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Connecting learners to tutors, Bitmama’s pre-seed, changes at Airtel Africa, Zuckerville down

October 05, 2021 · 4 min read
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Good day,

Today, I’m discussing:

  • Tuteria’s mission to connect learners with tutors
  • Bitmama’s pre-seed
  • Changes at Airtel Africa
  • Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger’s blackout

Tuteria’s mission to make it easier to find tutors

The Tuteria team. Source: Supplied

Some of the biggest businesses we know today started with the founder(s) trying to solve a problem that they faced. Think of startups like Spanx and Canva, and you realise that solving a personal problem can be a huge motivation for starting a business.

The same rings true for Godwin Benson and Abiola Oyeniyi, Co-founders of edtech startup, Tuteria. After facing difficulties receiving payment for tutoring a student, Benson wondered if there was a way to solve the problem for others like him. 

The desire to solve that problem stayed with him from 2005 to 2014 when Tuteria was launched. 

So what does Tuteria do? In simple terms, the startup connects students with tutors for a fee. If you have used a tutor, attempted to employ a tutor for a child, or know someone who has, then you know how difficult that can be, and this is the problem Tuteria is trying to solve for students.

With tutors in all 36 states in Nigeria, the startup also teaches subjects not covered in traditional schools, including makeup, dancing, and photography, and strives to connect students with tutors closest to them. 

Our reporter, Victoria Fakiya, had an interesting conversation with the co-founders of Tuteria. You can read all about their journey and plans for the future on our website.

How Nigerian edtech startup, Tuteria, is connecting learners to tutors in Nigeria

Bitmama’s pre-seed raise

L-R Akin Asalu, COO, Bitmama_ Ruth Iselema, CEO, Bitmama. Source: Supplied.

Blockchain payments startup, Bitmama has announced its $350,000 pre-seed raise. The round was led by Flori Ventures with Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital and other Angels and VCs taking part.

Founded in 2019 by Ruth Iselema, the startup enables users to buy and sell up to six cryptocurrencies through the Bitmama exchange and send and receive money internationally, buy airtime or data, and pay utility bills through Changera.

Having secured the funding, Iselema reveals that there are no plans to add to their product offerings. Instead, the startup will focus on expanding its team and making inroads to other countries.

With cryptocurrencies becoming the rave, Nigerians have been early adopters, with more than $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies traded on local crypto exchanges in 2020. 

Despite the Nigerian government banning the trading of cryptocurrencies via banks early this year, the crypto market suffered very little damage.

This year alone, Bitmama has reportedly facilitated transactions worth more than $6 million and has over 15,000 users on the platform. 

You can read more on this story on our website: Blockchain payments platform, Bitmama raises $350k pre-seed to expand product offerings

You can also read our feature on Ruth Iselema: Meet Ruth Iselema, The Bitmama of the African blockchain space

Changes at Airtel Africa

Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO Airtel Africa. Source: Supplied

There’s a wave of change blowing at telecommunications provider, Airtel Africa. The first is the change in leadership as Olusegun Ogunsanya, former CEO of Airtel Nigeria, assuming the role of Managing Director and CEO of Airtel Africa, replacing Raghu Mandava

Back in May, when his appointment was first announced, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Airtel, said, “We are delighted to appoint Segun Ogunsanya as the Group’s next Chief Executive Officer. He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernisation, distribution, and operational efficiency.”

Ogunsanya comes into the role with over 20 years of experience across the banking, telecommunications, and consumer goods sectors. 

Reacting to his new appointment, Ogunsanya said, “I am looking forward to building on the solid foundations the Group has established for future sustainable growth across Africa. 

“Moving forward, we will invest even more in our network and distribution channels to serve the communities where we operate. By doing this, we will continue to sustainably bridge the digital divide, expand financial inclusion and meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

Meanwhile, Airtel Africa has announced plans to buy back minority shares in its Nigerian subsidiary, Airtel Networks Limited, at ₦55.81 per share. This was disclosed in a statement by Mr Simon O’Hara, the Group Company Secretary, on Monday, October 4, 2021. 

Trouble in Zuckerville

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On Monday, October 4, 2021, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp experienced outages across the world. The three services, which serve about 3 billion users, were either founded or acquired by Mark Zuckerberg.

WhatsApp confirmed the outage in a statement on Twitter that read, “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible.”

While it is not clear what caused the outage, experts believe it could be a DNS error. A DNS is a sort of phonebook for the web. Every computer has an address and without that phonebook — read DNS — you can’t find that computer. 

If indeed this is a DNS error, then a plausible explanation could be that these Facebook services cannot be reached because their addresses cannot be found. 

With these services essential to business operations, data from Netblocks’ Cost of Shutdown Tool estimates the economic cost for a six-hour blackout at $968.5 million. As at the time of writing, these services were still down.

What I’m reading/watching

  • Why people believe they can’t draw and how to prove they can. Watch
  • The rise of the gig economy has changed the way we work forever. Read
  • How to waste your career, one comfortable year at a time. Read

Have a great day.

Chimgozirim Nwokoma

Chimgozirim Nwokoma

Author

Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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