Treepz pivots to a car-sharing marketplace

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May 5, 2023
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5 min read
Treepz Kenya launch

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Ciao,

I hope you've had a great week. Mine hasn't been the best, but hopefully the weekend is better; I'm sure yours will. Anyway, let's try to have some fun, okay? 😉

I've got some news: According to the Department of Transport, South Africa's only driving licence card printing machine has broken down and will require 2-3 weeks to repair.

This occurred following "routine maintenance," which began on April 5 and ended on April 19, 2023.

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Following that, the technical team ran into an issue that necessitated replacing a crucial part from the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

The department guaranteed that the routine maintenance wouldn't have an impact on the production of driving licence cards, urging the general public to keep applying for their licences as usual.

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Victor Kareem's tips on investing for startup founders
  • Treepz pivots to a car-sharing marketplace
  • Updates on the 5% excise duty on telecom services

Victor Kareem's tips on investing for startup founders

An image of Victor Kareem, Executive Director, Lagos Angel Network

In the most recent episode of Equity Merchants, Chimgozirim spoke with Lagos Angel Network's Executive Director, Victor Kareem.

Victor was a manager at Future Africa before joining the Network in 2022. Before then, he worked as an investment banker for many years, assisting companies in raising capital.

While he worked as an investment banker, Kareem was introduced to the lending industry after he was tapped to join a new lending company.

There, he assisted in providing working capital to small businesses and learned to love the work involved in allocating capital to companies.

However, he believes that equity, rather than debt, was a better funding option for the businesses they worked with. With that realisation, he joined Future Africa.

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A few weeks after meeting seasoned investor, Kola Aina, at an event in 2022, he was invited to join the Lagos Angel Network.

Explaining his preference for equity investment, Kareem pointed out that debt is not an ideal form of financing for most early-stage businesses as they easily find themselves focusing on generating enough cash flow to service the debt.

He also shares tips for founders to choose the right investors and why venture capitalists differ from angel investors. You can read it here: “Founders should interview investors as much as the investors do” — Victor Kareem, Executive Director, Lagos Angel Network

Treepz pivots to a car-sharing marketplace

Treepz Kenya launch

African mobility startup, Treepz, has shifted its focus to become a car-sharing marketplace where car owners can rent out their vehicles.

According to the company, the pivot is a more cost-effective and sustainable option for transportation in Africa. So, Treepz plans to reinvent its mobility business and enter a largely untapped market.

Onyeka Akumah, Johnny Ena, Afolabi Oluseyi, and John Shuaibu founded Treepz in 2019 as a bus-hailing platform in Nigeria.

It was called Plentywaka at the time, and provided a convenient way for users in Lagos' bustling city to book bus trips.

What now? Because there are only 44 cars for every 1,000 people in Africa, highlighting the dire need for accessible transportation, Treepz wants to close the gap by allowing customers to rent cars only as needed and for durations ranging from an hour to a month.

Currently, its app users can rent cars for between ₦‎30,000 ($65.19) and ₦‎93,000 ($202.08) per day, but the company anticipates that as more car owners sign up for the service, price competition will further reduce user costs.

Treepz’s marketplace product is now available to users in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya, and is home to different vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, vans, and buses.

The business model has vetted car owners or "hosts" set their preferred prices and availability while renters or "guests" select their desired cars based on location and duration.

Updates on the 5% excise duty on telecom services

making call

Nigeria's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has stated that the proposed 5% excise duty on telecommunications services will not be implemented.

The 5% excise duty, if implemented, would cause Nigerians to pay more for calls, data, and other telecommunications services.

The government announced in March 2023 that the digital economy would be exempt from the proposed tax.

For context, the government exempts the digital economy sector from excise duty charges to sustain and improve the use of digital economy services and benefit from their positive economic impacts.

Consequently, Pantami says the exemption trumps any regulations put in place after.  

The Minister pleaded with Nigerians and telecom members to disregard the Fiscal Policy Measure document, listing the telecom tax as one of the measures to go into effect in 2023.

But how did we get here? In August 2022, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced a 5% excise duty on calls, SMS, and data services to boost revenue.

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However, Pantami opposed the idea, claiming it was unfair and would burden the populace.

He announced the suspension of the 5% excise duty on telecommunications in September 2022 and launched a committee to review it.

Later in December 2022, President Buhari sent the House of Representatives the 2022 Finance Bill, which included the suspended excise duty on telecommunications services. The bill was also up for discussion in the National Assembly.

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching

Opportunities  

  • Clevertech is looking for a remote Mobile Engineer. Apply here.
  • CreateApe is hiring a remote UI/UX Designer. Apply here.
  • Are you a creative journalist and media maker passionate about fixing what isn’t working in sub-Saharan African media? Apply for the 2023 Jamlab Accelerator Programme here.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a fun weekend!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
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She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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