Day: August 3, 2018

Facebook Dating will be a feature, not an app; here’s a peek

Facebook Dating doesn’t plan to launch a standalone dating app, which should temper expectations about how deeply it’s diving into Tinder and Match Group’s territory. The feature will be based inside Facebook’s main app, alongside its many other utilities buried beyond the home screen. It’s not ready for the public yet, but company employees are now internally testing it — though they’re warned that it’s not for dating their co-workers.

Facebook gave a preview of its Dating features back in May at its F8 conference. Now we’re getting an early look at its onboarding process thanks to screenshots pulled from the Facebook app’s code by mobile researcher and frequent TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong. The designs give a sense of the more mature vibe of Facebook Dating, which seems more purposeful for finding a serious partner than a one-night stand.

Once you opt in to activating Facebook Dating, only other people who have also turned it on will be able to see you, and it won’t be shared to News Feed. You can choose if friends of friends can see you or not, and Dating profiles allow non-binary and transgender and orientation options. You’ll unlock Groups or Events you’re a part of for Dating, and you’ll be able to browse potential matches based on the plethora of info Facebook knows about you. If two people express interest in each other (no swiping), they can text each other over Messenger or WhatsApp.

TechCrunch has learned some new details from Facebook, as well. Facebook is considering a limit on how many people you can express interest in, which would prevent a spammy behavior of rapidly approving everyone you see. Blocking someone on Dating won’t also block them on Facebook, though that’s not finalized.

Facebook has no plan for paid subscriptions to premium Dating features. It’s currently not going to show ads in Dating, though it could reconsider that later.

Dating will be 18+ only in the U.S. and abide by local laws on who is considered an “adult.”

For now Facebook is taking careful steps toward Dating. It’s not blitzing into the market with a big flashy app. Instead it’s hoping the feature could create the meaningful relationships that make people appreciate Facebook and stick with it over the years. That’s more important than ever with all its recent troubles.

10 Easy Money Hacks to Improve Your Finances

Personal finance doesn’t have to complicated. With the right mindset and commitment towards a better financial life, you can make big improvements effortlessly and quickly.

The following are 10 easy money hacks that can take your personal finance management to the next level:

Online Shopping

online shopping

One of the best ways to save money is to shop online as frequently as possible. This is because there is a slew of reliable and useful online portals including Amazon, Walmart, etc. where you can enjoy attractive discounts and cashback offers.

By making purchases at the right time and from the right website, you can easily save up to 30% or more than you would otherwise spend at your local store where you have limited options and limited time for research.

Refinancing

Is your mortgage or car loan giving a hard time? If your answer is “yes”, then refinancing can be a good solution to look into.

In refinancing, you essentially take a new loan to repay the current one. The advantage of this is that you can get a lower interest rate and a more flexible repayment structure with the new loan.

Increasing Credit Score

Your credit score will play a huge role in your life as far as the finances are concerned. So, if you have a high score, then not only you can get a personal loan, home loan, etc. rather easily, you can also negotiate and get a lower interest rate than the standard. This way, you can save a lot of money on the interest.

There are many easy and simple ways to improve your credit score. You don’t even need the help of a professional to succeed in this endeavor. You can just refer to authority websites and blogs such as the Dough Roller Blog for tips and advice. By taking the recommended credit-building measures, you can make decent improvements in a short period and enjoy more financial freedom!

Avoiding Minimum Payments

minimum payments

Credit card issuers often market their products with the “minimum payment” feature. As you can imagine, it’s an option for a credit card user in which they can choose to pay only a small portion of their credit card bill i.e. the minimum payment to avoid penalties. However, it’s something you should stay away from as much as possible.

When you make a minimum payment, your account is saved from fines and penalties. However, the remaining amount i.e. what’s left on your bill after you have made the minimum payment is carried over to the next month and added to the next bill. In addition to that, this balance continues to attract interest. Thus, always pay your bills in full to avoid paying interest and to protect your credit score.

Buying Used Items

There is nothing wrong with buying used products, especially when they cost a lot when bought new. However, the key is selective purchase.

For instance, items like furniture, expensive college books, hardware tools, musical instruments, etc. can be easily bought online with websites like eBay, craigslist, wallapop, and letgo etc. This is because these items age well and their quality does’t degrade too much over time if they are well taken care of.

Buying used items can help you save as much as half of the original price. However, always be sure to inspect the products before you hand over the money.

Availing Tax Benefits

Do you pay the exact amount of income tax that’s applicable to your profile? There are ways to lower your taxable income which means you can save money that you would otherwise pay in taxes.

