Risk Trading Engine, mTransfers & Social Lender Win $165,000 VentureClash 2018 Grant

Three technology startups – Risk Trading Engine, mTransfers and Social Lender have secured a $165,000 grant at the inaugural pitching event themed VentureClash 2018 organised by Connecticut Innovations, USA, in Lagos.

The startups: Risk Trading Engine, founded by Alexandre Aquereburu; mTransfers, by Segun Adeyemi and Maxwell Obi and Social Lender, by Faith Adesomowo and Mudiaga Ogboru have also got an opportunity to pitch for more investments at a larger event in Connecticut, USA later in the year.

Connecticut Innovations is a strategic investing arm for innovative growing companies.

12 Nigerian startups pitched in the competition before the emergence of the three.

The programme tagged: ‘VentureClash 2018’, began in March [2018] with the first round of applications. It will be concluded at a finalist pitch competition scheduled for October 18, in the USA.

VentureClash is Connecticut’s global ventures’ challenge for early-stage companies. It involves players in digital health, financial technology (fintech), the Internet of Things (IoT), and insurance technology (insurtech).

The Chief Executive Officer, etouches, Oni Chukwu, said the first-place winner would receive an investment award of $1.5 million. The remaining pool will be awarded to other finalists based on judges’ input. He added that winners would also receive mentoring and other assistance.

VentureClash is supported by Connecticut through its $5 million Global Venture Challenge for early-stage companies.

Chukwu, a tech investor with interest in startups, facilitated the programme in Nigeria.

Other competing startups at the VentureClash event were Solynta Mobile, Sattrak Services Limited, Kangpe Inc, Advancio Interactive, Beeptool Comm. & Integrated Services Limited.

Also included were Virtual Farm, SBSC, eMed Diaries, Peach Water Consulting, and FINT.

FUTMINNA Researchers Develop Prototypes Of SIMless Multiple Operator & Mobile Communications-enabled Walking Stick

Some researchers at the Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMINNA), Niger state have developed prototypes of SIMless multiple operator and mobile communications-enable walking stick.

The two innovations which were funded by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are expected to solve problem of drop calls associated with bad quality network among the telecom operating companies in the country, and could reduce domestic accidents among the aged people who often live alone, according to the researchers.

The lead researcher, Professor Abiodun Musa Abinu, a mechatronics engineer said the SIMless data and voice connection over multiple operator-enabled SIM card will enable Nigerians to have just one SIM card that can automatically have access to all the telecom operators’ networks.

In his words:

“We are talking about you having one SIM card for all networks or having one mobile phone with one SIM card for all networks we are talking about applying this thing to all available network.

We are talking about disrupting the eco-system in the telecommunication industry in the sense that with just one SIM card you can access the available network without porting or buying multiple SIMS.

People carry a lot of phones or SIMs as a result of quality of service and you are not certain of the network strength of an area. So using basic engineering and the technology behind Mobile phone we infused in it artificial intelligence system to be able to take intelligent decision on behalf of the user to switch from the network with poor quality of service to another with better quality service what this means is that subscribers are now the king and can enjoy quality of service even without having more than one phone and the product will soon hit the market.’’

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garuba Danbatta said the SIMless card innovation by the researchers at FUTMINNA is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

Professor Danbatta who was represented by the NCC’s Executive Commissioner Technical Services, Engineer Ubale Maska said the commission was pleased with the results shown by the researchers because it showed:

“[That] they have been able to accomplish every single thing with the grants given by the NCC.

They are visionary enough to look beyond what we expect them to do, and they are determined to take it to the next level.

You notice today there are phones that have multiple SIM cards you have to consciously choose the SIM you want but their project on super SIM card can automatically select the SIM with the available network based on pre-determined instructions so it is very relevant.

The industry is very dynamic and this certainly looks at the future of a device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

The fund is about 4 million. We had hoped they would do it within a year so that they will get more but it has taken the last three years but we are happy because normally work like this is usually on-going all the time.

We will encourage them to get investors who will continue to explore their possibility; it is something that is keeping to the mandate of the commission, the eight point agenda of the current leadership.”

Beat Drone Wins Techfest 2018 Prize

Beat Drone, a startup that provides drone services for farmers has emerged winner at the Techfest 2018, which held in Lagos from 15 to 16 May 2018.

Beat Drone, one of the featured startups under Passion Incubator, won the 5 million cash prize and 5 million in technical supports from the sponsors of the event. The sponsors include Diamond Bank, Interswitch, Visa, Microsoft, NIBSS, Deloitte, MTN Nigeria and Beat FM.

The Battle of the Hub was the climax of the two days event. Five technology hubs covering the geographical regions of Nigeria participated.

The hubs include Ventures Platform, an Abuja-based pan-African early stage fund and accelerator that actively finds, funds and supports innovative companies solving real problems in Africa. Wennovation Hub from Ibadan is a pioneer innovation accelerator that operates from its offices in Lagos and Ibadan. Colab, another participating hub, is based in Kaduna and offers a collaborative community for startups, innovators, creatives and entrepreneurs. Passion Incubator, a technology incubator and accelerator that supports and invests in startups in Nigeria.

