Marc was previously an Executive in Residence at Softbank Capital in Boston; and a Partner at Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa.
Prior to that Marc was with SONY BMG and Bertelsmann AG in New York and Munich as Senior Vice President of Strategy and New Ventures. Marc began his career as a corporate lawyer at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs in Johannesburg. He holds a BA, LLB and a MBA from INSEAD.
Marc has certifications in coaching and in mediation from Harvard Law School. Marc is a CPD faculty coach at Harvard Business School.
Overview of 2go
2go, a mobile social network and chat messenger that allows the users to communicate for free with friends and meet new people, is set to launch on the Android platform in the next weeks.
Today 2go is the largest social network in Nigeria with over nine million active users and is one of Africa’s largest mobile social networks, said Marc Herson, a director at the social network with offices in Cape Town, South Africa.
According to him, 2go is a fast trending network that users, primarily between the ages of 18 and 30, have become loyal users of. The median age of a 2go user is 23, many of which are university graduates or still at university. Herson adds that according to recent statistics the Nigerian population has remarkably a median age of 18, so the 2go user actually skews quite a bit older than the median age of Nigeria.
2go users hop on to the app to check in and chat with familyand friends for free, play games and meet people in chat rooms and discuss topics like football and music. 2go is a also cross-platform and allows users to chat with friends on Facebook and Google.
2go Success is Driven by the Users
2go’s success is due to a variety of factors.
First of all, it is about the product and the technology. Herson notes that “everything we do is focused around the product and the scalability of the platform.” We have minimal downtime, which with three million active users each day is absolutely critical. We are an app that scales.
Secondly, the app has a simple but beautiful user interface. The app is simple and easy to user, which is critical for users of feature phones. Far more than desktop-based users, users tend to be looking for an immediate hit of social connection so interfaces need to be fast and intuitive.
Thirdly, we are also focused on price sensitive users. The app is lightweight and offers users minimal use of data, thus providing savings on data costs. For instance, images are dramatically compressed, which enables users to share photographs a lot.
2go has a very powerful adverting platform and works with brands that include McDonalds, Stanbic IBTC, Guinness and host of others.
We have what we call ‘full-screen splash screen ads’. When someone logs on he views a full-screen ad for five seconds. The user can click on it to go to the brand’s own mobisite. Amazingly, up to 20 to 30% of the users click on the ads.
2go is a premium advertising platform and enables targeting of its audience by age, gender, location and other demographic characteristics. With 2go’s analytics platform brands can log on to track how their campaign is performing.
Free Music for 2go Users
When someone gets signed on to 2go there are various and interesting things that will keep him or her there. In February this year, 2go entered into a partnership with iROKING to bring free music from the likes of Timaya, Flavour and 2Face to the phones of the millions of 2go users who use the mobile networking site to chat, make friends and share the things they love.
From Feature Phones to Smartphones
“Since inception, the success of 2go has been very much around feature phones which still make up about 90% of the market in Nigeria out of over 100 million mobile connections, said Herson, adding that, “The other ten percent are on smartphones, with 50% of those being on Blackberry.”
Feature phones still give people what they want, especially those who cannot afford smartphones.
“However, we are now also focusing on smartphones which is growing rapidly. In Nigeria it will grow from 10% to approximately 25% to 30% in 2016. Thus, we are moving fast. We are on Blackberry already; we now have hundreds of thousands of users of users on smartphones. Blackberry is important, but Android has even more promise,” he noted.
In a recent poll we ran to test smartphone purchase intend, 80% of our users said they intend to buy a phone in the next 12 months, and they said almost 90% of those new phones will be smart phones.
The director maintained that the team of 2go engineers have been working tirelessly, “We have developed a new Android application, which we are going to launch in matter of weeks.
We will first launch our Android app in Google’s Play Store and then Samsung’s App Store. Very shortly, you will see promotions with and 2go bundled data plan with some of the leading mobile networks and handset manufacturers.
2go gives more than 9 million Nigerians an honest, fun and expressive form of communication. “Watch this space” Herson says. “There is much more to come!”
The 2go platform is open to brands, marketers and others who wish to drive brand awareness and engagement to a mass market of Nigerians.
Generally, 2go is the platform to be on!
FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology, has said that the federal government plans to diversify the country’s energy supply sources to include renewable energy towards accelerating socio-economic development.