For instance, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money into an account tax-free and withdraw it tax-free when used to cover medical costs. Similarly, you can deduct interest from your student loan payments on your tax return.

Taking up Freelancing

There are many easy ways to make money online. For instance, if you are good at writing, photography, video editing, etc. then you can take up related gigs online from SMEs and individuals looking for help.

There are a number of reliable and high-paying freelancer websites like Upwork and Freelancer where you can create an account to bag gigs and earn some decent money on the side. This will also allow you to use your free time during weekends or holidays for something productive and financially beneficial.

See Also: 5 Freelancing Tips That Will Make you Successful

Setting up an Emergency Fund

emergency fund

Life is uncertain, and if you lose your job one day or aren’t able to work for some other reason, then your savings can deplete quickly, thus leaving you vulnerable. You may end up taking a personal loan at a high interest rate being short of options. However, you can prevent this kind of situation by setting an emergency fund for the rainy days.

Ideally, an emergency fund should be enough to cover your expenses for at least 3-6 months.

Using a Mobile App for Tracking Expenses

We have all heard that creating a monthly budget, monitoring the expenses, etc. is important. However, who has the time to note down all the expenses and do the math? Fortunately, there are a number of free apps that can help you track your spending.

The best personal finance apps in the market are capable of reading your emails and SMS for automated tracking, creating detailed reports, suggesting payment methods and credit cards that offer discounts, etc. Thus, these can help you save money in a variety of ways.

Reconsider Recurring Expenses

A lot of times, one-time expenses such as car repair, dental treatment, etc. can’t be avoided. However, the recurring expenses which are also the biggest burden on your finances can be looked into and altered for saving money.

If you find that there are more affordable alternatives to your current recurring expenses such as insurance premium, Internet connection charges, cable bills, etc. then you can make a switch. Maybe you can find a cheaper Internet plan, or replace your home’s light fixtures with their energy-efficient versions at to lower your utility bills, etc.

So, these were some of the best ways to improve your financial health. Do try them out and see how you get the benefits in just a short period! Good luck!

The post 10 Easy Money Hacks to Improve Your Finances appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

MallforAfrica goes global, Kobo360 and Sokowatch raise VC, France explains its $76M fund

Jake Bright
Contributor

Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa.

B2B e-commerce company Sokowatch closed a $2 million seed investment led by 4DX Ventures. Others to join the round were Village Global, Lynett Capital, Golden Palm Investments, and Outlierz  Ventures.

The Kenya based company aims to shake up the supply chain market for Africa’s informal retailers.

Sokowatch’s platform connects Africa’s informal retail stores directly to local and multi-national suppliers—such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble—by digitizing orders, delivery, and payments with the aim of reducing costs and increasing profit margins.

“With both manufacturers and the small shops, we’re becoming the connective layer between them, where previously you had multiple layers of middle-men from distributors, sub-distributors, to wholesalers,” Sokowatch founder and CEO Daniel Yu told TechCrunch.

“The cost of sourcing goods right now…we estimate we’re cutting that cost by about 20 percent [for] these shopkeepers,” he said

“There are millions of informal stores across Africa’s cities selling hundreds of billions worth of consumer goods every year,” said Yu.

These stores can use Sokowatch’s app on mobile phones to buy wares directly from large suppliers, arrange for transport, and make payments online. “Ordering on SMS or Android gets you free delivery of products to your store, on average, in about two hours,” said Yu.

Sokowatch generates revenues by earning “a margin on the goods that we’re selling to shopkeepers,” said Yu. On the supplier side, they also benefit from “aggregating demand…and getting bulk deals on the products that we distribute.”

The company recently launched a line of credit product to extend working capital loans to platform clients. With the $2 million round, Sokowatch—which currently operates in Kenya and Tanzania—plans to “expand to new markets in East Africa, as well as pilot additional value add services to the shops,” said Yu.

MallforAfrica and DHL launched MarketPlaceAfrica.com: a global e-commerce site for select African artisans to sell wares to buyers in any of DHL’s 220 delivery countries.

The site will prioritize fashion items — clothing, bags, jewelry, footwear and personal care — and crafts, such as pictures and carvings. MallforAfrica is vetting sellers for MarketPlace Africa online and through the Africa Made Product Standards association (AMPS), to verify made-in-Africa status and merchandise quality.

“We’re starting off in Nigeria and then we’ll open in Kenya, Rwanda and the rest of Africa, utilizing DHL’s massive network,” MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan told TechCrunch about where the goods will be sourced. “People all around the world can buy from African artisans online, that’s the goal,” Folayan told TechCrunch.

