Chipper Cash Expands to Nigeria and Hires Abiodun Animashaun of Gokada

The San-Francisco based cross-border African startup, Chipper Cash has expanded to Nigeria. It further strengthened the move by opening an office in the capital city, Lagos, and hiring Abiodun Animashaun, cofounder and CFO at Gokada, the ride-hailing startup based out of Lagos, as County Manager.

Chipper Cash is a fintech firm involved in providing a platform for cross border payments. Founded by a Ugandan (Ham Serunjogi) and a Ghanaian (Maijid Moujaled), both of whom had arrived in the United States as students, Chipper Cash has grown at a steady clip and currently boasts as many as 70,000 users.

With offices in Ghana and Kenya, the firm is expanding to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, to offer its Peer to Peer payment service and app. It is doing this in partnership with PayStack—the payment gateway company, as confirmed by Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade.

Though the company only fully started October last year 2018, its plan to move to Nigeria’s major economy and scale digital finance applications in the budding Fintech space in the country indicates that its product has got a degree of traction.

Further testifying to this is the fact that as many as 70,000 active users on its no-fee, P2P, cross-border mobile-money payments product. Plus, 250,000 transactions have been completed in the platform since it went live.

Speaking on the rationale behind expanding to Nigeria, Ham Seunjogi, one of the co-founders of Chipper Cash, said,

Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa. Its fintech industry is one of the most advanced in Africa, up there with Kenya and South Africa.”

“I think for any company doing fintech across borders, that is looking to be successful in Africa, it’s imperative that you have a presence in Nigeria.” he further said.

Besides Animashaun, Alicia Levine is another senior figure who is leaving and African tech venture to join Chipper Cash. Alicia Levine will leave Nairobi based internet hardware and service startup BRCK to become Chipper Cash’s Chief Operating Officer, according to Chipper Cash CEO Ham Serunjogi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carbon and Appzone Partner with Open Banking Nigeria

The Nigerian Fintech companies, Carbon and Appzone, have announced a partnership with the non-profit, Open Banking Nigeria.

Formerly known as Paylater, Carbon is Nigeria’s leading digital financial platform that gives quick loans at low interest rates, without the need for guarantors or collateral. Appzone is Africa’s leading provider of integrated banking and payment software platforms to financial institutions.

Recently, these two top financial technology (fintech) players respectively announced their collaboration with non-profit Open Banking Nigeria, joining  industry players like Paystack, Flutterwave, Interswitch, Ernest & Young, Fidelity Bank, Global Accelerex, TeamApt, PwC, and Sterling Bank who have partnered with Open Banking Nigeria.

 

With this collaboration with Open Banking Nigeria, the two fintech companies hope to extend the frontiers of innovation, to attain non-financial and non-partisan API standards for financial services in Nigeria.

Even more, the collaboration is expected to advance ongoing efforts by various notable financial industry stakeholders in the country targeted at maximising the rapid increase in digital and mobile payments, with the ultimate consumer-centric objective of meeting yearnings for convenience and flexibility.

The fintech companies, Carbon and Appzone would actively participate in diverse phases of the development of common API standards for Nigeria, testing the APIs for certification, and stimulating the adoption of Open Banking standards across the country.

Speaking on the partnership with Open Banking Nigeria,  Chijioke Dozie, the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of  OneFi, the parent company of Carbon said, “At Carbon, we know that data is more important than oil. We also understand that open banking presents a tremendous opportunity to unlock financial access for millions of consumers and has the potential of transforming the financial services landscape, not only for banks and fintechs but for everyone across the ecosystem,

It follows our innovative leanings as a brand committed to providing credit to the financially under-served and excluded individuals around Africa. We believe that, with Open Banking, we would be able to extend consumer credit to the 40 million unique bank customers across the nation.

We find open banking critical to the future, especially as we support over 300 financial institutions on BankOne, our banking-as-a-service platform.

Our partnership with Open Banking Nigeria also comes as a result of our understanding that in our fast-rising digital world, the use of standard APIs is crucial to empower verified third party players to securely leverage technology. Moreso, the adoption of standardised APIs is known to cut cost, reduce connectivity complications and improve turnaround time.” said Obi Emetarom, Chief Executive Officer, AppZone.

According to Ope Adeoye of Open Banking Nigeria,the collaboration of these fintech companies would, “enable further innovation in our financial services industry where the lack of common API standards currently constitutes a barrier to innovation, especially in the areas of digital payments expansion and financial inclusion.

Open Banking Nigeria was founded in 2017 by a group of industry experts across fintech, banking, and risk management to build a common standard for Open Banking APIs (Application Programming Interface) in Nigeria.

It is tailored for various stakeholders within the financial services sector such as banks, Fintechs, and regulators, working together to build the next generation of API standards for the Nigerian banking and financial industry.