Onu stated this when he declared open the forum on ‘Scaling-up interconnected mini-grids development in Nigeria’, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja.
He said that renewable energy will help the nation meet its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.
“Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass.
“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he said.
The minister explained that since the inception of the present administration in 2015, electronic power generation capacity had increased at an annual rate of about 390 megawatts per year.
He, however, said that while this is commendable, it could not adequately meet the needs of the country’s population and sustain the desired level of economic development.
Onu further observed that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply.
He stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories in the country have adequate, reliable and affordable electricity supply.
“Renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and improved standard of living in rural areas,” he said.
He added that the development of solar photo-voltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise needs to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.
ROAM Africa Reports Over 2,400 Candidates Applying for One Role as Jobs Stiffens
ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures that highlight the current state of the jobs market in Africa, with one standard role attracting 2,417 applications.
Analysing 69,511 jobs listings from January 2019 to August 2020 across 5 African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), ROAM Africa’s data sheds more light on the challenges facing both job seekers and employers in the African jobs market.
The standard job listing that attracted 2,417 applications was for a Receptionist/Admin Assistant in Kenya while another listing for call centre agents and team leaders attracted 2,283 applicants.
Similar is observed also for other markets: In Ghana, 2,299 people applied for an Administrative Assistant role and 2,265 people in Tanzania applied for a Sales Representative role.
In Nigeria, the highest number of applications for a single role was 2,095 and it was for a Sales Representative role.
According to ROAM Africa’s data, Kenya contributed the highest amount of new job listings in 2019 with 33%. Nigeria was in second place with 31% and Uganda was in third place with 17%. However, so far in 2020, Nigeria is leading the way with 40% of new job listings, with Kenya in second place with 28% and Uganda in third place with 13%.
A closer look at ROAM Africa’s data reveals that, apart from Nigeria, there was a drop in overall job listings across all job levels during the last months.
However, there was an increase in graduate trainee and ‘no experience’ roles in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana from May to July 2020, which offers some hope for new entrants into the jobs market.
Interestingly, recruitment agencies contributed the most roles, with 16% of overall jobs, closely followed by IT and Telecoms with 15% and Advertising media and communications with 12%.
Some candidates have also reported applying for more than 20 jobs a day for multiple months and only getting to the interview stage on a handful of occasions. This is why ROAM Africa’s jobs platforms Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) are focused on matching technology.
The company’s technology helps employers to identify and score the right candidates faster. Suitable candidates are made visible to prospective employers, and helped across the finish line by providing data driven career development tools and training programmes.
Job seekers using the platforms can expect to improve their CV, gain interview tips and sign-up for online training courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Commenting on the data, Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa said, “The high ratio of applications per job listing really highlights how challenging the jobs market is for employers and job seekers. Both employers and job seekers are struggling to connect with the right opportunities and more needs to be done to address this.
“Employers must rethink their hiring strategies and clearly define what they are looking for, based on data and insights. Job seekers must also invest in personal development that will make it easier for them to stand out in such a crowded and competitive market.”
Weitz also added that, “We believe that Africa’s greatest asset is its people and their entrepreneurial spirit. With the expected growth in the continent’s population, we must begin to put structures in place that will make it easier for African businesses to make the most of this resource.”
According to Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa’s Jobs platforms, “With the current state of the jobs market, Africans cannot afford to continue with the antiquated recruitment processes that are commonplace in many organisations.
We must prioritise a digital approach to recruitment, which brings transparency to Africa’s labour market while connecting people to work opportunities that will improve their livelihood.
We must also embrace objectivity in the recruitment process by incorporating innovation that makes it easier to fairly and consistently sort for the best candidates. This will ensure that only qualified candidates are applying for roles and employers get an accurate picture of jobseekers’ capabilities. A win-win for both job seekers and employers.”
“Our data highlights both the challenge and opportunity that come with the African jobs market. We must address the challenge of rampant unemployment but also embrace the opportunity to transform how recruitment is done. By doing this, we will not only be addressing the current problems but also future-proofing our businesses and organizations for generations to come.”
FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.
Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.
The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.
TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.
Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.
“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.
“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.
“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.
“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.
“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.
“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”
Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.
He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.
“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.
“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.
” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.
The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.
“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.
“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.
He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.
Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.
“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.
“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.
Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.
“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”
On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and Euro Cup 2021 rights.
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