These 5 latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.
1. Google bans use of Zoom by employees over privacy concerns
Google has, on Thursday, April 9, announced ban of use of videoconferencing App Zoom amongst its employees. Citing security and privacy concerns, the tech giant prohibited the download and further use of the App on employees’ work computers. While Zoom is fighting hard to reclaim its integrity, Google’s ban is another major market fallback for the videoconferencing service provider company.
Google, according to its spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, ruled that Zoom does not meet its company’s security standards. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers, as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees.” For this reason, “Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile,” Castaneda said. Recall that Ripples Nigeria reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has also joined the line of companies boycotting Zoom over privacy concerns.
2. Kenyan Amitruck closes investment fund from Germany’s GreenTec Capital
Kenyan mobile and web based trucking logistics startup, Amitruck, has, on Thursday, April 9, made public its recent raising of funds from a foreign venture capital company. The fund, which is aimed at boosting the growth of the startup, was raised from Germany’s GreenTec Capital, a VC firm with presence in Germany and Africa.
One year old Amitruck, which matches cargo owners with trucking logistics professionals through a digital competitive bidding process, seems on its road to scale its venture with the opportunity presented by the German firm. While Amitruck brings trust and transparency into the African logistics sector, its solution technically cuts out expensive middlemen whilst increasing security as all drivers and vehicles are vetted and goods in transit insured. Amitruck hopes to leverage experience from GreenTee Capital as its new portfolio company.
Which tech company got its name from Sanfrancisco?
Answer: See end of post.
3. Investcorp acquires German security firm Avira at $180M valuation
Cybersecurity company Avira has been acquired by Investcorp Technology Partners, the PE division of Investcorp Bank. According to press, Investcorp plans to grow Avira, through the acquisition, into a wider security consolidation in its industry. CEO of Avira, Travis Witteveen, and ITP’s MD, Gilbert Kamieniecky, both confirmed the deal when they announced on Wednesday, April 8, that Avira has been valued for $180 million in a rounded deal.
Although it earlier appears that industry mergers and acquisitions have halted in March as COVID-19 pandemic persisted, the Avira acquisition comes in a different colour. This new signing, however, will only involve ITP taking a majority ownership in the company, while Avira founder Tjark Auerbach will retain a “significant” stake of the company in the deal. While commenting on why Avira had rejected a good number of acquisition advances in the past only to accept this from ITP, the 34 year old company explained that “We (Avira) wanted a partnership where someone could step in and support our organic growth, and the inorganic [acquisition] opportunity.”
4. WhatsApp launches new call in chat group feature
Social messaging App, WhatsApp, has launched a call-in-group chat feature that supports users to make calls directly from their chat groups. WhatsApp disclosed this via a Twitter post on Tuesday, April 7, to explain use of the new feature. According to WhatsApp, the new feature “made it easier than ever to start a group call from WhatsApp for groups of 4 or less.”
Although Whatsapp jas shown excitement over the new feature but its users seems rather indifferent given the limitation to only 4 as ascribed to its use. WhatsApp has in 2020 launched a number of new developments and features, hence, this is an addition to its list of features. Recall that WhatsApp had earlier this year launched its dark mode features that allows users to switch from Day to Night like Twitter and Telegram.
5. Kenyan and Nigerian startups scale into Google SDG-focused accelerator
Two startups from Kenya and one from Nigeria have been announced to be selected to participate in the first Google for Startups Accelerator focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to industry report on the development, the programme following its launch in November 2019 will provide social impact startups with access to training, mentorship and technical support from over 20 teams at Google, as well as outside experts and local mentors.
Google revealed that almost 1,200 applications were received from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the programme, with 11 startups eventually selected to participate in the inaugural accelerator. Google has further disclosed the niche of the selected startups. According to the organising team, the selected startups addressed a wide range of social and environmental challenges, and are working toward at least one of the 17 SDGs outlined by the United Nations (UN). The two from Kenya include Flare and Solar Freeze, while the selected Nigerian startup is mDoc, a startup which uses a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases.
Tech Trivia Answer: CISCO
Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two Stanford University computer scientists who had been instrumental in connecting computers at Stanford. They pioneered the concept of a local area network (LAN) being used to connect geographically disparate computers over a multiprotocol router system. The name “Cisco” was derived from the city name San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products.