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Snapchat Shares Surge 44% in Market Debut

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  • Snapchat Shares Surge 44% in Market Debut

Snap Inc. (SNAP) opened for trade at $24 per share on Thursday, up 40% from its pricing of $17 per share. Since its core product, Snapchat, has already captured the millennial market, now the real opportunity is to lure in older Americans, particularly in a corporate context.

Tech executives like Jennifer Morgan, the president of software company SAP’s (SAP) North American division, are using Snapchat to communicate with her 20,000 employees. Morgan, 45, scrapped the all-hands meeting and replaced it with a pre-recorded two-minute video that she e-mailed employees. At the end of the video, she shares her Snapchat code and asks employees to continue the conversation or ask her any questions through the app.

“Traditionally, when you think about communication in the office, employees go to the leader. I’m trying to develop a way to speak with my employees in ways that work for them,” she told Yahoo Finance. “Though nothing can replace in-person events, I’ve discovered that people appreciate effective, efficient communication.”

After consulting with several employees and observing how her 15-year-old son uses the app, Morgan decided that replacing town hall meetings with Snapchat was both efficient and added a layer of personalization.

“I was amazed at how many people thanked me for not only giving them back the time but opening up communication on a platform like Snapchat,” she said. “I think the app is a way to easily communicate in a perfectly imperfect way with my employees.”

She highlights that business executives can come off scripted, almost too polished, and are inaccessible to employees.

“What I love about Snapchat is it’s very real, very authentic, and you can show scenes of your personal and professional lives. A lot of people make these assumptions about both male and female leaders with regard to the pace, glamour and travel of our lives,” she said. “It’s fun to show that, sure, some of those assumptions are true — but at the same time we are all human beings tugging at our time, dealing with the same travel hiccups everyone else experiences.”

Morgan is now one of Snapchat’s 158 million daily active users. Other business leaders may want to take note.

It’s common knowledge that Snapchat is wildly popular among teens. Users spend 25 to 30 minutes every single day sending and receiving these ephemeral photos.

But, for Gen Xers, baby boomers, and even the millennials who aren’t sold on the entertaining utility of the app, this could be a goldmine use case that Snapchat can — and should — tap into.

This decision fits into the larger push that SAP has been making to shake up the traditional way of internal communication.

This month, SAP will be eliminating the “formal, traditional and painful” annual employee reviews for all employees around the world and replacing them with more “frequent and informal conversations” between employees and managers, according to a company spokesperson.

Though Morgan is not part of the app’s core user demographic (70% of Snapchat’s US users are millennials), the app has gained traction with the older generations (parents (and grandparents) love Facebook, after all). And though the overwhelming friend adds came from her employees in their 20s and 30s, older employees have also created accounts to connect with Morgan.

“People who were already on the app added me right away. But others have been creating accounts — like me — now,” she said. “A lot of folks are increasingly curious about Snapchat, especially because they know their kids are on it.”

She said that she’s seeing a phenomenal return on her investment. Several hundred of her employees have added her and 5-20 people have been adding her every day.

“I don’t see it as work. It’s an easy, natural thing to do, and an everyday, on-the-go part of my job now,” she said. “My life blends. I work a lot so it becomes difficult to separate who I am at work and home — I’m pretty much the same person. When I signed up, I knew I had to be willing to put myself out there, for anyone to see.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Technology

Zoom Hit a Record High Quarterly Revenue of $882.5 Million, Almost a 370% Increase YoY

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Zoom’s revenues skyrocketed last year as global demand for online meeting solutions soared amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the popular video conferencing platform generated impressive revenue through its fiscal year 2021, the year’s final quarter set a new record.

According to data presented by Buy Shares, Zoom hit a record high quarterly revenue of $882.5 million in Q4 FY 2021, almost a 370% increase year-over-year.

Annual Revenue Soared by 700% in Two Years

Unlike many other sectors, the video conferencing platforms witnessed explosive growth amid the COVID-19 crisis, as millions of people started working from home. However, Zoom emerged as the most preferred platform for holding virtual meetings. As countries across the globe imposed lockdowns, family members also turned to Zoom as a way of keeping in touch with each other. Museums, theatres, and schools chose the platform to maintain normal operations.

With the ban on social gatherings, Zoom also became a cultural phenomenon through hosting parties, concerts, church services, and art shows. The surge in the number of users led to a 700% revenue growth in two years.

In the fiscal year 2019, Zoom generated $330.5 million in revenue, revealed the company’s earnings report. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by more than 88% to $626.6 million. The two-digit increase was driven by a strong Q4 FY 2020, matching the period between January and March 2020, when the pandemic already struck. Zoom’s quarterly revenue jumped by 78% YoY in this three-month period and hit $188 million.

The strong increasing trend continued in the following months, with revenue rising to $328.1 million in the second quarter of the calendar year 2020. Statistics show this figure more than doubled in the next three-month period and hit $663.5 million.

However, the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021, matching the period between January and March 2021, delivered the highest quarterly revenue in Zoom`s history, causing annual revenues to rise above the expectations to $2.65bn.

Almost 70% of that value, or $1.83bn, was generated in the Americas as the largest Zoom market. Users from the EMEA region, as the second-largest market, generated $486 million in revenue. Asia followed with $332.8 million, respectively.

Market Cap Soared by 357% Year-Over-Year

While the Zoom stock price has increased steadily throughout 2020, a positive announcement regarding the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine in November last year resulted in the price falling by more than 30% by the end of the year.

Since then, the share price has been fluctuating and in recent months saw even more of a downturn, reaching $328.95 last week.

In December 2020, the combined value of Zoom shares stood at $115.5bn, revealed the MacroTrends data. Over the last four months, this figure dropped to $96.6bn, still a 357% increase year-over-year.

