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Nigerian Fintech Startup, Theeper, Ceases Operations After Raising $2.1 Million

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Theeper, a Nigerian fintech startup, has announced its decision to shut down its operations nearly two years after raising $2.1 million in a Seed round. The founders of the company cited compliance issues and slow acceptance of wallets as viable payment options in Nigeria as the main reasons behind the decision.

The founders, Kosisochukwu Chike Ononye (CEO) and Michael Okoh (CTO), expressed their regrets in a statement released on Monday, noting that despite their mission to create innovative methods for transferring money between digital wallets and making payments directly from these wallets, they faced significant challenges.

Compliance issues hindered the company from launching key wallet providers or maintaining their services. Additionally, the overall acceptance of wallets as a payment option did not grow as rapidly as anticipated, leading to the need for extensive efforts in educating users about their services.

Faced with these challenges, the founders explored options such as a hard pivot, mergers and acquisitions, or returning capital to investors. Ultimately, they decided that returning remaining capital to investors was the best course of action.

The decision to wind down operations means that Theeper will be placed on maintenance mode temporarily while the platform is maintained until a new home for it is discovered. Despite the setback, the founders expressed gratitude for the journey and the support received from investors.

Theeper initially launched its beta in April 2021 with the aim of enabling users to send money directly between different fintech platforms, bypassing traditional bank accounts. The company later expanded its offerings to include solutions for businesses, such as Direct Charge and Checkout.

The startup had shown promising growth, achieving an average transaction growth of 161% month-on-month by the time of its $2.1 million Seed round closure in June 2022. However, challenges in educating users about the need for wallet interoperability and convincing them to adopt their solution posed significant hurdles.

Despite hints at expansion to other African countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt, Theeper struggled to overcome the barriers posed by compliance issues and slow market acceptance.

Overall, Theeper’s decision to wind down operations reflects the challenging landscape faced by fintech startups in Nigeria and underscores the importance of addressing compliance issues and market readiness when launching innovative solutions.

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Samsung Ousts Apple, Regains Top Spot in Smartphone Market

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Samsung has regained its position as the leading smartphone seller, overtaking Apple in global shipments, according to the latest report from International Data Corporation (IDC). In the first quarter of this year, Samsung shipped 60.1 million smartphones, securing nearly 21 percent of the market share. This marks a significant shift from Apple’s previous lead, as the tech giant shipped 50.1 million iPhones, capturing just over 17 percent of the market in the same period. Despite fierce competition from Chinese rivals, both Samsung and Apple experienced growth, signaling ongoing resilience in the smartphone industry.

Chinese competitors like Xiaomi and Transsion also demonstrated strong growth in the smartphone market. Xiaomi’s shipments increased by about 33 percent to 40.8 million, securing the third position overall, while Transsion experienced an 85 percent surge to 28.5 million shipments, claiming the fourth position. This rise in shipments underscores the escalating competition within the smartphone industry, particularly from Chinese manufacturers, who are rapidly expanding their global presence.

IDC predicts that Samsung and Apple will continue to dominate the high-end segment of the smartphone market. However, they anticipate Chinese competitors to intensify their efforts to expand sales globally. Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, noted a notable shift in power among the top five companies, indicating a changing landscape in the post-recovery world. Despite uncertainties, the smartphone industry’s growth trajectory remains robust, with companies adjusting their strategies to navigate evolving market dynamics.

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Nigcomsat & LAMATA Partner for Lagos Rail Connectivity

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Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (Nigcomsat) is set to join forces with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to revolutionize internet connectivity for commuters utilizing the Lagos rail transit system.

The Managing Director of Nigcomsat, Mrs. Jane Nkechi Egerton-Idehen, accompanied by the organization’s Lagos regional business office, kickstarted discussions on potential collaboration during a strategic visit to LAMATA on Monday. This development was reported through an official statement released on LAMATA’s communication platform.

The proposed partnership aims to introduce a range of services for commuters of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) system, capitalizing on Nigcomsat’s cutting-edge satellite technology. Among these services are robust internet connectivity, onboard e-commerce functionalities, and wireless entertainment options.

LAMATA’s statement emphasized the pivotal role of Nigcomsat’s satellite technology in elevating the commuter experience across the Lagos rail network. It highlighted Nigcomsat’s interest in implementing in-flight services, including internet connectivity, onboard e-commerce platforms, and wireless entertainment, all facilitated by satellite technology.

A Snapshot of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit System:

The Lagos rail network, known as the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) system, comprises the Red and Blue Lines, with significant progress made on both fronts.

Blue Line: Spanning 27km, with the completion of 13km in its first phase, the Blue Line commenced commercial operations in September 2023. Work is underway for the completion of its second phase. Red Line: Extending 37km, the first phase of the Red Line covers 27km from Agbado in Ogun State to Oyingbo in Lagos. President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the first phase on February 29, with commercial operations pending. An agreement for the commencement of the second phase was signed during the inauguration.

Future Expansion Plans:

The Lagos State government has announced ambitious plans to expand the rail network, including the construction of the Green and Purple Lines, stretching from Marina to the Lekki Free Zone and from Redemption Camp to Ojo, respectively. Additionally, the Orange and Yellow Lines are slated for future inclusion in the LRMT system, bringing the total number of rail lines to six.

The collaboration between Nigcomsat and LAMATA marks a significant stride towards enhancing connectivity and enriching the overall commuter experience on the Lagos rail transit system.

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NNPC and NIPCO Gas Collaborate to Establish 35 CNG Stations

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NIPCO Gas Limited has joined forces with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) to establish 35 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Lagos and various regions across Nigeria.

The partnership aims to expand access to CNG, a cleaner and more affordable alternative fuel, to motorists and industries across the country. Nagendra Verma, Managing Director at NIPCO Gas, revealed during a recent briefing that the locations for 19 CNG stations have already been identified, with stage-wise approval from regulatory authorities.

Highlighting the company’s commitment to CNG development and expansion since 2009, Verma noted that NIPCO Gas has gradually expanded its autoCNG network from Benin City to Ibafo in Ogun State, Kogi State, Abuja FCT, Ibadan in Oyo State, and Oron in Akwa Ibom State.

Presently, NIPCO Gas operates 15 autoCNG stations nationwide, facilitating long-distance travel for CNG vehicles. Verma emphasized the significance of the partnership with NNPC, expressing gratitude for the trust and support received from the government and various stakeholders.

He underscored the capital-intensive nature of gas distribution and autoCNG projects, highlighting the need for substantial investment and unwavering commitment. Verma expressed optimism about realizing the expansion plan with the collective support and guidance from relevant authorities and stakeholders.

The collaboration between NNPC and NIPCO Gas signifies a pivotal step towards promoting cleaner energy solutions and enhancing energy access in Nigeria. With concerted efforts from all stakeholders, the initiative aims to alleviate the challenges faced by citizens and contribute to the nation’s economic and environmental sustainability goals.

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