Uber was the pioneer taxi hailing app in Africa, but that seems to be changing, the Estonian company Taxify is taking the fight for market share in Africa with Uber to places where Uber isn’t. Much of Taxify’s expansion has been due to being bankrolled by its recent $175 million capital raise—a funding round which valued the company at more than $1 billion. Taxify’s backers include Daimler, the German car giant and Didi Chuxing. In South Africa, Taxify is in fierce competition with Uber in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth but has also expanded to Polokwane. It is set to also launch in East London later this month. In addition to Lagos and Abuja, the only two cities where Uber currently operates in Nigeria, Taxify has launched operations in Ibadan, Nigeria’s largest
Google is celebrating 20 years of organizing the world’s information and making it accessible to billions of users in close to 200 languages. When Google Search was launched in 1998, the entire web consisted of only 25 million pages. The task of indexing and cataloguing this information, the size of small library, seemed ambitious at the time. Two decades later, Google has indexed hundreds of billions of pages and the number grows with every new piece of information added to the web by users around the globe. The next chapter of Search is one that’s powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) “As the internet has spread around the world with increased connectivity, Google has made access to this information both faster and easier. We now provide search in 190 languages and 150 domains,” s
Venture Beat reports that Jumia, one of Nigeria’s largest online retailers has allegedly laid off 300 of its workers in Nigeria, which accounts for about 30% of its 1000-person workforce in Nigeria. This has raised concerns as to whether the end is near for the online retailer and what this could mean for the Rocket-funded e-commerce outfit. The major investor in Jumia, Rocket internet has a reputation for downsizing. In a similar event, Rocket Internet closed some of its offices in Turkey in 2012, firing 400 workers in the process. While a similar event may be playing out in Nigeria, Kaymu (another Rocket Internet portfolio company) closed its Zambia office. Citing “macroeconomic reasons,” the online shopping platform shut down its operations in Zambia at the beginning of the month.
A series of ambitious new Innovation Partnerships between the UK and Africa are expected to stimulate significant economic growth and support the creation of thousands of new jobs. The partnerships, announced by the Prime Minister as the UK strengthens ties with the region, will be established in African countries with growing tech sectors where there are young, expanding populations with ideas and innovations developing at a rapid pace. Building on the UK’s already-strong investment in science and research in Africa, the partnerships will enable UK and African entrepreneurs to share skills and ideas, and encourage future trade. The increased engagement comes after the Department for International Trade announced the appointment of a dedicated HM Trade Commissioner to Africa. Emma W
Amazon has today announced an acquisition that underscores how it also hopes to have a more direct — and more commercial — role in the world of healthcare in the coming years. The company has purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy the lets users buy medications in pre-made doses. This news come only a week after after appointing a CEO for its healthcare joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan. “PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” says Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer, in a news release. “PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited to see what we can do together o