- Developers Seek N500m for Blind People’s App
App developers at the Co-creation Hub in Yaba, Lagos, are seeking funding of about N500m to recreate Aipoly in Nigeria, a smartphone app that helps visually impaired persons identify people and things in their environment.
Should the recreation come through, they told our correspondent that they would be able to download and administer it on smartphones of interested Nigerians from a central system.
Those behind the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said plans had been concluded to meet the two entrepreneurs and Australian engineers who created the app – Alberto Rizzoli and Simon Edwardsson.
“We decided to do this because we realised that more Nigerians are getting blind by the day and except MTN, through its blind foundation project, no other telecommunications firm or smartphone manufacturer has come up with innovations that could help blind Nigerians, other than just making profits. The Nigerian Communications Commission is completely out of it,” said one of the app developers.
He said, “The whole idea is to give blind Nigerians a sense of belonging in the world of global communication that is fast evolving. For the fact that they are blind doesn’t mean they should be excluded from leveraging modern technology with ease and not bothering anyone for assistance.”
According to him, four Nigerians are investing in the project, saying, “We are still seeking more funding because we will need about N500m to make this reality.”
He added, “Two of us would be off to Australia anytime soon to meet with Rizzoli and Simon (Edwardsson) and conclude discussions with them. We drew inspiration from Cobhams Asuquo, the Nigerian musician and producer, who despite being blind for many years, has written and produced many songs for Nigerian artistes. He has led a normal life like every other person, unnoticed.”
Another app developer, who simply called himself Smart, said, “Aipoly was originally created in 2015, and it uses Artificial Intelligence to scan an item’s shape and patterns – after which it relays the information to the user.”
Smart said, “It recognises 1,000 everyday things without an Internet connection, including objects, animals and colours.
“Aipoly Vision is an object and colour recogniser that helps the blind, visually impaired, and colour blind understand their surroundings. Simply point your phone at the object of interest and press any of the recognition buttons at the bottom of the screen to turn on the artificial intelligence.”
He added, “Now that Artificial Intelligence and robotics is gaining so much grounds here, we are definitely going to maximise the opportunities. Aipoly speaks out loud what it sees; and recognises thousands of things in real time.”
Meanwhile, MTN recently said it was building “a robust distribution platform to enable the vast majority of Nigerians to access locally-relevant mobile software applications at a zero data cost.”
A former Chief Marketing Officer at MTN, Mr. Adebayo Adekanmbi, had said the rationale behind the initiative was to get more apps in the hands of Nigerians.
“We have organised all Nigerian-centric apps in a portal and through our special gateway Nigerians can access digital content at no cost. We are making it open for all developers in the country to join MTN by bringing the APK for their apps so that we can put it in the hands of Nigerians,” he said.
Market observers said that Nigerians had indeed succeeded in building problem-solving and life-enhancing mobile apps.
Some of the prevailing concerns being addressed by these apps are traffic, healthcare, education, transportation, e-commerce, tourism and hospitality related issues.
According to them, the huge strides being recorded in mobile applications development is going unnoticed because Nigerians are unable to quickly find relevant apps, without the distractions of applications that are only useful to people in North America and Europe.
“Every Nigerian can now download any app relevant to them free of charge for the next month,” Adekanmbi added.
Crowdyvest Attracts New Investors and Appoints Tope Omotolani as CEO
Crowdyvest Limited, an impact-driven fintech platform, launched in 2019 by Onyeka Akumah and four other Co-Founders has today announced a big change in its leadership and additional investment in the company, in a bid to scale up as a digital savings company.
Crowdyvest was created to provide all-in-one financial solutions for individuals and businesses to achieve short or long-term goals while facilitating impactful growth in line with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Fintech company went live in beta-stage in August 2019 but launched fully as a crowdfunding platform in January 2020 where its users and sponsors can sponsor high-impact opportunities that yield good benefits through its pooled sponsorships and individual projects.
Today, however, the company announced Onyeka Akumah will officially step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest and Tope Omotolani who is currently the Managing Director and also a co-founder, will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the startup, effective immediately. Notwithstanding this change in leadership, all the management and staff of Crowdyvest will be retained. And as a result of the new investment in Crowdyvest, the fintech startup will completely exit the EMFATO Holdings group and also transition from its previous crowdfunding model to making strides as the go-to digital wealth management and savings platform under Tope’s leadership.
