Tesla finally held the long-awaited, and once rescheduled, “delivery event” for its ultra-fast Model S Plaid at its factory in Fremont, California. The electric vehicle company will begin with 25 deliveries on Friday evening, expanding to several hundred cars per week and a thousand cars per week in the next quarter, CEO Elon Musk said at the event.
There were no huge surprises with the newest iteration of the Model S, which features a new battery pack design, an improved heat pump, carbon over-wrapped rotors on the motors and a new record for drag coefficient of 0.208, a figure that Musk emphasized as perhaps a poke at up-and-comer Lucid Motors. The Lucid Air, which is slated to go into production later this year, has a drag coefficient of 0.21.
While wielding a sledgehammer as prep for “breaking a few records,” Tesla Model S designer Franz von Holzhausen kicked off the event, introducing Musk himself, who drove a shiny black Model S around the test track, gliding right onto stage to the dulcet sounds of dubstep.
“This is nine years since we delivered the first model S, the first car produced here in Fremont, so almost a decade, and I think we’ve really taken it to a whole new level with Plaid,” said Musk to an audience of adoring fans. “Some of you may know that our product plan is stolen from Spaceballs, we’ve gone Plaid speed. So…why make this really fast car, that’s crazy fast and everything, and I think there is something that’s quite important to the future of sustainable energy, which is that we’ve got to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down. It’s gotta be clear, like, man, sustainable energy cars can be the fastest cars, can be the safest cars, can be the most kick ass cars in every way.”
The four-door electric sedan goes from 0 to 60 in 1.99 seconds, which Musk says breaks the two-second barrier that no production car has ever been able to break. It produces 1,020 horsepower, has a top speed of 200 miles per hour (with the proper tires) and can complete a quarter mile in 9.23 seconds, according to Musk and the company’s website. The battery can travel 390 miles on a single charge, but Musk added the car can go to 412 miles with the dual motor configuration (The Model S Plaid has a tri-motor set up). The improved charging speed gives drivers 187 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
The new Model S also has a new battery pack, but Musk didn’t elaborate past that detail. He spent considerable time describing the carbon-sleeved rotors for the motor, which Musk claims is a first for a production electric motor due to the difficulty of pulling it off. The end result is a motor that goes up to 20,000 RPM.
The new heat pump that powers the Plaid’s HVAC system has 30% better cold weather range and requires 50% less energy for cabin heating and freezing conditions, meaning little degradation in cold weather, said Musk.
The interior of the Model S also has a number of updates, some that have already been revealed, including a yoke steering wheel — which has raised eyebrows and has the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — a panoramic main screen and ventilated front seats. The GPU is apparently at the level of a PlayStation 5. (TechCrunch noticed that someone was playing CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 in the vehicle at one point during the event).
The software of the car is designed to learn from the driver’s behavior, adapting to the driver’s needs so that if, say, you tend to back out of your driveway in a certain way, the car geocodes to that location and eventually does that action for you via the autopilot system.
“It’ll just keep minimizing the amount of input that you need to do until the car just read your mind,” said Musk.
The first deliveries of the vehicle, which starts at $129,990, come the same week Musk officially announced plans to cancel production of the Model S Plaid+, what was meant to be a faster version of the Plaid version of the Model S. Tesla stoped taking pre-orders for the vehicle on its website back in May, prompting speculation that the Plaid+ was off the table.
“Model S goes to Plaid speed this week,” Musk tweeted on Sunday. “Plaid+ is canceled. No need, as Plaid speed is just so good.”
Musk described driving it as akin to powering a spaceship in a tweet due to the car’s indescribable “limbic resonance,” whatever that means.
Twitter Management Undergoing Major Shake-up
Following the unexpected resignation of former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey and the appointment of Parag Agrawal as the new CEO, the bird app’ management is undergoing a major shake-up.
In a regulatory filing on Friday, the company said that Dantley Davis, who ran Twitter’s design and research and Michael Montano, the Engineering Lead are leaving the company.
Davis, who joined Twitter in mid-2019 after three years at Meta Platforms Inc., has been a controversial figure inside Twitter, with some employees saying that his management style did not fit the company’s culture.
Montano, the company’s Head of Engineering, on the other hand, has been a Twitter long-time veteran and was known as a champion of giving employees flexibility and enabling remote work.
It was also reported that Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s Head of People, will leave the company at the end of the year. This move is said to be unrelated to the reorganization and had been previously announced internally. She will be replaced by Dalana Brand, the company’s Vice President of People experience and head of inclusion and diversity.
Similarly, Senior Product Management Director Sara Beykpour announced on Friday that it was her last day with Twitter. Contrary to what has been circulating in the media, Beykpour, who is married to Twitter executive Kayvon Beykpour, decision to leave was a coincidence with the reorganization.
