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LATEST TECH NEWS: ServiceMyCar launches with US$311k seed funding. 2 other things and a trivia you need to know today, November 16, 2020



These latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.

1. ServiceMyCar launches with $311k seed funding

Currently nursing interest to expand into Nigeria, South African startup ServiceMyCar has launched operations with ZAR5 million (US$311,000) in seed funding. The car platform developed an online marketplace for vehicle maintenance and repairs after understudying challenges majorly faced by car owners. Reportedly founded by father and son duo Athol and Aidan Quin in January 2019, the startup launched to the public in August 2020. According to review, ServiceMyCar provides customers with numerous quotations for vehicle repairs or service from various workshops located in the customer’s vicinity, and allows them to book the vehicle in on the selected date at the selected workshop.

Speaking on the quality of services rendered, the board noted that the platform allows customers to make informed decisions on which workshop they would prefer to have their vehicle serviced at, providing structure to a previously unstructured marketplace. Aidan Quin said: “Through many years of motor industry experience we have identified that this is a huge problem for both workshops and customers. Customers face the challenge of finding a trustworthy, transparent and cost-effective workshop whilst workshops – both franchise and non-franchise – face the challenge of increasing volume, securing bookings and having reliable customer support.” In addition, the company looks to expand into the rest of Africa, particularly Nigeria, Botswana and Namibia.

Tech Trivia:

Before being known as PayPal, the company went by what name?

A. Confinity
B. The X-Change
C. MoneyMate

Answer: See end of post.

2. Westerwelle Young Founders Programme opens call for applications

Westerwelle Young Founders Programme has announced opening call for its latest edition. The programme, this time, will offer outstanding young entrepreneurs from developing and emerging countries six months of business mentoring. The opening will also give selected candidates the chance to participate in the Young Founder Conference in Berlin. The board stated, however, that the Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding supports collaboration between young entrepreneurs, executives and decision makers from around the world.

Industry experts explained that the Young Founders Programme is a fully-funded six-month programme for 25 exceptional entrepreneurs from developing and emerging economies. As planned, the programme will begins in March, and the 10 best startups will be selected to attend the week-long Young Founder Conference in Berlin in Q3 of 2021. To this end, attending the conference will give startups the chance to pitch in front of investors, further develop their entrepreneurial skills, and meet players from the German startup scene.

3. Reliance Retail acquires Urban Ladder for $24.4 million

India’s largest retailer, Reliance Retail, has acquired a majority stake in furniture and decor platform Urban Ladder. This development will help the company make a broader push into e-commerce as the largest retail chain in India gears up to fight Amazon and Flipkart. Meanwhile, in a filing to the local stock exchange, Reliance Retail said it had acquired a 96% stake in Urban Ladder for about $24.43 million. However, the Indian retail giant retains the option to acquire the remainder stake in the seven-and-a-half-years-old startup.

Speaking on the new acquisition, the company added that it has proposed to invest up to $10.06 million more in Urban Ladder by December 2023. Going by records, 8 year Urban Ladder sells home furniture and decor products online. It also operates a chain of physical retail stores in several Indian cities. Described as a fire sale, the investment is expected to further enable the group’s digital and new commerce initiatives and widen the bouquet of consumer products provided by the group.

Tech Trivia Answer: Confinity

Founded in December 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek, the payment platform that would later become PayPal began as a Palm Pilot cryptography company called Confinity, which was named after a combination of the words “confidence” and “infinity.”

By 2000, Confinity merged with, an online bank started by Elon Musk in 1999, and the fusion of these two companies became PayPal as we know it today.

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