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African Messaging App Ayoba Celebrates Second Birthday With 5.5m Users, Launches Voice and Video Calling as well as Web Access

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Ayoba - Investors King

Ayoba, the African messaging app, has announced the launch of a new version of its android app (0.38) which offers users access to voice and video calling. This comes as the app celebrates its second birthday on the 4th of May 2021 with a user base of 5.5 million monthly users and an award for Best Mobile application late last year. The updated app is already live and in use, and is quickly proving popular, with thousands of calls going out across the world every day.  

Voice and Video calling requested by users

Users have been asking us to support VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls pretty much since day one,’  says Nolan Wolff, Head of ayoba. ‘And we are extremely pleased to be able to answer their call with this new release. All that’s required is for both parties to upgrade to the latest version of the Android app. This is available immediately from the Google Play Store and our website at ayoba.me.

Web access with ayoba lite

Ayoba has also launched ‘ayoba lite’, allowing users to message contacts from within a standard web browser, either from their desktop or a compatible smartphone. Ayoba lite is designed as a ‘space saver’ for users who are short on memory space on their device and prefer not to download the app.  ‘Ayoba lite has been built as a progressive web app (PWA),’ explains Wolff.  ‘This allows us to provide much the same core functionality as our full-featured Android app but contained within a standard web browser. This makes ayoba accessible to a very broad audience and we expect to reach an entirely untapped market segment. The initial Beta version of the PWA is independent of the Android app but it will evolve to allow a user to easily switch between platforms.’  Ayoba lite can be accessed  on web.ayoba.me.

A very happy 2nd birthday

5.5 million users is an immense milestone for a two year old application,’ says Olivier Prentout, Head of Consumer Marketing at ayoba.  ‘It’s crazy to think that two years have gone by since we launched in Cameroon as our first territory and initial partnership with MTN.  The app has changed so much, adding channels, music, games, micro-apps, MTN MoMo in some territories and more.  Localisation has been a key focus for us and we are very proud that users can access the app in 22 languages.’  Prentout continues,  ‘We have over 130 content channels in 7 languages including Arabic, Dari, Pashto, IsiZulu, English, Kinyarwanda and French to name a few.  There is something for everyone.  Help is available to all users with our in app How To channel or via our virtual assistant Aya’.

The two years have indeed been very busy, and also very rewarding, culminating in the achievement of the Africa Digital Award for Best Mobile Application in November 2020, in a voting process involving both industry judges and the public.

The company recently reassured its users that it’s not possible for messages in the app to be read by anyone, or shared to any third parties. The app features peer-to-peer private messaging which are end-to-end encrypted.  A user’s contacts and location are only available to other users if explicitly shared by the account owner. Users can feel confident that their private data will remain private, and is treated with the utmost care and respect. More information can be found in ayoba’s comprehensive Privacy Policy at ayoba.me/privacy-policy.

In partnership with MTN, MTN customers are automatically allocated free data to use ayoba features. Allowances range from 50MB daily to unlimited usage, depending on the country (with the exception of Benin).  Free data allocations can be used for all activities available in the app – including messaging, browsing, gaming and listening to music, and customers can also download the app data free at www.ayoba.me. Users are advised that voice and video calls are excluded from the free data provisions.

Ayoba is enjoying a busy 2021, with many upgrades and additions planned to its extensive list of features, including exciting new content in Channels and local MicroApps from across Africa.  Its ayoba!

10 REASONS TO USE AYOBA:

1.     FREE TO USE: ayoba is free to use. You need data to send messages and files to your contacts, but if you are on the MTN network, you will get free data every day to use the app.

2.     CHAT AND CALL NOW: Instantly send and receive text and voice messages, voice notes, and voice and video calls with any of your contacts.

3.     SECURE: End-to-end encryption means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else.

4.     QUICK CONNECT: Use your existing address book to quickly and easily connect you with your contacts.

5.     CHAT WITH EVERYONE: Send SMS text messages with anyone in your contact list, regardless of whether they’ve installed ayoba or not.  If the friend you send to does not have the app, the message will be delivered by SMS.  They can respond by SMS and it will come back into your app.  This is a unique technology.

6.     GROUP CHAT: The more the merrier! Set up group chats to easily communicate with friends and family in a single chat.

7.     SHARING IS CARING: Share videos, images, audio, and other files with your contacts.

8.     LET’S MEET: Share your real-time location with your ayoba contacts.

9.     CHANNELS: Consume all content across various categories ranging from news, sports, fashion, music, education to entertainment and much more, all within the ayoba app.  All of our channels are Africa centric – such as the Black Star channel for Ghana, Scrolla Africa in IsiZulu, Pulse Channels for Nigeria and Ghana covering business news, current affairs and entertainment, and over 50 artist channels highlighting African musicians and many more.

10.  LISTEN AND PLAY Our free music service allows users to listen to trending songs in our fantastic playlists, featuring the best of local and international music.  We have games that you can play as well, such as BattleShip, Pinball, Solitaire and more.  New content is added every day.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Fintech

15-Month-Old P2P Credit Fintech, P2vest Celebrates 100,000 Users

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P2vest, a peer-to-peer lending platform by P2vest Technology Limited, has commemorated gaining 100,000 users on its platform since its launch in 2020.

With a mission to transform the way people access credit and lend money by bringing borrowers and lenders together, the platform states that it allows for quick loan disbursement and a flexible payback plan, safer than offers received from loan sharks.

Cash-strapped borrowers for a while now in Nigeria, have been at the mercy of lenders who use unscrupulous means to recover loans. These lenders who conduct their businesses unprofessionally go as far as marring the integrity and characters of the borrowers and their innocent guarantors.

