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Jumia, DHL and Alibaba will face off in African e-commerce 2.0

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The business of selling consumer goods and services online is a relatively young endeavor across Africa, but e-commerce is set to boom.

Over the last eight years, the sector has seen its first phase of big VC fundings, startup duels and attrition.

To date, scaling e-commerce in Africa has straddled the line of challenge and opportunity, perhaps more than any other market in the world. Across major African economies, many of the requisites for online retail — internet access, digital payment adoption, and 3PL delivery options — have been severely lacking.

Still, startups jumped into this market for the chance to digitize a share of Africa’s fast growing consumer spending, expected to top $2 billion by 2025.

African e-commerce 2.0 will include some old and new players, play out across more countries, place more priority on internet services, and see the entry of China.

But before highlighting several things to look out for in the future of digital-retail on the continent, a look back is beneficial.

Jumia vs. Konga

The early years for development of African online shopping largely played out in Nigeria (and to some extent South Africa). Anyone who visited Nigeria from 2012 to 2016 likely saw evidence of one of the continent’s early e-commerce showdowns. Nigeria had its own Coke vs. Pepsi-like duel — a race between ventures Konga and Jumia to out-advertise and out-discount each other in a quest to scale online shopping in Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation.

Traveling in Lagos traffic, large billboards for each startup faced off across the skyline, as their delivery motorcycles buzzed between stopped cars.

Covering each company early on, it appeared a battle of VC attrition. The challenge: who could continue to raise enough capital to absorb the losses of simultaneously capturing and creating an e-commerce market in notoriously difficult conditions.

In addition to the aforementioned challenges, Nigeria also had (and continues to have) shoddy electricity.

Both Konga — founded by Nigerian Sim Shagaya — and Jumia — originally founded by two Nigerians and two Frenchman — were forced to burn capital building fulfillment operations most e-commerce startups source to third parties.

That included their own delivery and payment services (KongaPay and JumiaPay). In addition to sales of goods from mobile-phones to diapers, both startups also began experimenting with verticals for internet based services, such as food-delivery and classifieds.

While Jumia and Konga were competing in Nigeria, there was another VC driven race for e-commerce playing out in South Africa — the continent’s second largest and most advanced economy.

E-tailers Takealot and Kalahari had been jockeying for market share since 2011 after raising capital in the hundreds of millions of dollars from investors Naspers and U.S. fund Tiger Global Management.

So how did things turn out in West and Southern Africa? In 2014, the lead investor of a flailing Kalahari — Naspers — facilitated a merger with Takealot (that was more of an acquisition). They nixed the Kalahari brand in 2016 and bought out Takelot’s largest investor, Tiger Global, in 2018. Takealot is now South Africa’s leading e-commerce site by market share, but only operates in one country.

In Nigeria, by 2016 Jumia had outpaced its rival Konga in Alexa ratings (6 vs 14), while out-raising Konga (with backing of Goldman Sachs) to become Africa’s first VC backed, startup unicorn. By early 2018, Konga was purchased in a distressed acquisition and faded away as a competitor to Jumia.

Jumia went on to expand online goods and services verticals into 14 Africa countries (though it recently exited a few) and in April 2019 raised over $200 million in an NYSE IPO — the first on a major exchange for a VC-backed startup operating in Africa.

African e-commerce startup Jumia’s shares open at $14.50 in NYSE IPO

Jumia’s had bumpy road since going public — losing significant share-value after a short-sell attack earlier in 2019 — but the continent’s leading e-commerce company still has heap of capital and generates $100 million in revenues (even with losses).

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/01/jumia-dhl-and-alibaba-will-face-off-in-african-ecommerce-2-0/

Big Data

How Big Data impacts the finance and banking industries

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Nowadays, terms like ‘Data Analytics,’ ‘Data Visualization,’ and ‘Big Data’ have become quite popular. These terms are fundamentally tied preidominantly to matters involving digital transformation as well as growth in companies. In this modern age, each business entity is driven by data. Data analytics are now very crucial whenever there is a decision-making process involved.

Through this tool, gaining better insight has become much easier now. It doesn’t matter whether the decision being considered has huge or minimal impact; businesses have to ensure they can access the right data to move forward. Typically, this approach is essential, especially for the banking and finance sector in today’s world.

The Role of Big Data

Financial institutions such as banks have to adhere to such a practice, especially when laying the foundation for back-test trading strategies. They have to utilize Big Data to its full potential to stay in line with their specific security protocols and requirements. Banking institutions actively use the data within their reach in a bid to keep their customers happy. By doing so, these institutions can limit fraud cases and prevent any complications in the future.