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West Africa Launches New Payments Digitization Agenda

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In Senegal, 8 out of 10 workers are paid in cash. Most are temporary workers and excluded from health insurance. A survey revealed that 77% of temporary workers would be willing to receive their wages digitally if this gave them access to health insurance. These are some of the major findings of the publication that the Senegalese government has launched today, with support from the Better Than Cash Alliance (United Nations), the World Bank and the National Agency of Statistics and Demography of Senegal. Combining digital payments with health insurance benefits offers an excellent opportunity for social inclusion, formalization, and financial innovation.

Digital payments stimulate domestic production and consumption. If 50% of temporary workers in Senegal received payments digitally, 45 billion CFA francs would be added to GDP per year (around $80 million USD). Paying workers digitally, speeds up the financial inclusion for the population, boosts business competitiveness and increases financial system liquidity. To tap into this potential, the SME Development Agency (ADEPME) plans to bolster its SME support fund with $20 million USD (around 11 billion CFA francs) from the World Bank. This will be used to strengthen SME digitization initiatives and support digital payment projects for workers.

High-level leadership speaks out in support of digital payments for workers

Senegalese President Macky Sall and H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who serves as UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), have launched an appeal to fellow leaders, the private sector and civil society, inviting them to: “use this report to ensure digital payments are at the center of a sustainable and fair economic recovery. We look forward to jointly providing leadership on this agenda to achieve an inclusive and digitally enabled recovery,” the two leaders added.

To set an example, the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, also decreed, in late 2020, the digitization of payments for workers in the administration of Burkina Faso. When the COVID crisis emerged, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) took decisions aimed at reducing the circulation of cash in the 8 countries. These actions have had tangible impacts which are beginning to change the lives of workers and companies.

Digitizing payments and advancing universal health care coverage

While receiving a salary is often linked to health care contributions, globally at least 61% of workers operate in the informal sector without adequate coverage, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). Indeed, in some countries, there is not always a legal obligation for employers to contribute to any kind of coverage for their informal/self-employed workers, which affects women more than men.

To meet this challenge of inclusion, the National Agency for Universal Health Coverage in Senegal has launched an ambitious digital payments platform. It has partnered with fintechs and private companies to link access to universal health coverage and digital payments – specifically targeting women. Flagship national enterprises such as the agricultural giant SODAGRI or SMEs such as QUALIOCEAN and Kossam SDE are setting an example by providing temporary workers with universal health coverage. More than 200,000 workers will now have access to quality, government-subsidized health care.

While 81% of national companies have fewer than 20 employees, on average hundreds or even thousands of temporary workers are employed in their supply chains. Employees are generally banked, but 93% of employees on temporary contracts are paid in cash. The latter are systematically excluded from the formal health system.

The successful transition towards digital payments

Three obstacles have limited the growth of payment digitization in Africa: the size of the informal sector, sometimes up to 90% of the economy; the historically low financial inclusion rate; and most importantly, 21% of African workers receive a wage keeping them below the poverty line.

This has all changed dramatically. Financial inclusion has surged since 2010 with the arrival of electronic money issuers and fintech.

The country’s largest employer, Compagnie Sucrière Sénégalaise, has successfully digitized payment for around 8,000 workers via a partnership with local fintech. “We wanted to digitize payments without using the banking system, which isn’t suited to some populations,” noted Claude Fizaine, the company’s Secretary General, in an interview with an African media outlet. “For employers, the benefits of digitizing payments include avoiding the constraints of managing large amounts of cash, and all the risks that distribution can involve. It also makes it possible to offer employees tools tailored to their financial and family situations, which can only have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives,” he added.

WAEMU’s innovations should continue to inspire the rest of Africa. Since 2012, it has been the continent’s engine for economic growth and stability. The examples of Senegal and its neighbours reinforce the ILO’s global agenda that could well make digital payments for workers a new global standard for promoting decent work.

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E-commerce

Kwik Delivery Releases Prestashop Plugin; Becomes Most Integrated Delivery Platform With e-commerce Frameworks In Africa

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The ‘oars’ are definitely not resting at Kwik Delivery at this time! Just weeks after the release of its plugins for Shopify and Magento, Kwik Delivery announces the release of its plugin for Prestashop. This new plugin is a milestone as Kwik Delivery is now fully integrated with the “Big Four” of e-commerce frameworks: Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify and now Prestashop.

Delivery plugins are a critical technology brick in the growth of African e-commerce by allowing thousands of merchants to offer reliable, secure and efficient last-mile delivery services to their customers. By installing the plugin, businesses no longer need to worry about on-time deliveries after-sales as Kwik handles it for them. Kwik delivers within 2 hours in Lagos and 1 hour in Abuja after pickup and will soon expand its service to new cities.

“These are key milestones for us in enabling the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria,” commented Romain POIROT-LELLIG, Founder & CEO of Kwik Delivery. “We are working to ease the logistics hassles faced by both businesses and their customers after-sales. Just providing the network to make this possible is not enough. The added value brought by Kwik Delivery starts from the fulfillment systems of merchants, all the way to the doorsteps of buyers.”

The Prestashop plugin is free and easy to install and use. The plugin allows buyers to get real-time shipping rates between merchants’ addresses and the buyers’ delivery addresses. Buyers can directly place orders to be delivered by Kwik Delivery at the checkout of Prestashop stores.

Since its launch in 2019, Kwik Delivery has introduced the concept of “just-in-time” last-mile deliveries in Nigeria and has pioneered an approach of deep integration with e-commerce frameworks that proves to be indispensable to the growth of Africa’s e-commerce, fostering trade across Africa. Kwik Delivery is the trading name of Africa Delivery Technologies SAS and the mobile app is available on iOS and Android.

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