Promising to provide a better approach to lending and borrowing within peers through the utilization of artificial intelligence, the Founder and CEO of P2vest Technology, Mr Austin Abolusoro says that, ”Our goal at P2vest is to build a platform that delivers on ease of access to credit while also building a credit history. Our approach is different, we are using Artificial Intelligence to ensure credit-worthy Nigerians have access to quick loans.”

According to Abolusoro, the 15-month old financial technology company bridged the gap of loan access by connecting authorised lenders with borrowers, while helping them take control of their debt, grow their businesses, and invest for the future.

“Since we launched (in 2020), we have provided access to quick loans to over 105,000 Nigerians. This is a big achievement for us as we have availed people the chance to access loans for their different needs like setting up of businesses, house renovations, Car loans, paying rent, school loan, medical bills on the platform faster and without delay. While also creating an opportunity for people to borrow more as long as they continue to pay back,” he said.

Speaking on its mode of operation, the company states that it uses the Sharing Economy Technology. The sharing economy technology is a new model of consumption, sharing, collaboration between individuals of goods, services, resources, with or without monetary exchanges via dedicated platforms.

The adoption of the sharing economy technology and its model has allowed the fintech credit world to develop over the years. Its growth now creates room for P2P economy to thrive as they cut out the role of third parties.

On the P2vest platform, users are encouraged to grow their money by “becoming a lender on our easy-to-use platform. Give out loans tailored to you and your income, and earn attractive returns.” Borrowers on the other hand are to provide their accurate info, including bank details, where payments of loan, when due are automatically withdrawn from the accounts.

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Startups

Angel Investors Plans to List Africa-Focused SPAC Targeting Tech Startup

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Start-up - Investors King

Angel Investors, Vishal Agarwal an investment banker, and Raj Kulasingam, a corporate lawyer have stated plans to list Africa-focused SPAC targeting only tech startups in the continent.

A report from Bloomberg said the two early-stage investors have been funding African startups since 2017, invested in over 50 startups, and so far made fivefold returns on their investment. They were also part of Acuity Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund with stakes in Flutterwave Inc. and Paystack before the firms attained unicorn status.

Vishal and Raj saw the successful investment strategy of Swvl Inc. a Dubai-based ridesharing company merging with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a blank-check company. The two investors believed that listing an African-focused SPAC will provide funds for startups needing capital to expand operations in the continent.

Vishal affirmed that investors have developed a keen interest in Africa, he said, “as there is more interest in Africa, we want to give founders a route to market. A SPAC gives acceleration to our founders and is overall a good thing for the ecosystem.”

The growing interest in African startups has been asserted by Briter Bridges in the 2021 African Investment Report, which released data showing that African startups secured $4.69 billion in estimated funding in 2021, where the tech companies dominated the space by gulping $2.9 billion or 62 percent of the total funding.

However, data from SPAC research revealed that less than 1 percent of the 600 New York-listed SPACs are African-focused.

The biggest investment success recorded by Vishal and raj was with Kuda Bank, the African challenger bank, where they invested $600,000 and exited with 14.5 fold gain or $8.7 million in 20 months. Kuda Bank, a unicorn startup is valued at $500 million and has so far raised $91.6 million in funding.

Vishal said, “when we do dealmaking, we are influenced not only by being able to get in at the right price, but being able to come out, We are very conscious about that, and it’s not always straightforward to come out.”

Dario Giuliani, director of Briter Bridges said, “2021 was a year of recognition, where the newly-available resources and the increasing number of international investors shifting mandates to include Africa met hundreds of promising entrepreneurs to support”.

Vishal and Raj just like every investor identified a growing economy in Africa and the increasing tech-savvy youth population, but also the lack of financial infrastructure. The duo plans to fill this gap by investing in about 20 African startups this year.

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Technology

Apple iOS 14 Users No Longer Receive Security Updates

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Italy

In a move to push customers to use the iOS 15, the global leading smartphone company, Apple has announced that iOS 14 (iOS and iPad 14.8.1) users will no longer receive security updates.

This announcement comes months after the iPhone and iPad Operating Systems 14 (iOS 14) got its final update in October last year.

Disclosing that they cannot update the iOS 14 version, the users say that they were rather given no option than to use the 15.2.1 version, which the company introduced in June 2021.

According to Apple, the iOS 15 is an update having new features for FaceTime calls, tools to reduce distractions, a new notifications experience, total updates for Safari, Weather, and Maps, and more. iOS 15 also includes new privacy controls in Siri, Mail, and more places across the system to further protect user information.

However, during the launch of iOS 15 in September last year, Apple had assured users who didn’t want to upgrade from iOS 14, that they would still be able to receive critical security updates.

In fact, the iOS 15 is compatible with every iOS 14 device, so there are no hardware conflicts. This gave the impression that both versions, depending on whichever a user chooses, can be used. However, Apple who has been urged to be clear on its security update policy, has directed all users to get the latest OS version, as the former will no longer receive updates.

In a statement to Ars Technica, the smartphone maker noted that allowing both OS to operate was intentional. It also said leaving the previous security updates for iOS 14 was only meant for a temporary grace period, and not a situation where both OS systems could coexist.

Arguing that Apple never mentioned this when it first announced and launched iOS 15, Techspot pointed out that the company still makes available security updates for the previous MacBook operating systems (macOS), alongside its latest one. The two previous macOS versions, Big Sur and Catalina are still allowed to receive updates, alongside Monterey, which is the most recent version of the two. It should be noted that Catalina is a year older than iOS 14.

The company in a space of two months always introduce the latest iPhone, iPad or iPod operating systems. The latest versions, iOS 15.2.1 and 15.beta.3 were released on January 12, 2022. Without updating each versions, it is believed that each iOS can last for a long time. But eventually, apps cannot be used as the iOS isn’t updated. It is also possible that  GPS will stop working. The lack of update can affect WiFi too.

 

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