Welcome to the 'This Week in Tech' newsletter, where we round up the latest in global and local tech news.
Nigerian Health Start-up 54gene raises $15 Million in Funding
Nigerian health start-up 54gene has recently closed a $15 Million Series A round. The round was led by Newyork based investment firm Adjuvant Capital, which specialises in funding health development and research companies, and is also backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. 54gene, which has roots in both Nigeria and the US, now has a total VC capital of $19.5 Million. The start-up which serves as a reliable biobank of pan-African genetic material, plans to use the new cash injection to expand the lab with a long term goal of managing up to 500,000 genetic samples, with the ultimate goal of drug and medicine development. Likewise, given the spike in Coronavirus cases across Africa, the company says it plans to offer screenings for the virus in its Lagos lab soon.
Apple Announces the Launch of the Second-Generation of the iPhone SE
Tech giant apple has announced the upcoming release of the second-generation iPhone SE. The phone which includes new features such as a 4.7-inch Retina HD display and Touch ID, continues to be Apple’s most affordable iPhone at $399. The new iPhone which is available for pre-order from the 17th of April and in stores globally from the 24th of April, comes with the A13 Bionic processor, which is the fastest processor currently available on any smartphone. This addition means it runs at the same processing speed as all other available iPhones.
Alitheia IDF, Women-Focused Joint Venture Fund, Closes a Second Round of $75 Million
Alitheia IDF, a joint venture fund aimed at supporting high-growth potential SMEs - small and medium sized enterprises - primarily catered to, owned by or run by women in Africa, has reached a second funding close at $75 million. The fund aims to prioritize investments into the continent's agriculture, agro-processing and essential goods and services sectors. The fund is expected to invest in around 12 SMEs, all which indicate the potential to scale beyond their nations of origin. The current funding gap in women-led SMEs in Africa is an estimated $42 billion, Alitheia IDF is one of the rising venture funds in the continent focused on women-led businesses.
Houseparty Booms as the Coronavirus Forces People Indoors
Houseparty, the hybrid video chat and gaming app, is currently experiencing a boom in sign-ups amid the lockdown requirements implemented to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. The app which was acquired by Epic Games - the makers of Forntie - revealed that the app has seen up to 50 million sign ups in the past month, and an estimated 17.2 million installs across iOs and Android platforms. The app also reveals that although it’s demographic skews younger, the recent spike has seen an increase in sign-ups from all demographics. Although many industries are experiencing a downturn, video chatting apps are experiencing the opposite as many people face home lockdowns for the foreseeable future