TikTok and ads, Plentywaka enters Techstars, Gokada’s new CEO

by | Mar 18, 2021

This post is a delayed version of Techpoint Digest, a week-daily newsletter that rounds up major happenings in African tech. You can start receiving it hours before everyone else if you subscribe now.

Good day,

Oluwanifemi and Emmanuel here

Today we are discussing:

  • How TikTok users will soon get stuck with ads
  • Plentywaka’s Techstars backing and expansion plans
  • Gokada’s newly appointed CEO

TikTok to mandate personalised ads

The story: Starting April 15, popular short-video-sharing social media app, TikTok will make personalised ads unavoidable on the platform. This means users can no longer disable ads. On the bright side, they can still control what data can be pulled from the other apps or websites they engage with.

That means, depending on your choice, you either get general ads (based on what you do on TikTok) or more targeted ads (based on what you do on TikTok and outside TikTok).

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It’s nothing new, you know? That’s how ad-based platforms roll. Cc: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

By the way, do you remember the little drama that happened last year when TikTok was going to be banned in the US if it’s not sold to a US company? Former US president, Donald Trump claimed TikTok can be used by China to track US user data. Wondering how that is going? See.

Meanwhile, Facebook is really serious about entering into the newsletter business. It plans to introduce a variety of support tools for writers, journalists, and creators on the platform.

There’s a list here, but I’ll name a few: Tools that will help you create a personal website and an email newsletter, integrate with Facebook pages, create Facebook groups, get insights on how your content is faring, and so on.

Note: The rest of the world can wait, these services will start testing only in the US for now. The global tech company wants to empower independent writers by paying them, sort of. Sounds exactly like Twitter’s motive when it added a newsletter feature to the platform after Revue’s acquisition. Even LinkedIn has similar plans to help creators monetise their arts.

Thinking aloud, is it enough to think that all this is for creators to have more options? Or is there a hidden bigger picture?

Well, it may be that social media platforms just want to compete with Substack, but what is that we said about social media going after media companies again?

Plentywaka gets Techstars backing

Plentywakas Founders 1024x634 1

Plentywaka founders. Source: Supplied

Nigerian bus-hailing startup, Plentywaka has announced its entry into the Techstars Toronto accelerator program. The company joins nine other startups in the 2021 batch as it also sets its sights on expanding to Canada.

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Milestones: Founded by Onyeka Akumah, Johnny Ena, John Shaibu, and Afolabi Oluseyi in 2019, Plentywaka connects commuters with buses via an app.

The company moved an average of six people daily in its first two months. In its sixth month, it began to move 1,500 people daily with over 100,000 rides completed in that time.

In August 2020, the company raised $300,000 pre-seed led by its parent company EMFATO, with participation from the likes of Microtraction and Niche Capital.

Interesting problem: The transport system in Lagos, Nigeria, is a fragmented and free-for-all market with little or no regulations whatsoever. By using a tech-enabled platform, some Lagos residents could escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s regular transport system.

What’s next? The Techstars accelerator program would see the startup receive $120k in funding. It also plans to expand its bus-hailing service to Canada.

According to Techstars, a platform like Plentywaka is solving a problem that is common to major cities, even in developed countries.

However, given the nature of Lagos’ transport system, it remains to be seen how bus-hailing would achieve mainstream attention in Nigeria.

Gokada appoints new CEO

nikhil goel gokada

Source: Supplied

Nigeria-based mobility startup, Gokada seems to be finally having the events of 2020 behind it as it appoints a new CEO, Nikhil Goel. This is Nikhil’s eighteenth month with the startup, and he has held four different roles during the period.

Following the Fahim Saleh, former CEO’s demise eight months ago, Nikhil held the reins as President and was overseeing operations.

For the startup, he appears to be the best choice. Before Gokada, Nikhil was with Safeboda Kenya and Indian food delivery startup, Zomato.

You will find a few more details here

What else is happening?

  • Did you miss this? Laurin Hainey, Fairmoney CEO, discusses the tiny details involved with expanding to other markets. Oh, he also has a plan to eat market share from cash in Nigeria. Read
  • SA fintech startup Nomanini raises $1.5m funding round. Read
  • On Instagram, suspicious adults will no longer be able to send DMs to teenagers. Interesting
  • Taxing Digital Transactions: What Are the Immediate and Future Imperatives? Read
  • Keep in mind: Register for the Digital Currency Summit with this link.
  • Meanwhile: Here is the list of confirmed speakers at Techpoint Digital Currency Summit 2021

Have a great day!
Oluwanifemi Kolawole & Emmanuel Paul for Techpoint Africa.

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