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It’s me again, Hot Doggy Dogg, AKA the Cereal Whisperer. Miss me?
1. 🛰 Last time we talked, I let you know why Google won’t be building fibre-optic infrastructure in Nigeria like they did in Uganda and Ghana via their internet initiative, Project Link – the amount of money they’ll have to pay the government to let them do it is too high to justify ( read that, if you haven’t).
Yesterday’s news was that Csquared, a Google-backed initiative based in Nairobi, has raised $100 million to do the exact same thing – lay fibre-optic cables in cities across Africa. The missing bit of context is obviously that Csquared = Project Link, only named differently. Project Link was started in 2011 (not 2013, like I earlier thought), and got spun off in 2013 as a separate company. In hindsight, it was a pretty stupid mistake to make (funny, the correct answer was only a Google search away), and even though it did not affect my analysis, I apologize. Please don’t gouge out my ey…AARGH. 🤦♂️ *sobs*
+ According to this report, Google has no plans for Kenya beyond the office. Welp.
2. Would you like to buy my eyeballs? Heh. Truecaller will now serve ads to its 40 million users across Africa. Its first “partner” is Cars45, Etop Ikpe’s new used-car marketplace. Context: whenever you aggregate users’ attention into a single place (like we do, with this digest), the next step is to charge other people for access to it (like we do, with this digest).
+ Truecaller’s pitch is that their app gets used when people are actively searching for something – a phone number, name, or other details – and that’s when they are easiest to influence. They say they collect 5 million sets of eyeballs every day in Nigeria, and in the same vein, they are offering both textual ads and screen takeovers to their customers. Hm.
+ Techweez thinks this is super-creepy, and I’m surprised they’re surprised. 🤔
3. Naspers is being a glutton. They’ve just invested €387 million (about $432 million) in Delivery Hero, the food delivery business with hands in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Asides from investor FOMO, I can’t see why this investment is a great idea. All the different players in the space are in a race to aggregate enough restaurants to make it worth the customers’ while, but also enough customers to make it worth the restaurants’ effort. The product they are selling (good food, delivered quickly) is mostly out of their control, and so food delivery margins are…to put it lightly, not great.
In the same vein, there has been a lot of consolidation in the space in the past few years – more than 39 mergers between 2012 – 2015, and over 30 mergers in 2016 alone. Delivery Hero has made a bunch of acquisitions of their own, including Foodpanda, themselves being investors in – and up until a year ago, technology providers for, Jumia Food in Africa (they’ve switched to Urban Ninja). Eager to see how this turns out. ‘Nom, nom, nom.
+ Aside: one of their investments, Tencent appears to be doing very well. (They “smashed profit forecasts“, apparently.)
4. I’m sad that I’m sad. My MacBook Pro fell for the first time yesterday, since I bought her two months ago, and as I watched her fall from my chest to the floor in slow-motion, all I could think about was how tethered I am to her. I’m like a tree, my arm is a branch, and she’s the apple of my eyes.
+ Unrelated: It’s become painfully clear, from (what I’ve seen of) Alat’s execution that the product team is thinking more like a bank than a startup. Judging by what I’ve seen on Twitter, the product is broken in a number of ways, from people growing beards while waiting for their OTPs, to weird issues with BVN authentication, etc.
Meanwhile, they have people putting on bright orange pants, suspenders and bow-ties, and accosting people in the street to get them to download a product that, from my Twitter feed, does not work as advertised. That’s the kind of behavior you’d expect from a big bank, not a startup looking for product-market fit. But as much as I want to pan them, I know – all too well – that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And that makes me sad. I hope they prove me wrong.
+ (P.S. I am currently accepting condolences via PayPal)
OneMedical is helping hospitals across Nigeria go digital, and is looking for a systems admin to join its amazing team. If you know your way around Docker, PostgreSQL databases, and Linux-based systems, it could be you! Apply here.
+ The ten biggest announcements from Google I/O, yesterday. Link.
+ Building tomorrow’s Africa, today. (A transcript of Andrew Alli’s brilliant keynote address at AFC Live 2017.) Link.
+ This is an ordered list of my 15 favorite email newsletters. It’s worth your time because I’m awesome and I have great taste. (Hint: you’re already subscribed to at least one of them.)
+ Cheap smartphones are driving data usage in Uganda. Link.
+ Code 4 Africa is going to mentor some of Andela’s developers, using their talents in areas like data journalism and civic technology. They will select from Andela’s Nairobi pool before looking towards Lagos and New York. Link.
Upcoming events and deadlines.
Lagos: Mobile West Africa, May 17th. Link
Lagos: G3 Meetup, May 17th. Link
Lagos: West Africa Mobile Awards, May 18th. Link
Cape Town: Women in Angel Investing,May 18th. Link
Lagos: Hackaday Hardware Meetup, May 20th. Link
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