Andela, the company building
distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software developers, today
announced the completion of a $100M Series D funding. The round was led by
Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors
including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, and CRE Venture
Capital. The most recent financing brings Andela’s total venture funding to
Andela was founded in 2014 to connect Africa’s
engineering talent with the demand for software developers worldwide. In four
years, Andela has assessed more than one hundred thousand applicants, hired one
thousand software developers, and integrated them into hundreds of companies,
such as Safaricom, Percolate, and InVision.
With the Series D funding, Andela will accelerate the
development of its technology platform to identify, develop and match talent at
scale. By doing so, Andela will provide its customers with the data they need
to understand developer performance and better manage distributed teams. The
company will also expand its presence across Africa to meet the global demand
for high-quality engineering talent.
“It’s increasingly clear that the future of work will
be distributed, in part due to the severe shortage of engineering talent,” says
Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Andela. “Given our access to incredible
talent across Africa, as well as what we’ve learned from scaling hundreds of
engineering teams around the world, Andela is able to provide the talent and
the technology to power high-performing teams and help companies adopt the
distributed model faster.”
“Andela has been a critical player in Nigeria’s
technology revolution,” says Omowale David-Ashiru, Country Director at Andela.
“Due to our unwavering commitment to our mission throughout the last four
years, Andela has grown into a thriving platform for hundreds of technologists
in Nigeria. With this investment, Andela will accelerate the development of
Africa’s best tech talent in Nigeria and beyond.”
investment in Andela resulted from our deep research into the future of work.
We believe Andela is a transformational model to develop software engineers and
deploy them at scale into the future enterprise,” says Lilly Wollman, Co-Head
of Growth Equity at Generation Investment Management. “The global demand for
software engineers far exceeds supply, and that gap is projected to widen.
Andela’s leading technology enables firms to effectively build and manage
distributed engineering teams. We are great admirers of the outstanding team,
mission and culture Andela has built across two continents and five countries.”
With tech campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and
Rwanda, Andela has been recognized as “The Best Place to Work in Africa.” In
2018, The Wall Street Journal named Andela as one of the twenty-five technology
company to watch, and the year prior, Fast Company ranked Andela as the most
innovative company in Africa. In 2019, Andela is projected to double in size,
hiring another one thousand software developers and investing heavily in data,
engineering, and product development.
It is a known fact that a person who is fit, is capable of living life to its fullest extent. Physical and mental fitness play very important roles in our lives and people who are both, physically and mentally fit are less prone to medical conditions. If a person is physically fit, but mentally unwell or troubled, he or she will not be able to function optimally. Mental fitness can only be achieved if your body is functioning well. You can help relax your own mind and eliminate stress by exercising regularly and eating right.
TECNO Mobile, Africa’s leading smartphone brand in its quest to promote healthy lifestyles, community development and encourage wellness and fitness, recently powered the 2nd edition of the Festac Fitness and Walk. The Lagos state supported yearly event which is put together by residents and organisations within the Festac metropolis was this year led by celebrity fitness instructor and ex Big Brother Nigeria contestant, Kemen.
The event which featured a 10km walk kicked off at the FHA field in Festac with stretching exercises to loosen up the muscles and get participants pumped up for the walk. Accompanied by music, the crowd which was made up of residents, security personnel, red cross officials and fitness enthusiasts made its way through the streets of Festac to the finish line at the Festival Mall in a carnival like procession singing, dancing and taking pictures.
At the finish point, the participants were welcomed by Tboy, the official mascot of mobile brand TECNO and led to the blue carpet where they took pictures and caught their breath before they were taken through another round of exercise routines which involved stretching, dancing, squats and planks.
In his advice to them, Kemen highlighted the importance of staying physically and mentally fit. in his words ‘People who are physically fit tend to also be healthier, are able to maintain their most optimum weight, and are also not prone to cardiac and other health problems. A person who is fit both physically and mentally is strong enough to face the ups and downs of life, and is not affected by drastic changes if they take place.’
Reiterating Kemen’s advice, Richard Ugo, brand representative of TECNO mobile encouraged participants to take their health seriously, to him ‘becoming physically fit requires a change in life style as well. You will have to incorporate a regular exercise routine in your life and also eat healthier. By avoiding junk foods, fizzy drinks, bad habits like smoking and alcohol and by getting adequate amount of rest, you will be able to become physically and mentally fit’.
It was not all exercise and fitness talk, as there were free medical check-ups and many participants at the event won gifts such as phones, gift bags and many more by taking part in the #TECNOXFFW challenge which required them to upload to social media as many images as they could of themselves participating in the walk and other exercises. Also the winners of the endurance exercise led by Kemen won gifts from TECNO mobile.
The children were not left out of the fun as they were encouraged to join TBOY in various dance and exercise routines to boost their energy levels and win gifts.
According to the organisers, the next edition of the Festac Fitness and Walk will feature more activities and wider participation by residents of Festac and its environs.
The August edition of the monthly event known as The Boardroom is here.
