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Carbon entering Kenya with health insurance & a digital wallet

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Carbon, a Nigerian instant loan, investment, and payment service, is seeking a Kenya Country Business Lead to launch its operations in Kenya.

Carbon, which started in 2012 as Paylater and relaunched as “Carbon” this year as part of its deliberate transition to a fully-fledged digital financial services platform.

Carbon offers bill payments, fund transfers and savings products, in addition to loans which were its first product. Carbon also offers free credit reports and digital wallets for its customers.

According to the company’s co-founder and CEO Chijioke Dozie in a tweet:

The firm is also looking to venture into mobile health insurance in Kenya and Nigeria and is set to launch a virtual Visa card for its customers. On mobile health insurance Carbon will take on M-TIBA, a CarePay service. CarePay recently raised $45m for expansion and Carbon needs more than money to take on its service, which unfortunately hasn’t seen huge uptake as expected. Another firm in the micro-insurance sector is MicroInsure which works with various partners to reach the uninsured in the markets its works in.

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Before the rebranding, Carbon had acquired payments company Amplify to cement its move into multiple strands of financial services.

The Kenya launch comes after Carbon got a $5mn investment from Lendable for expansion.

“We are focused on providing access to financial services to the “Next Billion’ starting in Africa,” said the founder and CEO. “Currently, we are the largest fully automated smartphone lender in West Africa with over 1,000,000 apps downloaded and disbursing just under 3,000 loans per day in Nigeria and Ghana.  Our 2018 goal was to be a Digital Bank in 3 countries and have secured a Banking License in Nigeria already.”

The Country Business Lead for Kenya will establish and lead a successful digital bank business in Kenya. The individual will be in charge of developing and implementing the country product road map and building a local team for Carbon.

“In 2019, our focus is on expanding access to financial services and providing value to our customers is even sharper.  There will be added functionality to the new Carbon Wallet — a debit card for customers to perform transactions and/or withdraw money nationwide, rewards for transacting, and lots more,” concluded Dozie.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite launched in Kenya, starts selling on February 10th

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Samsung’s latest smartphone in the Kenyan market is one that has received quite the acclaim abroad.

Unveiled at the start of the year alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite after weeks of rumours, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a follow up to last year’s Galaxy Note 10 but for those on a budget.

The feature set is also different.

Whereas the Galaxy Note 10 packs all the latest and “greatest” features, the Note 10 Lite makes do with yesteryear components like the dated Exynos 9810. Of course, that also means that the base model packs 128GB internal storage space which is quite a lot but pales in comparison to the Note 10’s 256GB starting point.

It also skips on the IP rating of the Note 10.

However, it shows its muscle in the amount of memory (6GB, the 8GB variant isn’t available locally), a bigger (6.7-inch vs 6.3-inch) Super AMOLED display panel and a bigger battery (4,500mAh vs 3,500mAh).

It also packs a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot, both of which are missing on the Note 10.

What makes “a Note a Note”, the S Pen, is available on the Note 10 Lite, marking the first time since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco (which saw the release of a “watered-down” Note device) that Samsung has made the Note lineup available at a “less-than-premium” price.

Starting on Monday, February 10th, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite can be had in the country for Kshs 58,000. So much for a “less-than-premium” price, eh? It’s at least a tidy fraction of the Note 10’s high price.

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Daystar Power raises $4m from SunFunder for rapid buildout in Nigeria

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Daystar Power, a commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer,  has raised $4 million from SundFunder to provide solar power and energy efficiency solutions for businesses in the commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

Daystar Power says the funding will result in significant reduction of power costs, diesel consumption and pollution in Nigeria.

SunFunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets, invests up to 3MWp of C&I projects for clients including top tier financial institutions and other small and medium-sized enterprises will mitigate 102,410 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

According to Rim Azirar, Investment Officer at SunFunder, “We are delighted to support Daystar’s growth with a project finance-like structure that can support the company’s strategy for rapid buildout in Nigeria, through their highly scalable business model.” 

Daystar’s mission is to provide an African sustainable energy solution that results in a minimum 20 % reduction in energy costs and 50% reduction in diesel consumption for end users.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Nigeria has the largest potential for C&I solar in Africa because of the scale of the opportunity for diesel replacement. Daystar is a pioneer in the market, offering end-users increased reliability as well as lower energy costs through solar and storage systems.

Christian Wessels, co-founder and executive of Daystar Power, comments: “We are happy to partner with SunFunder in our mission to bring clean, continuous and affordable power to West African businesses in support of their growth and environmental goals. The support of SunFunder enables the beginning of a new phase of accelerated growth for our company.”

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In October, Daystar Power announced it had installed its 100th solar energy system in Nigeria since it was founded in 2017. In May the same year, it raised EUR 500,000 via Trine for captive power installations in Togo & Senegal. The amount was a debt round raised via crowdfunding site Trine, a Swedish investment platform to finance solar power systems.

In April, Daystar Power entered Ghana after raising $10m for West Africa expansion. The Ghana office was its second branch in West Africa with an office in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

In March, Daystar Power received 10 million US Dollars for expansion of solar power operations in West Africa. The $10 million USD investment was led by Verod Capital Management and Persistent Energy Capital LLC.


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Twitter Makes $1bn Quarterly Revenue For The First Time

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Twitter has pulled in one billion dollars in quarterly revenue for the first time. The revenue grew by 11 per cent from a year earlier to $1.01bn, also beating the expectation of $996.7m from the previous projections.

The high revenue is attributed to the tremendous efforts the company has made In the most recent days. Among them, it has made make its platform more user-friendly sending its shares up 14 per cent in early trading.

Prior, the company forecast it’s first-quarter revenue between $825m and $885m. The Wall Street had an estimate of $872.6m in revenues.

The companies CEO Jack Dorsey during an earnings call with analysts said,” Rolling out new features at a faster pace is one of Twitter’s top priorities for the year. The time it takes to go from an idea to shipping something remarkable to customers simply takes too long”

“2019 was a great year for Twitter. Our work to increase relevance and ease of use delivered 21% mDAU [(monetizable Daily Active Usage)] growth in Q4, with more than half of the 26 million mDAU added in 2019 directly driven by product improvements. Entering 2020, we are building on our momentum – learning faster, prioritizing better, shipping more and hiring remarkable talent. All of which put us in a stronger position as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead.” he added.

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Twitter has also focused on relevant content and notifications which has boosted average monetizable daily active users.

The metrics rose to 152 million in the fourth quarter through December from 126 million the previous year. From the records, it has beaten the average analyst’s expectation of 147.5 million according to Aljazeera.

Twitter revealed that the firm’s revenue for the whole year was $3.46 billion which represents a 14 per cent increase. The yearly costs and expenses added up to $ 3.09 billion. This pulled down to an 11 per cent operation margin and operating income of $336 million.

The United States, which is its major market generated $591 million of revenue. This is an increase of 17 per cent from the previous year.

Further, this year’s goals are to increase its workforce up to 20 per cent or more in engineering, product design and research. Among other investments, Twitter foresees a new data centre this year.


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