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Software developer trainer, Andela, secures $100m to boost engineering teams

The Series D round funding was led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Google Ventures (GV), Spark Capital and CRE Venture Capital.

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Andela
By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Jan. 23, 2019 (NNN) Andela, a company building distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software developers, on Wednesday said it had secured a $100 million Series D funding, toward distributed engineering teams.

The Series D round funding was led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Google Ventures (GV), Spark Capital and CRE Venture Capital.

The Co-founder of Andela, Jeremy Johnson, said that the Series D financing brought Andela’s total venture funding to $180 million.

Andela was founded in 2014 to connect Africa’s engineering talents with the demand for software developers worldwide.

In four years, Andela has assessed more than 100,000 applicants, hired 1,000 software developers and integrated them into hundreds of companies, such as Safaricom, Percolate, and InVision.

Johnson said that with the Series D funding, Andela would accelerate the development of its technology platform to identify, develop and match talents at scale.

He said that by doing so, Andela would provide its customers with the data they needed to understand developers’ performance and better manage distributed teams.

According to him, the company would also expand its presence across Africa, to meet the global demand for high-quality engineering talents.

“It is increasingly clear that the future of work will be distributed in parts due to the severe shortage of engineering talents.

“We have access to incredible talents across Africa and have learnt from scaling hundreds of engineering teams around the world,

“So, Andela is able to provide the talents and the technology to power high-performing teams and help companies adopt the distributed model faster,” Johnson said in a statement.

Country Director at Andela Nigeria, Omowale David-Ashiru, said that the company had been a critical player in Nigeria’s technology revolution.

“Due to our unwavering commitment to our mission throughout the last four years, Andela has grown into a thriving platform for hundreds of technologists in Nigeria.

“With this investment, Andela will accelerate the development of Africa’s best technology talents in Nigeria and beyond,’’ David-Ashiru said.

Lilly Wollman, Co-Head, Growth Equity at Generation Investment Management, said that the company’s investment in Andela resulted from deep research into the future of work.

Wollman said that the company believed that Andela was a transformational model to develop software engineers and deploy them at scale into the future enterprise.

“The global demand for software engineers far exceeds supply and that gap is projected to widen.

“Andela’s leading technology enables firms to effectively build and manage distributed engineering teams.

“We are great admirers of the outstanding team, mission and culture Andela has built across two continents and five countries,’’ Wollman said.

With technology campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, Andela has been recognised as “The Best Place to Work in Africa, ’’ Wollman said.

In 2019, Andela is projected to double in size, hiring another 1,000 software developers and investing heavily in data, engineering and product development. (NNN)
FON/BOLA/AJA
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Edited by Bola Akingbehin/Adeleye Ajayi

 

 

Science & Technology

Zoho offers guidance on right software for non technology companies

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Technology company, Zoho Corporations, on Tuesday offered guidance to non technology companies on how to select software products to support remote and on-site working requirements in the face of COVID-19.

Mr Andrew Bourne, Zoho’s Country Manager for the African region, said in a statement in Lagos that local businesses should make their operations digital and remote at a much faster pace as a result of the pandemic.

Bourne said that some of the considerations for a non techie to select a suitable software would include the bigger picture , priotising privacy, easy integration and right pricing.

According to him, working from home has become the de-facto way of operation for many, prompting businesses to take a hard look at whether their software solutions are standing up to their work-from-home needs.

”The sheer number of software solutions available for businesses, combined with rapid technological innovation, can make the choice extremely difficult.

”Although, there is something to suit virtually every need, it is important for businesses to take time to ensure they choose solutions that not only fulfill those needs, but also work together so that decision makers have a cohesive and comprehensive picture of the business at all times,” Bourne said.

According to him, in selecting a software, there is need to consider the bigger picture by clearly defining business software needs, as well as prioritising  goals that the tools need to help business owners  to achieve.

He said that the right software solutions would streamline operations and increase efficiency in a logical, easy-to-use way, and allow user to focus on the work rather than the  application.

The country manager said that as technology users were aware of basic online security, they should  be demanding more of software solutions to ensure  data privacy and security.

According to him, privacy factors, including data protection, file encryption and cloud security, should be taken into consideration and discussed with software provider to ensure a solution that guarantees privacy at the highest level.

Bourne said that software solutions should be integrated in a seamless way to  improve productivity by speeding up  flow of information through departments.

