- FG Gives NCC Deadline To Resolve Illegal Data Reductions, Costs
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has gotten a deadline of five working days to resolve the issue of data reduction.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, gave NCC the deadline on Tuesday during the inauguration of a new Executive Commissioner of the NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, in Abuja.
The Minister had in October, ordered the NCC to compel the service providers to stop the illegal deduction of data after he received a progress report on the implementation of Short-Term Performance Targets set for the NCC.
However, the Minister said he wasn’t impressed with the explanation given by the NCC on the matter, asking the Commission to take immediate action and report back to him.
He said: “I commented last time on the issue of data deduction, this is one of the issues that is worrying me badly to death.
“I was not fully convinced with the explanation by the NCC; please go back and review that issue.
“It is very important and I want to get your feedback in the next five working days with the decision on it because the complaints from Nigerians are beyond what I can handle.”
He stressed that the Nigerians are complaining seriously about the illegal deduction of data, noting that he is also affected by it.
“As it is today, people are complaining and it happens to me. I recharge my phone (my data line) and I believe what I use is not up to 20 percent of what I purchase.
“This is an issue that is very important.”
Speaking on the need for a reduction in the cost of data, he said, “Also, I directed the NCC to reduce the price of data as well.
“It is very important because other African countries that are not as big as we are, have a lesser price of data.”
According to him, the primary responsibility of the NCC was to protect the consumers and not the service providers.
“As a regulator, your main agenda is to protect the customers. Customers are supposed to be kings and most of these customers are Nigerians.
“Our top priority should be the interest of customers, who happened to be Nigerians,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Minister said he would be facing a panel on Saturday to defend the ministry’s achievement so far, adding that he would face another board that will be chaired by the President, on December 1.
Kudi and Onepipe’s Partners To Provide Financial Access To Underserved Customers in Nigeria
Fintech infrastructure startup, OnePipe has partnered with Kudi, a payments service company to provide more inclusive financial services to millions of underserved customers across Nigeria via Kudi Benefits Account.
Founded in 2018, OnePipe, leveraging its API-driven partnerships, is focused on working with organisations to embed and launch financial services like accounts, improved payments and credit within their products.
OnePipe’s CEO, Ope Adeoye reiterated the need for incumbent financial services stakeholders to combine resources with innovators to ensure that underserved Nigerians are included in the digital financial ecosystem. In his words “the collaboration of Polaris Bank, Migo, Zitra investments, Kudi and of course OnePipe has birthed the value proposition driving the Kudi Benefits Account.”
Polaris via its digital banking platform, Vulte, facilitates the provisioning of full-fledged, regulatory compliant accounts, Migo and Zitra Investments provide the lending resources and all of these are stitched together via OnePipe’s versatile API gateway resulting in Kudi Benefits Account – “A NUBAN enabled account that provides services and benefits for Kudi’s unique customer base”
This collaboration with Kudi is set to deepen the financial access to millions of users who already rely on Kudi’s payment service to withdraw cash, send cash and pay their bills through its fast-growing network of over 50,000 Mobile Money Agents across Nigeria.
Speaking on this partnership, Kudi’s CEO, Yinka Adewale said that; “it is important to us to continue to explore various channels to drive financial access to every Nigerian regardless of who they are or where they live. Leveraging OnePipe’s infrastructure, partnership with Polaris Bank and others, we can now provide full utility, NUBAN bank accounts laced with a no-friction credit proposition via kudibenefits.chat and very soon we will be issuing debit cards to millions of users and expand our service offerings to them”
According to a recent EFInA report, over 38 Million Nigerian adults still do not have access to digitized financial services. This highlights the need for improved efforts and more innovative solutions like the Kudi Benefits Account to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Kudi is a leading provider of cash collection, payment and other banking solutions in underserved markets in Nigeria. With a vision to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans, Kudi provides millions of users access to services such as cash withdrawal, cash transfer, bill payments, wallet top-ups and more through its fast-growing network of over 50,000 Agents.
Bolt Raises €600 Million To Build The European ‘Super App’
Bolt, the ride-hailing and micro-mobility firm, has raised €600 million in a round that pushes its valuation to over €4 billion.
Sequoia Capital has backed the company as part of the round alongside other new investors Tekne and Ghisallo. Existing backers also participated including G Squared, D1 Capital and Naya.
Bolt is fashioning itself as a ‘super app’ for transport and deliveries, bringing a model popular in Asia to Europe.