Onyeka Akumah speaking on this development said, “I have taken this decision to step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest as a result of the new investment in the company which gives it good footing for scale. Today, Crowdyvest is exiting fully from EMFATO Holdings and we are very happy about the new investors led by Tope, and excited to see how Tope will lead this business to new heights. I will now focus more on leading Farmcrowdy and Plentywaka as CEO of both companies into new markets in 2021. Tope is a strong and amazing leader and I see her leading Crowdyvest to become one of the leading wealth management companies in Nigeria within the next 3-5 years. I wish her and the team all the best and will continue to advise them on their journey when needed’’.
The new CEO, Tope Omotolani also said, “It’s an honor and a privilege for me to be able to lead the team to the next level and next chapter of the business. Onyeka founded this company on the ethos of integrity and strong customer satisfaction and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead this technology company into it’s next chapter. Our major goal and focus as Crowdyvest is that we see a lot of people become financially free and we’re able to do this by the products that we create on the platform”.
The emergence of female leaders has become a centrifugal force for good in the world and many organisations. For the first time, we’re seeing examples of female leaders emerging from across the generations to cross-weave their knowledge and drive for change and Crowdyvest is joining the wave of change having a Female Leader and CEO.
Crowdyvest is today launching the Crowdyvest Savings Platform to give savings options to over 10,000 subscribed members on it’s platform. This savings platform will give its members a variety of plans to help build a savings culture based entirely on their pace, so they can reach their life goals faster.
This savings platform has four products that are properly tailored to fit all categories of individuals, including the Millenials, Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, and each of these products have their unique features and benefits. They are;
Flex Savings which speaks to our young and trendy Gen Zs and Millenials, gives them the opportunity to save as much as they like with the option of withdrawing their money at any time during the year with a withdrawal fee of 2%. The Flex savers also have the opportunity of 7 official withdrawal days which comes without a withdrawal fee.
Vault Savings here, users have the opportunity to safely deposit money into their vaults and lock it for a period of time (3 months, 6 months, or for years). Funds deposited in the vault will be locked and ineligible for withdrawal throughout the locked period. The vault savings is for long-term savings and is targeted at pensioners, trust funds savings, legacy savings, etc.
Pace Savings, savers have the opportunity to deposit money as they wish for a set target. The pace savings option is recurring starting with the least period of 3 months. The money can be deposited automatically into the plan or manually based on the saver’s preference. The plan is targeted at salary earners, entrepreneurs, etc.
Flex Dollar Savings gives savers the opportunity to save and earn returns in dollars. Crowdyvest Members have the opportunity to grow their savings in a more valuable & stable denomination.
Every saver enjoys the benefits of good interest rates from 12.5% to 15%, zero bank charges, plans tailored for everyone, and effective and prompt customer service. We also have referral opportunities where you can earn as much as NGN 1000 for every person you refer to Crowdyvest. For more information, visit the Crowdyvest website.
Previously as a crowdfunding platform, Crowdyvest was able to create an impact by funding 24 projects across various sectors including Agriculture, Real Estate, Transportation, etc, has worked with 9 project partners, has operated in 17 states with over 10,000+ active sponsors, over 90,000+ total users, and over 8,000 Monthly Active Users. Today, the company is a Digital Savings platform with closed membership, Crowdyvest will provide financial solutions for her community of individuals and organizations that are committed to long-term growth and financial freedom.
FirstWave Signs Level 1 Partner Agreement with pan-African technology company Moja Access
Leading Australian-headquartered, global, cybersecurity-as-a-service company, FirstWave Cloud Technology Limited (ASX: FCT) (FirstWave), is pleased to announce the signing of a three-year Level 1 Partner Agreement with Moja Access, part of CSquared Group (www.csquared.com), a pan-African technology company.
Moja Access is the Kenya-based operating company of CSquared, a joint venture between Google LLC, Japan-based Mitsui & Co, investment firm Convergence Partners, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group), with the goal to make commercially driven investments to improve and increase connectivity and internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
CSquared currently operates fibre and last mile WiFi networks in several cities across Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia, with over 40 mobile operators and internet service providers relying on its infrastructure for serving mobile consumers and corporate customers. These four African nations had over 10 million Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and over 70 million internet users at the end of 2020.
In the initial phase of this partnership, FirstWave has deployed its recently launched FirstCloud™ WebProtect DNS platform for each of CSquared’s four territories for use by CSquared’s operating companies and Level 2 partners. CSquared’s operating companies’ partners and their end-customers will get the web security solution as part of their internet service on an “opt-out” basis.
As a consequence, revenue generation will commence immediately, and end-customers can ‘opt-out’ if, for any reason, they decide they do not want the service. Moja Access is currently in conversations with customers for uptake of this service.