He said that the best solution at the most competitive price would be the most desirable way to go, but said  it would  be important to ensure value for money,  irrespective of the brand.

 

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Foreign

Volkswagen hopes new software will banish accidents by 2050

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Volkswagen says it will launch a new software operating system this year that it hopes will make accidents involving its cars a thing of the past by 2050.

Next generation cars will be equipped with software, sensors and processors that enable vehicles to anticipate and avoid accidents, and to keep learning new reflexes, the German car brand’s strategy chief Michael Jost said in Berlin on Thursday.

“We want to have no more accidents by 2050,” he said.

The new software-based vehicle operating system, which is being launched with Volkswagen’s new ID:3 electric car, will be continually updated as software algorithms improve, Jost said.

“How quickly can data and algorithms improve? Our customers should benefit from deep learning every week, and every day. We are moving from being a device company to being a software company,” he said.

First generation cars, which are due to go on sale in Europe in the summer, are still being tweaked, said Thomas Ulbrich, the VW brand’s board member responsible for electromobility.

“We are not yet at 100 per cent.

“It is normal that there are still technical tasks to be done shortly before market launch,” Ulbrich said about the status of the ID:3’s software development.

The ID:3 will cost from 24,000 euros (27,000 dollars), once green car tax breaks and incentives are included, when it goes on sale in Germany this summer.

That will put it on a par with VW’s combustion-engined vehicles, and forms part of a big expansion by the company in electric cars.

The VW brand expects to build 1.5 million electric cars by 2025.

Volkswagen Group, whose brands also include Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Bentley and Bugatti, will launch 75 electric cars by 2029 and be capable of building 26 million vehicles.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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Judiciary

KDSG introduces software management system for filing cases in court

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The Kaduna State Government on Wednesday inaugurated a software management system for filing cases in courts as part of renewed effort to ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the state.

Inaugurating the facility at the premises of the Ministry of Justice Kaduna, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Malama Aisha Dikko, said the measure was aimed at improving productivity in the judiciary.

Dikko explained that information technology has become part of daily lives of the people, not just because it provided easier or faster ways of managing activities but because it made it easier to identify areas that needed improvement in service delivery.

She stated that the present administration on improving service delivery at all levels had taken bold steps by providing and strengthening services.

“The case management system has been adopted for use in the Ministry to improve service provision and make it easier to categorise cases for good archival purposes.

“The ministry has provided lawyers with necessary operating skills which was done through series of trainings to enable them to work anytime from anywhere.

“The lawyers have the application in their phones and computers which they can log in anytime to input or retrieve data without stress,” Dikko said.

The attorney-general further said paper-based system of managing cases have been in existence for a long time but added that it was time to move on with the current trends  so as to get things  easier and faster for better results.

She, however, urged  all counsel to embrace the system optimally in order to achieve success in the judiciary.

Also, the Deputy Governor of the  state, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said with this new case management system software, there will be great achievements in  the dispensation of cases.

The Deputy Governor said the paper based system used before took longer time for cases to be dispensed with, but added  that now case would be assigned to teams for speedy outcome.

“I see the ministry moving in the right direction and this will increase morale and efficiency among the counsel in the state.

Balarabe, who appreciated the management for a great work, also encouraged them to work and share experience together as a team in order to overcome challenges.

Edited & Vetted By: Shittu Obassa/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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General news

NOTAP reiterates commitment to building local capacity for software development

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The National Office For Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) on Thursday reiterated its commitment to assist the country in building local capacity for software.

Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, Director-General, NOTAP said this in a news conference in Abuja, observing that the office could stimulate the development through the local vendor policy.

Local policy is instituted by NOTAP in partnership with relevant stakeholders, especially National Information Development Agency (NITDA) to build the needed human capacity for software development and reduce our dependence on imported software.

He decried the situation whereby most of the country’s operations depend largely on foreign software with resultant huge capital flight.

Ibrahim, therefore, said that the local vendor policy initiated by NOTAP would build the needed human capacity for software development in the country.

He noted that NOTAP registered technology transfer agreement coming into the country as part of its mandate.

“For any software agreement, the agency insists that its deployment must involve a local vendor who will get 40 per cent of the yearly service or maintenance fee.

“Before any software agreement between the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Nigerian company is registered by NOTAP, a Nigerian IT company must be involved in the deployment and maintenance of that software.

“This strategy gives the necessary exposure and experience to Nigerian IT professionals on software application and development,” Ibrahim said.