The Boardroom is a business masterclass for growing businesses using practical, experiential sessions with proven experts. Every month, 20 businesses are selected to attend from a pool of applications.
Union Bank unveiled a plethora of digital banking solutions at an interactive media event on Wednesday 26th July, 2017 at the Heritage Place, Ikoyi, Lagos. The solutions include a new version of its mobile banking app, UnionMobile, and *826#, a unique USSD code which will allow customers perform banking transactions through short code messaging on their mobile phones.
The Bank also revealed its upgraded online banking platform, UnionOnline, with aesthetic improvements, new features and targeted offers for its customer segments. With *826#, Union Bank joins a growing financial industry trend which hopes to extend banking services to less tech savvy customers, and customers who want to avoid internet banking which requires data, as well as the financially excluded.
Speaking at the launch event, Emeka Emuwa, Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, spoke effusively about the Bank’s new banking solutions and its commitment to delivering on its brand proposition.
“Simpler, Smarter banking is not just a tagline for us. We have worked tirelessly for nearly two years to deliver the solutions we are presenting today because we invested time and resources to understand what our customers really need and how we can deliver the right solutions to meet those needs.
This investment in understanding our customers’ needs has led to the innovations and first-to-market features we are unveiling today. Our new platforms marry simplicity, functionality and aesthetics to deliver a seamless and improved user experience for our customers” Emuwa said.
Industry First “Agent Locator” Feature
Borrowing from the UBER innovation concept, Union Bank has introduced a ‘Locate An Agent’ feature on its banking app, designed to bring its mobile banking services directly to its customers.
Using the mobile app, customers can locate the Union Bank Direct Sales Agent (DSA) closest to them and request cash collection for deposit or withdrawals. Agents can also open accounts and assist customers with other banking services at a location convenient for them.
According to Union Bank’s Head of Retail Banking, Carlos Wanderley, this new feature is designed especially to support small businesses.
“The ‘Locate an Agent’ feature was developed to provide a much-desired convenience for small businesses and sole entrepreneurs. This is an on-demand service which allows them to conclude basic banking transactions at a time and location most convenient for them. It saves them time and provides one-on-one VIP service they would likely not get at the branches,” he said.
Single USSD code for mCash
Bucking the industry standard which relies on a shared USSD code for mCash merchant payments, Union Bank has become the first bank in Nigeria to enable its own unique USSD code for the mCash payment system.
This means that customers of the Bank can use the bank’s short code, 826, to make mCash payments at participating merchant locations, whereas other banks do not use their own codes but rely on a shared short code from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) which owns the mCash platform. mCash is a real-time mobile payment solution which relies on short code messaging for payments of goods and services.
Finding ATMs with Cash and Cardless Withdrawals
While the ATM Locator functionality is not a novel one, Union Bank has raised the bar by introducing innovation which will give customers real-time information on ATMs in service and dispensing cash.
Union Bank customers can also now make cardless withdrawals at ATMs by simply generating a code on the new banking app to use at ATMs.
Simpler, Smarter Banking
With the successful launch of this new digital platform, Union Bank can truly boast of a simpler and smarter 360-degree banking experience for customers across mobile, online and USSD platforms.
Union Bank will continue to focus on delivering customer-driven solutions that will add value and support business and personal ambitions.
In a soon-to-be on the stand interview by Rolling Stone, Nicki Minaj spoke about her album, relationship, career and her 15-minute movie ‘The Pinkprint’. She also speaks about her attention to detail in the editing of the video.
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Nicki spoke about pregnancy while studying at the prestigious Manhattan performing-arts high school that ended in abortion onThe Pinkprint.
Minaj’s first love was an older guy from Queens she dated while attending the prestigious Manhattan performing-arts high school LaGuardia. When she discovered she was pregnant, “I thought I was going to die,” she admits. “I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.” She ended up having an abortion, a decision she says has “haunted me all my life,” though it was the right choice for her at the time. “It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.” She first rapped about the experience on a mixtape track called “Autobiography” she says she “didn’t expect anyone to hear.” Now the world is listening to every word she says very carefully: “Millions of people are gonna hear it. And you gotta watch everything you say — people find an issue with every fucking thing.”
Did Kim Kardashian really #BreakTheInternet with these photos? Caroline Beaumont was the original model shot by the iconic photographer, Jean Paul Goude in 1985. Do you think Kim’s photos are classier than Caroline’s?
Five years into our relationship, I let my boyfriend sleep with another woman.
It wasn’t that monogamy wasn’t working. We were a committed, happy couple who enjoyed each other’s company, laughed at dumb stuff, and had great sex. But we were 27 and itching to do something crazy — something that would make the hurtle toward 30 feel less like a death march. A threesome seemed like a good place to start: exciting enough to test the boundaries of our sexual adventurousness, yet harmless enough in the long run if it went horribly wrong.