The Partnership Agreement is for a 3-year term with rolling 6-month extension options thereafter and in keeping with FirstWave’s unique service proposition – democratising enterprise-grade cybersecurity-as-aservice – the vast number of MSMEs and Internet users across these 4 African nations can now be protected on CSquared’s network from cyber intruders, on a consumption basis, at an affordable monthly price.
FirstWave’s business head for EMEA & North America region, Sundar Bharadwaj, said, “CSquared Group’s Kenya-based entity Moja Access is a truly innovative partner for FirstWave in Sub-Saharan Africa with excellent credentials with its Telco and ISP client base. We look forward to expanding the reach for our Enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions to small and large end-customers through this partnership.”
Lanre Kolade, Group CEO of CSquared, said, “We are very excited to have signed this partnership with FirstWave. Our clients, including Telcos and Internet Service Providers, will benefit from FirstWave’s differentiated SaaS products. It will allow us to rapidly deploy and sell on a consumption based monthly pricing model, enterprise grade cybersecurity services to all our clients and their end-customers, large and small.”
FirstWave’s CEO, Neil Pollock, said, “I’m delighted to welcome CSquared Group’s Moja Access as our 8th Level 1 partner and see initial revenues already flowing from the partnership. CSquared is a fast-growing pan-African service provider backed by two large global corporations Google LLC and Mitsui & Co. CSquared already delivers robust fibre connectivity and internet access to thousands of end-customers via its 40+ mobile operator and ISP clients. With revenues already delivered, the partnership has had a really positive start.”
This announcement has been approved for release by the Board of Directors.
Fintech Startups Hit $121.7B in Total Funding, a $20B Increase in a Year
Fintech Startups Raises $121.7B in Funding in 2020
Recent years have witnessed a surge in the number of fintech investments, with record funding levels and rising valuations. The strong investment activity in the fintech sector continued in 2020, despite the global slowdown in venture capital deals caused by the COVID-19.
According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, the cumulative value of funds fintech startups raised over time hit $121.7bn in February, a $20bn increase in a year.
Asian Fintechs Raised $50.3B, 40% of Total Funding
The financial services industry continues attracting tech companies that transform how people and businesses spend, invest, save, and borrow money. The rapid growth of the entire sector has been followed by the increasing number of venture capitalists willing to invest in fintech companies and support their business.
In 2018, fintech startups raised $31.3bn with the cumulative funding value reaching $71.3bn that year, revealed the Crunchbase data. By the end of 2019, this figure jumped to $95.8bn, a $24.5bn increase in a year.
Statistics show that 2020 witnessed $20.3bn of investments into the fintech sector, despite a significant drop in global venture capital funding caused by the pandemic. The cumulative value of investments hit $116.1bn last year, and this figure rose by another $5.6bn in the last two months.
Statistics show that Asian fintechs lead in the total value of investments, with $50.3bn in funding rounds so far. The North American companies raised $47.8bn in funding, ranking as the second-leading region globally. European fintech startups follow with $18.2bn worth of investments.
The Number of Fintech Startups Tripled in Two Years
Although the COVID-19 may have influenced the investment activity in the fintech sector, the pandemic also triggered a surge in the use of fintech solutions, creating a huge space for new companies.
The BCG data revealed the number of fintech startups worldwide tripled in the last two years, rising from over 12,200 in 2019 to 26,000 in 2021.
As of February 2021, there were 10,605 financial technology startups in North America as the leading region, up from 5,800 in 2019.
However, statistics show Europe, the Middle East, and Africa have witnessed the most significant increase in the number of fintech startups. In 2019, almost 3,600 companies were operating in this sector. Since then, the number of fintech startups in the EMEA region surged by 160% to more than 9,300.
Asia and the Pacific ranked third with more than 6,100 fintech startups as of February, up from 2,800 in 2019.
News3 weeks ago
Doctors Warn Covid Will Become Endemic and People Need to Learn to Live With it
Bitcoin2 weeks ago
Bitcoin Surges Above $50,000 Per Coin on Tuesday, Sets a New All-Time High
News1 week ago
U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Hit 500,000
Economy2 weeks ago
Petrol Subsidy May Hit N11.2bn Per Week
Economy3 weeks ago
Petrol Landing Cost Rises to N180, Oil Crosses $60
Bitcoin1 week ago
Bitcoin Rebounds To $50,881 Per Coin on Wednesday
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Why CBN Bans Banks from Facilitating Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Banking Sector2 weeks ago
Banks Turning Female Marketers to Sexual Slaves – Senator