job posting for free but plans to charge a token for every job posted. The verified jobs will be sent daily to developers email and they can click to apply. The company has the freedom to review, shortlist and invite qualified candidates for an interview.

For developers, after sign up, they are required to set up their profile which contains their skill-set, work experience and upload their CV. Once they find an open that matches their skills, they are free to apply for the job. When a developer is accepted by a company, he gets an email for a follow-up interview to complete the hiring process.

To get started, log on to devjobs.ng and enjoy the benefit this brings.

FirstBank Launches Digital Lab to Support Nigeria’s Fintech Space.

Nigeria’s tier-1 financial institution, First Bank of Nigeria Plc has launched  its first digital lab in the country. The lab is established to support the Nigerian Fintech space by providing faster and more efficient banking products to its customers. The digital lab was launched on Thursday 5th of July, 2018 at “Yabacon Valley”, yaba, Lagos mainland.

The digital Lab is designed to serve as a platform for FirstBank to collaborate and advance with the rapidly evolving  FinTech. The new digital Lab empowers the bank to champion innovation, create new digital products, enhance existing products and processes, strengthening its capabilities and competitiveness within the industry.

There is a section of the Lab meant for collaboration with FinTechs and non FinTech start-ups. Also, there is an area for tech tops, where key industry players from the FinTech community would be invited to give insightful talks on pressing issues in the financial technology space in Nigeria.

“Technology is disrupting the entire financial market especially the digital one, our role as the oldest, the largest bank and the bank that has always continuously reinvented itself is to ensure that we are at the fore front of those people disrupting the industry”, Adesola Adeduntan, managing director/CEO said at the official launch of the digital lab.

Responding to Journalists on the implication of the digital Lab on the economy, Adeduntan said, when the velocity and the efficiency of the market is improved, the economy has a whole benefit, more people would get employed, the money in the system would circulate faster and in a more efficient manner.

The FirstBank Digital Lab will bring together technologies and methods to transform ideas into feasible solutions in record time.

Speaking to journalist at the event, Chuma Ezirim, group head, e-business, called on many young Nigerians who are very good in computer science or engineering who have ideas to come and work with the bank to get those ideas into a reality.

Lola Ekugo, head, digital Lab said, “here in First Bank customers are first and we intend to carry that out here in the lab.  For every product we design and process, we want to ensure that we connect directly with our customers, so from time to time we will invite some customers here for key things like focus groups. We have prototype of projects and products that we want to do. We want to ensure that the customers’ voice is in each and every thing that we do within the bank”.

Apply: Wells Fargo Accelerator Program for FinTech Startups 2018

About the Program:

Wells Fargo is granting investments opportunities for up to $1,000,000 to FinTech startups and promising minority stake in the invested company.

The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is a hands-on program designed to advance startups that create solutions for enterprise customers — inside and outside the financial industry. The annual boot camp is looking to work with firms that are interested in breaking into the Fortune 500 market or financial services vertical market, have an innovative product that is demonstrable, backed by an implementation, and possibly, have existing customer experience.

Eligibility:Entrepreneurs from around the globe who have innovative ideas can apply. Ideally, you should be a startup targeting large enterprises as your ultimate customers.

Number of Awardees:

6 investments in 5 companies.

Duration of Program:

 6 months.

Value of Program:

Up to $1,000,000 in investment along with support in the following areas.

Accelerator: The program has a vested interest in your company’s success. It is primarily to encourage innovation, so Wells Fargo will maintain only a minority equity stake in your company.

Resources: Our intensive program helps companies understand what it takes to become part of the corporate stack. After the program, companies may continue to work with us on proof of concepts across different business lines within Wells Fargo.

Application Process:

  • Interested startups should apply here.
  • The review process includes technical and executive reviews. First stage review results are typically emailed 5-10 days after an application period ends.
  • After a company is selected, one or more advisors are assigned to collaborate on developing the partnering strategy with Wells Fargo and if applicable, assist in the execution of proof of concept projects.
  • Startups will be provided with networking opportunities and connect them with industry leading experts, mentors, executives, and venture capitalists.

This Article was first posted here