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LATEST TECH NEWS: Google, Qualcomm lead $230m investment in Nokia phone maker. 4 other things and a trivia you need to know today, August 12, 2020



These 5 latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today:

1. Google, Qualcomm lead $230 million investment in Nokia phone maker

Google and Qualcomm has co-led a $230 million “series A2” round of funding in HMD Global, the “home of Nokia phones.” According to press, the round saw the participation of some of HMD’s existing strategic partners, including Nokia consumer division Nokia Technologies, along with other undisclosed investors. The Finnish company stressed that this was the “first closing” of the round, suggesting more funding could be added at a later date. On the valuation of the company, industry insight revealed that HMD Global’s valuation has passed $1 billion.

Although, Nokia no longer manufactures consumer devices, the brand is still synonymous with feature phones and smartphones, thanks to a licensing arrangement with HMD Global, a business vehicle founded in 2015 primarily to design and market Nokia-branded mobile phones, with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile responsible for manufacturing. Analysts speaking on the development noted that HMD Global has, since signing the deal, brought several dozen Nokia phones to market, from low-end basic handsets to top-of-the-line flagships sporting multiple Zeiss cameras.

2. Digital mortgage company Habito closes £35M Series C

London’s mortgage startup Habito, which recently moved its mortgage process online, has announced closing a £35 million in Series C funding. The startup board while confirming the development, noted that the newly disclosed round — comprising an earlier Series C equity raise and a more recent Series C extension in the form of a convertible loan note, was led by new investors Augmentum Fintech, SBI Group and Mojo Capital. However, the round also saw the participation of other existing investors including Ribbit Capital, Atomico and Mosaic Ventures.

Speaking on the intent of the organisation, Habito founder Daniel Hegarty stated that “the new investment will be used by the company to continue digitising aspects of home financing and buying which still remain a pain-point for homebuyers and sellers.” The proptech, which started out by offering a digital mortgage brokerage, promises to help you secure a new mortgage and monitor the competitiveness of your existing mortgage.

Tech Trivia:

The field that deals with how machines (or computers) mimic cognitive functions of humans is called…

Answer: See end of post.

3. Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce joins Y Combinator

Operating as a retail-tech startup, Kenya’s MarketForce has emerged as the only Sub-Saharan African company selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2020 batch. MarketForce, courtesy of the new development, also secured US$150,000 in funding and the inspiration for a new product. The 2 year old company, according to reviews, enables consumer and brands “optimise how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last mile distribution.”

While maximising efficiency across the sales and distribution value chain, however, the startup’s platform leverages mobile devices by enabling field agents to record all customer interactions as they happen in the field, and then aggregates this data and presents it through live web dashboards. Meanwhile, with the extra US$150,000 in funding from Y Combinator, the startup has announced the launch of a new business line, MarketForce Troops, which enables FMCGs and financial service providers to grow their retail distribution channels in Africa.



4. Stacklet raises $4.4M seed investment to launch cloud governance platform

Stacklet has, Today, announced raising $4.4M seed investment to launch cloud governance platform. The co-founders Travis Stanfield and Kapil Thangavelu reportedly met while both were working at Capital One several years ago. According to industry insights, Thangavelu helped create the Cloud Custodian open source cloud governance project. When the two eventually got together, however, they decided to build a startup based on the project. After years of progress, the company, today, launched out of stealth with a $4.4 million seed investment from Foundation Capital and Addition Ventures.

CEO Standfield, while commenting on the new development noted that Cloud Custodian came about as Capital One was moving to a fully cloud approach in around 2013. However, as the company looked for ways to deal with compliance and governance, it found that organizations like theirs were forced to do one-off scripts and they were looking for a way that could be repeatable and scale. Standfield explained: “Cloud Custodian was developed as a way of understanding what all those one-off scripts were doing, looking at the cloud control plane, finding the interesting set of resources, and then taking sensitive actions on them.”

5. S. Africa’s startup launches Get Law as an online legal service platform


Get Law has launched in South Africa as an online legal services platform, built by millennials as the world becomes more reliant on online services for micro-transactions. Launched in May, Get Law, according to reviews, seeks to simplify law and enable anyone to access registered attorneys on-demand at a fraction of traditional law costs. Speaking on the initiative, Ya’eesh Cader, who co-founded the business alongside brother Youshaa Cader noted that “The entire business is digital, cutting down cost with the hassles of traditional SME expenses like large rental overheads are passed onto their clients.”

Influenced by the effect of the pandemic, the business was formed in the midst of Level 5 lockdown in South Africa, as many within the founders’ attorney networks were either struggling to work remotely or simply out of contract as a result of retrenchments due to lockdown. Ya’eesh explained: “The business idea of running a digital-only service offering came after studying the local digital landscape and evaluating how other businesses were adapting.

Tech Trivia Answer: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is the field that focuses on intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals.

Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.

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