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Letter 19, BD Insider: The newsletter arm of tech blog, benjamindada.com.
N.B - <<First Name>> you are receiving this first because you are an active subscriber.
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Hey <<First Name>>, 

It’s been a while since we sent out BD Insider. Thanks for your patience. But you know, lowks you could have checked up on us 😉. But it’s all good, haha.

This edition of the newsletter is loaded. We attempt to play catch up on what has happened since January 4 plus we now celebrate birthdays, hehe. So, if you celebrated your birthday this month you should see your name below. 

😭 Doing business in Nigeria is an extreme sport, especially e-commerce

<<First Name>>, in January alone more than three Nigerian startups have announced comatose, pivot or death.

Caketunes and Dealdey successfully shut down. Careers24 plans to shut down operations in Nigeria by March 2019. The management of Gloo.ng, PayMente Limited, also shut down their groceries business to focus on new pivot. Hopefully, the roll call of startups that shut down in 2019 won’t be longer than that of 2018. So, when next someone tells you that "salary is the bribe they give you to forego your dreams", you know to knock their heads.

Why e-commerce struggles in Nigeria

🏆 Paystack, Max.ng and others make it to the LSEG's CIA 2019 report

In the recent Companies to Inspire Africa (CIA) 2019 report released by The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), Nigerian companies made up 75% of the total 130 West African companies listed.

This is barely surprising. As Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria accounts for nearly half (47%) of the entire region’s (West Africa) population. Also, 2 in every 5 tech hubs in the region is located in Nigeria, so you can expect a significantly higher number of businesses to spring up in the country.

However, what would be more indicative, is to see the percentage of the total number of companies in each of the 16 West African countries that made the LSEG’s report, that’d give perspective to the quality of startups in each of those countries. 

Read the full report here (pdf).

🗞️ How WhatsApp and Microsoft are approaching the spread of fake news

In an attempt to fight fake news and misinformation, and following a six-month test in India, Whatsapp users worldwide would only be able to forward messages to 5 people at once.

Similarly, Microsoft has integrated a NewsGuard feature into its mobile browser, Edge. NewsGuard helps users to ascertain if a news source (read: site) is trustworthy or not. It is also [going to be] available as a Chrome browser extension.

🤑 Jeremy Johnson to his team at Andela last week



Andela has now raised money six times in five years. Their most recent raise of $99.76 million brought their total funding to ~ $180 million.

Yet the company hasn't broken-even (meaning, not profitable). 

<<First Name>>, listen, their operating expense (OPEX) is crazy! Housing, feeding, training, hiring top execs all in a bid to help the company scale. But if anything, there is reasonable growth, now they are at about 1.1K developers with near 50% of them placed to work with one of their 200 partner companies, in any of the 11 countries (across 4 continents) where they are present. Plus 400+ admin/operations-focused employees

There is a lot to say about how Andela's business model has evolved over the years,  their revenue, unsaid things like co-founders leaving the company (one left in December 2018) and their impact in the countries where they operate. We are hoping we can bring you that scoop, soon. So, stay tuned on benjamindada.com. 

If you'd like to sponsor this story (that is, fund the work that goes into collecting the data and fact) as an organisation, please reply to hello@benjamindada.com

😜 No, Tesla is not coming to Nigeria

Tesla was rumoured to be eyeing the power sector in Nigeria. Businessday and Venture Africa festered the rumour. But Tesla’s spokesperson for EMEA told Business Insider by Pulse that there are no plans to expand to Nigeria or offer PowerWall in the country. As TechPoint alluded to, it might be a case of a potential Tesla PowerWall reseller pulling a Public Relations stunt to make it look like Tesla is officially coming to the country.

How could something as useful as AI be racist?

🗓️ Events and Opportunities

Take note of these events :

  • Product School, a renowned online and offline school that provides product management training to professionals worldwide, is hosting its first meetup in Nigeria on Saturday, February 2nd. Get your free tickets.
  • On Friday, February 8, MainOne will be hosting its annual NerdsUnite Conference, themed: Accelerating Digital Transformation. Registration closes on January 31st.
  • The second edition of Atlassian User Group Meetup will also be held on Saturday, February 6. Learn more.
Scholars Hub Africa compiled a list of global opportunities we think you (or someone you know) might be interested in.

🎂 Birthdays of the month

Typically, when people sign-up for our newsletter we ask for their birthdays, so we can surprise them. Starting January 22, we decided to send birthday cards and special messages to our subscribers

Without further ado, here are our January celebrants 🎉

  • Jan 02 - Seun Awoyele

  • Jan 03 - Awe Adeyinka

  • Jan 05 - Boluwatife Sodipo

  • Jan 09 - Chinomso Onuoha

  • Jan 15 - someone at TimonCapital

  • Jan 22 - Onyeka Ijeh

  • Jan 25 - Nsembo Udoh Kelven (for example)

  • Jan 26 - Jennifer Okojie

  • Jan 30 - Umar Mohammed

  • Jan 30 - Gamekyd

What would have been nice would be to link to their Twitter handles, but we currently do not collect subscribers Twitter handles.

Please if you know them, don't forget to wish them a happy birthday.

🗞️ Special cut from the team

Featuring what we are watching, reading and listening to:

Yay! You got to the end of our longest newsletter ever. 

What did you think about this edition? You can reply me directly at daniel@benjamindada.com

Thank you, 
Daniel 
Edited by Benjamin
On behalf of the team @ benjamindada.com
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