The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Approves the Trial Deployment of 5G Services

NCC, the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria, has recently approved a trial deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in the country.

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made this approval known to the public on Tuesday, August 27th, during his opening remarks at the 1st Digital African Week, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and hosted by the NCC at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Digital African Week, a four-day conference, began on Tuesday, with the aim of allowing all stakeholders in the emerging digital space to deliberate on the future technologies in Africa.

During his speech to the stakeholders at the event, Danbatta acknowledged the evolving trends in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which is giving rise to technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities and communities (SC&C), among others. As a result, he said NCC is rightly positioned to activate trial of 5G deployment in Nigeria.

Commenting on this, he said, “In this regards, we have approved spectrum for the trial of 5G services in the country.” He further noted that this regulatory move is consistent with Nigerian’s Vision 20:2020, which recognises the importance and imperatives of ICT, as part of the “new world order and catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development.

Nigerians are still struggling with the adoption and coverage of 4G LTE, which followed 3G, with a 6% adoption, and 51% coverage as at June 2019.

Yet, the belief is that this 5G improvement will positively impact on the country’s connectivity landscape, providing high-speed, reliable and robust network. It will efficient5ly aid the activities in the country’s multi-billion-dollar growing digital economy.

Essentially, what this 5G trial deployment means is that telecom operators in the country (Airtel, MTN, Glo) will have to upgrade their networks to multi-standard 5G-ready infrastructure.

 

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.

 

Venture Capital Investments in Nigeria

The private sector is the pillar of every economy. Yet, startup companies all over the world face many obstacles to funding, and in Nigeria, these obstacles are compounded by the government’s neglect of the private sector.

Venture Capital is one of the financing options open to privately-owned companies and small businesses. It is a type of private equity provided by venture capital firms interested in investing in startups with high growth potential in exchange for equity or partial ownership of the company.

Venture capital certainly holds the potential to drive economic development in Nigeria. It creates a ripple effect, which improves R&D, promotes innovation, and increases intellectual property assets – which also becomes a source of wealth creation.

Venture capitalists provide not only financing but also mentorship, strategic guidance, network access, and other forms of support.

The funds provided by venture capitalists fill the void created by high bank-lending rates. For instance, how many startups can reach the Nigerian prime lending rate, which according to CBN in December 2018, was 16.17% December 2018. What’s more, most growing companies cannot access public equity funds through initial public offerings because they can’t meet up with the listing requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The frontiers of Nigeria are gradually opening to venture capital investment and responsibility is placed on the Nigerian government to strategically create policies and the right investment environment needed to attract increased funding of the private sector.

Nigeria has attracted a lot of venture capital investments in recent years. Within the period of 2012-2017 alone, Nigeria accounted for 73 percent of the US$10.7 billion value of private equity funding in the West African region.

According to Partech Ventures, a global investment platform for tech and digital companies, $560m was invested in African tech startups by VCs focused on the African market in 2017, with Nigeria startups accounting for 20 percent of the funding.

Though, raising funds from VCs isn’t always a straight path, particularly with their valuations, and terms and conditions, startups using venture capital follow strategies that are more innovative and take shorter time to introduce their products and services to the market.

The provision of funds to start-ups by venture capital companies is an important stage of start-ups life cycle, but these VCs do more than that. Venture capital companies utilise huge part of their resources in understanding new markets and technologies for the investee company, providing effective coaching for startups, and providing an extensive network of contacts to investees.

 

 

Better Days at 9mobile: 9mobile Receives $230 Million Loan from AFC

The Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd., operating as 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications company, has recently been approved for a $230 million loan by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

AFC is a pan-African Multilateral Development Financial Institution established in 2007 to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap, making investments across five key sectors of power, transport and logistics, natural resources, telecommunications and heavy industries.

9mobile made the approval of this loan known on Sunday in a released statement signed by Abdulrahman Ado, its executive director for regulatory and corporate affairs. According to Ado, the company received the loan approval from AFC on Friday, August 23.

Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through $230m super-senior investment,” the financial institution said.

On the use of the loan, the company claims that the funds will be channelled towards innovative product development. The company claims that the loan facility will be divided into two sections, and will be used in repaying historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an internet reserve account and payment towards quick-win CapEx initiatives.

