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Jumia Featured In Forbes, Announce Additional Stores Across Nigeria

On the trail of successes they have achieved as one of the pioneers of online retail in Nigeria, co-founders of Jumia , Raphael Afaedor and Tunde Kehinde have been featured in April’s edition of Forbes Africa magazine. In this awe-inspiring piece the duo talk to Abisola Owolawi about finding their dream, rising against the odds, their challenges and their rise to building Nigeria’s number 1 online retailer.

In another exciting sequence, the website has grown to be the 5th local content website in Nigeria and the customer’s number 1 online retailer of choice.

The 10 month retail store has seen exponential growth in size of baskets and traffic to its site. Inadvertently leading to growth in all areas of its operations from staff, fleet, warehousing facilities, to more recently the addition of 3 locations in Warri, Kaduna and Benin; an addition to those existing in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt.

“…Jumia will continue to pioneer the Nigerian retail market, with a vision to being the answer to retail both offline and online in sub-Saharan Africa. As a place for direct retail shopping online with limitless reach and audience, we have seen orders come in large numbers from every nook and cranny of Nigeria, and in our commitment to our customers and making good on our promises of on time for delivery, we are gradually expanding and gaining foothold in more cities across Nigeria”, explained co-founders Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor.

To view article, click here and to get a copy, click here for April’s edition of Forbes Africa magazine.

RIP Lagbook! Long Live PicRate.me

Remember Ladies and Gentlemen book (LAGbook), the Nigerian social network site that recently crossed one million users? Well, it has now been transformed into Picrate.me, a picture rating social network.

Co-founder, Chidi Nwaogu said, it was a planned move to permit a much steeper growth curve and to prevent any possible form of law suit (one would assume from Facebook). “We had over ten web applications which include multimedia sharing, marketplace, discussion board, idea-sharing, music, and file-sharing, but we noticed that there was just one app that surpassed others in its daily use and that was our photo-sharing application.” – he added.

Thousands of users are reported to have shared hundreds of thousands of photos every month ranging from their moments at school, work and vacation. Other users interacted with these photos especially users of the opposite sex; they like and comment, and sometimes comment more than once on a particular picture.

All of these coupled with lengthy conversations seen to have rolled out of a photos, made the twin founders make the move in zeroing down on a picture rating social network – much like the early days for Facebook with the ‘Smash or Pass’ buttons, in this case ‘Hot or Not’.

Chika, the other twin was quick to dismiss that joining Versamel, a UK-registered internet company that recently provided some funding, did not influence the name change, it has been something scheduled to happen

The new social network runs on its dedicated server and this means minimal downtime and maximum flexibility, which are all important to the team. All domain names – LAGbook.comLAGbook.net, and Naijabook.com - redirect to PicRate.me, and reports are users are responding well to the new network.

LAGbook was not only a name, but a brand.We recorded great milestones with it and we hope PicRate.me repeats same by recording even greater milestones.” Chika added.

Where Did All 1 Million LAGBook Users Go?

I had a chat with Chika Nwaogu, co-founder of PicRate.me, this morning to ask what would happen to LAGbook users’ details and he explained that they have been sending messages out to their users to introduce the new PicRate.me, to explain the reasons for the transformation and also for them to update their details.

PicRate.me team will compare the new registration with the old database to know their active users and those with verified email addresses then, the remaining users will automatically be added to the list to get their original one million database users.

Nigeria: And The Winners Are… Microsoft Imagine Cup [Part 2]

The afternoon continued with the next set of teams presenting their solutions.

READ: Microsoft Imagine Cup Nigeria Finals Part 1 [Live Blog]
Team i-Ace

This team came all the way from Federal University of Technology, Akure, presented i-Media. i-Media is an interactive application that speaks to some of the world’s biggest problems, namely; production of child morality, improvement of maternal health care and global partnership for development. The software solution is essentially a smart first aid solution and a doctor to patient solution. The team members include:

  • Ogunsola Joel
  • Lawal Juwon
  • Olaniyi Abiola
  • Fadamiro Katherine.
Team Mercury

This team from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, presented CourseTrail. With high illiteracy rate in Nigeria, there is a need for an affordable tool to tackle this problems, CourseTrail by team Mercury is an electronic tutoring platform that teaches illiterate users how to read and speak correctly. Team Mercury members include:

