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Kenyan Retail-Tech Startup MarketForce Expands to Nigeria

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MarketForce, the Kenya-based B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services, has made Nigeria its first port of expansion in the wake of its funding round.

Co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce enables consumer brands to optimise how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last mile distribution, while maximising efficiency across the sales and distribution value chain.

The startup’s platform leverages mobile devices by enabling field agents to record all customer interactions as they happen in the field, and then aggregates this data and presents it through live web dashboards.

MarketForce recently raised over US$2 million in Series A funding and has now expanded internationally for the first time, opening its doors in Nigeria.

“Africa is reported to have over 100 million merchants. A whopping 40 million of them are in Nigeria, with the highest annual FMCG purchasing in the whole continent, signifying how significant the market opportunity for MarketForce is,” said Tesh Mbaabu, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO).

“Nigeria FMCG retail distribution operates very much like Kenya, it is very fragmented and competitive, which gives us the opportunity to make a real impact for both retailers and manufacturers.”

Linked to the expansion is MarketForce’s appointment of Arthur Bourekas as its new chief commercial officer (CCO). Bourekas has over 25 years of experience executing commercial growth, logistics and distribution in some of the most challenging countries in the world, having worked for A.G. Leventis (Nigeria) Plc and PZ Cussons in Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. A veteran FMCG distribution expert in Africa, Bourekas was most recently involved at a senior level with Alerzo, a Nigerian B2B retail-tech startup that also helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers.

“FMCG distribution in Africa is yet to be done effectively. Even multinationals with years of experience often can optimise their distribution and add real sales growth to their business. Innovation and focus are key. I am confident that with the platform MarketForce has built so far, along with the expertise being built within the organisation, we are destined to revolutionise the sector and become a formidable force,” he said.

Mbaabu said his new CCO aligned to MarketForce’s ambitious growth plans and brought significant expertise into this new, critical role.

“His extensive emerging market experience, ability to drive commercial growth, and depth of technical distribution knowledge in Nigeria will be valuable in our efforts to deepen our East Africa market reach while expanding into the West African market,” he said.

“We would like to focus on Kenya and Nigeria for now – but as an aggressive startup, we continue assessing where we will go next. That notwithstanding, our focus remains on Sub-Saharan Africa, so you can bet we will be back to somewhere in East Africa.”

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Google Leads $250 Million Funding Round for Glance

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google is leading a $250 million funding round for Glance, a mobile content provider.

This infusion of capital aims to expand Glance’s reach and solidify its market position amidst growing competition.

Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi Group, offers a unique service that delivers news, entertainment, and other content directly to users’ mobile screens without unlocking their devices.

With a user base exceeding 300 million across India, the US, Japan, and Indonesia, the startup has gained significant traction since its inception in 2019.

The funding round, expected to close in the coming weeks, marks a continued partnership between Google and Glance.

Google initially invested in the company in 2020, and this latest round will further enhance Glance’s capabilities to innovate and reach new audiences.

This investment reflects Google’s strategic interest in India, the world’s most populous nation, where it competes with tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon.

With India’s rapidly growing middle class and increasing smartphone adoption, the market presents vast opportunities for digital expansion.

The support from Google comes on the heels of a previous $200 million investment by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest individual, which valued Glance at over $1 billion.

The startup’s largest stakeholder, InMobi, continues to thrive as a pioneer in mobile advertising, with Glance benefiting from its expertise and resources.

As Glance prepares for this new phase of growth, it stands poised to redefine how content is consumed on mobile devices worldwide.

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Former Konga CEO Nick Imudia Dies by Suicide in Lagos Home

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Nick Imudia

The Nigerian business community was rocked by tragedy as Nick Imudia, former CEO of e-commerce giant Konga and current CEO of solar energy solutions innovator D.light, died by suicide in his Lekki apartment.

Imudia’s death, confirmed on the night of Tuesday, June 25, has left friends, family, and colleagues in a state of shock and sorrow.

According to sources, Imudia reportedly took his own life by jumping from the balcony of his home. In the moments leading up to the tragic incident, he made a series of distressing phone calls.

He reached out to his brother in the United States, giving detailed instructions on how to distribute his wealth should anything happen to him.

Imudia also spoke to his young daughter from a previous relationship, offering her comforting words and telling her to look to the sky to see him.

Imudia’s sudden death has raised many questions among those who knew him. Described by colleagues as a visionary leader, Imudia was instrumental in the growth of Konga, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms.

After his tenure at Konga, he continued to make significant contributions to the tech industry as the CEO of D.light, a company known for its innovative residential solar energy solutions.

Imudia hailed from Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State and had a young daughter from a previous marriage that ended due to irreconcilable differences.

Despite the end of his marriage, those close to him said he maintained a strong bond with his daughter, often expressing his deep affection for her.

The reasons behind Imudia’s decision to end his life remain unclear. As news of his death spread, messages of condolence and tributes poured in from friends, family, and business associates.

Many have expressed their profound sadness and confusion as Imudia was widely seen as a successful and driven individual.

“Nick was a brilliant mind and a compassionate leader,” said a former colleague. “His death is a huge loss to the tech community in Nigeria and beyond. We are all struggling to understand why this happened.”

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding Imudia’s death. Meanwhile, his family has asked for privacy as they navigate this difficult time.

Nick Imudia’s death is a stark reminder of the unseen struggles many face, even those who appear successful and accomplished.

His passing has sparked conversations about mental health awareness, urging individuals to seek help and support when needed.

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Gokada CEO’s Former Assistant Found Guilty of Gruesome Murder and Embezzlement

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Tyrese Haspil, the former executive assistant of Fahim Saleh, CEO of Gokada, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and multiple counts of embezzlement.

The verdict, delivered by a Manhattan jury on Monday, marks the end of a harrowing legal saga that unfolded over accusations of financial betrayal and a brutal homicide.

Prosecutors detailed how Haspil, 25, meticulously planned and executed the murder of his boss in July 2020 to cover up a complex embezzlement scheme.

Haspil, entrusted with managing Saleh’s financial affairs, reportedly siphoned approximately $400,000 from the tech entrepreneur’s accounts over several months using fraudulent transactions and hidden accounts.

The trial revealed that tensions escalated when Saleh discovered the embezzlement and confronted Haspil earlier in 2020.

Instead of facing the consequences, Haspil opted to silence Saleh permanently, fearing exposure and legal repercussions.

On July 13, 2020, Haspil followed Saleh into his Lower East Side condominium, where he incapacitated him with a taser and fatally stabbed him multiple times.

Following the heinous act, Haspil returned the next day to dismember Saleh’s body in an attempt to conceal the crime.

However, he abandoned the cleanup midway upon discovering police presence outside Saleh’s apartment.

Saleh’s cousin, checking on him after being unable to reach him, made the gruesome discovery of the dismembered body.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution painted a chilling portrait of Haspil’s calculated actions, describing how he methodically planned the murder to prevent Saleh from reporting him to authorities.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg emphasized the tragedy of Saleh’s untimely death, highlighting his entrepreneurial success and contributions to the tech industry.

“I hope the accountability delivered by today’s verdict can provide a measure of comfort to Mr. Saleh’s loved ones as they continue to mourn his loss,” Bragg stated in a post-verdict statement.

Haspil, represented by Sam Roberts of The Legal Aid Society, faces a sentencing hearing scheduled for September.

The case has drawn widespread attention for its grisly details and the betrayal of trust between a CEO and his assistant, underscoring the vulnerabilities within corporate settings and the drastic consequences of financial malfeasance.

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