MPOST rolls out e-P.O.Box services in Rwanda

·
May 23, 2024
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6 min read
MPost
Image source: CIAO

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Konnichiwa,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • MPOST rolls out e-P.O.Box services in Rwanda
  • Balancing founder potential with market realities 
  • 16-month salary delay claims at Bloc

MPOST rolls out e-P.O.Box services in Rwanda

MPost
Image source: CIAO

MPost, a digital postal service, has officially launched its e-PO Box Service in Rwanda, transforming the postal experience for millions of Rwandans. How? By converting mobile phone numbers into formal postal addresses, people and businesses can receive mail and parcels directly on their phones.

Why’s this a big deal? Less than 1% of Rwanda's population has access to a post office, resulting in long queues and limited access. However, with MPost's e-P.O.Box system addresses, you can say goodbye to physical P.O. boxes. 

Once signed up, e-P.O.Box users can enjoy a range of features, including sending and receiving mail and parcels, accessing government services like obtaining driver’s licenses and passports, shopping on local and international eCommerce platforms, and conducting financial transactions easily.

This new service is a game-changer for Rwanda's eCommerce sector. It will help businesses expand their reach, improve customer satisfaction, and cut down delivery times, boosting the economy.

Consumers will benefit from better access to a wider array of products and services, creating a more dynamic and competitive market. The system’s efficiency will also reduce logistical challenges and operational costs for eCommerce platforms, 

MPost plans to reach over 5 million citizens within the next three years by leveraging the high mobile phone penetration in Rwanda and integrating local postal services.

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Balancing founder potential with market realities

Oui Capital founders, L-R: Francesco Andreoli and Olu Oyinsan. Source: Supplied.
Oui Capital founders, L-R: Francesco Andreoli and Olu Oyinsan. Source: Supplied.

Building a startup in Nigeria is no easy feat, and Nigerian VC firm Oui Capital knows this all too well. 

Two years ago, they announced their second fund for African founders, with Tosin Eniolorunda of Moniepoint, one of their early success stories, as a limited partner. Managing Partner Olu Oyinsan sees this as a huge validation of their work, reflecting on the challenges and triumphs they've faced since starting the firm.

Oyinsan, who left his VP role at Ingressive Capital six years ago to start Oui Capital with Francesco Andreoli, has helped raise $40 million across two funds, investing in over 20 early-stage startups.

He notes that investing in Africa is particularly tough, with an acceptance rate lower than Harvard's. The unique challenges of the African market make investors here some of the best around.

With venture funding slowing in the last two years and economic conditions worsening, more than 20 African startups have shut down. Despite these hurdles, Oyinsan emphasises that investors have evolved, often stepping in as co-operators and therapists to keep startups moving forward. He credits his experience in navigating these tough times for better supporting portfolio companies today.

For early-stage investors, it's all about betting on the right founders and market potential, even with scant data. Oyinsan believes that brilliant founders sometimes limit their own success by tackling unsolvable problems. 

Want to know more about the ups and downs of investing in African startups? Read Chimgozirim’s story to find out.


16-month salary delay claims at Bloc

A photo of 100-dollar bills in the hands of a dark skinned person with a calculator on the side
Image by 8photo on Freepik

Remember the 16-month salary delay story that made it to the trend table on X a few days ago? 

Well, here is everything we know about it: In October 2022, Benita Anuforo joined Bloc, a Banking-as-a-service startup, to handle compliance. However, just two weeks into her job, Bloc discussed slashing salaries by 40% to avoid shutting down. 

The company promised to repay the withheld 40% from January to March 2023 by April, but this never happened. Instead, the 60% salary payments continued until October 2023, leading Anuforo to leave the company. 

She was owed ₦3.7 million for the withheld salary. Although she received ₦1 million, further delays prompted her to call out the company and its CEO, Edmund Olotu, on X.

Olotu confirmed the salary cuts, explaining they were necessary to prevent layoffs when the company ran out of funds. He noted that the 40% salary rollover was dependent on a liquidity event, which has not yet occurred, leading to further delays in salary payments.

Anuforo faced more issues with delayed payments, including receiving June’s salary at the end of July and payments for July, August, and September in October. Despite promises of a three-month payment plan, she only received ₦1 million in February 2024, with no payments in March or April.

Tensions rose when she was removed from the management Slack group, prompting her to leave the company after training her replacement. She continues to seek the remaining balance through legal action.

Olotu denied that Bloc owed salaries for 16 months but acknowledged two-month delays in 2023. He also defended the salary cuts as a necessary measure and promised that the company would eventually pay what was owed.

An accusation of spying on company accounts surfaced against Anuforo, which she denies. Olotu did not directly address these accusations but mentioned that Bloc tries to accommodate staff requests for emergency funds based on the company’s finances.

Despite the controversies, Olotu insists that Bloc remains a viable company and is committed to resolving all outstanding payments soon.


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Have a terrific Thursday!

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.
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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