The shake-up is meant to streamline the company’s operations and accelerate its growth. It will bring together employees previously divided by job function — such as engineering, design and product development — on teams organised by what they’re working on, such as consumer product, revenue and core tech. The Washington Post wrote.
In a company-wide email obtained by The Washington Post, Agrawal said that he will focus on clear decision-making, increased accountability, and faster execution. He added that he was making a number of organisational and leadership changes to best position Twitter to achieve the company’s goals. He said the company has discussed the critical need for more operational rigour and it must start from the top.
Mobile Money Transaction Values to Exceed $870 Billion in Emerging Markets by 2026, as the Payments-as a Platform Model Accelerates
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the total value of mobile money transactions in emerging markets will exceed $870 billion in 2026, up from $555 billion in 2021; respresenting growth of almost 60%. Mobile money in emerging markets includes microinsurance, microloans, microsavings and mobile money transfer.
This growth will be driven by the transition of mobile money vendors, such as M-PESA, to the PaaP (Payments-as-a-Platform) model. This model enables mobile money vendors to offer their users access to third-party services such as eCommerce; creating additional revenue streams. The research identified PaaP as critical to increasing revenue for mobile money vendors, as smartphone adoption and user expectations grow. The new research recommends that mobile money vendors focus on building their ecosystems now by agreeing merchant partnerships to correctly leverage this opportunity.
For more insights, download the free whitepaper: The New Wave of Fintech Innovation in Emerging Markets
Microloans Represent Fastest-growing Segment
The new research, Mobile Money in Emerging Markets: Segment Analysis, Vendor Strategies & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, found that microloans will be the fastest-growing segment within mobile money, with growth of over 180% over the next five years. The research identified microloans as a key way in which mobile money service providers can increase their revenue by delivering banking-like services.
Research co-author Damla Sat explained: “While microloans are, by their very nature, small-scale, they are growing rapidly in significance, by enabling users to access credit as financial inclusion rises. By offering these services to users, mobile money services can pre empt competition from banks, while increasing their average revenue per user; creating a virtuous circle.”
Africa & Middle East Leading Mobile Money Development
The research found that Africa and the Middle East will dominate mobile money transaction values over the next 5 years; accounting for 56% of the global emerging markets value by 2026. It recommends that vendors in Africa focus on expanding sophisticated mobile money services, such as microinsurance and microsavings, in order to best address this rapidly growing opportunity.
Popular Tech Startups in Nigeria
As the world improves, there is an increasing need for companies that can use technology to proffer solutions to normal life problems. They are known as tech startups.
It is a very common saying that the world is becoming a global village, due to the advent of technology and the improvements and inventions which are being made every day. Technology is fast becoming a key component of every sphere of life, including health, religion, finance, etc.
The need to keep up with technological advancements around the world has seen various countries establish companies that make strong use of technology to provide normal everyday solutions. The world has started to see startups that provide banking options without having to leave the comfort of one’s home, as well as others that link people up with medical professionals from their mobile phones or laptops.
Nigeria may be argued by some to be technologically behind some of its international counterparts, but that has not stopped various technology startup companies from erupting all around the country (by citizens of the country), providing different services to customers.
Some of the tech startups in Nigeria – the popular and unpopular – that exist in Nigeria will be examined in this article.
CowryWise is a financial technology (called FinTech) company that digitizes the management of investments for Africans and also allows secure access to investment and savings products. It automates the process of saving and investing money, as users can sign up for an investment plan and have a specified amount of money saved from their savings account to their CowryWise account every month. It also boasts of double the interest offered by any bank.
The company was founded in 2017 by Edward Popoola and Razaq Ahmed. In June 2018, the company received seed funding from Microtraction (an investment institute based in Lagos, Nigeria) and was accepted into the Y Combinator Summer 2018 Batch July 2018. In December of the same year, Kairos – an early stage investment fund in the United States of America – listed CowryWise as one of the 50 World-Changing Startups to watch. In June 2021, the startup received a license to operate as a Fund/Portfolio Manager from Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission.
Flutterwave is a payment technology and infrastructure company. It enables global digital payments processing for sellers, placing its primary focus on African markets. The company provides an API (Application Program Interface) that enables merchants to process card and mobile transactions. The company provides the technology, services and infrastructure needed to build custom payments and enable smooth transactions. It has facilitated more than $8 billion in transactions since its inception in 2016.
The company was founded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Ayoola back in 2016. The company was inspired by the payment challenges that Aboyeji faced in payments at Andela, a talent accelerator company of which he was a co-founder. The company then brought in experts from both the technology and banking sectors, for proper operation.
Helium Health was formerly known as OneMedical, and is a private healthcare technology company that provides software as a service for medical practices across Africa. The company provides a range of products and services for electronic health record (EHR) management, medical practice management software, medical billing services and software which help medical personnel interact with their patients. As at December 2018, the company had reported over 5,000 medical professionals and over 500,000 patients using its technology in West Africa.
