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AFCON 2019: Super Eagles Qualify For last 16, First Team To Do So

AFCON 2019: Super Eagles Qualify For last 16, First Team To Do So




Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations as they beat Guinea 1-0.

Three-time winners, Nigeria scored the only goal in the 73rd minute when Moses Simon’s right-wing corner was headed in at the near post by Kenneth Omeruo.

They now have six points from their two games after a 1-0 win over Burundi in their first match on Saturday.

The top two nations in each of the six groups advance, along with the four best third-placed countries.

Nigeria dropped captain John Mikel Obi, who played for Middlesbrough in 2018-19, but their side did include Brighton defender Leon Balogun, Stoke midfielder Peter Etebo, Leicester midfielder Wilfried Ndidi and Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi.

The Gunners man had one of the best chances when it was goalless with a curled effort from just outside the penalty area, but Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone produced a spectacular one-handed save to push it over the bar.

Guinea’s side included Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, who was making his first start for club or country since 1 May, when he picked up a groin injury in the Reds’ 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

However, Keita received some strong challenges and only lasted 71 minutes before he was substituted.

He was replaced just before a Nigeria corner and Guinea, who now have one point from their two matches, went behind instantly thanks to Omeruo’s header.

The other two nations in Group B, Madagascar and Burundi, play on Thursday (15:30 BST), before Burundi take on Guinea and Madagascar face Nigeria in the final round of group games on Sunday.



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Africa: The Role of Family Planning in Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt and DRC Seek Redemption


Egypt and Democratic Republic of Congo enter their second Group A match on Wednesday with points to prove after disappointing performances in their opening games.

DRC surprisingly lost 2-0 to Uganda. Egypt could, at least, console themselves with three points from their 1-0 win over Zimbabwe even if their 70,000 fans left the Cairo International Stadium deflated after the pre-match hype of a goalfest.

“Egypt can play better,” said coach Javier Aguirre on the eve of the game against DRC.

“For sure in the next game – without the pressure of the first game – we must play much better DRC were really unlucky against Uganda in my opinion. They deserved more than to lose 2-0.

“I hope both teams play better for the spectators. Both teams have more to give to the fans.”

Format

An Egypt victory would secure passage to the last 16. A draw would also put the hosts in a good position for the knockout stages due to the new 24 team format where the four best third-placed sides advance along with the top two from the six groups

That configuration could be DRC’s salvation, said skipper Youssouf Mulumbu.

“Let’s see how we can react to the defeat and show that we are men,” added the midfielder. “We want to qualify for the next round.”

Mulumbu, who was part of the squad that finished third in 2015, sat out the first match due to injury. “It was a bit tough for me to miss the first match but I’ve started running again and the coach will decide whether I play,” he added.

“I feel the desire and the discipline is there in the team. We slipped up in the first game but we’re going the right way to make up for it.”

After playing in a deserted stadium against Uganda on 22 June, DRC’s players will face an altogether different atmosphere on Wednesday night. A capacity crowd of 70,000 is expected to roar on the local heroes.

“Egypt in Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations. What more of a challenge can you ask for?” said DRC striker Yannick Bolassie. “I’ve always liked a challenge and you’ve got to relish these challenges. It’s the game you want to play in.”



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Founders Factory Africa and Netcare to fund 35 health-tech startups – TechCrunch

Founders Factory Africa and Netcare to fund 35 health-tech startups – TechCrunch


Founders Factory Africa and South African healthcare company Netcare will select 35 African health-tech startups for an acceleration and incubation program.

The partnership includes an investment (of an undisclosed amount) by Netcare in Founder’s Factory Africa, or FFA. The Johannesburg located organization was formed in 2018 as an extension of Founders Factory in London—an accelerator that has graduated 122 startups.

The application process is now open for FFA’s new Africa health-tech program, which will accelerate 5 startups a year and incubate 2, FFA CEO Roo Rogers told TechCrunch.