Top Business Grants for Entrepreneurs in Nigeria in 2019

Funding is a critical factor to the success of any startup. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to fund your startup in Nigeria is by applying for business grants. The impressive thing about business grants is that no repayment is required. Yes, you heard that right. With business grants, you don’t need to worry about interest rates, term length, refinancing or APR. You just need to qualify, and then you get “free” money.

The general criterion for qualifying for these funds is to have a business, that is, you must have started something that is providing a solution to a problem in the society. Next, you must have a viable and bankable business plan. You should have a vision, market strategy, and records of your revenue and expenditure.

Here are the top business grants in Nigeria

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEE P): Launched in 2015 by the business tycoon, Tony Elumelu, this programme provides 10,000 USD seed funding for entrepreneurs across Africa, selecting 1,000 entrepreneurs from over 5,000 applicants. If you are in fashion, agriculture, design, ICT, solid minerals, and light manufacturing, among others, you can apply for this funding.

YouWIN Connect Nigeria: The Federal Ministry of Finance offers this program with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship, job creation, and wealth via enterprise education for young Nigerians.

BOI Funds: Recently, the Bank of Industry (BOI) launched a youth empowerment program for young and talented entrepreneurs who have started businesses in various sectors of the economy. Titled the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme, BOI aims to equip young people with the skills and finances to manage their businesses.

Diamond Bank BET Program: The BET (Building Entrepreneurs Today) is designed to serve as a support system for budding entrepreneurs. Fifty entrepreneurs are selected yearly to undergo a six months intensive entrepreneurship training, after which, the top five are awarded financial grants as seed capital

GroFin Fund: The development financier, GroFin, has committed over 500 million USD to funding micro, small, and medium businesses across Nigeria.

 

 

 

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.

APCON Announces Compulsory Vetting of Social Media Adverts before Publication

Yesterday, September 2nd, 2019, the news of the APCON ad regulation hit Twitter Nigeria and caused an uproar.

Established under the now-Advertising Practitioners Registration Act Cap A7 of 2004, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) is the legislative recognition of advertising as a profession in Nigeria, and it is vested with the powers to regulate and control the practice of advertising in Nigeria, in all aspects and ramifications.

Its focus is on its vision of promoting responsible and ethical advertising practice, and acting as the conscience of society in matters of commercial communication and as a watchdog for consumers

According to a released statement from the regulatory body, everyone planning to put out an advert on social media has to ensure that all communication materials are vetted by APCON first before it is exposed to the public.

Yes, you got that right. Essentially, is that before you can post an ad on social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook, the ad needs to be screened by APCON first.

Twitter users reacted in an outrage to this “highly ridiculous” announcement. Here are some of the varying reactions,

Another example of regulatory overreach in Nigeria. These people never get tired. Clueless bureaucrats always want to tell Nigerian businesses what they can sand cannot do.”

“It’s nothing but a shameless revenue drive. The internet is global and APCON’s jurisdiction ends at the Nigerian border. Or are they going to ask foreign companies whose online ads reach us to get approval from them too?”

This is impossible to track. You can’t police the thousands of digital ads that people can create from the comfort of their rooms. You don’t even need an ad agency to do social ads, how will you track these thousands of amateur and technical ad creators? …”

Another Twitter user shared the link to this site, which explain the legalities and processes involved in seeking advertisement approval from APCON.

This is coming just few weeks after the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, announced that the agency will begin to impose value-added tax (VAT) on Internet transactions both domestic and international with effect from January 2020.

Ada Nduka Oyom – Lover of Technical and Non-Technical Challenges

Currently, Ada Oyom is a Software Developer and Developer Relations Ecosystem Community Manager at Google. Ada is a developer with interests in web technologies, and a lover of technical and non-technical challenges. She is strongly passionate about Open Source technologies, and acts as an advocate for open source development in Africa through Open Source Community Africa, her co-funded community for open-source enthusiasts and advocates.

Ada attended University of Nigeria, Nsukka. All through her days in school, she was building and growing in the tech community. Until she graduated, she led the Google developers’ group and Women techmakers chapter for two consecutive years.

After securing her B.Sc, she went on to work with prominent tech teams; she worked as the Community Relations Manager at Findworka, before working as Developer Relations at Interswitch Group, where she worked till just last month when she started her job with Google.

On 14 of August 2019, she took to her Twitter page to announce her new role at Google, saying,

1st day resuming @ Google Nigeria!! Super excited to be coming in as the DevRel Ecosystem CommunityMgr for SubSaharan Africa! Via my role, I would be interfacing w/dev communities, start-ups &tech hubs to grow & manage developer outreach & programs @gdg’s across SSA!

