July 14, 2020

Weekly RoundUp May 11-17

Hi,

Welcome to another edition of the RoundUp. The past week has been busy with acquisitions and appointments at both Apple and Twitter.  This is a good signal that the economy is gradually but cautiously opening up.  We’ve also included some interesting reads for you.

Enjoy the read and please,  recommend to someone.

  • Twitter’s CEO announced with a tweet the appointment of Dr. Li FeiFei as an independent director.  Dr. FeiFei is a professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering.  Before becoming the head of AI and Machine learning at Google Cloud,  she served as the Director of Standford’s AI Lab from 2013-2018. She’s also a co-founder and chairperson of AI4ALL,  non-profit organisation. Link

 

Why this is important : The AI race is  Big Tech’s next prize to be won and talents to win it are in high demand at the moment.  FeiFei’s rich experience coming from Google will undoubtedly impact Twitter’s AI initiatives.

Twitter has been deploying AI tools to battle misinformation and fake news problems on its platform especially as the pandemic rages and it prepares  for the 2020 US Presidential elections.  FeiFei comes with insight from Google seeing the troves of data it interacted with especially through Google Search.

She could lead Twitter’s effort to unfreeze its access in China considering her Chinese heritage.

 

 

  • Ekiti State government this week passed its 7th Executive Order this year and it was on its broadband policy.  The policy effectively makes Ekiti the cheapest state for broadband infrastructure investment.  Prior to this,  1km of cable installation set an investor back by N4.5m. But with this order,  it drastically falls to N145, 000. Link

 

Why this is important : With this policy stroke, Ekiti has become an attractive destination for tech and internet-enabled businesses.  With the increasing change in the nature of work and organisations digitally transforming their work processes,  Ekiti becomes a viable option beyond Lagos and Abuja.

It is also anticipated that this engenders a healthy competition amongst states in a  bid to attract to attract investment.

For the ISPs and broadband service providers,  this providers an opportunity to redirect this shortfall to other areas of investment when entering the market in Ekiti.

 

  • Apple,  maker of IPhone has acquired NextVR,  a virtual reality startup with specialty in sports related content.  NextVR supplies content to Facebook’s Oculus and device makers like Sony Corp.,  HTC and Lenovo.  The deal is valued in the region of $100m. Link

 

Why this is important :  The acquisition signals a focus of attention to VR and AR thereby making it an attractive area again.

Apple may be ‘buying to keep’ as it has always done waiting for the market opportunity to put to use.This could be a fear of missing out (FOMO).  Seeing that NextVR  has content and partnerships with some  sports leagues and entertainment networks with streaming experience, it may build products for live events and concerts like Wimbledon and NBA games.

Considering Facebook has VR product Oculus in its portfolio, this may be Apple’s attempt at hedging for the future while figuring out where the market is headed seeing Covid-19 has disrupted many industries especially sports and travel.

 

 

  • Facebook has acquired  Giphy,  a search engine and database for GIFs for $400m. Having tried in 2015 but failed at it, this acquisition is a game-changing feature for the bouquet of products under Facebook the company. Link

 

Why this is important :   Facebook claims it accounts for 50% of giphy’s traffic from its products  like Facebook the app and Whatsapp. It then makes logical sense it controls the app it sustains.

On the other hand,  if we go by the 50% claim,  this acquisition gives Facebook an unrestricted access into other apps like Twitter,  Slack and Tinder.  This allows Facebook monitor the usage on these other apps and gives it to earn advertising from them whenever it decides to monetize GIFs.

Facebook in recent times,  has lost the confidence of the  federal regulators and this new acquisition strengthens their doubts over its intentions especially on data privacy abuses.

Finally,  that this acquisition gives Facebook access to other social and productivity apps,  it raises antitrust concerns.

 

Numbers:

Wechat’s monthly active users grew to  1.2b users in Q1 of 2020. Link

Dikalo,  a social and communication app in Africa has crossed  80m messages.  Link

 

You Should Read This:

Running a Startup in the 1980s. Microsoft PowerPoint story.  Link

A Founder’s Guide to Startup Boards.  Link

Add comment

Your email address will not be published.