Criteria for the accelerator startups include that they have a healthcare focus, be post-revenue, and have a Pan-African scope.

Accelerated startups will receive a £30,00 cash investment (≈$38,000) and £220,000 in support services from Founders Factory Africa. Incubator health-tech ventures will receive £60K cash and £100K toward support. 

Founders Factory Africa and Netcare will share a 5 to 10 percent equity stake in each startup accepted into the program.

This is the first big foray into tech funding for Netcare, which operates South Africa’s largest private hospital network, according to CEO, Dr. Richard Friedland. The organization has 11,000 hospital beds, across 54 hospitals, and 18 primary care centers, he told TechCrunch.

Netcare’s interest in partnering with Founders Factory Africa to support startups comes down to multiplying healthcare solutions across the continent and shaking up the healthcare industry, according to Friedland.

“The way we deliver healthcare in South Africa, Africa, and perhaps internationally…is in many cases broken,” he said, adding there’s a crisis of affordability and access to healthcare in Africa.

“I believe healthcare is ripe for disruption and innovation and that couldn’t be more true than it is here in South Africa and the rest of the continent,” Friedland said.

He named the FFA partnership as a way to increase quality of healthcare in Africa. “We think the…continent and even our own business in South Africa can benefit,” he said.

Though a value wasn’t named for the Netcare round, it’s Founders Factory Africa’s second investment raise and collaboration.

Founders Factory entered Africa in 2018 through a partnership with Standard Bank (the continent’s largest bank), which a release said included a “multi-million pound investment.”  Founders Factory Africa selected the first five startups for its fintech accelerator track in April 2019.

Overall, Founders Factory’s move into Africa and healthcare (through FFA) raises several compelling things to watch.

One is the rise in African health-tech as a sector and the need for more capital. Formation of healthcare focused African startups has picked up but investment into these ventures is relatively low compared to annual VC: only $19 million of roughly $1 billion (using Briter Bridges and Partech numbers).

This is also particularly meager given the potential impact of health-focused startups on a continent that still posts dismal stats comparatively. World Bank life expectancy rates, which on average place Africa last, are just one indicator. So the FFA initiative could serve as a needed boost for African health-tech.

World Bank Africa Life Expectancy.png II

 

Another interesting observation: Standard Bank—and now Netcare’s—investment in Founders Factory Africa could be a preview of Africa’s large corporates embracing more venture investing. It’s definitely a sign the continent’s established companies are taking the ability of Africa’s startups to innovate (and potentially disrupt) more seriously.

And finally, Founders Factory Africa and Netcare’s investment in health-tech could produce innovation models with use-cases beyond Africa. We’ve seen this already with drones and fintech: Zipline piloted programs in Africa before launching in the U.S. and African startups are exporting payment models.

“There are so many issues in terms of healthcare delivery in Africa that can benefit from technological solutions,” Netcare CEO Richard Friedland said.

“I think the old bricks and mortar model of delivering healthcare in South Africa, in a private insurance or public setting, is archaic, it’s limited, it’s capital intensive and I think health-tech solutions can break that down,” he added.

If one extracted “Africa” and “South Africa” from Dr. Friedland’s comments, what he described could easily apply to the healthcare sector in the United States.

So it’s conceivable health-tech in Africa could produce scalable solutions that travel across the continent and abroad.

Startups aiming to pursue that objective through Founders Factory Africa’s new accelerator program have until September 6 to apply.

 

 

 



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Nigeria To Record Highest Oil Exports To Europe In 7 Months

Nigeria To Record Highest Oil Exports To Europe In 7 Months




Outages at North Sea oilfields have helped put competing Nigerian oil on pace to arrive in Europe at the highest levels in seven months in June, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and traders, Reuters is reporting.

Nigeria is set to export about 905,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the continent this month, the most since a roughly five-year high of about 1 million bpd in November.

Norwegian and UK offshore fields in the North Sea normally provide a steady supply of lighter crude to refineries feeding northern Europe’s major economies and are traditionally more competitive than Nigerian grades due to their proximity.

