The week has begun. I hope you had a good time over the weekend.
Pitch Friday kicked off my weekend. It wasn't all bad. We had a good time learning how cap tables work. Check out this link for a quick recap.
Saturday was good; I didn’t hit the gym because I woke up weak and tired and spent all morning in bed. 😂 By afternoon, I watched Netflix’s Young Royals before going for a walk with a friend later that evening.
Sunday was a bad day for me. I had a terrible headache. To be honest, I am not looking forward to today. 😂😂 But it’s Monday! We gotta work. Or what do you say? 🤣
Now you know how my weekend was. I'm curious how yours went. Please use the reply button to share your thoughts. I want to know all the details. 😉
Most importantly, I need your help. If you've been reading Techpoint Digest for a while and would like to share your thoughts with our readers, please leave a comment. Just type "Interested Techpoint Digest" in the body of the email, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Here’s what I’ve got for you today:
Be the smartest in the room
- Disney to freeze hiring and lay off some employees
- Twitter suspends its $8 Blue service
- Contro’s $5.6m pre-seed
Disney to freeze hiring and lay off some employees
According to a memo seen by Reuters, Entertainment giant, Disney, reportedly plans to freeze hiring and lay off some employees as it works to “bring the Disney+ streaming service to profitability against a backdrop of economic uncertainty;.”
Disney’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Chapek, said, “hiring for the small subset of the most critical, business-driving positions will continue, but all other roles are on hold. Your segment leaders and HR teams have more specific details on how this will apply to your teams.”
The move comes in the wake of Disney's disappointing quarterly results last Tuesday. The company racked up more losses from its push into streaming video, dubbed the "direct-to-consumer" business.
The company added 12.1 million subscribers in its fiscal fourth quarter. However, it reported an operating loss of $1.47 billion.
Interestingly, while CFO, Christine McCarthy, stated that losses will improve in 2023, the CEO said streaming will be profitable by the end of 2024.
According to Chapek, as Disney works through the evaluation process, it will look at every avenue of operations and labour to save money; staff reductions are part of this review, and the company has about 190,000 employees.
The company has also begun to examine content and marketing spending, but Chapek insists that any cuts will not compromise quality.
Twitter suspends its $8 Blue service
Last Friday, Twitter suspended its subscription-based blue tick verification labels, citing a spike in the number of fake and parody accounts created after subscribing.
While Twitter users in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand could previously subscribe to Twitter Blue from the iOS app's sidebar for $7.99, users reported on Friday that the option had disappeared.
Remember that when Twitter launched its revamped Blue subscription service, users could obtain a 'verified' checkmark on the microblogging platform.
However, several users purchased verification to impersonate brands, celebrities, and even Twitter.
While many of these accounts reportedly posted parody statements, others allegedly engaged in phishing attempts. For example, a suspended account impersonated a verified Twitter account and ran a crypto phishing scam.
According to Platformer’s Managing Editor, Zoë Schiffer, Twitter has issued an internal memo stating that it is actively working to prevent users from subscribing "to help address impersonation issues."
Well, on Friday, Twitter announced that it had restored its grey "official" badge.
In addition to its "official" badge, Twitter has attempted to differentiate authentic accounts by including clickable fine print under every verified badge that reveals whether the user is a Twitter Blue subscriber or a notable entity in "government, news, entertainment, or another designated category."
Like I said the first time, this would probably cause more harm than good, but let's see how this goes.
Contro’s $5.6m pre-seed
Contro, a South African telehealth startup, has raised $5.6 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed round.
Plug & Play, iCubed Capital, WZ Capital, and Jozi Angels Network were among the investors who participated in the round. It also got funding from the Bill Gates-backed i3 initiative.
Founded by Alex Schmid in June 2021, Contro focuses on sexual health and treatment for low confidence. The company currently provides six services: birth control subscriptions, erectile dysfunction, hair loss treatments, one-time STI, thrush, and UTI treatments.
Since its inception, the company claims to have assisted over 2,000 South Africans in receiving therapy.
Contro plans to use the funds to improve its platform, expand its offerings, and expand its personnel, to permit targeted expansion across South Africa.
In case you missed it
- Learn how cap tables work at this month’s Techpoint Africa Pitch Friday
- Cardtonic holds its Upskill contest prize-giving ceremony
- Earning $15k monthly as a Web3 designer: Clement Hugbo’s journey from oil and gas to tech
- Yassir raises $150 million in Series B funding as it eyes further expansion
- NeüRMS launches its retail management software to help Nigerian retail businesses scale up
- Instagram is introducing a new feature that will allow you to schedule posts for the future directly from the app
- Nigeria has a financial inclusion problem. Here’s how you can help fix it
- Proximity Ventures wants to support early-stage African founders with capital, content, and community
- CutStruct, a Nigerian construction procurement platform, has raised a $600k pre-seed to connect contractors and vendors
- Egyptian fintech startup, Blnk raises $32 million across pre-seed and seed rounds
What I'm reading and watching
- Uganda confirms Ebola case in country's east as outbreak expands
- Kevin Conroy, the iconic voice of Batman, has died
- How a space can improve (or destroy) your life
- The cost of being an atheist (Documentary) - BBC Africa
- What is Causing Your Headaches?
- TechPR Nigeria is inviting startups to apply for its 'Be Seen with TechPR' initiative. The programme will provide free public relations services to two shortlisted startups, including storytelling, media relations, and media auditing, among other things. The application period ends today. Apply here.
- Applications for the Metaverse Design Thinking Course are now open. Apply here.
- The Seattle Times is looking for a Government and Politics Editor. Apply here.
- Correlation One is hiring an experienced B2B product marketer. Apply here.
- Correlation One is looking for a remote software engineer. Apply here.
- A Luxury Retail Brand is looking to hire a Social Media Manager to manage all their social media accounts. Apply here.
Have a productive week.
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.