Business

Move Over WhatsApp, Google Set to Launch Chat, an Android Messenger App

Move Over WhatsApp, Google Set to Launch Chat, an Android Messenger App

Business, Mobile, Startups
Google is rolling out a new chat service to replace standard texting, a move that analysts say will offer Android users advanced features already found in popular chat services such as Apple's iMessage and Facebook's WhatsApp. But the unveiling also represents a strategic retreat for the tech giant, experts say, which has struggled to prop up a dedicated chat app of its own. The service, dubbed Chat, is not a Google messaging app but will run on Android phones through partnerships with dozens of mobile carriers around the world. Chat offers several upgrades for Android users whose messaging relies on SMS, or short message service, a text-based system that has been widely adopted but surpassed by more feature-rich messaging apps. Using a new standard called Rich Communications Ser
Taxify Launches TaxifyGO and Taxify XL features to attract Kenyan Cab clients

Taxify Launches TaxifyGO and Taxify XL features to attract Kenyan Cab clients

Business
Taxify, Europe’s and Africa’s fastest-growing ride-sharing platform, has launched its TaxifyGO and Taxify XL features on the app in Nairobi. TaxifyGO is Taxify’s economy category with pocket friendly fares. The fleet consists of  smaller 4-seater cars with 1300cc engines suitable for everyday commuting. TaxifyXL is a tailor-made category for larger groups with a sitting capacity of six passengers. The move to bring these additional vehicle types on board as new application features arises from a need to cater for a more diverse customer base which now includes groups who wish to use the larger capacity vehicles such as vans and multi purpose vehicles (MPVs). Attributed to large space, well-equipped cabin and power-packed performance, these cars are comfortable for large familie
IBM and Twiga Foods Introduce Blockchain-Based MicroFinancing  for Food Kiosk Owners in Kenya

IBM and Twiga Foods Introduce Blockchain-Based MicroFinancing for Food Kiosk Owners in Kenya

Business
IBM Research and Twiga Foods, business-to-business logistics platform for kiosks and food stalls in Africa, announced that they have extended access to microloans to 220 food stall retailers across Kenya using a blockchain-based financing system. Twiga Foods was looking to expand its logistic services into a total market ecosystem by adding financial services. Late last year, the $13 million start-up began working with IBM Research to deploy a blockchain-enabled supply lending platform to help scale its reach. Small and medium sized businesses (SME) in African countries often have difficulty accessing sufficient credit due to the complexities of financing processes, high loan costs, collateral requirements and lack of a credit score. This can make it difficult for these organizat
Jumia plunges into Sh14 billion loss

Jumia plunges into Sh14 billion loss

Business
E-commerce company Jumia has sunk deeper in the red, posting a Sh14.9 billion loss before tax and other costs in the year ended December compared to Sh11.3 billion a year earlier. The loss does not give an indication of the company’s bottom-line as it excludes most of the standard business expenses including finance costs, depreciation and stock-based compensation. The company, which operates in 23 African countries including Kenya, blamed the loss on increased investment in the business. Jumia’s sales grew 41.8 per cent to Sh62.95 billion on the back of higher customer numbers.  Its total number of orders grew 63.3 per cent to 8.3 million while the customer base increased 46.7 per cent to 2.2 million users. The company increased its capital
EU Court Approves France Ban of Uber Service Without Informing Brussels

EU Court Approves France Ban of Uber Service Without Informing Brussels

Business, Governance
The EU’s top court on Tuesday dealt another blow to US taxi hailing  giant Uber by backing the right of France and other member states to ban an illegal taxi service without notifying Brussels regulators. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of a French ban of the UberPop service that links amateur drivers with customers through a smartphone application, four months after taking a similar decision over a case in Spain. The Silicon Valley firm has been left with its UberX service, which uses licensed professionals, in France and Spain as well as most other European Union countries. In a conciliatory tone, Uber said it is “appropriate to regulate services such as Uber” and pledged to “continue the dialogue” with authorities in European cities where it has met fierce opp