But planned maintenance on Norway’s Ekofisk oilfields this month slashed exports to just one cargo from the usual 10-15. Flotta, another of the 12 North Sea fields, closed for repairs over two weeks in late May.

“Nigerian grades are normally middle-distillate-rich and with Ekofisk having undergone maintenance, Nigeria is meeting European demand for this type of crude,” said Ehsan Ul-Haq, lead analyst for oil research and forecasts at Refinitiv.

Supply of the five North Sea crude grades that underpin the dated Brent benchmark is set to fall to around 720,000 bpd in June, from 948,000 bpd the month before.

The contamination of a pipeline carrying Russian Urals crude in April interrupted flows to central and eastern Europe for a month and left stocks in need of replenishment.

Higher volumes to Europe have provided an unexpected boon, with Nigerian exports to the United States on the wane for a decade due to increased U.S. shale oil production, and demand relatively steady in Nigeria’s key markets India and Indonesia.

“(Europe) always tends to act as the clearing house at lower value than the East,” one trader selling Nigerian crude said.

Though European gasoline margins have been middling and especially poor among southern European refiners, several factors may mesh in coming months to support Nigerian differentials, which stand near multi-year highs.

Traders said the possibility of a permanent shutdown to the fire-stricken Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in the city, though it was a consistent importer of Nigerian crude, would increase demand for gasoline refined in Europe.

Egina, heavy sweet crude from a new offshore field, has proved consistently popular among refiners in northwest Europe.

“Exports of the grade primarily go to Europe, specifically the Netherlands and France, which combined took around 155,000 bpd in May, or 83% of the grade’s exports,” said Mercedes McKay, analyst at energy consultancy FGE.

Heavier grades could also benefit, with comparable Venezuelan and Iranian crude pushed off the market by U.S. sanctions and ahead of a January switch to less-polluting marine fuels under new International Maritime Organization standards, Reuters reports.

“(Even if) margins are bad, European refiners think they can profit from distillate demand for the 2020 bunker fuel change,” Refinitiv’s Ul-Haq said.



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Africa: The Role of Family Planning in Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

Africa: Helon Habila’s Novel ‘Travelers’ Explores the Lives of Africans in Exile


In Nigerian author Helon Habila’s latest novel, “Travellers”, Habila brings African expat and migrant stories to life in a number of short stories that are woven into a complex narrative of safety, identity, loss, and love.

He also reflects on his own experiences, dealing with homesickness in “a new place that you’re trying to make sense of.”

In stories that begin and end between Germany, London, Malawi, Somalia, and Libya, in apartment blocks and refugee camps, Habila draws on personal tales why people live outside their countries for various reasons.

The first encounter with Mark, a young Malawian who holds a life-changing secret, sets the pace for this look into the lives of others.

One character, an elderly Zambian writer, is a political dissident in exile, a familiar person with African expats, the token African writer living outside of the continent.

“You leave your country and you cannot be the kind of writer you want, the kind of writer you thought you were going to be,” says Habila.” You become this voice of Africa, you’re interviewed any time there is a coup d’etat,” he says adding that political dissidence because it is the only thing that gives him relevance.

Ultimately, each and every one of us has a journey, and a story, says Habila. His experience with talking to Africans in Europe is that they want to be understood.

“They feel unseen… anyone who listens to them is validation that they are alive and they are heard.”



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Warburg Pincus announces new $4.25 billion fund for China and Southeast Asia – TechCrunch

Warburg Pincus announces new $4.25 billion fund for China and Southeast Asia – TechCrunch


Warburg Pincus, the private equity fund with over $60 billion under management, is doubling down on Asia after it announced a $4.25 billion fund dedicated to China and Southeast Asia.

The firm has been present in China for 25 years, and it has invested over $11 billion in a portfolio of over 120 startups that includes the likes of Alibaba’s Ant Financial and listed companies NIO (a Tesla rival), ZTO Express (a courier firm)among others. The new fund will work in tandem with the firm’s $14.8 billion global growth fund which was finalized at the end of last year.