Bolt’s services run the gamut from ride-hailing and scooter and bike rentals to food delivery. Most recently it entered the rapidly growing 15-minute grocery delivery business with Bolt Market, which will be launching in 10 countries initially, drawing from its existing food delivery infrastructure.
This significant capital injection will be used to accelerate the expansion of all of these services in Europe as well as a number of African markets where Bolt has a presence.
“Bolt’s mission is to make urban travel affordable and sustainable,” chief executive Markus Villig said. “We are building a future where people are not forced to buy cars that cause traffic and pollution, but use on-demand transport when they actually need it.”
“After seven years of relentless execution, Bolt’s mobility and delivery products offer a better alternative to almost every use case a car serves. I’m thrilled to bring these products to millions of customers around Europe and Africa, taking the emphasis off cars and giving cities back to the people.” Markus added.
Femi Akin-Laguda, Country Manager, Bolt Nigeria also said: “We remain committed to simplifying mobility and providing the best value for our customers in more than 25 cities in Nigeria. Bolt will continue building solutions that alleviate everyday mobility challenges with our safe and affordable services while we also remain committed to providing market-leading earnings for our drivers. With this investment, we will keep introducing effective solutions, features and products that are important to all our customers while having a positive socio-economic impact on the economy.”
According to the company, it now had 75 million customers across the markets it is active is.
Competition in all the verticals that Bolt operates in is fierce. In particular, the rapid grocery delivery space has seen several players emerge in the last year, jousting for market share in major European cities. Meanwhile food delivery by the likes of Deliveroo remains highly competitive and Bolt continues to lock horns with Uber when it comes to ride-hailing.
Andrew Reed, partner at Sequoia, said: “Bolt is redefining urban transportation in much of the world. Markus is a driven founder who has built an operationally excellent business spanning Europe and Africa and a mission-driven culture that forms the foundation of an enduring company. Bolt helps customers, cities, and the environment. We’re delighted to partner with them.”
Kuda Bank closes Another $55M in Series B Investment Round
Nigerian fintech startup, Kuda Bank, has raised $55 million in a Series B investment round at a valuation of $500 million. This comes after a recent Series A of $25 million announced by the company just a little over four months ago.
The latest round was co-led by existing investors Target Global and Valar Ventures, the firm co-founded and backed by PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. SBI Investment and other previous angels also participated.
Kuda plans to use the funds to build on its new services for Nigeria as well as prepare for a continental expansion. According to Co-founder and CEO Babs Ogundeyi, Kuda aims to build a new take on banking services for “every African on the planet.”
“We’ve been doing a lot of resource deployment has been in our operational entity, in Nigeria. But now we are doubling down on the expansion and the idea is to build a strong team for the expansion plans for Kuda,” Ogundeyi explained to TechCrunch in an interview. . “We still see Nigeria as an important market and don’t want to be distracted so don’t want to disrupt those operations too much. It’s a strong market and competitive. It’s one that we feel we need to have a stronghold on. So this funding is to invest in expansion and have more experience in the company with relation to expansion.”
“For Babs and Musty, it was always about building a pan-African bank, not just a Nigerian leader,” said Ricardo Schäfer, the partner at Target Global. “The prospect of banking over 1 billion people from day one really stood out for me at the beginning.”
Ogundeyi co-founded Kuda with the now CTO, Musty Mustapha, in the second half of 2019. The startup launched in Nigeria as a no-fees, digital-only bank with $1.6 million pre-seed funding. It has since witnessed significant growth.
As of November 2020, Kuda had 300,000 customers and was processing an average of $500 million worth of transactions per month.
By March this year, Kuda’s registered users had more than doubled to 650,000, after the startup processed $2.2 billion a month earlier. Presently, Kuda has 1.4 million people in its user base.
Beyond just basic financial services, Kuda now offers credit to its users by way of an overdraft allowance, which the company pre-qualifies the most active users for.
In the second quarter of the year, Kuda disbursed $20 million worth of credit to over 200,000 qualified users, with a 30-day repayment period.
According to Ogundeyi, Kuda has seen “minimal” default because of its approach. “We use all the data we have for a customer and allocate the overdraft proportion based on the customer’s activities, aiming for it not to be a burden to repay,” he said.
“Kuda is our first investment in Africa and our initial confidence in the team has been upheld by its rapid growth in the past four months,” said Andrew McCormack, a general partner at Valar Ventures. “With a youthful population eager to adopt digital financial services in the region, we believe that Kuda’s transformative effect on banking will scale across Africa and we’re proud to continue supporting them.”
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