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!
Novastar Ventures Closes $108 Million in Second Fund
Nairobi and Lagos based investment group - Novastar Ventures - announced that it has recently closed $108 million in new financing, bringing the group’s total fund capital to $200 million. The fund which initially focused its efforts on East-African entrepreneurs like SolarNow - a Ugandan and Kenyan energy startup, now seeks to expand its funding to start-ups in West Africa. The fund which has already made investments in West-African startups like Max.ng, a motorcycle transit startup, and MPharma, a Ghanaian health logistics company, aims to use the newly acquired capital to have a stronger presence in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial scene and in Lagos more specifically.
Google Play Music switches to Youtube Music
Google has announced plans to shut down its music streaming service, Google Play Music, later this year, in order to make Youtube Music the company’s default music streaming app. Youtube Music, which faces serious competition from the likes of Apple Music and Spotify that have a combined subscriber base of almost 200 million people, stands a better chance at rivaling these services now that it no longer has to split its customer base with Google Play Music. Users of Google Play Music will also not lose their libraries, personal taste preferences, or playlists in the course of this move as they are all transferable to the Youtube Music app via a transfer feature option available on Youtube Music. The exact shutdown date of Google Play Music is yet to be determined.
HouseParty Expands to Live-Events Streaming
Video-chatting app, Houseparty - which experienced a growth surge following the quarantine measures that have left most people homebound - is capitalizing on this growth and expanding into live-streams that can been co-watched with friends on the app. The company will launch its first live event series ,‘In the House’, a 3 day virtual festival on the Houseparty app, on the 15th of May. The event promises to feature over 40 celebrities and includes people like, singer Alicia Keys, rapper DaBaby, and actor Terry Crews. The event is made possible by the apps' new feature; a video player that is designed to sit on the screen but not cover other users' faces, making it possible to co-watch videos with friends on the app.
Helium Health Launches CareCredit, a Loan Product for Healthcare Providers
Nigerian health-tech startup, Helium Health, which recently closed a $10 million round, has announced plans to establish a digital loan product for healthcare providers. Nigeria’s healthcare industry is severely underfunded yet extremely capital intensive, and the lack of adequate financing renders health services subpar in most of the country. Perched to solve this problem, Helium Health conducted a survey and found that over 57% of private hospitals in Nigeria have never been externally financed, likewise government spending in this crucial sector comes in trickles that amount to little in the grand scheme. The company says that its product, CareCredit, will be able to assess healthcare providers revenues and expenses and use machine learning algorithms to determine how much they are able to take on in form of loans. These loans will be collateral free and repayment times will be flexible.