Risevest’s CEO steps aside due to sexual impropriety claims

About Fatu
By Fatu Ogwuche

Top of mind: Happy Sunday!

I’m excited about the innovation in this week’s newsletter. Jumia’s joining titans like Amazon and UPS to launch drone delivery, and BNXN, formerly known as Buju, is creating futuristic experiences in the metaverse.

And in sobering news, the CEO of one of Nigeria’s leading startups steps aside in light of sexual harassment allegations.

Let’s get to it.

3 big things:

  • Risevest investigates CEO
  • Jumia’s in flight
  • BNXN in the metaverse

Another Nigerian tech CEO steps aside

The short: Risevest CEO Eke Urum steps down in light of allegations of abuse of power and sexual impropriety.

Full disclosure: I’m an early investor in Risevest. I had a quick chat with Urum, who says he’ll stay silent until the investigation is over in two weeks. 

Stepping aside: The company said in a statement on Tuesday that Eke Urum, the founder and CEO, had been asked to step down as investigations were ongoing. 

The investigation: In the statement, Risevest says: 

In light of allegations of abuse of power and sexual impropriety, Eke Urum willingly agreed to step aside as CEO of Risevest to allow for a 6-week investigation, set up by Risevest’s investors, to run its course.”  

Business as usual: In the meantime, Risevest’s head of operations, Tony Odiba, will serve as interim CEO.

We want to assure our stakeholders and the general public that we continue to operate optimally as a company, and our customers will continue to enjoy the highest quality of services and support.” Risevest stated.

Track record: Last year, Former Risevest employee Efe Uduigwomen accused the CEO of fostering a toxic workplace where criticism was not welcome. In addition, she accused Urum of firing her for refusing to work from the office due to COVID concerns, even though her contract permitted that. 

Urum denied the allegations calling them “blatant half-truths”, but accepted responsibility and apologised a few days later. 

Final thoughts: Allegations like these are hard to come back from as a CEO. Urum appears to be in the dark over who brought this case against him. – he’d find out in two weeks like the rest of us. 

We’ll see what’s about to happen next.

Jumia’s in flight

The short: Jumia and Zipline have partnered to introduce drone package delivery in Ghana.

Wider reach: 27% of orders placed on Jumia last year were in rural areas – a growing number. The partnership will harness Jumia’s current distribution network and Zipline’s automated on-demand delivery technology for quick home deliveries, particularly to customers in remote areas. 

Jumia has been in the market for more environmentally friendly delivery solutions, as seen by its partnerships with Kenya’s eBee and Ghana’s Solar Taxi. The drones provide more eco-friendly delivery options and will start transporting light items with a 3kg capacity. 

The partnership: Jumia currently operates in 11 African nations, with over 30 warehouses and 3,000 drop-off and pick-up points. There is a lot of potential in this partnership. 

Zipline Africa’s Senior Vice President, Daniel Marfo, says: 

Zipline’s safe and efficient instant logistics system will make shopping on Jumia even more convenient, sustainable and accessible for its customers.

EVP Jumia Group’s COO Apoorva Kumar affirmed this partnership:

This partnership will support Jumia’s commitment to sustainability and innovation and provide much-needed access to rural and remote areas where conventional delivery services have challenges. 

Final thoughts: Look up in the sky – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a delivery drone!

Is drone delivery the way of the future? Amazon, UPS, and FedEx have tested the concept for a while. Now online marketplace giant Jumia’s soaring too, and I’d love to see if they can land this one.

Afrobeats in the metaverse

The short: BNXN, formerly known as Buju, hosted a virtual reality listening party for his latest EP.

Afro-verse: BNXN organised the first African Metaverse listening party to launch his new EP “Bad Since 97” on Spatial – a holographic platform for extended reality. Fans could use virtual reality headsets to interact with BNXN while he performed three songs from the new EP.

That’s next level!

Early adoption: Tech adoption is growing in African music. Earlier this year, BNXN released HeadsByBnxn, a set of NFTs that can be used as tickets for his performances. 

South African singer Anatii removed his solo albums from streaming services and began selling them as NFTs. NFTs create a big opportunity for artists in South Africa who have complained they do not receive proper compensation from record labels.

Final thoughts: Tech is changing how we interact with our favourite artists. Virtual concerts and NFTs are stepping stones in our leap to the future.

I hope to see tech companies partner with acts like BNXN to unlock exciting experiences in the Metaverse. 

That’s it for the week. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this week’s issue. Please respond to this email or find me on Twitter @fatuogwuche 🙂 

Ps – do us a solid by sharing the newsletter with your network of tech enthusiasts. Invite them to join the party 🙂

See you next Sunday!

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