Some prominent banking institutions have gone the extra mile and introduced software to analyze every document while recording any crucial information that these documents may carry. Right now, Big Data tools are continuously being incorporated in the finance and banking sector.

Through this development, numerous significant strides are being made, especially in the realm of banking. Big Data is taking a crucial role, especially in streamlining financial services everywhere in the world today. The value that Big Data brings with it is unrivaled, and, in this article, we will see how this brings forth positive results in the banking and finance world.

The Underlying Concept

A 2013 survey conducted by the IBM’s Institute of Business Value and the University of Oxford showed that 71% of the financial service firms had already adopted analytics and big data. Financial and banking industries worldwide are now exploring new and intriguing techniques through which they can smoothly incorporate big data analytics in their systems for optimal results.

Big data has numerous perks relating to the financial and banking industries. With the ever-changing nature of digital tech, information has become crucial, and these sectors are working diligently to take up and adjust to this transformation. There is significant competition in the industry, and emerging tactics and strategies must be accepted to survive the market competition. Using big data, firms can boost the quality and standards of their services.

Perks Associated with Big Data

Analytics and big data play a critical role when it comes to the financial industry. Firms are currently developing efficient strategies that can woo and retain clients. Financial and banking corporations are learning how to balance Big Data with their services to boost profits and sales. Banks have improved their current data trends and automated routine tasks. Here are a few of the advantages of Big Data in the banking and financial industry:

Improvement in risk management operations

Big Data can efficiently enhance the ways firms utilize predictive models in the risk management discipline. It improves the response timeline in the system and consequently boosts efficiency. Big Data provides financial and banking organizations with better risk coverage. Thanks to automation, the process has become more efficient.Through Big Data, groups concerned with risk management offer accurate intelligence insights linked to risk management.

Engaging the Workforce

Among the most significant perks of Big Data in banking firms is worker engagement. The working experience in the organization is considerably better. Nonetheless, companies and banks that handle financial services need to realize that Big Data must be appropriately implemented. It can come in handy when tracking, analyzing, and sharing metrics connected with employee performance. Big Data aids financial and banking service firms in identifying the top performers in the corporation.

Client Data Accessibility

Companies can find out more regarding their clients through Big Data. Excellent customer service implies outstanding employee performance. Aside from designing numerous tech solutions, data professionals will assist the firm set performance indicators in a project. It will aid in injective analytic expertise in multiple organizational areas. Whenever there is a better process, the work processes are streamlined. The banking and financial firms can leverage improved insights and knowledge of customer service and operational needs.

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/how-big-data-impacts-the-finance-and-banking-industries-2/

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AI

Financial wellbeing app ilumoni raises €1.3 million to help people borrow money better

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ilumoni, the startup app that aims to help people borrow well, has raised around 1.3 million in an over-subscribed seed funding round after successfully launching in Beta earlier this year. 

Founded in 2019, the purpose-led, AI-driven fintech had previously raised approx. 528K in pre-seed funding, which saw the initial build of the first version of the app. The app went on to receive full FCA authorisation in January of 2021 and has already attracted its first beta users.

The free-to-use app helps people understand and manage how to borrow money better. ilumoni delivers rich, personal insights into how users borrow and repay, with full visibility of what they owe, including how long it will take to repay and how much their borrowing will cost in interest. This is combined with prompts and future scenarios that users can interact with to find repayment amounts or alternative products that cost less in interest, help pay balances sooner, or free up cash.

The latest round of investment was over-subscribed, despite two increases, and has attracted an additional 20 plus angel investors to the business. The new funding will take the product to market and beyond, with general App and Play Store release planned for later in the year

In addition to the funding, UK-based ilumoni has appointed two Non-Executive Directors to its board, new investor James Eden and existing investor Simon Moran.

Eden commented: “While there are many emerging tools that champion consumers’ financial degrees of freedom, there aren’t any that provide an independent view of borrowing and debt, despite the impact it can have on people’s financial and mental wellbeing. The purpose behind ilumoni, level of innovation and credentials of the team were more than enough to convince me this was an investment worth making. So much so that I am delighted also to be joining the board.”

Ilumoni CEO, Gary Wigglesworth, added: “We’re thrilled to have such a ringing endorsement of ilumoni with an over-subscribed funding round. There is a huge opportunity to help people to borrow well and it’s more important now than ever.”

Wigglesworth continued: “Many borrowers need to manage their debt better, yet there is very little help available until they’re faced with formal debt management, such as IVAs. As with anything, prevention is better than cure, and we believe in better borrowing for everyone. ilumoni provides a tool that not only demystifies borrowing but provides practical ways to relieve the stress of debt and reduce how much it costs. We can’t wait to show people how, very often, small changes can make a big difference, and encourage them to borrow well.”