He said: “40 per cent of annual technical support fee which is between 12 and 13 per cent of the licensing fee of the software must be given to the Nigerian IT firm while the OEM takes 60 per cent.

“This has provided the IT companies the financial support to acquire the needed infrastructure.

“Through this policy, capacities of Nigerians are being developed and some of the local IT firms have started exporting software to some African countries”.

He expressed concern that 90 per cent of technology that power Nigerian economy were imported and urged Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigerian goods.

Edited by Kayode Olaitan

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Economy

Samsung updates software to fix fingerprint recognition problem

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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has updated software to fix problems with fingerprint


recognition features on its flagship Galaxy S10 and Note 10 smartphones, it said on Wednesday.

Samsung issued an apology through its customer support app Samsung Members and told its Galaxy phone users to update their


biometric authentication to the latest software version.

A British user told The Sun newspaper that a bug on her Galaxy S10 allowed it to be unlocked regardless of the biometric data registered in the device.

Samsung has said the issue can happen when patterns appearing on certain protectors that come with silicon cases are recognized along with fingerprints.

“Samsung Electronics takes the security of products very seriously and will make sure to strengthen security through continuing improvement and


updates to enhance biometric authentication functions,” the company said on its Korean app.

Once touted as a revolutionary feature by Samsung, its ultrasonic fingerprint sensors were fooled by tech reviewers.

Videos on tech community websites show Galaxy devices can be unlocked through silicon protectors using a persimmon or a small doll.

Samsung said it would send notifications for software updates to Galaxy S10 and Note 10 users who have registered their biometric data.

The Bank of China has pulled fingerprint payments from certain Samsung devices and Alipay’s fingerprint payment verification function app


has been temporarily suspended for some Galaxy devices.

AOM/HA

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

 

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General news

FUK moves to introduce anti-plagiarism software – VC

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The Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, has resolved to introduce the use of anti-plagiarism software in assessing academic publications and dissertation of students.

Prof. Alhassan Gani, Vice-Chancellor of the institution, made the disclosure in a statement signed by Mrs Janet Ezekiel, Public Relations Officer (PRO) in Gombe on Sunday.

According to him,  the software will help to address plagiarism in the institution.

“The use of the anti-plagiarism software became necessary to maintain the academic standard and encouraging self esteem in accordance with the university’s mission of excellent in teaching and research.

“The recent Campus Wide Seminar will also help in addressing some problems that reduces the quality of publications, which usually must pass through scrutiny and set standards that requires critical thinking and reflections,” the vice chancellor said

IMK /MAM/AFA

Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide

 

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Science & Technology

Pantami’s appointment will improve patronage of indigenous hardware, software – Foundation

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African ICT Foundation (AfICTA) says appointment of Dr Isa Pantami as Minister of Communication will improve patronage of local content hardware and software.

The foundation made the observation in a congratulatory message to Pantami, a copy of which was made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Lagos.

President of the foundation, Mr Tony Ojobo who signed the statement said, with Pantami’s wealth of experiences, there would be increase in the patronage of made in Nigeria Information Technology (IT) hardware and software.

Ojobo recalled that Pantami, as Director-General of Nigeria Information Technology Developmental Agency (NITDA), vigorously pursued local Content Policy.

According to him, Pantami as NITDA DG, had a formidable track records at the agency which prompted unwavering commitment to local content.

“Pantami, enhanced the purchase of indigenous brand of ICT devices by over 60 per cent within the last three years, local hosting of data doubled in value while local software consumption significantly increased.

“The cumulative effect of these efforts is that ICT contribution to GDP reached an unprecedented mark of 13.63 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, ” he said.

Ojobo commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a core ICT professional to manage the communications ministry noting that the industry would leapfrog into a new beginning as the new minister assumed office.

While expressing the commitment of AfICTA to the growth of the industry through its advocacy role, Ojobo said the leadership acumen of Pantami at NITDA had been able to restore confidence in indigenous technology development.

He recalled that Pantami issued several policies, guidelines, and frameworks to help stimulate broadband penetration in the country such as the Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access.

He said, Guidelines for Clearance of IT Projects by Public Institutions, NITDA Public Key Infrastructure Regulations, Framework on Data Localization and Local Content Policy, were also introduced by Pantami.

Ojobo said replicating such feat in his new office as Minister of Communications would hasten the development of the sector.

