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WhatsApp makes first move to charge business users

WhatsApp said it will soon begin to charge business users for sending marketing and customer service messages



WhatsApp said it will soon begin to charge business users for sending marketing and customer service messages.

This would be its first move at charging users as the company faces slowing usage and revenue growth, the social network company said on Wednesday.

According to the messaging platform, messages from this category of users will be charged at a fixed rate for confirmed delivery, ranging from 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message and depending on the country.

Read Also: #Gadgets: The World’s most secure Private Messenger launches

In the face of increased cost of operation occasioned by the need to improve privacy safeguards and address concerns about social media addiction, Facebook has been looking for ways to monetize its WhatsApp service.

WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, said large businesses will be charged for sending non-promotional content, such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders or event tickets.


Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform, Zumi, shuts down after failing to raise lifeline funding



Kenyan B2B e-commerce startup, Zumi, has been forced to shut down its operations due to its inability to raise funding necessary to sustain it, according to CEO and co-founder of the platform, William McCarren.

McCarren who announced the decision to shut down the platform in a statement posted on LinkedIn on Saturday, said the company’s decision to close down was as a result of the current global economic situation which has made it very hard to raise money.

He also cited the tough market conditions and money problems dogging many businesses the world over which has made promising technology companies going out of business one after the other.

“With a heavy heart, I must tell you that Zumi is leaving the business. The current economic situation has made it very hard to raise money, and our business was unable to become self-sufficient in time to survive,” McCarren wrote.

The closure of Zumi will see the company lay off its team of 150 people who have previous work experience from top line companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Twiga, and Jumia.

Since its formation in 2016, Zumi has been able to raise a paltry $920,000 in investments, while the company has made more than $20 million in sales during that time, according to its last fiscal report.

Zumi started out as a digital magazine for women, but when it could not make enough money from digital ads, it left the media sector and went into e-commerce instead.

The shutdown of Zumi adds to a list of top Kenyan startups that have shut down in the last few years including Kune Foods, Notify Logistics, and WeFarm, which all shut down last year.citing macroeconomic problems.

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Uber, Google partner to launch empowerment program for Kenyan female drivers



Global ride-hailing company Uber, has teamed up with Google to launch an empowerment initiative for female drivers and delivery partners using the platform in Kenya.

The community-based initiative tagged “GigSister,” according to
Uber’s Head of Communications East and West Africa, Lorraine Onduru, “is intended to connect, grow, and empower a community of women drivers and couriers on the platform through an array of initiatives.”

The program, Onduru said, has already achieved success in parts of Europe and the UK, with Uber teaming up with like-minded partners, including Google and L’Oreal, to uplift and empower women through mental health support, motivation, and self-promotion, as well as self-defense training.

She said the platform will eliminate barriers for women in the gig economy.

“We want to support women, provide them with a platform to network, and make them feel empowered to get into the tech space, and make a living out of it,” she said.

“The training is designed to equip the earners with leadership tools they can use to position themselves for success in running their businesses,” Onduru added.

Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Africa at Google, Dorothy Ooko, who also spoke on the initiative, said:

“We are pleased to partner with Uber to roll out the #IAmRemarkable training which will help more women celebrate their achievements in the workplace and thrive in their businesses in the tech space.”

“We believe this is a step in the right direction to ensure that women are equally equipped with the information, support and opportunities they need.”

“With the gender gap in ICT in Africa being at 23 percent, the African Union strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment aims to enable women and girls to become more active users and influencers of the technological space. The aim is for women to unlock greater gender-enabling e-solutions for funding,” Ooko said.

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