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LATEST TECH NEWS: Nigeria’s IderaOS, 11 others make MEST 2020 A.C. country finalists. 4 other things and a trivia you need to know today, June 9, 2020

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

1. Nigeria’s IderaOS, 11 others make MEST 2020 Africa Challenge country finalists

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has announced the names of its country finalists for its 2020 MEST Africa Challenge, where Nigeria’s e-commerce solution startup IderaOS finished among 11 other finalists from the country. This emergence will see the ListBuy-parent firm into the pitch round slated to hold on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

The organising body MEST made the announcement Monday, June 8, listing finalists from various African countries. According to MEST, the finalists include 83 tech startups from Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sénégal, South Africa and Tanzania. Finalists of the pitch competition stand to receive up to $50 000 in equity investment from MEST and space in a MEST incubator.

2. S’Africa’s startup Merge secures funding from Nigerian VC

South African investtech startup Merge has reportedly raised funding from Nigerian VC firm, Platform Capital. The funding is expected to help the app and web-based platform expand across the continent. Launched by Zander Mathee and Brandon Bate, Merge is a transactional marketplace platform that acts as a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors.

Industry reviews reveal that the platform allows startups and investors to connect, communicate and collaborate seamlessly, matching startups with a network of investors that are best suited to their funding needs, and provides high-quality deal flow to investors. Reports further noted that the company currently operates in South Africa, and has over 1,000 entrepreneurs, more than 200 investors, and over 300 ventures funded.

Tech Trivia:

What was the first mobile phone to market with a capacitive touchscreen?

A. Palm Treo
B. LG KE850
C. Apple iPhone
D. Droid Razr

Answer: See end of post.


3. Nigerian KiaKia introduces P2P lending investment app

Nigerian fintech startup KiaKia has launched a peer to peer lending investment mobile app. KiaKia’s new app leads as the first in the market, allowing users to invest, in the funding of secured personal and business loans from a fund seeking startup, in order to earn an agreed upon interest.

Read also: LATEST TECH NEWS: Scientists urge Facebook to tackle misinformation. 4 other things and a trivia you need to know today, June 8, 2020

Launched 5 years ago, KiaKia makes direct and peer-to-peer consumer and SME loans accessible and obtainable for underbanked and unbanked Nigerians through its online proprietary credit scoring and risk assessment algorithm. Industry insights revealed that since its launch, the company has facilitated, structured, originated and disbursed over NGN4.5 billion as personal and business loans to individuals and MSMEs across Nigeria.

4. Cameroonian startup AbegYa to enter MassChallenge Texas accelerator

AbegYa, a Cameroonian startup has been selected to participate in the MassChallenge Texas accelerator programme. For AbegYa, this is gaining access to training, mentorship and brand name deals. While the Yaounde-based AbegYa has been helping users connect with screened and qualified service providers in the home improvement, legal and healthcare sectors, the new milestone tells about its visible traction in the industry.

According to press, the startup was selected for the MassChallenge accelerator out of more than 400 applicants. As a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators with other locations in places like Israel, Mexico, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), MassChallenge will support early-stage startup grow across industries, to gain access to industry experts and mentors, a bespoke curriculum, up to US$250,000 in brand name deals, among other benefits.

5. New York-based startup Wahed secures $25M led by Saudi Aramco’s investment arm

Halal fintech startup Wahed has secured a $25 million investment round led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, a venture capital investment arm of oil giant Saudi Aramco. The new investment round saw the participation of existing investors BECO as well as CueBall Capital Dubai Cultiv8 and Rasameel.

According to Wahed, the funds will be used to expand internationally, including developing the company’s subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the platform is currently running in the U.S. and U.K., and has more than 100,000 clients globally. It, therefore, plans to grow in the largest Muslim markets, including Indonesia, Nigeria, India and the CIS.

Tech Trivia Answer: LG KE850

Announced in December 2006 and shipped in May 2007, LG’s KE850/Prada was the first mobile phone to be sold with a capacitive touchscreen, arriving a month before the iPhone. In fact, an LG executive at the time accused Apple of copying the Prada when it was unveiled and won a product design award in 2006.

By the way, the BlackBerry Storm 2 didn’t have a capacitive touchscreen, but was instead the first and remains the only smartphone to have a full clickable touchscreen powered by piezoelectric sensors under the display.

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