Current listed designer products include handbags from Chinwe Ezenwa and Tash women’s outfits by Tasha Goodwin.

In addition to DHL for shipping, MarketPlace Africa will utilize MallforAfrica’s e-commerce infrastructure. The startup was founded in 2011 to solve challenges global consumer goods companies face when entering Africa.

French President Emmanuel Macron  href=”https://pctechmag.com/2018/05/french-president-emmanuel-macron-launches-a-usd76m-africa-startup-fund/”>unveiled a $76 million African startup fund at VivaTech 2018 and TechCrunch paid a visit to the French Development Agency (AFD) — who will administer the new fund — to get details on how it will work.

The $76 million (or €65 million) will divvy up into three parts, AFD Digital Task Team Leader Christine Ha told TechCrunch.

“There are €10 million [$11.7 million] for technical assistance to support the African ecosystem… €5 million will be available as interest-free loans to high-potential, pre-seed startups…and…€50 million [$58 million] will be for equity-based investments in series A to C startups,” explained Ha during a meeting in Paris.

The technical assistance will distribute in the form of grants to accelerators, hubs, incubators and coding programs. The pre-seed startup loans will issue in amounts up to $100,000 “as early, early funding to allow entrepreneurs to prototype, launch and experiment,” said Ha.

The $58 million in VC startup funding will be administered through Proparco, a development finance institution — or DFI — partially owned by the AFD. “Proparco will take equity stakes, and will be a limited partner when investing in VC funds,” said Ha.

Startups from all African countries can apply for a piece of the $58 million by contacting any of Proparco’s Africa offices.

The $11.7 million technical assistance and $5.8 million loan portions of France’s new fund will be available starting in 2019. On implementation, AFD is still “reviewing several options…such as relying on local actors through [France’s] Digital Africa platform,” said Ha. President Macron followed up the Africa fund announcement with a trip to Nigeria last month.

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 was accepted into Y Combinator’s 2018 class and gained some working capital in the form of $1.2 million in pre-seed funding led by Western Technology Investment.

The startup — with an Uber like app that connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs — will use the funds to pay drivers online immediately after successful hauls.

Kobo360 is also launching the Kobo Wealth Investment Network, or KoboWIN — a crowd-invest, vehicle financing program. Through it, Kobo drivers can finance new trucks through citizen investors and pay them back directly (with interest) over a 60-month period.

On Kobo360’s utility, “We give drivers the demand and technology to power their businesses,” CEO Obi Ozor told TechCrunch. “An average trucker will make $3,500 a month with our app. That’s middle class territory in Nigeria.”

Kobo360 has served 324 businesses, aggregated a fleet of 5480 drivers and moved 37.6 million kilograms of cargo since 2017, per company stats. Top clients include Honeywell, Olam, Unilever, and DHL.

Ozor thinks the startup’s asset-free, digital platform and business model can outpace traditional long-haul 3PL providers in Nigeria by handling more volume at cheaper prices.

“Logistics in Nigeria have been priced based on the assumption drivers are going to run empty on the way back…When we now match freight with return trips, prices crash.”

Kobo360 will expand in Togo, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal.

[PHOTO: BFX.LAGOS] And finally, applications are open for TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, December 11. Early-stage African startups have until September 3 to apply here.

More Africa Related Stories @TechCrunch

More Africa Related Stories @TechCrunch

·         CowryWise micro-savings service opens high-yield government bonds to everyday Nigerians


African Tech Around the Net

·         More Than Half of Sub-Saharan Africa to Be Connected to Mobile by 2025, Finds New GSMA Study
·         Ethiopia’s Gebeya acquires Coders4Africa to accelerate its growth
·         Rwanda, Andela partner to launch pan-African tech hub in Kigali
·         Google’s free public Wi-Fi initiative expanded to Africa
·         Accounteer wins 2018 MEST Entrepreneur challenge
·         SafeBoda completes expansion to Kenya, now live in Nairobi
·         Uganda government sued over social media tax

These women are disrupting their industries one click at a time

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When it comes to emerging technology we don’t always think of women in lifestyle. Instead, our minds dart to computer programmers, IT gurus and software developers. 

Thanks to these forward-thinking female entrepreneurs however, that’s all starting to change. They’ve turned their hard work and determination into thriving businesses – all thanks to a bright idea, and a helping hand from the right devices. 

These days, if you’re a busy content creator or a business mogul in the making – there’s nothing more important than having the best tools. But how do you choose which products to go with? Easy – you go with the ones that help you do your best work.  Read more…

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