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Tech News

Calendly, cloud scheduling platform raises $350m on $3bn valuation

Calendlyhas closed an investment of $350 million from OpenView Venture Partners and Iconiq.

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Calendly, a cloud scheduling platform raises $350M on $3B Valuation

Cloud scheduling startup, Calendly LLC announced it has raised $350 million in new funding to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees and continue product development. This investment has now valued the company at more than $3 billion.

This funding round was led by OpenView Venture Partners, a Boston-based expansion-stage firm and existing investor, with participation from San Fransisco-based Iconiq Capital.

Founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona, Calendly simplifies the way meetings are scheduled by creating simple rules such as availability preferences, share links, or embed calendars and allows those seeking a meeting to pick a time using the service.

The platform can also be integrated with Google, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendar to avoid double bookings along with automated task support linked into Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Zapier, and other services.

This new funding will be used to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees as well as continue product innovation. It will also be used to build the platform with more tools and integrations and also expand its business with more talent.

According to Tope Awotona, “Our profitable, unique, product-led growth model has led to Calendly becoming the most used, most integrated, most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike,”

This funding round is Calendly’s first since receiving $550,000 from local firm Atlanta Ventures and OpenView.

Tope also added that “While we considered outside investment an unnecessary distraction, we made the decision to partner with OpenView and Iconiq because of their insight and extended network within the tech industry. While some of the investment will add to our balance sheet, it will also be used to allow our early employees and early investors – who bet on this crazy idea years ago – to have some liquidity.”

What you should know

  • In 2020, Calendly doubled its subscription revenue to $70 million and since then, the startup has grown massively despite the pandemic. It currently has more than 10 million users using it each month to streamline the way they schedule meetings, including teams at companies such as Zoom and Twilio.

Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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Tech News

Spotify podcast listeners set to surpass Apple podcast for the first time in 2021

Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.

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The number of Spotify’s podcast listeners will surpass Apple’s listeners this year. According to a report by eMarketer, 28.2 million U.S. users will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, compared with 28.0 million via Apple Podcasts. This shift will come on the heels of the expected 41.3% in 2021.

Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify’s pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology.

By putting podcasts and music in one app, Spotify became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio. Unlike Apple that has a different app for podcasts instead of offering a well-integrated experience with music and podcasts in one app.

This shift made more people stick to Spotify for the sheer experience of streaming music and also listening to a podcast on the same platform. Other music streaming services like Amazon, Pandora, etc. also have the seamless experience of enjoying podcasts and music on the same App.

According to the report, Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.

Overall, there will be 117.8 million overall monthly podcast listeners in 2021, a 10.1% year-over-year (YoY) increase. This year, podcast listeners will represent 53.9% of monthly digital audio listeners, surpassing 50% for the first time.

We anticipate that more audio listeners will start listening to podcasts monthly, leading to a 60.9% share by 2024.

This year, $1.28 billion will be spent on podcast advertising, surpassing $1 billion for the first time, representing a 41.0% YoY increase. Podcast advertising is continuing to gain a share of total digital audio ad spending, representing 24.0% in 2021.

What you should know

  • Last week, Spotify announced that it will be expanding its service to 85 new markets including Nigeria.
  • This new expansion came with other upcoming features and products like the paid podcast subscriptions that will allow creators to publish paid podcast content aimed at their most dedicated fans.
  • Spotify is also partnering with WordPress to add a new integration to its platform similar to Clubhouse. This integration will make it easier for bloggers to turn their posts into podcasts, either by reading the blog posts themselves or leveraging third-party text-to-speech technology

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Spotlight Stories

How scammers use SIM cards to rob your bank accounts

An arrested fraudster has confessed to the methods use to rob bank accounts via access to your phone.

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A lot of people are highly ignorant to how losing their phones to fraudsters can lead to a complete clean-up of their bank accounts.

If you ask any banker, he or she will tell you about the hundreds of customers who have often come crying to the banks for help after realising that the money in their bank accounts have either fallen short of what it should be or has hit red.

These frudsters do this by stealing victims’ identity; name, address, bank information which they use in gaining access to their bank aacounts. They also use the stolen identity to defraud other people and even apply for loans, leaving the victim with debts.

READ: Don’t be fooled by COVID-related scams

A local fraudster arrested by the Police confesses to how he steals money from people’s bank accounts through their SIM cards. He claims he does “Wire Wire” also called SIM transaction or “Joker wire” where he can unlock, transfer and withdraw from any SIM card that is linked to a bank account.

In a video posted on Twitter by Jubril Gawat, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on New Media to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the arrested fraudster confessed that once he gets hold of such a phone, he gains access to it easily by dialing the code, *425*100# to reveal the bank account connected to the SIM card.

For example, if it is an Access Bank aacount, he will dial *901*00# to show the users account balance. He will then proceed to reset the PIN, and the bank will ask for the account number and date of birth of the account holder. Since a lot of people save their account number on their contact list, He can easily get it there.

READ: Here are 6 directives NCC gave MTN, Airtel, others on SIMs without NIN

He will then proceed to use the account number to get the victim’s BVN, then use the BVN to get all his/her details by dialing *565*0#. With this information, he will proceed to reset the PIN, then use the date of birth to create a new PIN. From there, he will be able to transfer money out of the account.

He explains further that if the SIM card owner is a salary earner or owns a salary account, he will be eligible to apply for loans. As long as it’s the SIM used to receive bank account alerts, he can hack it. He does it so efficiently that the main owner of the account will receive no alert on any transactions done.

He transfers the stolen money to a “No trace Account” (Aza) using another stolen sim with its BVN to create it,
so the new account will be used to receive the funds and the owner of that stolen SIM card will be the one that will be traced.

Even if he does not see a SIM to use, as long as he can get the BVN, he can use it to receive the funds.

It can be tough to keep up with the many vices of internet fraudsters, who are constantly changing their techniques to keep ahead of the authorities. Being a victim of fraud can affect people of any age, and it can cost a lot of money.

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We have valuable information we let out easily, but unconsciously. And there are people out there waiting to get hold of such information. It is advisable to always be careful of where and how we store our personal information.

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