Welcome to Nairametrics’ weekly tech news roundup. This week, as always, we bring you a compilation of the major tech events and activities that made the news.
We go behind the scenes, focusing on some of the major talking points and backstories just to keep you updated with the latest developments in the tech space.
This column is dedicated to investors, as well as enthusiasts of Nigeria’s growing tech community. You know we love feedback, so please keep them coming.
Paystack makes entry into Ghana
We start on a cheering note this week as Fintech startup, Paystack, commences operations in Ghana. The payment platform, which began operation in Nigeria in 2016, recently announced the completion of its Series A funding round to the tune of $8 million. The round was led by payments leader, Stripe, joined by global payments company, Visa, with follow-on investment from Tencent and Y Combinator.
The platform also welcomed on board angel investors, Tom Stafford (Managing Partner at DST Global), Gbenga Oyebode (founding partner of Aluko & Oyebode and Board member of MTN Nigeria), and Dale Mathias (Co-founder, Innovation Partners Africa). This brings the total investment which Paystack raised till date to a little over $10 million.
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Uber partners LSETF, provides support for entrepreneurs
Ride-hailing platform, Uber, has announced a strategic partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to create business and economic opportunities for riders on the Uber platform. The initiative tagged ‘UBERPITCH’ will create opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, learn from highly successful business leaders and potentially get capital to effectively run their businesses. Uber riders who run tech-enabled businesses will submit or pitch their ideas, and shortlisted candidates stand the chance of winning workspace vouchers of up to N1.8 million.
Microsoft continues to support AI projects in Nigeria and other countries
According to research, there is a growing appetite for modern technologies in Africa. Figures from the research show that modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, making it the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast-changing economy. According to Gartner, AI is expected to create 2.3 million jobs by 2020.
In its bid to tap into the potentials on the continent, Microsoft through its 4Afrika Initiative has thrown its global weight behind developing data and AI capabilities in Africa, through a deep and prolonged investment into skills and the youth, via initiatives like internships, training programmes, events, challenges, and strategic partnering.
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Recently, Microsoft participated in Data Science, Nigeria’s AI boot camp, to build the capacity of local developers in using AI to drive financial inclusion. Also, in partnership with the Botswana Innovation Hub, Microsoft 4Afrika launched its 17th AppFactory (Apprenticeship Factory) in Africa. Three of these AppFactories are currently running in Nigeria and Ghana, in collaboration with local partners Mobile Web Ghana, Lotus Beta Analytics and Sidmach Technologies, which recently graduated its first set of apprentices.
Data Breach at Arik Air?
Customer data belonging to Arik Air may have leaked. An information technology expert who goes by the identity xxdesmus disclosed this in an online post.
According to him, it took the airline about a month to respond to his emails when he first noticed the leak on the 6th of September, 2018 and notified the airline same day. The carrier finally replied on the 17th of September, of which he was asked to resend an email to another email address provided. Upon doing so, he was told that the situation would be reviewed but he never heard from Arik Air again.
There is a growing concern about data security across the globe, as activities of hackers continue to threaten operations of several multinationals.
Spectranet bags Award
The Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecom Awards (NTITA) has adjudged internet service provider, Spectranet 4GLTE, as the internet service provider of the year. The company earned this recognition at the 2018 edition of the awards, an initiative of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), which is aimed at celebrating the continued growth and success of the Information and Communication Technology marketplace and focus on exceptional and innovative performance within the industry.
Walk-out by Google employees
During the week, thousands of Google employees in more than 20 offices around the world staged a walk-out to protest what organisers describe as “a workplace culture that’s not working for everyone.” This was coming in the wake of an accusation that Google shielded executives accused of sexual misconduct, either by keeping them on staff or allowing them amicable departures.
Organisers of the walk-out demanded more transparency from Google around its handling of sexual harassment, opportunity in equality, as well as more employee empowerment.
IBM to acquire Red Hat
IBM has announced that it will acquire open-source software company, Red Hat, for $34 billion. The deal will see IBM expand its reach as an enterprise cloud computing provider. In 2012, Red Hat became the first company providing open-source software to surpass $1 billion in revenue. It will now become a part of IBM’s Hybrid Cloud division.
WorldRemit plans to introduce blockchain technology
WorldRemit, a money transfer company, is looking to experiment with blockchain technology. Catherine Wines, Co-founder, and Director, revealed that the company is working on a number of things among which is Blockchain.
WorldRemit currently allows people from 50+ countries to send money, while people in over 150 countries across the globe can receive money using the service.
MTN’s Q3 2018 report
MTN recently released its quarterly update for the three months period that ended 30 September, which shows a drop in subscriber numbers for South Africa.
The results were a mixture of positive and negative, with MTN SA recording service revenue growth of 3% year-on-year. Across all its markets, subscribers increased by 2.5 million to 225.4 million.
But while MTN saw strong subscriber and revenue growth from its markets outside of South Africa (revenue from Ghana and Nigeria grew by 23% and 17% respectively), the update confirms that the company is losing local prepaid customers at a rapid rate.
Addittional Information provided by Meka Aluko