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Microsoft Announces Teams Essentials to Assist Small Businesses

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Teams Essentials

Microsoft has announced Teams Essentials, the independent Microsoft Teams service which has been designed to cater specifically to smaller businesses.

The newly announced Teams Essentials provides smaller businesses with a professional, but more importantly affordable meetings solution to encourage productivity, collaboration and connection in a hybrid work environment.

Jared Spataro, the Corporate Vice President of Modern work at Microsoft said that the company is aware of the difficulties faced by small businesses in the past 20 months, stating their need to show an extreme flexibility to adapt to changes usually with limited tools and resources. He then said that Teams Essentials has been built specifically to address the needs which small businesses have, empowering them so that they can thrive in the new era of work.

Some of the features provided by Microsoft’s Teams Essentials are: Unlimited group meetings which may last up to 30 hours, Meetings which may contain about 300 people and a cloud storage of 10GB for each user.

The new Teams Essentials service also has both existing and new capabilities in its free version to aid Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): Invitations only require an email address (users are not required to sign in or install Teams), you can maintain continuity with chats, new integration with Google calendar makes scheduling meetings easier, there are professional meeting tools like meeting lobbies and virtual backgrounds.

You can also start a group project and host meetings with anyone, while assigning tasks to teammates and can also create polls to receive feedback as quickly as possible all in a single hub.

According to LinkedIn, SME job postings are up about 81% year over year compared to that of November 2020. Small businesses really need the flexibility to be able to hire from anywhere, as well as the technology that can make the way for new employee workstyles, like synchronous and asynchronous collaboration.

 

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IT Firm VAB Solutions Seeks to Help Businesses in Nigeria With Updated IT Security

VAB Solutions, through its robust IT and cyber security solutions seek to help businesses in Nigeria to deepen business productivity and continuity.

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A software company that provides comprehensive security and IT management solutions for business needs VAB Solutions, through its robust IT and cyber security solutions seek to help businesses in Nigeria to deepen business productivity and continuity.

With the core value of IT infrastructure and security in today’s digital world, VAB solutions want to ensure that businesses in Nigeria get their business updated with IT security to prevent their business from data breach.

Speaking on the mission of the company, the Managing Consultant of VAB Solutions Limited Voke Benjamin said “VAB Solutions started operation January 2018 however the company was incorporated September 2017, We like to think of ourselves as information technology ( IT ) Advisor, meaning we believe our customers ought to understand the core value of IT and appreciate the return on investment (ROI) in any solution that will ease their paint point before getting into any agreement.

“VAB Solutions derives the acronyms VAB from Values Added Business, our core areas of interest are IT infrastructure and IT Security, we are not a jack of all trade organization but we like to harness the knowledge so as to advise our customers and potential customer the benefits from an end to end solution of their pain points”

Also speaking on the way the firm deploys solutions to clients, he said “First, we like to understand the situation, so we can give the best advice, secondly, we then render solutions that will embed the customer’s systems for a long time.

“We are indeed in business to make money but paramount that is to have a have customer call us and gives us a thumbs up. This a lot shows the value and not the money.

“I believe the keyword here is value. Many companies sell security solutions, but the question is how long does it take for the customer to realize that the tool you have provided lacks some features or doesn’t work as expected.

“In lieu of the above we only partner with OEM’s that have long-lasting credibility in the market and solutions that cater not just for the customer but with their solution they can solve the customers’ issues, not for 2, 4, 5 years, NO, but a solution that embeds itself with the customer.”

On how VAB Solutions intend to deploy its services to the SMEs in the country, Voke started that the company has made it known that IT solutions shouldn’t be viewed from the prism of being too pricey or expensive. We have specific solutions for the SME’s he added.

His words, “we sell security solutions for the Enterprise Market and Small medium organizations, we also factor the organization budget in offering their security needs, being an organization that prefers to render value, we have strong relationships with our vendors and preach the needs to factor all organization in our sales circle.

“So, we do not have a particular market we are focused in, we can work with the small firms and big conglomerates.”

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Social Media

Twitter Set to Launch Full-Screen Video Feature to Enable Improved View And Videos Discovery

Microblogging and Social media platform Twitter has announced that it is adding a new feature on the platform which is a scrollable video feed similar to that of TikTok.

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Microblogging and Social media platform Twitter has announced that it is adding a new feature on the platform which is a scrollable video feed similar to that of TikTok.

The social media company disclosed that this new feature will make it easier for users to watch and discover videos on the platform.

With the launch of the feature in the coming days, iOS users will be able to click on a video in their feed to enter the new scrollable video feed. Once they are done watching the video they clicked on, they will be able to scroll up to start browsing more video content.

This will take them to a scrollable feed of videos, which is similar to the browsing experience on TikTok. If they want to exit the viewer and go back to the original tweet, they can click on the back arrow in the top left corner.

According to Twitter, it stated that the purpose of this new immersive media viewer is to make it easier for users to discover engaging videos.

Although the social network didn’t disclose when the feature will roll out to users on Android devices. Users will see a new “Videos for you” category that will display popular and trending videos that the app thinks you would be interested in.

Twitter began the testing of the new video feature in December 2021 to give users a more personalized Explore page. In this test, Twitter turned the entire Explore page into a video feed, complete with a “For You” tab.

With the recent changes announced, Twitter isn’t focused on replacing the entire Explore page with a TikTok-like feed. The company’s approach to a TikTok-like feed can be seen as a somewhat optional, considering that it isn’t directly imposing it users, as the previous TikTok-like video feed test did.

People who like scrollable video feeds can access the immersive view if they like, and users who don’t want a video feed can choose to not open up the immersive viewer.

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Fund Raising

South African VC Firm Knife Capital Secures 2nd Close Of $50m African Expansion Fund

Knife Capital has secured a $50 million African series B expansion fund

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Knife Capital

Knife Capital, a South African venture capital investment firm that accelerates the international expansion of African innovation-driven businesses, has secured a $50 million African series B expansion fund.

Major South African Bank Standard Bank and the SA SME recently joined other investors, such as Mineworkers Investment Company, IFC, international development funders, and prominent family offices, to enable Knife Capital to complete the second close of its new $50 million African Series B expansion fund, Knife Fund III.

This round brings provisional commitments to just over $40 million and Knife Capital is finalizing the due diligence and legal process of a few remaining funders to close out on the $50 million target raise. 

With the fund raised, Knife Capital aims to invest in the expansion of African innovation-driven companies and fill a critical follow-on funding gap.

Executive Equity Finance and Investments at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking Akash Maharaj, Speaking on the commitment, stated that the bank believes in the positive impact that investment into early-stage, high-growth businesses can have on innovation, job creation, and economic development of South Africa.

 His words, “We have partnered with a number of the leading investors in this space and are excited to add Knife Capital to our venture capital portfolio.

“With Standard Bank’s expansive African footprint, our suite of bespoke banking products, and extensive client base, we can facilitate the growth journey of businesses that scale internationally”.

Also commenting on Knife’s Capital recent funds raised, SA SME Fund CEO Ketso Gordhan said: “We nurture South Africa’s vast entrepreneurial spirit through long-term partnerships and are delighted to follow on into Fund III to continue supporting Knife Capital.”

Founded in 2010, Knife Capital started as the incarnation of the South African venture capital division of ‘Here Be Dragons’, a privately owned emerging market investment group.

The venture capital investment firm provides market access and accelerates invested traction by leveraging a dynamic partner network to provide solutions to the myriad of problems confronting sub-Saharan high-growth businesses.

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