- Andela Cuts 420 Junior Engineers for Experienced Engineers
In an effort to tap into the growing demand for high-quality tech engineers, Andela has announced it would let go 250 junior talents in Nigeria and another 170 in Kenya.
According to Jeremy Johnson, the company Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, top companies in need of Andala service are demanding for high-quality engineers but because the company’s strategy has always been to train young desirable talents and place them with global companies, it has been unable to meet the increasing demand for more established engineers.
He said Andela started sourcing and evaluating senior engineers across the African continent and now they represent 25 percent of Andela talent base.
While the rising demand for senior engineers has helped drive junior placement, it has not been enough as the company has trained over 1500 engineers in the last five years.
Johnson said: “While placing teams led by senior engineers has helped drive additional junior placement, it hasn’t been enough. We now have significantly more junior talent than we are able to place. Just as important, those junior engineers want, and deserve, authentic work experience that we are not able to provide. As a result, we’ve come to the conclusion that Andela’s next phase of growth requires a strategic shift in how we think about talent.”
Andela, therefore announced it would shift focus to senior engineers and hire 700 experienced engineers between now and the end of 2020.
“Going forward, we will hire another 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020 in order to keep up with demand from our partners. To continue creating junior engineering talent at scale, we will invest in the Andela Learning Community, through which we’ve already trained more than 30,000 learners in software engineering fundamentals. Over the next three years, we plan to cultivate more than 100,000 engineers across the continent who will, in time, contribute to the growth of their local tech ecosystems as well as the broader technology community,” added.
Andela Challenges Going Forward
In the past, Andela has been able to attract global icons as investors because it trains African talents and places them with global companies, something most icons and global companies love to identify with.
In fact, one of the notable names, Serena Williams, said she invested in “companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.”
Even Andela has pushed the company brand and gain global acceptance with its mission statement, “To advance human potential by powering today’s teams and investing in tomorrow’s leaders.”
Therefore, focusing on just experienced engineers because there is a growing demand for them will hurt its attractiveness and necessitate a different marketing strategy.
Also, local governments of its operating nations in Africa may accuse the company of exporting their brightest minds since established engineers are likely to abandon their current jobs for a place in a new global RECRUITING company, Andela.
Andela will now close its D0 program in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda to focus on just Rwanda. Suggesting that the company is cutting operating costs to focus more on profitability.
“Today, we are announcing that we are closing the D0 program in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Moving forward, we will be focusing D0 training efforts on our pan-African hub in Rwanda.”
Etisalat and Nokia Provide Ultra-fast 5G Broadband Services in the UAE
Etisalat, one of the leading telecommunications operators in emerging markets recognized by Ookla® Speedtest® as the world’s fastest mobile network in 2020, together with Nokia, as a key partner, has deployed 5G network, providing enhanced mobile broadband services and expanding 5G coverage and revenue opportunities. Nokia’s 5G portfolio supports Etisalat’s mission of driving the digital future to empower societies.
Etisalat has a proven history of bringing the latest in technology and broadband services to the United Arab Emirates to support economic growth and innovation. Similarly, Etisalat is building an autonomous 5G network using Etisalat A3 platform, where Nokia has worked with Etisalat to deliver best-in-class customer experience, as 5G’s ultra-high bandwidth and low-latency enrich service offerings and transform business models. 5G capabilities enable innovative applications in areas such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It also addresses Industry 4.0 opportunities to benefit enterprises from various Internet of Things (IoT) use cases in areas such as energy, healthcare, education, transport and entertainment, providing new revenue opportunities.
Haitham Abdulrazzak, Chief Technology Officer, Etisalat said: “As a true pioneer, we have always embraced the latest technologies to drive the Digital Future to empower society. Accordingly, we are building an autonomous 5G network and are very excited about how 5G can transform industrial and consumer services. The 5G services we have rolled out truly enhances lifestyles and delivers significant gains in productivity in the UAE, contributing to the national innovation strategy.”
Saeed Al Zarouni, SVP, Mobile Network, Etisalat, added: “Etisalat’s technical teams have closely worked with Nokia to build the 5G network smoothly and enabled 5G coverage with ultra-high speed and low latency services in the UAE. The high capacity 5G network also allows us to provide services to a large number of customers. Rolling out 5G network is in line with our focus on digital innovation and investments in next generation telecom technologies.”
Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “With this deployment, Nokia is supporting Etisalat achieve its vision of driving the digital future. Along with consumers’ expectation to get the latest telecom services experience, the current period has also shone a spotlight on just how important networks are for people and businesses. With this next generation 5G network deployment, we are excited to continue our longstanding collaboration with Etisalat to deliver the full transformational benefits of 5G.”
Nokia has deployed its AirScale radio platform, based on 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standards. The network uses massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO) radio technology to improve network capacity, provide broader coverage and increase network speeds.
API Fintech Okra Raises $3.5M To Expand Its Data Infrastructure Across Nigeria
Today, Nigeria’s API fintech Start-up, Okra the first to gain mainstream attention, is announcing that it has closed a seed round of $3.5 million. This was after it closed a $1 million pre-seed in 2020.
U.S.-based Susa Ventures led this latest tranche of investment. Other investors include TLcom Capital (the sole investor from its $1 million pre-seed round in 2020), newly joined Accenture Ventures, and some angel investors. In total, Okra has raised $4.5 million in two rounds and the company will use the investment to expand its data infrastructure across Nigeria.
Okra describes itself as an API “super-connector” that creates a secure portal and process to exchange real-time financial information between customers, applications and banks.
Okra was founded in June 2019 by Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside. Since its launch in January 2020, Okra has aggressively pushed by connecting to all banks in Nigeria and even claims to have a 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime.
Its business model provides integrations to developers and businesses into existing banking services and takes commissions off subsequent transactions. These integrations include accounts authorization, balance, identity, income, payments and transactions. Per partners (developers and businesses), they are well over 100 with some big names like Access Bank, Aella, Interswitch and uLesson.
Ashiru Jituboh tells TechCrunch that besides making APIs, Okra is in the business of selling “digital first-experiences and transformation”.
“We are building an open finance infrastructure that enables developers and businesses to offer digital-first experiences and financial products,” she said. “We’re at a point where businesses are realizing that digital transformation is one of the most conversation happening in most boardrooms. So for us, we’re essentially just making tools and services needed to achieve digital transformation at scale with our APIs.”
The company says it has recorded an average month-on-month API call growth of 281 percent. Okra has also analyzed more than 20 million transactions; last month, it analyzed 27.5 percent of this figure at over 5.5 million transaction lines.
“I think it’s a good indicator that we’re on the right trajectory in terms of traction,” COO Peterside added.
According to Peterside, Okra is preparing for unforeseen circumstances by taking the initiative and engaging with the regulators in its space. Since 2018 when the EU released the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to deal with data protection and violations resulting from it, most African countries have mirrored these laws for their region. In Nigeria, there’s the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), and due to its similarities with the GDPR, Peterside believes Okra has nothing to worry about — at least for now.
“In terms of what the law says, I think the fine print is clear not just in Nigeria but globally, so how we operate as a business is straightforward. But in terms of what we think, the regulators whether they make the necessary decisions… we can’t really speak about that but generally, the laws and global standards are clear,” he said.
If the company succeeds in keeping harmful regulations at bay, it can grow at whatever pace it wants. However, a bane that might threaten this pace is hiring, according to the CEO. “The one challenge I’ll say we face has to be hiring,” Ashiru Jituboh said.
“We want to ensure that we’re solving our customers’ problems as fast as possible and give the clients the support they need. We want to make sure our hiring speed is the same as the speed of our growth and I think being able to raise capital is one of the solvers of that problem… making sure we’re bringing great talent and building a great team,” she added.
Ashiru Jituboh understands the need for great engineering talent because of her engineering-heavy background. Before starting Okra with Peterside, she worked with JP Morgan, Fidelity Investments and Daimler Mercedes Benz. At Okra, she doubles as the chief executive and CTO, staking a claim as one of the most promising founders in Africa’s male-dominated fintech scene.
Omobola Johnson, a senior partner at TLcom Capital, maintains that these qualities and Okra’s proposition made the company its first fintech investment. It was more than enough to convince the firm to follow up in this round.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Okra as they enable developers across the African continent to transform digital financial services,” general partner at Susa, Seth Berman said. “We’re blown away by the quality of Okra’s team, the pace of development and the excitement from the customers building on their API.”
As part of a Fortune Global 500 company, Accenture Ventures has invested in more than 30 startups. However, Okra is the first Black-founded startup in its portfolio. Tom Lounibos, the firm’s president and managing director, said the reason behind the investment stems from partnering with Okra to bring open finance to Africa, the caliber of founders and their technology.