  • Olukoya Musa Adejimi – Team Evangelist
  • Oladeji Oluwasayo – Front-end Developer
  • Sanni Abdulmusawwir – Back-end Developer
  • Oyewo Mahmud – Back-end Developer
Team Life Saver

Life Savers from Lautech/OAU, presented CardioLife, a solution to tackle heart attack by monitoring the heart readings on the fly via a windows phone and to provide a rehabilitation program for stroke patients using the kinect sensor. The team members, made up of people from two different universities, are:

  • Adewale Adeyinka
  • Oluwole Michael
  • Afolabi Olamide
  • Akinlaja Solomon
Team Safari

Not to be confused for the iOS default browser or Kenya resort, but this team of two from Babcock, presented Mindset, a brain-computer interface solution for immersive control of computer software. Members include:

  • Solarin-Sodara Torin
  • Ogundipe Babafemi.
Team Pearl

This team from Lautech, Ogbomoso, presented Health Monitoreo. Monitoreo means monitoring in Spanish and that’s what Health Monitoreo was developed to do. Health Monitoreo is a health management and monitoring system that bridges the gap between patients and doctors, also allowing doctors to follow up on their patient’s health status. The members include:

  • Sikiru Olatunji
  • Oyewusi Adeyemi
  • Ojeyinka Biola
  • Ojo Akintade.

Then came the part we were waiting for, the announcement of the winners.

…and the winners are:

Categories Winners

  1. Games category: Team Golympus with the Compventure
  2. World Citizenship category: Team Lifesaver with CardioLife
  3. Innovation category: Team Eagle Inc. with Windows On Wheels
Winners
  1. Team Life Saver, CardioLife – Winners
  2. Team Eagle Inc., Windows On Wheels – Runners up
  3. Team Nikao, Mini Satellite Management System – 2nd Runner up.

For me it was a day well spent as I got to learn of different methods of pitching ideas, as well watching students think and create solutions for problems. Congratulations and lots of luck to Team Life Saver as they proceed to World finals in Russia later in the year.

Microsoft Imagine Cup Nigeria Finals Part 1 [Live Blog]

Today at VCP Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Microsoft West Africa is hosting a number of Nigerian students and media representatives at the Imagine Cup finals Imagine Cup is a global yearly competition hosted by Microsoft and the Nigerian edition is being hosted by Microsoft West Africa in partnership with Nokia, Dell and MainOne cable.

The Panelists

Gathered for this event are brilliant minds who will serve as panelists to judge the presentations from different categories. The panelists include:

  • Dele Akinsade, Microsoft
  • Tunji Eleso, Co-Creation Hub
  • Duke Obasi, Alliedsoft Technologies
  • Yinka Oni, Microsoft
  • Olumide Balogun, Nokia
  • Steve Araba, iBreathe Nigeria
  • Shole Lawani, Microsoft

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Presentations

The presentation of ideas will come from teams made up of undergraduate students of from different Nigerian universities. The teams are:

Team Golympus

This team who pitched a text-based Role Playing Game (RPG) that is filled with pictures and background game (BGM). The game helps raise a player’s IQ by including mildly challenging brain teasers and riddles. It also includes mathematical and English questions to help improve lexis and structures. The team members are:

  • Gbadebo Adeyemisi – Game Developer
  • Kufoniyi Opeyemi – The Story Writer
  • Busayo Oyebisi – Co-Game Developer
  • Odetola Tolulope – Graphics Designer /Animator
  • Ibitoye Tolulope – Artist
Team Dynamite

Dynamite came with a finger tracking system solution for translating sign language to text and speech using Microsoft Kinect. The team members are:

  • Ojo Akintudo S.
  • Olanrenwaju J. Adetula
  • Yinusa Kehinde
  • Olasupo Moyosore
Team Eagle Inc.

