Welcome to another edition of 'This Week in Tech', your weekly dose of local and global tech news rounded up to save you the trouble. Keep reading to find out what's been happening!
African Fin-Tech StartUp, Chipper Cash, Raises 13.8 Million Dollars in Series A Funding
Chipper Cash, a mobile-based person to person payment service co-founded by two Africans and launched in 2018, has raised 13.8 Million dollars in Series A funding. The fintech company with roots in San-Francisco was co-founded by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled, who met while studying in Iowa. The platform enables cross-border payments services in seven countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya. The round which was led by Deciens Capital brings the start-ups' total fund to about 22 million dollars and said fun will be directed at the company’s staffing efforts. According to Serunjogi, the start-up aims to make 30 new hires across its London, New York, Lagos, San Francisco, and Kenyan offices.
Sun-Exchange Raises 3 Million Dollars to Improve Solar Power in Africa
Renewable energy start-up, Sun Exchange, has recently raised 3 million dollars and closed out its Series A funding round with a total of 4 million dollars. The South African based company is a peer to peer cryptocurrency service that allows its users to invest in solar infrastructure in Africa from anywhere in the world. The start-up which was co-founded by Abe Cambridge in 2015 and head-quartered in one of the city's capitals, CapeTown, uses bitcoin to universalize payment methods for all its users. The need for sustainable electricity on the continent is glaring, seeing as only half of the continent’s estimated 1billion people have access to stable electricity. The company which joins the African solar space already inhabited by the likes of Nigerian company Rensource and Kenyan based company M-Kopa plans to use it’s newly acquired funds to expand operations on the continent, Latin-America and South East Asia in the long term.
Google Pledges to Commit 175 Million Dollars to Racial Equity Initiatives
Following the slate of protests, riots and uproar in the United States in the aftermath of the murders of two African Americans - Breonna Taylor and George Floyd - at the hands of police, Google has committed to spending 175 million dollars on racial equity initiatives. The funding which was announced by Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, will be focused on supporting black entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses by investing in black-led capital firms and start-ups, grants for small businesses, black developers within the Google ecosystem, and black job seekers who are more likely to experience hiring discrimination. The company has also committed to diversifying senior leadership positions and aims to improve the representation of underrepresented groups by at least 30% come 2025
Twitter Introduces New Voice Tweet Feature
Twitter, which has been rolling out a slate of new features, has now introduced a voice tweet option that allows users to share audio messages on their home feeds. The new feature allows recordings of up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds for each voice tweet and in the event of a longer recording, the voice tweet will be continued in a thread. The feature is also only available for original tweets as users cannot respond to other user's written or audio tweets with an audio tweet of their own. Likewise, the audio message feature is not available for direct messages and can only be accessed by iPhone users at this time.