What’s particularly interesting about the new fund is that it has expanded to include Southeast Asia, where internet adoption is rapidly expanding among 600 million consumers, for the first time. It is the successor to Warburg Pincus’ previous $2.2 billion ‘China’ fund and, with the addition of Southeast Asia, it’ll aim to build on initial investments in the region that have included Go-Jek in Indonesia (although it is going regional) and Vietnamese digital payment startup Momo from its Singapore office.

Indeed, the firm’s head of Southeast Asia — Jeff Perlman — said in a statement that Southeast Asia is “exhibiting many of the strong investment themes and trends which have driven our China business over the last 25 years.”

While there is plenty of uncertainty around China, and more widely Asia, due to the ongoing trade battle with the U.S. — which has ensnared Huawei and other tech firms — Warburg Pincus said it had received strong demand for LPs whilst out raising this new fund.

Though it declined to provide details of its backers — and you’d wager that few, if any, are U.S-based — it said it surpassed its initial target of $3.5 billion for the China-Southeast Asia fund. That’s despite evidence suggesting that China’s investment space is experiencing a slowdown in total funding raised despite more deals.

In terms of target investments, the firm said it intends to focus on areas including consumer and services, healthcare, real estate, financial services and TMT — technology, media and telecommunications.

Warburg Pincus is already one of the largest investors in Southeast Asia in terms of potential check size, although it has been fairly selective on deals at this point. The fund’s move to include the region alongside will be a boon for companies looking for growth-stage deals that are hard to find in the current venture capital ecosystem.

More broadly, it is also a major endorsement for Southeast Asia as a startup destination. The region has long been seen as having immense growth potential, but it often sits in the shadows of more mature regions like India and China.

Warburg isn’t alone in grouping Southeast Asia with another region. Sequoia’s India fund reaches into Southeast Asia — alongside its recently-launched accelerate program — as does the most recent fund from Vertex Ventures.

On the other side, a number of Chinese funds are increasingly doing deals in the region and setting up shop in Singapore. Those include GGV which has backed startups like fintech company Thunes, Ant Financial-backed fund BAce Capital and ATM Capital, which helps Chinese companies expand into and localize in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, other funds are also stepping up to address the gap in later stage capital. B Capital, a firm led by former Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, recently made a first close of over $400 million for a fund that’s targeted at Southeast Asia and other regions. Asia Partners is a maiden venture spearheaded by Nick Nash, the former president of Sea, that aims to tap into the post-Series B gap using a PE style approach that may be much like that of Warburg Pincus.



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N650m Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Ex-minister, Jumoke Akinjide, Two PDP Chieftains

N650m Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Ex-minister, Jumoke Akinjide, Two PDP Chieftains




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned Jumoke Akinjide, former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and two other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State.

Akinjide alongside Ayo Adeseun, a former senator, and Olanrewaju Otiti a chieftain of the people democratic party in Oyo, were re-arraigned on Wednesday before Justice Chukwujeku Aneke of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

At the resumed proceedings, counsel to EFCC Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of 24 amended counts charge preferred against the defendants and urged the court to take the fresh plea of the defendants. 

Subsequently, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) who is representing Akinjide, orally applied that the court allows his client to continue on the existing bail granted to her by the previous court.

Michael Lana and Oladiji Akinola who appeared for Senator Adeseun and Otiti, respectively made the same prayer to the court. 

They urged the court to allow their clients continue of the existing bail terms.

However, Oyedepo opposed the motion, insisting instead that the court impose fresh bail condition that would compel the defendants to appear in court for their trials.

“My Lord the prosecution is worried about how this case has travelled from Ibadan to Lagos and my Lord is the fourth judge that will handle this case at the instant of the defence.