The company was founded by Adegoke Olubusi, Dimeji Sofowora and Tito Ovia in 2016. It started with the development of its minimum viable product as well as market research before it went on to launch its first hospital in 2016. The company was given the Etisalat Prize for Innovation in 2016, and was recognized by the Nigerian Presidency on the Aso Villa Demo Day, after which it received a World Bank GEM grant. It was also nominated for the Future Africa Awards Prize for Technology in 2018.
The company is another payment processing Startup Company. It makes payment faster and easier for both companies and individuals that make use of the platform. It gives room for its customers to accept payments through credit card, debit card, USSD, money transfer and mobile money. It has its custom Application Program Interface (API) that allows businesses to design their own payment portals. Businesses that use the API also have a dashboard where they can obtain reports and analyze customer data.
The company was founded by Nigerian software developers Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi in 2015, with its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2016, the company raised over $1 million of seed funding from Tencent, Singularity Investments, SPARK.ng, Olumide Soyombo, and other investors. In October 2020, the company was acquired by American payment company Stripe in a deal that was reported to be worth over $200 million, in a bid to extend Stripe’s services into Africa. Prior to its acquisition by Stripe, Paystack was said to be used by more than 60,000 businesses in Nigeria and Ghana for the collection of online payments.
LifeBank is a medical technology startup that looks to address the issue of blood shortage across Nigeria. The startup has an app that connects with hospitals and clinics. The startup supplies blood from the blood banks, alongside other medical supplies like oxygen, drugs and medicines to people who are in need of medical care. To date, LifeBank has worked with well over 600 hospitals, delivering 28,000 important medical supplies and helping to save over 10,400.
The company was established by Temie Giwa-Tubosun back in 2016. In July 2015, Giwa-Tubosun founded an NGO known as the “One Percent Project” which sought to increase voluntary blood donation across the country. As at December 2015, it had transformed to LifeBank which is a more commercial endeavor. It delivers an average of 300 imperial pints of blood to over 170 hospitals across Lagos in a month.
PiggyVest is another fintech startup that allows individuals to save and invest money easily. It gives room for debit cardholders to automate the saving process. Users will choose a plan, and a little amount of money is automatically saved monthly, weekly or even daily. The users will be able to withdraw this money only on a fixed date. The platform has been useful to over one million people in achieving their saving goals.
PiggyVest was created by Ayo Akinola, Joshua Chibueze, Nonso Eagle, Odunayo Eweniyi and Somto Ifezue in 2016. However, it was initially known as “Piggybank.ng” as a savings-only platform. The savings-only service continued for 3 years, until April 2019 when the company rebranded to PiggyVest and started offering investment opportunities alongside the savings service.
OPay is an Africa-focused financial startup company that builds products that make payments and also focus in transport, grocery and food delivery, etc. Although the company has millions of users, it boasts about having the lowest fees across the entire African continent.
Opay was founded by Yahui Zhou back in 2018, and has an address in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
Hotels.ng is an online travel booking agency in Nigeria that specializes in hotel bookings. Customers can use it to book hotels online, make payments, view reviews and also write recommendations. The company’s aim is to ensure that every Nigerian enjoys a comfortable hotel experience and has to date partnered up with over 7,000 hotels from about 320 hotels in the country. It was founded by Mark Essien, a Nigerian from Akwa Ibom state in 2012 but launched in 2013.
Paga is another startup that was created to make money transfer easier through a safe platform. It is a mobile app that provides digital money transfer services to over 16 million customers and almost 17,000 agents. The company functions in a similar space to Square (which has recently become Block) and Paypal, as they try to eliminate the use of cash for transactions and access to other financial services. It was founded by Tayo Oviosu early in 2009.
The company provides a cloud-based solution for e-learning as well as workforce development. They have a SaaS platform that makes use of the power of Artificial Intelligence. They offer learning solutions to businesses, government organizations, and recruiters to close the gap between education and skills. Schools can also use it for lectures and to conduct examinations. It was founded by Chris Kwekowe and Emerald Kwekowe back in 2018.
It is an agri-tech startup that seeks to improve food security across the African continent by empowering local farmers. The startup has established a crowdfunding platform, where local farmers are listed. Subscribers can fund these farmers, and then get live updates of what is happening on the farm when harvest is due while also receiving profits. The company was founded by Uka Eje in 2016.
It is a completely digital bank that provides a wide range of financial products to people across all sectors. On the app, you can set up and track your budgets, order your debit cards, access USSD banking service and pay bills. The app also offers free account maintenance, quick and safe transfers, withdrawals, and monthly interest on savings. The company was founded in 2019.
It is a lifestyle and finance app; a digital ecosystem that provides financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians all over the world. The company has been licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and its application has over 100,000 downloads on the Play Store.
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