Speaking on this, Nashiru Bayero, the chairman of 9mobile’s board of directors, said, “We can only express gratitude to the AFC for approving this loan facility that would not only jhelp our business sustainability but also grow it to serve our teeming and loyal customers in Nigeria better.

We have completely reviewed our operational, regulatory, financial and technical architecture to ensure we deliver quality services and this facility would go a long way in giving best-in-class services to Nigerians. Our turnaround efforts are well and truly underway. We had promised when we took over that we would justify the confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value Nigerians get for using 9mobile.”

The Chief Financial Officer for 9mobile, Phillips Oki, also said that with the loan facility, 9mobile’s staff, vendors and subscribers can expect better days.

 

 

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

 

Digital Agriculture Platform, Farmcrowdy, Partners with Oyo State Government on $5m Agric Project

Farmcrowdy, the popular Nigerian digital architecture marketing platform, has entered into a partnership with the Oyo State Government to enhance agricultural development in the state.

Farmcrowdy is Nigeria’s first technology-driven agriculture platform, focused on empowering rural farmers by providing them with improved seeds, farm inputs, training on modern farming techniques, and provides a market for the sale of their farm produce, ensuring increased food production and security in Africa.

Since its inception in 2016, the company has empowered over 11,000 small-scale farmers across the country, and their commitment to expand their reach just became even more possible. Less than an hour ago, Farmcrowdy too to their Twitter page, saying,

We are very excited about our partnership with Oyo State and appreciate the Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde @seyiamakinde for partnering with us. We look forward to achieving the milestones we have set together for the people of Oyo State

Farmcrowdy’s tweet was actually under a post by Seyi Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State, where he said,

We promised to explore PPP models to achieve our aim for agriculture. Yesterday, I welcomed the agritech company, Farmcrowdy at the launch of a partnership with Oyo State for agribusiness. I believe the partnership will be mutually beneficial to Farmcrowdy and our people

The present administration in Oyo State is doing everything within means to upgrade the economic status of the state, and agriculture seems to be the route being adopted. Seyi Makinde stated as much during the official launch of the partnership yesterday, on August 26th, which was held at the Golden Tulip, Jericho, Ibadan.

Further speaking on this, the governor said, “During the electioneering campaign, I promised the people of Oyo State that we would have a practical farmer as Commissioner for agriculture and that is exactly what we have done.

“The gap between policy and implementation will be filled effectively. We are not looking at agriculture as just planting and extension work, we are looking at it as a business and that is why we went out to look for the best hands on continent who happens to also be from Oyo state, in person of Dr Debo Akande to drive Oyo state agribusiness venture. He is here now as an Executive Assistant to the governor, so we believe effectively we are bridging the gap.

As he concluded, the governor assured the people of Oyo State that the partnership with Farmcrowdy which totals a sum of $5m would definitely have a positive impact on their lives. He went on to describe the partnership as an agricultural revolution that would grow like wildfire.

To answer questions as to how the funding will be utilised, Onyeka Akuma, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Farmcrowdy, said, “We are investing about $5m dollars in agribusiness in Oyo state within the next three years and connecting not less than 50,000 small scale farmers in the state with solutions to various bottlenecks militating the growth of their farm business. At the end, everyone would be happy with the outcome of the project.

With this partnership, it is evident that the Oyo State government is concerned about the technical, business and management aspect of agriculture, and has decided to leverage the abounding opportunities for growth. This should have been done a long time ago, considering as agricultural products contribute chiefly to the state’s economy.

As this follows the unexpected nomination and appointment of 27-year-old Seun Fakorede as the Oyo State Commissioner of Youth and Sport, one can only wonder at the next revolution fire to be lighted by the iconic Seyi Makinde.

GetHostel Services: A startup helping students, property owners and the young working class, to get accommodation space in Lagos #VentureHuntStartupFocus

GetHostel Services was launched in November 2017 by Okereke Bright and Odunbaku Oluwatimilehin Adigun, students of the University of Lagos.

It started as a real estate agency, but now it has expanded to being a digital and non-digital real estate company that specializes in helping students get the best off-campus accommodation experience close to their institution.

The startup achieves this by employing focused real estate agency, creative property development with consultation, and top-notch facility management.

Its goal is to deliver all-round real estate services to students, property owners and young working class, providing the best off-campus accommodation experience with a solution-oriented approach. Its core values are Quality, Integrity and Customer Care.

