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Letter 20, BD Insider: The newsletter arm of benjamindada.com
 

Hey <<First Name>>,

Happy New Month!

Here is your weekly dose of insights, fun and entertainment (yes, we said what we said), LOL.

There is an emergence of thriving tech startups, and Banks don't want to miss out, even Law firms are trying to position (more on this later).

This week was awash with news of Nigerian banks foray into the startup ecosystem. They have heeded the advice EY gave in a 2017 report (PDF) that banks and fintechs must “partner or perish.”

But you see, these banks are casting their nets wide, looking to attract both the fintechs and non-fintechs, partnering with other established hubs like CcHub and Passion Incubator. 

Last year, we reported on the launch of FirstBank Digital Innovation lab. Today, we are adding FCMB's HubOne and HeritageBank's
Innovation Lab to the list. 

Meanwhile, Union Bank—which has collaborated with CcHub multiple times—has now announced the launch of their TechVentures

First was FCMB with
HUBONE, then Union Bank announced Tech Ventures.

However, we see a future where too many hubs will be chasing very few quality startups. So, to what end, banks?

Read More on First Bank's Digital Lab

CBN wants to improve the efficiency at PoS terminals

You’ll no longer need to answer that “savings or current” question when you want to use a PoS machine. The CBN directive, aimed at reducing PoS transactions failure rate, took effect from February 1.

While this might not reduce the failure rate of PoS transactions, it would lead to shorter wait times at the Tills  🤷🏻‍♂️

When does a C-level executive become a co-founder?

Per Cregital, the CTO, Rufus Oyemade just got named as a co-founder, after about 4 years working with the company. The CEO, Evans Akanno, speaks to Rufus’ “deep tech expertise” and “commitment to building [the] company for the long-term.” Evans had earlier tried to get a co-founder, but all to no avail, so he is pretty excited that his longtime partner, Rufus, accepted to be a co-founder. Because it is believed that “two are better than one”. Huge congratulations to Rufus (who just got married), Evans and the entire Cregital team.

So, when does a C-level executive become a co-founder? We don’t know. But a rule-of-thumb is to figure out if the partner has the core domain expertise and right attitude towards leading the organisation forward.

The search for business truth outside Nigeria - Kobo360 expands to Lome, Togo
Nigerian logistics startup, Kobo360, has launched operations in Togo as it makes inroads on its continent-wide expansion plan. Billed to launch in Ghana and Kenya soon.

FCMB's HubOne spotting occupant Jide Rotilu of TBCA Technologies

Google's AI, AlphaStar defeated gaming experts in strategy game

Basically, mainstream-AI, computer systems did purely repetitive and mundane tasks like performing simple calculations and arranging parts in an assembly line. However, due to the level of deep-thinking require in gameplay and its relatability, games emerged to be used as means of evaluating the performance of artificial intelligence systems.

In February 1996 IBM’s DeepBlue beat a (human) reigning world champion in Chess, DeepBlue became the first computer chess-playing system to defeat a champion under normal time conditions.

In 2018, AlphaZero developed by Google’s sibling—DeepMind—taught itself to play chess in just 4 hours and beat the world’s best chess-playing computer program.

Last week, AlphaStar, another AI system by DeepMind defeated two world-class players of StarCraft II, a complex real-time strategy (RTS) game. Now, while StarCraft is ‘just’ a (very complex!) game, the techniques it used can be applied to other global issues like weather prediction and climate modelling, the CEO of DeepMind, Demis Hassabis tweeted.

Asian phone manufacturers are looking to Africa for expansion
As smartphones sales plateau in China (ask Apple for details), Chinese OEMs are looking to Africa for expansion. Tech Asia reports that Xiaomi “the Apple of China,” which has been selling its phones in the continent through local partnerships since 2015, is setting up a department in Africa. This may bring some competition for Transsion Holdings, makers of Tecno, Infinix and iTel, who has never sold a phone in China, yet dominates the African market.

More investment dollars available to African startups, Thanks to Partech Ventures
Partech Ventures, a global tech investment firm, has increased its Africa venture fund to $143 million and is setting up an office in Kenya, Nairobi. In Africa, Partech has invested in Nigerian TradeDepot ($3 million) - a SaaS tool for FMCG distribution in Africa, and South African YOCO ($16 million) - a payment terminal and cash register software. “My usual recommendation is to find someone who can introduce you to any member of the team. We receive a lot of requests…but an intro and recommendation…shortcuts one through all that,” Tidjane Deme, General Partner at Partech, advised.

Kenyan ride-hailing firm, An-Nsia wants to be the “Uber for women”
Per this Quartz report, An-Nsia - an e-taxi app exclusively for Women - is giving Uber and Taxify a run for their money in Kenya. Launched last September, the app recorded a thousand downloads and registered 100 female drivers (now 300) in the first week of service.

Events

The second edition of Atlassian User Group (AUG) Meetup in Lagos, will be taking place on Saturday, February 9 at Eyowo Studios. Learn more and reserve your seat here.

Passion Incubator is hosting the regional stage of the Startup World Cup on Saturday, February 9. Meet the 10 startups participating and register here.

Attend the Global Startup Summit. An online free event taking place on February 18-24. RSVP here.

What we found interesting online

1. How online card payment works in Nigeria

2. Fifteen years later, Facebook records 2.3 billion monthly users, which means 33% of the entire world's population is on Facebook. More interestingly, 1 in every 2 people connected to the internet is on facebook. Wired highlights the 15 defining moments for Facebook.

3. Mark Zuckerberg plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. New York Times writes on how and why.

4. Deloitte 2019 Tech Trends (PDF).

5. After 25 years of studying innovation, this professor shares some lessons. Number 4 is instructive: Don’t reserve your best self only for your career.

6. Watch Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, explain and share milestones of the SMART Rwanda Plan. The country aims to create 100,000 off-farm jobs by 2020.
Yay, you made it to the end! Thank you for reading this mail.

What did you think about this edition? You can reply me directly at daniel@benjamindada.com

Thank you, 
Daniel 
Edited by Benjamin
On behalf of the team @ benjamindada.com
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