“Our fear is that these defendants are interfering with the quick dispensation of justice in this case and the interest of justice will be better served if defendants file motion for bail, so that we can respond to it and state the reason why this defendant should not be granted bail and we can only place that fact before my Lord by way of affidavit,” Oyedepo said. 

Justice Aneke, in his short ruling, granted the oral application of the defendants to continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by the former trial judge. 

Aneke said: “I have perused the submissions of respective counsels, I am of the view that bail should not be used to serve as punishment on the defendants whom the constitution presume innocent until otherwise is proofed. 

“Consequently I ordered that the defendants should continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by justice Muslim Sule Hassan.”

The defendants also informed the court of their motion challenging the constitutionality of the charge. 

Justice Aneke adjourned trial in the case until September 30 and October 11, respectively 

Akinjide was first arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Justice Sule Hassan alongside Adeseun and Otiti, on an amended 24-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.

They pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

Trial began before Hassan, with witnesses testifying, but midway, the case was transferred to Aneke.

One of the charges read: “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of a N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of  proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”

The EFCC claimed that the defendants received money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was part of the fund allegedly shared by the PDP stalwarts during the 2015 campaigns.

The money, according to the anti-graft agency, was said to form part of a total sum of 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election. 



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Africa: The Role of Family Planning in Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

Africa: Roscongress, Afreximbank and REC Sign Agreement to Promote Trade


Moscow — As part of the Russia–Africa Economic Conference in Moscow, Russia, the Roscongress Foundation, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and the Russian Export Center (REC) on June.21 signed an agreement to cooperate on establishing effective communication between expert communities and business circles in the Russian Federation and African countries.

The document was signed by REC Chief Executive Officer Andrey Slepnev, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank Benedict Okey Oramah, and Chairman and CEO of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev.

The agreement will serve as the foundation for joint efforts to develop long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Africa. These efforts will include supporting the search and development of partnerships, as well as mutual support in investment and financing, export and import, and tourism and cultural interactions.

The parties also plan to participate in the development of world-class joint communication platforms in the interest of stimulating international cooperation across various sectors.

“We are currently working on a number of other projects with Afreximbank and various African regions. That list includes the financing of shipments of Russian-manufactured ground transport, industrial infrastructure construction and modernization projects in Nigeria and Angola, and mining projects in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone. Interest has also been expressed in attracting Russian partners to the implementation of projects in the oil industry (pipelines, refining) and agriculture, REC CEO, Andrey Slepnev said.

For our part, together with Roscongress, we are already planning the next event in the Russia–Africa track. In October, Sochi will host the Russia–Africa Summit, which will be co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Head of the African Union Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. This is the first event of this level in the history of Russian-African relations, with the heads of all states of the African continent invited, as well as leaders of major sub-regional associations and organisations.”

“I am certain that, thanks to the efforts of Afreximbank and the REC, the trust built between the participants of the Russia–Africa Economic Conference will serve as the foundation for new projects. Meanwhile, business networks will continue to develop at the Russia–Africa Economic Summit and Forum in Sochi in October,” added Chairman and CEO of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, exhibitions, and public events.

The Roscongress Foundation was founded in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image.

Over the past years, trade volumes between Russia and Africa have grown by about 70% between 2017 and 2018 to reach US$22bn.



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NTWRK moves into live IRL events – TechCrunch

NTWRK moves into live IRL events – TechCrunch


NTWRK, is a fascinating experiment in live video shopping for the iPhone set. It’s been described as a blend of QVC and Twitter and Twitch and they just got a new slice of money from investors like Drake and Live Nation to expand into physical events.

There’s been a bunch of attempts at this kind of hybrid event shopping experience, but none of them have quite hit a home run yet. NTWRK was a pretty compelling experience even at launch last year. The core experience is a live show presented only in NTWRK’s app, where guests can talk about products which become available in the app as the show airs.

There was a built in opportunity to offer limited availability streetwear and sneakers, and an audience that founder Aaron Levant knew very well from his time running ComplexCon and Agenda, two big streetwear and marketing shows.

One of the first shows starred Ben Baller and Jeff Staple, and featured a drop of a new colorway of Staple’s iconic Pigeon Dunk from Nike . I tuned in and found the experience to be compelling in its own way. The live show provided context for the product and the interface let you purchase in a couple taps of a button (the shoes sold out immediately and the app inevitably crashed from the rush of hype beasts). The stream and app have gotten more stable since then.

Since the launch, NTWRK has experimented with various product areas and promotions. The latest funding is enabling expansion back into physical events and some new angles on the NTWRK model.

After getting kicked out of high school in 10th grade, Levant (who had a passion for graffiti) went on to work in graphic design, sales and marketing for an LA streetwear brand. That led to trade show attending and eventually to Levant founding his own show, Agenda in 2003. Agenda got bigger over the next 10 years, becoming one of the biggest action sports, streetwear and lifestyle tradeshows in the world. He sold a majority of Agenda to ReeedPOP, which owns Comic Con and stayed on in a development role. Eventually, he developed other shows including ComplexCon, a smash hit culture and sneaker show in partnership with Complex.

Last year, Levant left to found NTWRK.

“That transition really happened through a conversation that I had with Jimmy Iovine in September of 2017,” Levant told me in an interview last year. “I got introduced to him by a friend. He expressed his interest in a new company for him and his son, and we had similar interests and ideas around that. That night that I met him, I went home, stayed up all night to 4:00 in the morning and wrote the entire business plan for NTWRK.”

Iovine ended up as an investor via the MSA Enterprises vehicle, along with Warner Bros. Digital Networks, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jimmy’s son Jamie is a co-founder and Head of Fandom at NTWRK.

One of Levant’s big takeaways from his time with ComplexCon and Agenda was that the physical audiences were valuable but a digital audience is built to foster through earned media and user-generated content around these lifestyle events.

“There’s 50,000 people in the room but I think there’s probably a million people online who want to engage with those products and that content,” said Levant. “Maybe I felt a little bit like I was using my skill set and I wasn’t extracting the full value out of it because I wasn’t in the e-com or digital media business in the past. I think that was a key unlock for me, how do I do that better with a phase two of my career?”

The past few months have seen a series of high profile launches and collaborations with sneaker and streetwear people. And now, the Live Nation and Drake tie up will lead to artist-driven collections sold on NTWRK’s app, unique ticket access, promo bundles developed by NTWKR and, yes, a new live event called NTWRK Presents that will launch in Q4.

In recent months, Drake sold some of his tour merch exclusively on NTWRK.

Screen Shot 2019 06 26 at 4.32.30 PM

They’ve also been running auctions for rare resell market items like Supreme guitars and sneakers.

The concept of shopping as entertainment is far from new. There’s a reason that the easy buzzphrase people attach to NTWRK is ‘QVC for millennials’. But there has yet to be a platform that has managed to pin together the right culture with the right delivery mechanism at the right time. NTWRK has a chance to do this I believe because Levant has the taste for it, but also because he’s backing into this from a place of understanding when it comes to culture.

Too many times we see the technology of the platform take center stage — a clever delivery mechanism or good design. But, fundamentally, most tech companies are absolutely crap at culture. They’re too homogenic — they do not allow for and encourage the influence of the spaces that they’re catering to.

Black Twitter made Twitter. Creators of color made Vine. Asian and Indian users dominate Whatsapp. But when there is an attempt to engage even niche cultures in commerce or monetization the lack of inclusivity and understanding causes them to just screw up over and over.

Having started with live events that existed primarily as a framework for culture to create its own moments, Levant and NTWRK are in a better position to figure this out. If you’ve ever been to an Agenda or ComplexCon you know what I mean. There’s this pungent melange of culture, music, money, rare goods and ephemeral moment creation happening. The challenge is to make that work in a digital context, of course, and then to sort of ‘re-export’ that back into event formats.