Since inception, this startup has successfully catered to over 600 students, helped over 200 students of the University of Lagos get comfortable accommodation and housing. Currently, it manages 5 properties, with 6 full time staff and 15 contract staff on its payroll.

Since August 2018, it has generated over N25 million in revenue.  GetHostel was recently nominated for 25 under by SME 100.  It is working on building a its first two-storey building

Here are some of the things Okereke Bright, one of the co-founders had to say in a recently conducted interview with Venturehunt.

What was your motivation for Starting GetHostel?

I had the motivation to start a real estate agency at a time when I needed accommodation, and I couldn’t get any. I had 150k set apart, so the problem wasn’t money, but that I couldn’t find a suitable accommodation. So, I got the idea to start an agency that can provide ideal and conducive home environments.

Where do you see GetHostel in the next years?

We are currently working with a plan to build 1000 residential units between now and the next 5 years.

How has the CEO experience been so far?

Interesting and boring at the same time. While managing properties, I can be at the sites for extended periods, ensuring that everything goes smoothly. But some days are calmer. Real estate is seasonal, there are times when business is booming and we make so much money, and there are times we don’t make as much. As a CEO, I’ve learnt to find a balance, so I can save for the rainy days.

How have you been getting funding?

In 2019 alone, we have raised NGN3 million, and we hope to raise about N20m from now till June 2020.

How were you able to raise the funding?

Through individuals. We have an investment plan. An individual invests in GetHostel, and within six months, the person receives the money back with an additional 30% interest rate. The lowest possible investment is 250,000. We plan to start applying to grants, venture capitalists, and participating in competitions to get more funds.

Who are your Role Models in the Industry?

My role models are Olawale Ayilara, the CEO of LandWey Investment Group, and Grant Cardone, the founder and CEO of Cardone

 

 

 

Max, One of OPay’s ORide Competitors, has launched MaxKeke

Nigerian bike-hailing service, Max, one of the prominent competitors to the Opera-owned ORide, has just launched Maxkeke, its own tricycle service.

With core values of transparency, integrity, initiative and partnership, Max was founded by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh with the aim of reducing hours spent by Lagosians in traffic.

Early in the month of June, MAX raised $7 million investment for expansion, and the tricycle service was indeed one of the verticals MAX hoped to expand to with the raised funds. According to an internal person with knowledge of the service, operations are to kick off anytime soon, this is further corroborated by a tweet from MAX yesterday,

“Tawa is Smart. Tawa is a MAX Keke Champion. Now she’s got financial freedom!!! Be smart, Be like Tawa #MAXOKADA #MAXKEKE #Champion #transportation #livinginlagos #startups #premiumbikes”

From the tweet, we can guess that operations will begin in Lagos, but there are no details on the other cities it will cover.

Considering the fierce competition in the bike-ride hailing system in Nigeria, the launch of Maxkeke is unsurprising seeing as OPay recently launched OTrike, its keke service, across Kano, Aba and Ilorin.

It will be quite interesting to see how Max plans to compete with OTrike, considering as the founder company OPay raised a whopping sum of $50 million this year.

Even more, we can only watch to see how this will impact on Gokada, the pioneer of bike hailing services in Nigeria, as it comes back from its two-week break next week.

 

The FCMB Ecosystem Event – Hub One Epic Hour (August Edition)

Epic Hour is a knowledge-sharing and networking event for the Lagos tech community organized by Hub One.

Recently launched in February 2019 as a tech-themed co-working space, Hub One is a conducive environment designed to foster collaboration, networking, possible investments, and drive creativity within Nigeria’s tech start-up ecosystem. It is a professional office space with constant power supply, unlimited internet, free coffee and a community of like minds.

Epic Hour is a monthly interactive activity that happens every last Friday of the month, between 5 pm and 6 pm at Hub One. Individuals with specific knowledge of the industry are invited to speak to the attendees. For this August edition, there will be a break, tagged the “August break”, where all attendees will be given a chance to speak.

This monthly program is expected to validate one of FCMB’s key aim of setting up Hub One as a capacity development platform, a vision that supports the aspirations of Nigeria’s tech startups to attain their full potential. Even more, the program drives brand advocacy for FCMB/Hub One, and transmits the Brand’s core values.

Date and Time

Fri, August 30, 2019

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location

10 Hughes Avenue, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos.