Former Twitter CEO Launches New App
Tech Top 5 News
Jack Dorsey, the founder and former CEO of Twitter, has launched a new social media platform called Bluesky.
It is said to give creators independence from platforms and developers and the freedom to design, allowing users to customise their experience by giving them control over their algorithms.
The new app, which is in its testing stage, already has over 30,000 people signed up for its beta testing within two days of the announcement.
Meanwhile, Bluesky has announced several job openings, including mobile application developer, react native expert, animation creator, and UI site manager.
Dorsey stepped down from the company’s board earlier this year, but he’s staying involved with the social platform after Elon Musk’s takeover.
He rolled over his more than 18 million shares in Twitter (a roughly 2.4 per cent stake) into the new Musk-owned company as an equity investor rather than receiving a cash payout.
Amazon Opens First Office in Lagos
Tech giant, Amazon Web Service (AWS) has opened its first-ever office in West Africa.
As they transition to the AWS Cloud, the office is expected to support organisations of all sizes, including startups, enterprises, and public sector agencies.
The business stated that “the office will serve organisations of all sizes, including startups, enterprises, and public sector agencies as they make the shift to AWS Cloud.”
The business declared that it would support new and current clients who want to use AWS goods and services to innovate, cut costs for information technology IT, and expand their businesses in the cloud.
Regional Manager,Sub-Saharan Africa AWS, Amrote Abdella, said, “We are excited to open our first AWS office in Nigeria. Lagos offers a highly skilled and creative talent pool, and the area is home to many fast-growing startups and notable Nigerian enterprises leading the way in digital innovation.”
Abdella added, “We look forward to fostering the country’s pioneering spirit and helping our customers accelerate their digital transformation as they deliver innovative new products and services to the Nigerian community.”
Twitter to start Charging $8 for Twitter Verification
Elon Musk said Twitter would charge $8 (£7) monthly to users who want a blue tick by their name indicating a verified account.
According to him, this is part of the changes after a takeover of the social media site, and it was “essential to defeat spam/scam”.
He added that paid users would have priority in replies and searches and half as many advertisements.
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” the billionaire said on Twitter, criticising the old method of blue tick verification as a “lords and peasants system.”
He also offered subscribers a paywall bypass from “publishers willing to work with us.”
Twitter already has a subscription service called Twitter Blue, which launched in June last year and offers access to features such as an option to edit tweets.
Amidst this controversy, Twitter on Friday laid off thousands of employees in departments across the company in a severe round of cost-cutting that could potentially upend how one of the world’s most influential platforms operates one week after it was acquired.
In a series of tweets Friday evening, Yoel Roth, head of Twitter’s trust and safety team, confirmed overall headcount was cut by roughly 50 per cent. According to Roth, the layoffs eliminated 15 per cent of the company’s trust and safety team, leading to reductions in customer service but little change to content moderation.
In an interview, Musk appeared to frame the sweeping layoffs as necessary for a company that, like other social media firms, was experiencing “revenue challenges” prior to his acquisition as advertisers rethink spending amid recession fears.
Musk also said “a number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter” since the acquisition was completed.
Lending Startup Payhippo Acquires MFB
Lending startup Payhippo has acquired Maritime Microfinance Bank (MFB) to help it expand its product offering.
The credit-led fintech startup provides loans to small businesses in Africa, often neglected by banks because of their lack of credit histories, in under three hours.
MFB is a financial institution specialising in saving products, demand deposits, investments, and micro and SME loans.
The deal still has pending approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and both parties are working together to obtain the regulator’s approval.
With direct access to Nigeria’s Inter-bank Settlement System, the acquisition will enable Payhippo to launch an array of products and services for its customers. Payhippo will also grow its team with experienced professionals from the MFB team, adding in-depth experience from the banking and finance sector.
The startup was launched in January 2020 by Chioma Okotcha, Uche Nnadi and Zach Bijesse.
In a statement, the CEO and co-founder, Zach Bijesse said the mission of Payhippo was to provide seamless financial services for merchants throughout Africa.
“We are making this investment to enhance products and services for our customers and, in turn, enable us to reach a wider customer base. We are very excited to work with Maritime Microfinance Bank to revolutionise the SME financial service through digital innovation,” said Adetola Atekoja, chairman of Maritime Microfinance Bank.
According to Atekoja, Nigeria has an ever-growing need for SME lending solutions to help businesses meet their financial needs.
“We believe Payhippo is well-positioned to develop new and customised financial products for SMEs in the country,” added Atekoja. “The team is incredibly talented, resilient and exudes excellent leadership. I am very excited to welcome them onboard and look forward to supporting them in achieving their goals.”
Google Partners Design Indaba to Exhibit African Creatives
Google Arts & Culture, in partnership with Design Indaba, has launched an online project called ‘Colours of Africa’.
The project brings online and showcases sixty specially-curated artworks produced by over 60 unique African creatives chosen by Design Indaba – each invited to contribute a work that captures the ‘colour’ and character of their home country.
Selected by Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo, the creatives will showcase the best of African craft, products, industrial design, fashion, film, animation, graphics, food, music, jewelry and architecture.
“Africa is known for its bold, unapologetic use of colour. Each country, city and community is identifiable by its unique palette. As Africans, we can tell powerful stories through colour. This project tells a story of a continent through the universally accessible lens,” says Naidoo.
Design Indaba says as the first artistic undertaking of this scale, the project will allow viewers to discover stories of Africa as told by the African creative community.
The artworks will be showcased online, where users are invited to spin the kaleidoscope to explore the works to take users on a journey through Africa, inviting them to view each country through the eyes of a local artist.
“Google has always been acutely aware and in full support of the immense creative melting pot that exists on the continent,” stated Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa.
Collaborating with Design Indaba on this project allows us to bring this support to fruition. By empowering and amplifying African voices to tell the unique stories of their cultures through their work and creativity, we hope to provide much-needed exposure, cultivate a newfound curiosity, and window into the vast beauty that exists on the continent,” he concluded.
Tech Personality of The Week
This week’s tech personality is the founder of PricePally, Luther Lawoyin.
PricePally brings consumers together directly with farmers, manufacturers, and wholesalers for mutual benefit.
A novel feature of the Pricepally platform is a social component which allows users to make purchases as groups for even deeper savings. The Nigerian group-buying startup was founded to cut out middlemen and save consumers. Established in November 2019, Pricepally could be called a child of necessity as it sets a group-buying platform that aggregates consumer food demand and matches it with supplies directly from farmers and wholesalers.
Lawoyin is also the founder of the Accelerator program at SOSV MOX and a board member at Motherland.
In 2021, the e-commerce startup raised six-figure funding from VCs and Angels.