iAfrikan Daily Brief - #DataFalling, Rocket Internet, Airbnb & WeFarm
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Tbo Touch Claims #Datafalling But Thousands Of South Africans Not Convinced
CEO of online radio station (TouchCentral), Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe tweeted that the hard fight to get mobile data prices in South Africa had finally come to an end thanks to, according to him, MTN South Africa dropping their data bundles prices. He announced that MTN had listened to the #DataMustFall movement, which he and Gareth Cliff (Co-Founder at TouchCentral), and dropped their data bundles pricing and said consumers must now “stop being ungrateful”. Momentarily there was excitement until it was pointed out that not only have the data bundles prices Tbo Touch was quoting been in existence for a while, but they were valid for ‘Night Express’, i.e. only usable between 00:00 to 06:00. Furthermore, South Africans on Twitter went to proclaim that Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff had been “captured” by MTN when it emerged that their online radio station was now zero rated on the MTN network.
Rocket Internet Denies It Has Fired More Than 50% Of Staff At Headquarters
Credit: Rocket Internet
Rocket Internet, one of the major shareholders of Jumia Group which has various e-commerce interests across Afrika, has recently been reported by German media to have fired more than half its staff at its Berlin headquarters. Insiders say this is being done to contain losses as recently reported and as a strategy shift. It is reported that the headquarters now house only about 200 employees (from 400) as CEO Oliver Samwer continues to look for ways to contain the holding company’s losses, with his reported target being 100 employees after the re-structuring. Rocket’s Africa interests through Jumia have been performing poorly compared to the rest of the group’s other company’s and it remains to be seen if the staff cuts, which Rocket have denied are happening, will extend to Jumia Group in Africa after it also recently rebranded from Africa Internet Group.
Airbnb Launches Trips, Includes Nairobi And Cape Town Among First Twelve Cities
Airbnb introduced two new services, that would extend the company's hospitality and accommodation services beyond the homes of its hosts. The new services, 'Experiences' and 'Places', adding further layers of interaction to its people-powered hospitality model. Nairobi and Cape Town are among the first twelve cities to launch Airbnb trips globally. Other cities in the launch edition of Trips include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Tokyo and Seoul. The company believes it has transformed "where people stay when they travel", saying that it can take this same people-focused approach to the rest of the trip experience and, in doing so, provide a way for people to make money from their passions and interests.
WeFarm Crosses Milestone And Raises $1,6 Million Seed Funding
WeFarm, a peer-to-peer mobile AgriTech network that enables small-scale farmers to access and share vital agricultural information without the need for internet access, has reached over 100,000 users and secured US$1.6 million in a seed funding round led by LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm. The seed funding will assist with expanding the platform across the globe to more farmers. WeFarm enables small-scale farmers to access crowdsourced information and advice from other farmers even when offline. This is done by sending a free SMS which then allows farmers to receive answers to any agricultural queries or questions they have. The AgriTech startup was launched in 2015 and now boasts a community of over 100,000 farmers across Kenya, Uganda and Peru. In 2015 WeFarm was part of the Wayra UK accelerator in London, which supported the business in its growth trajectory.
Panel discussion powered by Omidyar Network and hosted by official media partner IAfrikan, centered on the state of the African startup ecosystem, specifically looking at the new generation of African startups in Africa, built by Africans. The panel included Clara Wanjiku Odero, who writes about African startups for Africapedia, Trevor Kimenye, CEO and Co-founder at Ongair, and Marcello Schermer, who is the General Manager for Africa at Seedstars World, and was moderated by Eric Mugendi, editor-at-large at iAfrikan.com