He also recalled that Pantami as NITDA boss, over 660 IT intervention centres, Digital Divide Bridging Centres, Digital Job Creation Centres were established nationwide,.

Ojobo said that Campus Area Networks for educational institutions, e-Learning Centres for educational institutions, Virtual/Digital Library Centres and IT hubs were also established.

He assured that with stakeholders support, building a broadband ecosystem that will help to improve services and broadband penetration significantly in the country was sure.

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General news

Decagon software development firm trains 29 engineers

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No fewer than 29 Nigerian graduates who have been undergoing training to become software engineers will be certified next month upon completion of six months intensive
training by Decagon Software Engineering Firm.

The firm’s founder, Mr Chika Nwobi, made the disclosure at a news conference in the company’s office, along Lekki-Epe expressway, Lagos on Friday.

Nwobi said the training was made possible through their partnership with Sterling Bank where soft loans were got for the students to facilitate their training.

He said the loan only attracted minimal interest rate which would be paid by the students after they might have been gainfully employed.

According to him, the graduates were trained because it was observed that there is huge demand of software engineers globally as Nigerian youths are known to be talented and smart on the field.

“We have been able to do this through partnerships with Sterling Bank and other organisations.

“We made arrangements for the students upkeep, feeding, accommodation and monthly stipends.

“Each person is meant to mentor at least one person at the end of the training to actualise our mission as a software development firm,” he said.

Nwobi said that upon completion of their programmes, automatic employment opportunities would be provided for the students as Decagon sourced for corporate organisations and institutions in need of software developers.

He said this was the third set of software developers trained by the institute who had been gainfully employed.

He added that the target of the firm was to train 5,000 world-class software engineers in the first five years of it’s existence.

According to him, this is to transform Nigeria into one of the most respected sources of elite software engineering talents in the world.

“So far, we have trained seven software developers for the first set, 22 for second set and another 29 this set.

“Our vision is to be the refinery that will transform exceptional talents from different backgrounds into elite software developers, leaders, positioning Nigeria as the preferred source for software talents, while solving the nation’s local problems with software solutions,” he said.

Nwobi said Nigeria had advantage over other countries in the world who are technologically advanced due to Nigeria’s time zone, English language which is most popular language adopted in nation and most brilliant Nigerians had few job options.

According to him, these factors ordinarily would have positioned the nation at a vantage position over other countries assuming there were enough talented engineers to train.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Johnbosco Okoror, a graduate of electrical engineering, said that software training had improved his knowledge greatly and hoped to train more Nigerians.

Uchenna Egbo said that the programme so far had been amazing as they learnt in a conducive environment.

“It has been a massive session of intensive lectures, we eat well, we really appreciate Decagon for this great opportunity,” she said.

Earlier, Miss Khafil Animashaun, Head of Strategy, Sterling Bank said that Nigerian universities had failed to produce the quality of graduates that Nigerian organisations need.

“Since our universities have failed us in providing the quality of graduates Nigeria labour market deserves, we have come up with ways to assist institutions like Decagon produce the right kind of graduates,” she said.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Science & Technology

ICT expert develops software to eliminate online fraud

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An Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Mr Emmanuel Okoye, has developed a software application called ‘The Middle’  to help eliminate online fraud.

“Basically, the software serves as a kind of middleman that ensures that buyers and sellers get satisfaction during online transactions,” he explained.

According to him, the software serves as a means of payment on social platforms and transfer of funds, notwithstanding the currency in question, including crypto-currency.

“The concept of developing this application was borne out of the cases emanating from people being defrauded on social platforms that have metamorphosed into market places, especially instagram.

“We have people who make payment for products to be delivered, only for the sellers to disappear or send products that are far cry from what the consumers had paid for.

“Also, there are cases of sellers supplying products and never to get their payments, owing to the fact that consumers insist on getting the products first before paying to avoid being duped,” the software developer further explained.

According to him, with ‘The Middle’, buyers of products will only order payment through an escrow account in the software application after receiving and confirming the products they ordered for.

Okoye, who had developed other applications for commercial use, including web-based desktop and mobile applications, said the software was also designed to refund money to unsatisfied buyers.

He said he had deployed a social platform called ‘Gentzy.xyz’ in addition to ‘The Middle’ where status of products could be reported and verified.

“People who have used a product or received service from a particular vendor can report on whether the product was fake or the service fraudulent,” he said.

 

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