Enugu-based Roar Nigeria, a university-focused tech startup incubator established by the management of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) to bolster innovation amongst students and non-students in the university, makes up the list of five hubs.

The featured startups include Afrimash (Enugu), Pronov (Enugu); GeroCare (Abuja), Thrive Agric (Abuja); Peepscreen (Enugu), TrillzApp (Enugu); SchoolMo (Kaduna), Payant (Kaduna); and Riby (Lagos), Beat Drone (Lagos).

Odionye Confidence, co-founder of Beat Drone told the judges during his pitch, that the prize money will be utilised by the company in purchasing new drone equipments and expanding its services to other parts of the country.

Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Diamond Bank said the vision of Techfest is to drive technology education to people who are yet to embrace it for lack of understanding of how innovations work.

Taofeek Olalekan Afeez & Alayande Abdulwaheed Abiola Win 2018 Microsoft Imagine Cup [National]

Taofeek Olalekan Afeez and Alayande Abdulwaheed Abiola, of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) have emerged winners of the 2018 Microsoft Imagine Cup National Finals in Nigeria.

The two undergraduates of Physics Electronics and Electrical Electronics who jointly formed TEAM TREP had presented a solution called Real Drip – a device that reduces the risk of blood clot or deep vein thrombosis. The non-invasive device monitors the flow of intravenous fluid during IV treatment and notifies medical staff in real time. The device monitors the rate at which intravenous fluid drops (flow rate) and notifies the medical staff on duty in real time, for the timely removal of intravenous needle to prevent back flow of blood, which may lead to pulmonary embolism if necessary action is not taken on time.

With this development, the team proceeds to the second round of the competition and if successful, they will join other students for global finals taking place in Redmond, Seattle in July [2018]. The competition is regarded as one of the biggest software competition for undergraduates in the world.

Now in its 16th year, Microsoft Imagine Cup, aims to give young developers the opportunity to acquire new and critical technical, business and team-building skills all while having fun along the way. However, the competition is segmented into three rounds, the National Finals which is round one, regional finals, round two and the World finals, round three (with a $100,000 cash prize).

Speaking on this development, Mr. Akin Banuso, General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria stated:

“Today’s students are the makers and doers that will build and change the world, as we know it. At Microsoft, we believe this new generation of innovators have the potential to address some of humanity’s most pressing problems; from how to predict and monitor diseases like Alzheimer’s and depression, to identifying ‘fake news’ or increasing response times during natural disasters.

Through Imagine Cup, the world’s young, aspiring entrepreneurs and developers collaborate to build a technology application, create a business plan and gain a keen understanding of what is needed to bring a concept to market. In a cloud-first, mobile-first world, creators and makers must work together to create a cloud for global good.”

Taofeek Olalekan Afeez, The Team Head for Team TREP, who was full of excitement said:

“We are excited about this win. We would like to thank Microsoft for this opportunity. We look forward to competing at the global stage and do our country proud.”

Also speaking, Mr. Damola Solanke, Principal Azure Apps & Infrastructure Lead, Microsoft Nigeria and Chief Judge of the competition said the winning idea was assessed based on four key areas – Technology, Innovation, Concept and Feasibility.

Mr. Damola Solanke said:

“We would like to commend TEAM TREP for satisfying the requirements of the competition. Their idea was well articulated and we look forward to seeing more homegrown solutions to our pressing needs as a country.”

The National entries for the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition opened in February 2018, and is available in 29 countries across the world including Nigeria. Participants create or join a team of up to three eligible students. Together, they make an original technology project from start to finish. The process involves coming up with a great idea, putting together a plan, building a project and submitting it.

Organized by Microsoft subsidiaries in-country, the National Finals select the best teams from each participating country as they pitch and demo their ideas to experts to vie for a coveted spot at the Imagine Cup World Finals.

Elah Ajene & Prosper Okarike Win DStv Eutelsat Star Awards 2017

MultiChoice Nigeria has named Elah Ajene of Nigeria Tulip International College, Abuja, and Prosper Okarike of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, as in-country winners of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition for 2017.

Elah Ajene emerged winner in the essay category, while Prosper Okarike emerged winner in the poster category. The awards are part of efforts by MultiChoice to promote science and technology education in Nigeria. The winners were announced after a two-day adjudication process.

The Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, said the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards are designed to identify and create awareness on satellite technology and its applications within the society. And that the award is meant to inspire innovative thinking among secondary school students in Africa to create awareness on how science and technology can be applied to everyday life and to showcase the many ways that satellites already impact on the development of the African continent.

In his words:

“MultiChoice, by this award, is encouraging the young ones to challenge themselves and come up with ideas and innovation that will eventually propel our country to desired greatness.”

Dr. Aderonke Bello, CEO Innovative Technology Literacy Services Limited (ITLSL) and lead judge for the 2017 DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, stated that there were many quality entries, but the ones that made it to the top were those that satisfied all the specified criteria, which were understanding and demonstration of satellite technology and its application to everyday life, coherence in the manner of presentation and flow.

The annual awards, which received a total of 213 entries, including 187 essays and 26 posters this year, takes the form of a competition open to students between the ages of 14-19 years old.

The award was established in 2011 by MultiChoice Africa in collaboration with Eutelsat, leading satellite operator for broadcasting, broadband, and data services.