“For us, if we’re building an API infrastructure for the continent, we thought Accenture would be a really good partner because we’re essentially building an API which is a technology-based infrastructure,” said the CEO.
Besides, the investors will be pivotal to the company’s hiring and imminent pan-African expansion plans to Kenya and South Africa, where Okra is currently in beta.
TECNO Mobile Launches the New-gen Spark 7P for Gen Z with Cutting-edge Innovations
TECNO mobile, a global premium mobile brand, has freshly launched the innovative Spark 7P smartphone for Gen Z. Packed with the dynamic 16MP AI Triple Camera and new Helio G70 chipset, the Spark 7P delivers the most captivating cinematic experience simulated through its BIGGER and BETTER 6.8-inch edge-to-edge display with an unprecedented Super Night mode. Enabled through its micro intelligence integrant which grants the rising generation access to an innovative tool, allowing them to streamline many imperative tasks, creating the most rewarding experience yet. The Spark 7P will be welcomed in the global market soon.
Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO Mobile, commented on the launch, “TECNO is always baring the young generations’ demands in mind to provide them the best of contemporary technologies in artistic designs. With popularity in over 60 markets, TECNO showcases its mastery of serving the youth-generation consumers who are “young at heart”, and inspires them to never stop pursuing excellence. TECNO SPARK 7 series are the ones what reflect our promise to the Gen-Z the most with the most advanced technologies like the BIGGER and BETTER display to bring them immersive cinema experience at the fingertips, and the ungraded 16MP AI Triple Camera for them to embrace a clearer world.”
The Spark 7P brings comprehensive updates on its exceeding visual performance. Users can enjoy the smooth, snappy, and refreshing experience with a 6.8 inch clear screen at a blazing-fast 90Hz refresh rate. The 6.8 inch edge to edge display is also equipped with ample room to navigate through multiple applications with prompt accessibility to different functions, that too within paramount time. Users also earn the privilege of experiencing the new technology of the 90Hz refresh rate at this accessible price.
Spark 7P’s ingenious 16MP AI Triple Camera is an additional compelling feature that will enable the new breed of innovational youth, to capture every minuet detail of their busy lives through acute technological advances ensuring no occasion goes a miss be that day or night. The newly added AI lens enables users to take striking portraits even in the most dimmest of surroundings. With its shallow depth of field, the super night mode helps capture exclusive moments most effortlessly with exemplified images, enabling the users to always see their world in the brightest of lights. The 16MP AI Triple Camera is also accompanied by Smile Snapshot,powered by the AI Portrait which incorporates facial recognition intelligence allowing the users to capture that perfect smile or a glimpsing moment in an instant. Meanwhile, Video Bokeh, natural Video Beautify and a Slow Motion shooting at 240fps provide the current, technologically savvy generation the chance to channel their inner photographer through these intelligently adapted and enjoyable features.
An all-new 2.0GHz, Octa-core processor and dedicated 820MHz graphics unit, SPARK 7P benchmarks at twice the speed of the previous generation. Animations are smoother, Apps load quicker, and photos are sharper, helping connect with the world around Gen Z faster than ever before.
128/64GB ROM + 4GB RAM memory and 5000mAh battery enable the Spark 7P long-lasting storage and power.It promises fewer lags, fewer prompts about “Storage Almost Full” and more space for snapping as many photographs as you need. The 5000mAh battery holds the exceptional capability of retaining power on your phone for 14 days without any recharging. Gone are the days when the users have to run around the street panicking and trying to find a charging station, because SPARK 7P just never goes off easily.
Other highlighted features packed the competitive smartphone including:
- Bluetooth Audio Share 2.0: With the newly updated Bluetooth Audio Share 2.0, users will be able to share their music and get the party started whenever and wherever its convenient for their friends and family to join in the fun.
- Dirac Stereo Sound Effect: Meticulous acoustic measurement allows users to play audios and video with acute clarity alongside providing them with a unified and much more enjoyable cinematic experience where both sound and picture are of optimal quality.
- The new HiOS 7.5: the Auto Dark Theme peculiarity allows users to customize settings so to transition from bright to dark theme once night falls. With the help from Instant Chat Bubble, users don’t need to switch between Apps. All one would do is, press the bubble to start a conversation from a friend and continue communicating to another. With App Twin, social media fans can run two social accounts simultaneously and switch between different platforms fast and smoothly.
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