This team presented a car navigation and personal driving assistant, called Windows on Wheels, that makes cars smart. The application takes a picture of any trespasser around the parked car and sends it to the owner’s phone in case of theft. The application also tracks and translates road signals. Team members include:

  • Aboluwarin Olaoluwa David – Team Lead
  • Banjo Mofesola Paul – Technical Manager
  • Resource Manager – Oladapo Oluwadara Glory
Team Linfix

The three-man team presented an online shop application that helps small businesses sell to large consumers online. Linfix is a system that could put technology in the hand of the everyday business person. It engage clients, eases up the buying process for the clients and takes away the cost of excessive hardware and ambiguity. It also reduces the cost of acquiring these solutions by about 140% the cost of existing solutions. Team Members include:

  • Olabode Adedoyin
  • Oyeleye Janet Tolani
  • Ade-Adeniji Mosope
Team Nikao

Nikao presented Mindset, a solution that brings technology to everyone at affordable prices with easy to use procedures. It incorporates satellite technology in a small portable case for everyone to use. It has Global Position System (GPS) sensors, pressure, temperature, high resolution cameras, projectiles etc. and it can be adapted for security agencies, CIA, Research institutes, health care etc. Team Members are:

  • Babatope Oni
  • Segun Oyeyiola

More updates coming up, but until then see photos from the event.

Airtel Offers Exclusive WhatsApp Data Application Packages

Established telecoms services provider, Airtel Nigeria has introduced WhatsApp data application packages to its subscribers.

Airtel Nigeria has secured exclusive rights to offer WhatsApp data application packages to subscribers.

This follows a cross-promotion agreement with “WhatsApp Inc.” which gives Airtel Nigeria the exclusive right to launch WhatsApp packages in Nigeria.

Speaking on the new offer, Olu Akanmu, the Chief Marketing Officer of Airtel Nigeria, described the WhatsApp data bundle service as the first of its kind in the country. He said that it would provide great a channel to connect Nigerian youths to their friends with unlimited access.

To access the Airtel WhatsApp bundle, customers are to dial *948# at N100/month to enjoy the service exclusively on Airtel platform.

According to him, the new package, which is available to all prepaid subscribers, attracts no deductions from the user’s data bundle or airtime balance.

Customers who activate data bundles of 200MB or more can also enjoy unlimited access to WhatsApp without having to pay for the value-added service.

WhatsApp is considered one of the most popular mobile applications worldwide, owned by WhatsApp Inc. The application allows instant chat features, file & location sharing and more via smart phones through the Internet; recently rumored to have gotten a $1 billion offer from Google to sell.

While some may be excited about this new development, others have expressed disgust as other networks could easy provide cheaper data plans, thus rendering the exclusive deal somewhat worthless. What do you think?

SourceITNA

Taxi Park Releases Android Version Of Mobile App

TaxiPark, an online service created by Interactive Shack Africa, to help people move around easily within cities by the means of taxi from pickups to drop off, went live December, 2012 but only in web version. With TaxiPark, people can book for a taxi services online, which is on the web – i.e., there is need for internet connection.

However the first mobile app has just been released and it works on Android devices version 2.1 and above including tablets. The phone used in this photo below is the Samsung Galaxy sIII.

The opening page holds a couple of buttons. The green button takes the user to booking page when selected, and other buttons gives the user brief history of TaxiPark, Social Shares, and how to get in touch.

The booking process is quite straight forward in 3 simple steps, and you can experience it yourself by downloading the app on Google Play.

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Samsung Introduces Galaxy 8.0 Tab To The Nigerian Market

Samsung Nigeria, on Thursday, 28th of March, 2013 at Westown Hotel in Ikeja, introduced the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. The tablet is a compact device offering convenient, multi-tasking capabilities; it comes with the sophisticated S Pen features for the busy, modern and creative person.

According to Brovo Kim, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West AFrica (SEWA), “The Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet has the power and advanced technology to evolve the tablet experience and ensure consumers achieve efficient multi-tasking. Using an intelligent S Pen, you can now enjoy the ease of a traditional pen and paper with the latest in Samsung notebook technological innovation, creating a sophisticated mobile experience that will enhance life on the go.”

Shedding more light on some of the device features, Head of Sales, Handheld Products at Samsung Electronics West Africa, Olumide Ojo, said the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is packed with features to engage, entertain and excite. “The Galaxy Note 8.0 supports users’ practical everyday needs. Reading Mode transforms the tablet 8.0 into an e-Book reader, providing optimal reading conditions to help ensure consumers can curl up and enjoy a good book.

“The Dual View’s split screen accommodates optimal operation of different apps, such as launching the S Note on the web browser screen and allowing content to be resized, dragged and dropped as required,”

Samsung also introduced HomeSync, a home hub solution that is a shared storage fit for a family and a new way of enjoying your HDTV through a familiar and smarter Android user experience. The HomeSync’s 1TB drive can synchronize multiple devices, support eight separate accounts to cover a whole family, allows each user to upload and download content from multiple devices and instantly share with other family members. Users can enjoy the full and familiar Android experience with HomeSync’s Jelly Bean media player and access to Play Store and all of their apps.

