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Transport start-ups: A growing Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa

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ABC Transport Plc

A wave of innovative transport start-ups is helping to keep Africa’s heartbeat sector growing. In the past year, the transportation sector achieved an impressive record of 21 start-up companies, the majority of which were aimed at unlocking new growth opportunities through software, internet-enabled solutions, and alternative e-mobility solutions.

With roads being the arteries through which the African economy pulses, the ongoing challenges have been key hindrances to sustainable economic growth and global competitiveness and trade. However, the spark of positive change being driven by recent start-ups in markets like Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya has the potential to continue being driven by global trends/shifts but will require the continued support of innovators by both the private and public sectors.

Furthermore, this startup wave is one step closer to achieving the estimated jump of $16 billion in intra-regional trade that economists and trade experts expect to be possible through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

Though plagued with several challenges, including an infrastructure investment shortfall of US$67 billion and US$107 billion annually, according to the IFC, ​ a look at recent start-ups and their funding avenues in Africa points to a growing attraction of the continent as the last growth frontier for investors. ​

In 2021 alone, the continent attracted about 564 start-ups (Figure 1), with fintech accounting for the majority share. For transport start-ups specifically, the records show a proactiveness by innovators to help solve Africa’s connectivity predicament, ​ where supply chain challenges and limitations in physical infrastructure network limitations amount to about 40-60% surcharge costs on goods on the continent.

The record of companies included in Figure 1 also points to an industry gearing up for global trends that are likely to leave lasting changes in the industry. These trends as recognised by the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) were likely noted to be around technology and automation and Environment Social Governance (ESG). In the African context, these have already been adopted and are surfacing through a rise in the e-logistics and e-mobility sectors.

2022 is expected to follow the growth trajectory seen in 2021, through several ongoing joint efforts to support innovators. Among these are incubation and accelerator platforms like the Baobab Network (which raised funding worth $200 million in just eight months); private sector participation like Toyota’s Mobility 54 venture unit and several more new financing options offered to solutions targeted at reaching the untapped markets in Africa, particularly in the key markets highlighted in Figure 2. South Africa saw an impressive 7 start-ups in 2021, with the ‘WhereisMyTransport’ company raising about US$14.5 million. ​

With Africa’s population expected to nearly double by 2050 (to 2.5 billion), achieving efficiency in the connectivity of goods and people will be critical, which begs the importance of supporting current business avenues that are proving to work well. The transport start-up industry is evidently one of them, particularly in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, and the North African countries.

Moreover, with the ongoing challenges around fuel hikes, and disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, African nations have a keen opportunity to strengthen their networks through forward-thinking solutions, but also to leverage the potential of the AfCFTA through collaboration.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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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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