Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has awarded a total sum of twenty million Naira to four tech startups. The four tech startups are Clearflow System Hub, Aelaus Engineering Teams/Hyech Electronics Solutions, Kalibotics, and CyberNorth Tech.
The four startups were the winners of the third edition of the NCC-sponsored Virtual Internet of Things (IoT) Code Camp and Hackathon 2021. On the 5th of September 2021, NCC had announced application for 2021 Hackathon. Out of the series of applications submitted, the commission singled out the most exceptional four and applauded them for their innovative technology solutions aimed at making life better for Nigerians.
Each startup received five million Naira at a prize-giving event that was held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
According to the commission, the first two, Clearflow System Hub; and Aelaus Engineering Teams/Hyech Electronics Solutions, emerged winners on IoT category on Kidnapping and banditry. On the other hand, Kalibotics and CyberNorth Tech, emerged winners on assistive robotics for effective e-waste management solutions.
The grant was aimed at finding innovative digital solutions in addressing the challenges of insecurity and to stem growth in national e-waste rates while advancing the frontier of Internet of Things (IoT) in Nigeria, the commission hinted.
Speaking at the Prize-winning ceremony the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta represented by Dr. Haru Alhassan, Director, New Media and Information Security of NCC gave further insight into the essence of the grant.
“The initiative is in line with the objectives of Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) 2020 and the NCC’s Strategic Vision plan (SVP) 2021-2025 which is to promote innovative services and maintain effective partnership and collaborations with relevant stakeholders,” Dr Haru said.
Another speaker at the event, Kelechi Nwankwo, the Head of NCC Research and Development underscored the commission’s determination towards utilising the potentials of Nigeria Youths in tackling emerging challenges through ICT.
The commission said it awarded the grant to the four deserving startups in furtherance of its commitment to encourage the development of new indigenous technologies and contents oriented in cutting-edge research and stimulating economic growth.
Lydia Includes Crypto and Stock Trading in Payment App
Lydia, a loan fintech startup based in Lagos, Nigeria, will be pushing into an entirely new classification in a move to expand its offerings. The company will be integrating financial assets like cryptocurrencies and stocks trading on its platform.
For the addition of this new trading feature, Lydia will partner up with Bitpanda. Bitpanda is another startup company that deals with cryptocurrency. Lydia users will now be able to purchase, keep and later sell shares belonging to both American and European companies, cryptocurrencies, highly valued metals and ETFs (Exchange-traded funds).
At its inception, Lydia was a peer-to-peer payment app that allowed users to send and receive money without delay from a mobile application. Over time, Lydia added more features like debit cards, cashback donations, personal loans, International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs), etc.
The company is similar to popular the United States of American companies Venmo and Cash App, in that it initially attracts users with peer-to-peer payments before introducing them to new features and products which they can have access to directly from the app. This plan has worked well for Lydia so far, as the company now has about 5.5 million users. Only a few months ago, Lydia introduced savings accounts which were done in partnership with Cashbee.
With the trading feature, users can buy or sell cryptocurrencies, or buy fractional shares in American and some European companies.
The partnership between Lydia and Bitpanda means that users will be able to use the Lydia platform to gain access to any asset which is normally accessible through an existing Bitpanda account. There are no fees for transactions involving fractional shares, but there are fees for both cryptocurrencies and metals.
Lydia co-founder and current CEO Cyril Chiche told TechCrunch that before agreeing on the partnership with Bitpanda, Lydia had met with a lot of potential partners. However, Lydia realized that they had more in common with Bitpanda than other potential partners.
NCC Announces Application for its Annual ICT Innovation Competition and Exhibition
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has announced its annual ICT innovation competition and exhibition.
The competition is committed to promoting innovation for the sustainability and continuous development of the Nigerian communication industry.
Similarly, its goal is to encourage Nigerian youths to engage in innovative development.
Pursuant to this, the Commission invites Startups and Tech Hubs as well as Investors and the ICT ecosystem to participate in the second edition of the NCC Emerging Technologies Annual Innovation Competition/Exhibition with the theme “Promoting Sustainable Digital Service Development in Nigeria.”
Prospective Technology Hubs and Startups entering the competition are required to submit proposals that meet the following criteria for consideration:
• The project should have clear relevance to ICT/Telecommunication industry.
• Interested participants should be duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
• Proof of concept (feasibility of idea with diagram, algorithm, etc.).
• Novelty of the project.
• The pitched idea should demonstrate clear commercial sustainability and profitability framework.
• Team diversity and indigenous capacity to develop and support the solution.
All applications should be online.
Each Team will Register and submit the following documentation:
A. 4 page Executive Summary of the project concept
B. 5-7 minutes video of the pilot project
C. Names, Age, contact details, passport photos and profile of all Team members.
The Emerging Technologies Competition/ Exhibition 2021 will open on the 17th. It will close on the 26th of November 2021.
Twenty (20) Tech hubs/Startups will be shortlisted to showcase their technology to a panel of judges at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) Lagos Campus. Those shortlisted will be announced on 26th November 2021.
The Tech hub/Startups with the best three Innovative prototypes will be awarded cash Prizes of N2.5million, N1.5million and N1 million respectively.
The deadline for submission of entries is 29th November 2021 and shortlisted applicants will be announced on 3rd December 2021.
Interested and qualified Startups should submit the above documents in a zip folder to NCC. They can also visit the NCC website for more information.
Nigerian Tech Startup TeamApt Planning to Hit Unicorn Status in its Next Fund Raising
Another Nigerian tech startup, TeamApt is eying unicorn status in no distance future, according to the company’s CEO, Tosin Eniolorunda.
A unicorn company, or unicorn startup, is a private company with a valuation of over $1 billion.
The Lagos-based software company is in the market to raise $150 million at a value of more than US$1 billion and join other African startups that have attained unicorn status in recent months.
The new capital injection will be used to expand operations to other African countries and deepen the startup digital banking product target at the underserved.
“The money will be used for our expansion to Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon,” said Eniolorunda. “And building out our digital banking product targeted at the underserved.”
While Africa has a rapidly growing and tech-savvy youth population, the continent often lacks financial infrastructure such as banks and tellers. TeamApt is trying to address the gap by using mobile technology and authorised agents to give people banking services such as cash deposits and fund transfers.
TeamApt is aiming to join a growing number of African start-ups valued at over $1-billion, including Flutterwave, OPay and Jumia Technologies.
The boom in payments firms is a reflection of the rapid take up of smartphones and improving Internet speeds across Africa. Still, telecommunications companies such as MTN Group, OPay and Paga are also using agents, or people within communities to explain and sell their products and services, while commercial banks in Nigeria such as Access Bank and FirstBank has also started using agent networks.
TeamApt now processes $3.5-billion in transaction values monthly, with 150 000 agents on its platform, and has 14 million users, Eniolorunda said.
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