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/05/financial-wellbeing-app-ilumoni-raises-e1-3-million-to-help-people-borrow-money-better/

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Fintech

Vietnamese flexible pay startup Nano raises $3M seed round

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Nano Technologies, a startup that lets workers in Vietnam access their earned wages immediately through an app called VUI, has raised $3 million in seed funding. The oversubscribed round was led by returning investors Golden Gate Ventures and Venturra Discovery, and included participation from FEBE Ventures, Openspace Ventures and Goodwater Capital.

Nano recently took part in Y Combinator’s accelerator program. Golden Gate Ventures and Venturra Discovery both participated in its pre-seed funding. The startup was founded at the beginning of 2020 by Dzung Dang, formerly a general manager at Uber and chief executive officer of ZaloPay, and Thang Nguyen, who previously served as chief technology officer at Focal Labs and SeeSpace.

VUI launched six months ago, and now serves more than 20,000 employees from companies like GS25, LanChi Mart and Annam Gourmet. Nano Technologies claims that about 50% to 60% of employees sign up for VUI as soon as their employers offer it, and use the service about three times every month to withdraw their earned wages.

Nano’s earned wage access features can be used by employers of all sizes, in all sectors, to offer flexible pay to their employees, but its focus is currently on retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing, especially for textiles, garments and shoes. The startup says companies in these sectors have seen recruitment costs increase, while worker retention drops. This is in part because many people are opting for gig economy jobs, like ride-sharing, where their earning are automatically deposited into their digital wallets or bank accounts.

Nano usually fronts wage advances, and then is paid back back by employers on their paydays through payroll deduction. Employers who have higher liquidity can also front wages through their own balance sheets. VUI is usually offered by employers as a benefit, and they can opt to cover fees, have their workers pay fees or use a co-pay model.

Nano is among a crop of companies across the world that offer earned wage access, meant to help companies retain workers by letting them withdraw earnings whenever they want, instead of waiting until payday. In Southeast Asia, this also includes GajiGesa in Indonesia. In the rest of the world, other companies that offer similar services include Square, London-based Wagestream and Gusto). Nano’s plan is to continue focusing on Vietnam, and develop new products for employers, including tools for managing staff and engagement.

In a press statement, Chi Phan, the CEO of LanChi Mart, a subsidiary of Central Retail with about 2,000 employees, said “On-demand salary via VUI is an obvious idea and practical HR initiative that LanChi team is pleased to roll out to our employees as a new voluntary benefit. VUI provides a much-needed financial lifeline from LanChi to our employees, keeping the employee morale up during the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing attrition rites post-Tet.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/13/vietnamese-flexible-pay-startup-nano-raises-3m-seed-round/

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Crowdfunding

Tencent Finance Academy and Hong University of Science and Technology to Support Fintech Education Programs

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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has reportedly committed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tencent Finance Academy (TFAHK) in order to support local Fintech talent.

By leveraging HKUST’s solid academic foundation in Fintech and Tencent’s extensive industry experience, the MoU will focus on forming a strategic partnership in supporting the development of financial technology solutions. This will be achieved by assisting talented individuals (in Hong Kong) and working cooperatively on education, research and development (R&D) initiatives.

Per the MoU, HKUST and Tencent Finance Academy have agreed to work on various Fintech case studies for tertiary education, with the aim to offer real business solutions. Students can expect to improve their knowledge on Fintech platforms by taking part in this initiative.

HKUST and Tencent Finance Academy will also work cooperatively on creating a curriculum for Fintech, with HKUST leveraging Tencent’s business experience in order to support the development of an innovative talent model.

Other projects reportedly include key internship opportunities for HKUST students, joint Fintech-focused R&D initiatives, guidance on carrying out research and various educational outreach programs to enhance public awareness of the benefits of Fintech solutions.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated (during her speech):

“I thank TFAHK for its long-standing commitment to and support for nurturing young fintech talents, and I hope all young people attending the forum today can equip themselves to take part in the integration of fintech development in the GBA. This will provide better career development for themselves and contribute to the development of Hong Kong, the GBA and the nation.”

HKUST President Professor Wei Shyy remarked:

“We have launched our first fintech postgraduate program jointly by Schools of Business and Management, Engineering, and Science. We have also been actively collaborating with multiple banks and other enterprises. Today we are delighted to join hands with Tencent to further our efforts on creating new knowledge and nurturing talent in a context which HKUST can make substantial contributions.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175259-tencent-finance-academy-and-hong-university-of-science-and-technology-to-support-fintech-education-programs/

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