About Samsung

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, Samsung is transforming the world of televisions, smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, LTE systems, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. The company employs 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales of US$187.8 billion.

Samsung Galaxy S4 To Sell 10 Million Units In Its First Month

With devices ranging from low to high end, the Galaxy series has been milked by Samsung many times over. With the Samsung Galaxy S3 selling 10 million units in the first two months, Samsung is set to break its own record by expecting to sell 10 million of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the first month.

Samsung Galaxy S4 is the latest of the high end range of devices – the first set of users who began pre-ordering this week will receive theirs at the end of April.

A report by the Telegraph states that Carphone Warehouse, one of the stores taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S4, has increased the number of their staff to accommodate the influx of pre-orders. Could this be a sign that the Galaxy S4 will break their record as predicted?

One of the reasons that Samsung sells so many of its devices is that they are available on multiple carrier networks and several countries at the same time. The Galaxy S3 was first launched in South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria before its official release in the US and it appears the UK will get their hands on the Galaxy S4 before the US.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is sporting some improvements. For one, on the new Galaxy S4, a user will be able to hover finger over the screen to display additional preview information, a feature currently available on the Galaxy Note 2 when using the S Pen. There is also a feature that allows users pause videos just by looking away.

With it’s 5″ display, a 13MP camera and a software upgrade, the Galaxy S4 has consumers all over the world drooling.

The interest in Samsung Galaxy range of high end devices can easily be noticed on the streets as in Nigeria, you will find more people carrying a Samsung Galaxy device than an iPhone.

How much will it cost to be one of the first people to own the Samsung Galaxy S4 when it starts shipping on the 26 of April? The pre-order opened in UK last week and from a price comparison done by AT&T, the US is also set to start taking pre-orders from April 16. They are offering the GALAXY S4 at $249.99 on a two year contract.

According to The Next Web, those buying the phone SIM-free in the UK (you can use any SIM of your choice), will be paying about N150,000 (£629.95) for the 16GB version. This is a tad more expensive than the latest iPhone of the same capacity, when you consider that a new iPhone 5 16GB goes for about N118,000.

At the price it is being sold on pre-order in the UK and the US, one wonders how much it will be sold in Nigeria. We have reached out to Samsung here in Nigeria and will update you on the pre-order and release information as soon as they make it available to us.

Seedstars Lagos Opens Pre-Application For Nigerian Based Startups

Seedstars World comes to Lagos in collaboration with CcHub and OTEKBITS to give tech startups the push required for growth.  Pre-application is now open to residents of Nigeria, as a pitching event is scheduled to hold later in the month – April 26.

To pre-apply, simply register here or load this URL into your browser - http://goo.gl/0QVrL . Seedstars applicants must be prepared to talk about their products and services in public, so get your pitch ready if selected. Do note pre-application is open until Monday, April 8, after which 20 startups will be selected.

Applicants who apply for Seedstars World must agree to the criteria to apply:

  1. Your startup must have been launched within the last 2 years
  2. If your startup has received external funding, it can only be funding up to USD 0.5m
  3. You must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  4. You must be prepared to talk about your product and service in public
  5. Pitch and application documents must be in English or you must provide a translator
  6. The startup can be across any field; clean tech or consumer tech for example, but must be for profit
  7. It is completely up to the discretion of Seedstars World to pick startups to pitch in the regional startup pitching events.
  8. The winners will be chosen by a panel of judges picked by Seedstars World – their decisions are non-negotiable.
  9. The participant(s) must be aged 18 or over.

seedstars

Paga’s Latest Milestone, 500,000 Users And Counting

Paga, arguably the biggest transfer and payments service in Nigeria that allows users send and receive cash, pay bills, merchants and buy airtime online, on mobile or from Paga agent, has just crossed the 500,000 users mark, and the excited Founder & CEO, Tayo Oviosu, made the announcement on his Facebook wall, and then twitter.

How much did the Customers Promo contribute to this new figure, and is Paga finally getting grasp at a real market. Funding is no problem for the tech startup, as it did get a big in-flow of cash to expand its service offering nation wide, July 2012.

Whatever the case may be, this new success takes Paga a step further in terms of providing online – especially mobile payment solutions to Nigerians.