- Everybody’s Talking
Social media has brought upon us an unprecedented level of communication, interaction and sharing. All of these has led to an overwhelming level of information overflow. Before one set of information is consumed and digested, another is hot off the press. So, for knowledge and information enthusiasts, it’s a race against time to consume, apply and keep the cycle going.
This cycle, as overwhelming as it can be, has even been compounded with the fact that there is no limit to content creation. I do not need to have any source of authority to write this article. You too – should you choose to write. All you need is to be able to structure your thoughts and pass your message in understandable ways. But even that is not a benchmark. I have read tons of contents where the author just put together words that made poor arguments, showed no grammatical structure and even had lots of spelling mistakes. They too can have their contents published on designated platforms.
Organizations too have joined the articles and “blog wagon” to churn out contents on a frequent basis. These contents are shared by internal social ambassadors (mostly employees), who act as information bees, to spread corporate message across their respective social media platforms. Information bees range from senior executives to interns. All gloriously join in the dissemination of information – which is good.
But, studying these posts that are dispensed every now and then, I took time to observe the feedbacks and engagements in relation to the number of connections the individual has and I found a very striking pattern. Most posts, even shared by senior level employees, barely got a social media “like” and there was little to no comments or engagements. Which now begs the question, are we now arriving at a point where everybody, including me, is talking but nobody’s listening?
5G Nationwide Deployment is 97 Percent Ready – NCC
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the commission is 97 percent ready for the deployment and implementation of 5G in the country.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta confirmed the commission’s readiness on Thursday, October 14, at the annual African Tech Alliance Forum (AFRITECH) 2021, held in Lagos with the theme: “Embracing Changes and Digital Transformation in the New Normal.”
Revealing that the NCC is working with operators to implement a number of initiatives to ensure network expansion, he also noted that this paradigm shift in communication has led to a significant increase in network connectivity requirements as a result of an unprecedented upsurge in internet traffic, occasioned by the use of a plethora of web applications.
Danbatta further announced that there is also a plan to auction spectrum in 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) band to operators for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria.
He said; “Already, we are set for the auction of some spectrum slots in 3.5GHz band. The other day I was at the National assembly, I informed the senate that we were 95 percent ready for 5G. Today as we speak, I am delighted to tell you that we are already at 97 percent completion.
“Consistent with our mandate as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA-2003) and other guiding legislations, we have been working to ensure the penetration of broadband services in line with Federal Government’s targets, as contained in Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020 to 2025.
“The Committee set up to auction the Spectrum has already developed an Information Memorandum (IM) which is already published for inputs and comments from all industry stakeholders. Prior to this, a 5G deployment plan was developed and we have since secured Federal Government’s approval.”
He stated that the trend has made remote work, virtual meetings, virtual studios, and virtual healthcare delivery, among others, the new normal.
The NCC boss was represented at the event by the Director, Spectrum Administration at the commission, Engineer Oluwatoyin Asaju and the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
Flutterwave Eyes $3 Billion Valuation Ahead of Another Fundraising
Flutterwave, one of Nigeria’s tech unicorns, is presently in talks to raise an additional fund at a valuation of $3 billion or even more, according to a Bloomberg post.
The figure would triple Flutterwave’s last valuation of $1 billion.
Operating from both Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco, US, Flutterwave held discussions with potential investors recently, the people familiar with the ongoing discussions stated. They explained that terms of funding are yet to be finalised and that it is likely to change.
The talks were led by the company Chief Executive Officer Olugbenga Agboola. In March, the company announced it has hits unicorn status after raising $170 million in a round led by Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global Management LLC. Other investors were DST Global, Greycroft, Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures.
In the same March, the company announced a partnership with Paypal Inc. to enable its global customers to pay African merchants using Flutterwave’s platform.
Founded in 2016, Flutterwave facilitates cross-border transactions across Africa for companies including Facebook Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Booking.com. As of March, the startup said it had processed more than 140 million transactions worth over $9 billion in aggregate and that its revenue had risen at a compound annual growth rate of 225 percent between 2018 and 2020.
Nigeria’s Neobank Sparkle Raises $3.1 Million
One of Nigeria’s leading digital banks, Sparkle has raised $3.1 million in a seed round led by Leadway Assurance, Trium Network and other high net worth individuals to scale operations, according to the startup’s CEO, Uzoma Dozie.
The new fundraising was after the CEO raised $2 million in a pre-seed round from friends and family within the past year. Sparkle has now raised a combined $5 million.
Speaking on the startup, the CEO said Sparkle is different in the sense that it combines financial services with lifestyle to evolve with Nigeria’s need digital lifestyle.
He said “We’re quite different in a way because instead of separating financial services from lifestyle, we’ve tried to bring them together, especially as we’ve seen that more people are beginning to lead more digitally-led lives,” CEO Uzoma Dozie stated in an interview with Techcrunch.
“It means that we don’t see our customers from accounts, payments, deposits or credit perspectives, but from how can we help them do what they want to do at any particular time.”
Unlike other digital banks operating in Nigeria, Sparkle is serving both individuals and businesses on its platform. While digital banks like Kuda, VBank, Carbon, etc are offering tailored services to only individuals, Brass and Prospa are the other two serving businesses and individuals like Sparkle.
“As a small business, I’m not carrying my bank account on my mobile. I’m carrying my business. So we are bringing everything about your business into one place so that you can do business wherever you are,” Dozie said.
“For individuals, we’re bringing everything into one place so that you can do what you want to do quite easily wherever you are. But the bottom line is that we’re providing you with the information that you need to take spontaneous decisions.”
With its microfinance bank license, the digital bank has partnered with Visa to ensure customers can make in-person and online payments. Other partnerships are with companies like Network International and PwC Nigeria.
Since launching in 2020, Sparkle has opened accounts for over 40,000 individual users and 2,000 businesses. The digital bank is however charging individual customers small fees to keep their accounts operational and plan to charge businesses for most features except taxation services.
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