I’m more than excited to take this up & work with the same @gdg’s that facilitated my journey into tech. 5 years ago I was a novice with no experience whatsoever who was spurred to go into tech cause she wanted to make impact & work w/Google. This week it’s becoming a reality!…” She further said.

Oyom is also known for her huge interests in building developer communities and improving developer relations. She writes technical articles and gives speaker talks on technical and non-technical topics.

She participates in matters revolving around Women in technology through her self-founded women in tech organisation: She Code Africa. This platform is committed to improving the Girl tech-education and celebration of code queens in Africa.

It empowers women in tech through the provision of online and offline technical training on web and mobile technologies while offering online mentorship to members looking to improve in various software development and design fields.

Speaking on her motivation, and what started her path into technology, she said, “I have always had a huge interest for all things related to Science and Technology and being the type of person who loves to try out new things and break stereotypes,

 I decided to take it on fully and get my hands dirty with it in my second year in the university through my activities under the Google student club and GDG. The excitement from learning something new, something different, each time, from knowing I could move from being a consumer to a creator with technology  kept propelling me to do more. That was my motivation and still is.

In the days since her tweets, her announcement and tech throwback have attracted over 1,700 retweets and 8,000 likes. She has become an inspiration to many Nigerians, winning their hearts with her inspiring success story.

Carbon Expands to Kenya Chijioke Dozie Discloses

From a tweet from the company’s CEO Chijioke Dozie, it appears that the fintech startup, Carbon (formerly Paylater) is expanding to Kenya.

Carbon is one of Nigeria’s leading digital financial platform that launched two years ago, around May 2017. It gives quick loans to its users without requiring collateral or guarantors.

On Aug 28, 2019, Chijioke tweeted saying,

Looking for a self-starter that can help launch @get_carbon’s operations in Kenya. Local knowledge and experience in financial services/fintech is preferred. @get_carbon is hiring for a Kenya Country Manager! Please see link for more details onefi.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?…

Before this expansion, its presence was in only Nigeria, South Africa,Ghana and Portugal. The startup has been doing quite well since its launch, and this expansion to Kenya, one of Africa’s fast-growing economies, is another step in this direction.

As a matter of fact, it recently secured $5 million debt funding to acquire more customers in the Nigerian market as well as finance its expansion to other markets in Africa.

What’s more, Carbon now functions as a payment solution platform, offering services such as fund transfers and bill payments, going beyond loan offering. This move by the company is mainly as a result of its parent company – OneFi recent acquisition of a payment solution, Amplify.

Recent news around the company revolves around its strange but amazing decision to make its audited financial report open to the public, something that is quite uncommon among private companies in Nigeria.

As part of its commitment to transparency between the company and its customers, and attracting top talents, the company promised to continue publicising audited

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGRIPPLE: A Startup Reducing Farm to Fork Time and Eradicating Food Waste #VentureHuntStartupFocus

Founded by the entrepreneur, Vincent Okeke, a graduate of Philosophy, and a Nigerian passionate about making the community and the world at large a better place, Agriple is an online platform that delivers cheaper, fresher, and traceable farm produce everywhere in Nigeria.

It is developed to directly connect farmers with consumers and off-takers to reduce farm and fork time, increase wealth, and reduce food waste. Speaking on his belief, Okeke said, “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sand of time.

The idea for Agriple stemmed from the fact that most of the food waste from Nigeria and Africa come from post-harvest loss. According to the statistics presented by the startup, each year one-third of all food produced for human consumption – 1.3 billion tons – is lost before it reaches retailers, and this is enough food to feed all the 1.2 billion hungry or undernourished people on the planet.

In fact, statistics presented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) show that the amount of food wasted in Africa is enough to feed 300 million people. As a result, some people have more than enough food to eat, while others suffer from hunger and starvation, further widening the inequality gap, and costing farmers billions of dollars in annual revenue.

So, by improving farmers’ access to market and proving efficient logistics, the company aims to solve this problem by cutting food waste. This will ensure farmers make more money for their efforts, while consumers get cheaper and fresher produce anywhere in the country.

The startup is a registered trademark of AGRICENTA AGRO SERVICES LTD (RC:1569401). It is the winner of Startup Nigeria 2019 (North Central), a Federal Government sponsored Startup 3-month program, designed to provide free entrepreneurship skills training to entrepreneurs and individuals in the country who are solving big problems in a new, better, and cheaper way.

It is partnered with Sterling Bank and Startup Nigeria. This startup is also part of the semi-finalists selected for Pitch AgriHack 2019, an annual competition that awards young entrepreneurs in ICTs for agriculture, supporting them through capacity building and funding to accelerate youth employment and agricultural transformation

To register as a Farmer Partner, or as a Consumer/Buyer Partner, visit agriple.com