Copia Global enters administration 

May 27, 2024
6 min read
Copia Global
Image Source: TechCrunch

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • Bolt Nigeria’s letting drivers call the shots on prices now
  • Copia Global enters administration 
  • Vodacom sues MTN for “spectrum pooling” in South Africa

Bolt Nigeria’s letting drivers call the shots on prices now


Bolt Nigeria is trying something new with their pricing: now passengers can bid higher fares during busy times to snag rides quicker.

Why does it matter? Rising fuel prices and high commissions are squeezing drivers' earnings, making it tough to attract more drivers, especially with the challenge of passing costs onto customers amid high inflation in Nigeria.

Before this, Bolt and Uber would just jack up prices during busy times without letting drivers talk money with passengers. But now, Bolt's changing things up by letting passengers and drivers haggle over fares to speed up the wait.

So, with Bolt's bidding system, passengers can offer more money to get drivers to pick their rides, especially when it's super busy.

Remember inDrive, another ride-hailing company in Nigeria? When it launched, it was all about letting drivers bid for fares, giving them some say in pricing. Now Bolt's picking up that idea, hoping it'll help drivers and maybe even cut down on wait times.

What’s more, Femi Adeyemo, Bolt’s communication manager, said, "The benefit for the driver is that they earn more. The same standard commission applies to all trips."

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Copia Global enters administration

Copia Global
Image Source: TechCrunch

Remember this? Copia to lay off 1,000 staff or shut down

Well, one week after the report, Copia Global has entered administration. The B2B eCommerce company has appointed Makenzi Muthusi and Julius Ngonga from KPMG to handle the process. 

Despite its efforts, Copia Global couldn't attract new capital on terms that worked for everyone involved. So, it’s winding down, leaving Copia Kenya to fend for itself in the funding game.

Consequently, Copia Kenya will switch from physical order processing to an online fulfilment model using its mobile app to reduce expenses and streamline operations in the digital age. 

Under the guidance of the administrators, Copia Kenya will push for a lower burn rate, aim for profitability sooner, and cater to the increasingly digital consumer.

It's a sad turn of events for Copia, which was founded in 2013 to bring goods to remote areas through its platform and network of agents. Signs of struggle started showing in 2023, leading to operational cutbacks and layoffs. Once boasting 1,800 employees and a vast agent network in Kenya and Uganda, Copia's future now hangs in the balance.

Unfortunately, Copia's not alone in its troubles. Several well-funded Kenyan startups have shuttered due to funding woes, joining a growing list of casualties in the competitive market.

Vodacom sues MTN for “spectrum pooling”


Vodacom is taking MTN to court in Pretoria, urgently trying to stop it from using "spectrum pooling" deals that Vodacom says were approved unlawfully by South Africa’s communications regulator, Icasa, in June 2022. 

Vodacom says these deals, involving MTN teaming up with Cell C and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, give MTN an unfair advantage and make its network superior.

Vodacom’s court documents argue that these spectrum-sharing deals were done in secret and violate the Electronic Communications Act. Per Andrew Barendse from Vodacom, the telco got suspicious of MTN’s faster network speeds after analysing independent tests. 

Despite both companies having similar site allocations and equipment, MTN was outperforming Vodacom. Vodacom figured out that MTN must be using more spectrum than it legally should by sharing with Cell C and Liquid. It also accused Icasa of skipping the required public consultation before approving these deals.

Another issue Vodacom raised is the use of "guard bands," small sections of spectrum meant to prevent interference between networks. The telco claims Icasa unlawfully let MTN use these guard bands, giving them an unfair advantage. 

Vodacom also argued that these spectrum pooling arrangements should have been considered a merger and reviewed by the Competition Commission, which didn’t happen.

After exhausting other options, Vodacom said they had no choice but to go to court. Telkom backed the call for Icasa to review all spectrum-sharing deals. MTN is currently reviewing Vodacom’s court papers and consulting with legal advisors. 

Meanwhile, Cell C has forfeited the spectrum it won at the March 2022 auction after failing to pay the R288 million it bid for it. According to Barendse, Cell C’s failure to pay means they lost their spectrum assignment as per Icasa’s auction rules. 

Last week on Techpoint Africa

What I'm reading and watching


  • Moniepoint is currently hiring for 63 positions in the United Kingdom and several Nigerian states, including Lagos, Abia, and Anambra. Check them out here to apply.
  • Monniepoint is hiring a Product Manager. Apply here.
  • If you have a small business in Nigeria, Kenya, or South Africa, apply for the Google Hustle Academy here.
  • If you're a Product Designer and are looking for a remote role, check out this link for several roles.
  • Several companies are looking for software engineers. Check out this link to work remotely with them.
  • Check out this link for several remote Product Manager roles.
  • If you have an early-stage startup, apply for Pitch2Win to pitch your ideas to a panel of esteemed judges and investors. The selected startups will vie for a grand prize of $10,000 equity-free funding and an all-expense-paid trip to IVS2024 Kyoto, Japan. Apply by May 5, 2024, here.
  • Apply for Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) by May 6, 2024, here
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • 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 productive week!

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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