“I think that, as I’ve said countless times, physical events have a huge organic digital ripple, but we needed the digital platform to already be established and scalable before we implemented the physical events, to have an effect on the larger digital platform,” Levant says about moving NTWRK into an IRL context. “In my previous roles, I spent 15 years really focusing on the physical experiential events and towards the end of my career doing that I came to the realization I was doing it backwards.”

I don’t necessarily think that this model’s going to work for everybody. I think Levant and co have a unique skill of bringing people together and I think the celebrity thing is a strong overall angle – right down to the investors.

“Obviously Drake is an icon that has massive influence over all of pop culture and I think there are few people in that category of him that can capture consumer’s imagination,” says Levant. “I couldn’t think of someone better than him to be involved with our company.”

There are other angles too, though, that still have the same thing at the core. NTWRK is creating this engaged audience and they’re giving them value and then offering them a very on-the-face, honest transaction: “Look, here’s this thing. If you buy it, we benefit. Thanks, peace.”

That kind of interaction model is foreign to media because of this idea that advertising is the only gain and the only way to build that monetary relationship. I think people are going to start to get wise to that but they still are very resistant.

“We were out there, talking to every brand and every agency in the world and it’s really interesting to watch who gets it and who’s totally confused,” said Levant when we spoke about the launch. “It’s really fun to have these conversations because people are just like, ‘Wait, what are you doing?’

They have a really hard time grasping it and they don’t know who we should talk to. Should we be talking to the media buying team? Should we be talking to the wholesale team? Should we talk to the PR team? I’m like, ‘No, we’re talking to everybody.””

“Companies tend to divide their business up into these silos, these business units and these internal categories and they usually don’t collaborate and play well together and when you get these big, global organizations, their head’s spinning because they don’t know who we should talk to because no one’s done this one-to-one yet.”

Right now as I write this I’m watching Bobby Hundreds talk live about his memoir This is Not A T-Shirt — while selling a bundle that includes the book and, yes, a t-shirt. Hundreds (Bobby Kim), built a streetwear brand when it was definitely not a thing to build a streetwear brand.

The bundle runs $50. I’m thinking about buying it.



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Our Spiritual Leader, Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky Has Been Poisoned, Shiites Allege

Our Spiritual Leader, Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky Has Been Poisoned, Shiites Allege




Members of Islamic Movement (IMN) have alleged that their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky has been poisoned as an investigation revealed extremely high concentrations of lead and cadmium in his blood.

The movement disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at a press conference addressed by the representative of Academic Forum Of The Islamic Movement In Nigeria, Mikail Yunus on the deteriorating health of El-Zakyzaky. 

He stated that there are symptoms of heavy metal poisoning observed in his system which has worsened the health condition.

Yunus said that the results of the investigations by the foreign medical team pointed to a significant number of serious medical concern on his health. 

According to him “The team of Doctors produced a comprehensive final report that addressed all the relevant medical issues revealed by the investigation results.  

Based on the report, an application was drafted and filed with the Kaduna State High Court on the 17th day of June 2019. The results of the investigations pointed to a significant number of serious medical concerns.

“In the case of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the report stated that he had obstructed blood flow to the heart (Myocardial Ischemia and Left ventricular hypertrophy), which poses a serious risk of a heart attack. He has severe cervical spondylitis causing nerve root compression ” 

He noted that diagnosis of his right eye shown that El-Zakyzaky is suffering from severe visual impairment, progressive open angle glaucoma and progressive macular atrophy and other issues that can inevitably lead to permanent blindness.

He explained that the diagnosis revealed he also has contracted Anophthalmia in his left eye the diagnosis was, which is to say that the left eye is completely absent. 

“We, therefore, find it atrocious that their health has been allowed to deteriorate in this manner.  Unless if the aim of the current administration is to covertly assassinate them while in custody.

“Finally, we wish to reiterate our demand, that Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and Malamah Zeenah Ibraheem should be urgently allowed to travel abroad for standard medical treatments ” He stated.



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