We weren’t the type to go up to women in bars, and the thought of asking one of our friends was just too weird. Later that summer, we met a young art student at a friend’s party. She was the free-spirit type, the kind who wrote poetry and talked about spirit animals without irony. She had short, light-brown hair and a come-hither smile. She touched my arm and asked if I’d be willing to edit her application for an art prize. I pulled my boyfriend into a corner. “This is it!” I whispered excitedly. We spent most of the night chatting with her, and asked for her number at the end, promising we’d continue our stimulating discussion on the pros and cons of palmistry over a drink the following week. As we were saying good-bye, she leaned in and kissed me on the mouth — a quick, chaste kiss not unlike one between two close girlfriends. But it did, I thought, betray some kind of unspoken desire.
We kept our word and invited her out for cocktails the following Friday night. I had spent most of the day curled up in a ball on the couch, refusing food or drink. Darryn had tried his best to soothe my nerves. “You know you don’t have to have sex with her if you don’t want to, right?” I did want to have sex with her, but I was also considerably freaked out. How would I know what to say, or do? I was relying strongly on alcohol to guide the way. We met her at a fancy bar by the water and made our way down the cocktail list until someone — probably me — suggested we go dancing. We jumped in a cab, got to the club, and, within 20 minutes, I was making out with her on the dance floor. I went to get another drink and when I came back, I found her making out with Darryn. After 20 more minutes of this, I yelled in her ear, “Do you want to come back to our place?” She smiled and said she’d always fantasized about sleeping with a couple. “Well,” I offered, swaying slightly, “now’s your chance!”
We spent the next four hours in a feverish tangle of sweaty limbs and crumpled bed sheets, passing out around dawn. When we woke up, Darryn made scrambled eggs and we sat cross-legged on our balcony, talking excitedly about the night before. I confessed to myself, and later to Darryn, that I’d found the sight of him going down on another woman sexy. I’d had little reason, up to this point, to doubt the conventional wisdom on monogamy — that it alone was the key to a happy, healthy relationship. Suddenly, that perspective seemed woefully misguided. What did it mean that I enjoyed watching my partner having sex with another woman? Why didn’t I feel jealous or insecure?
It was all we could talk about for the next few months. We delighted in our own prurience at every opportunity — over coffee, at the bus stop, at dinner. It felt like we’d been let in on a great big secret and we were laughing at the mere mortals who weren’t privy to its exhilarative power.
The plan was to keep seeing our art-student friend, but she went and got herself a boyfriend a few weeks later. Finding someone as free-spirited would be a challenge. One night, I jokingly suggested we hire a high-class escort. We laughed at this for a few weeks, but then started giving it serious consideration. The more we thought about it, the more appealing it sounded, both for practical reasons and for the added benefit of providing us with a pretty great story. We spent a week searching online for a reputable escort agency — the price per hour was a good indicator — and finally settled on a leggy brunette named Karen. There was no online booking form: You had to call up, leave your name, credit-card details, and hotel. I felt incredibly juvenile making the call. I was too nervous to even sit down, and I had to bite my arm several times, hard, to keep from laughing. We booked a fancy hotel in town and met Karen in the lobby the following night. We took her up to our room, me giggling like a total jerk the whole way because I’d ignored Darryn’s advice and drunk half a bottle of red wine to calm my nerves. She kindly broke the ice with a story about an animal-rights march she’d participated in recently, and, after confessing she didn’t much care for Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest collection of essays, she asked if she could give my boyfriend a blow job. I raised my glass in her honor. She left two-and-a-half hours later, with half our monthly salary.
A few weeks later, I went out of town for work. Darryn called me one night to tell me the art student had asked to hang out. “We can wait until you get home,” he said. I thought about it. “What if you and her were to hang out — alone?” I suggested. This took Darryn by surprise. I explained I was curious to see what would happen. I obviously enjoyed watching Darryn with other women, but would things feel different with me out of the room? We had been very adult about the whole thing so far. I was ready to take some risks.
It turns out the art student still had a boyfriend, so she wasn’t looking for anything more than a friendly drink. The fact that this news disappointed me was in itself a revelation. When I got home, Darryn and I decided to initiate an open-relationship trial run. How many people feel ashamed for even daring to think about the prospect of sleeping around? Here we were, excited by the prospect. The only “rules” we set were that we wouldn’t actively seek out people to sleep with, and that we would tell each everything.
A few months later, an old friend of mine from out of town came to visit. I’d always had a bit of a thing for him — Darryn knew about this and teased me endlessly about it — and, since he was single at the time, I thought why the hell not. I discreetly made my new circumstances known, and, a few nights later, we organized a plan to go to dinner. I skipped around the apartment like a nervous 15-year-old, trying on dresses and asking Darryn’s advice. “Nothing that screams, ‘Fuck me now,’” he cautioned. He’d organized to go out with some friends that night, so he wouldn’t have to be alone. I finally picked a light-blue dress — more girly than provocative — and kissed Darryn good-bye, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.
At dinner, even though I’d known this guy for years, I was suddenly self-conscious. Normally, I’d be confident and flirty, but now that sex was a certainty, I no longer knew how to behave. We talked about films, books, art, gun control — everything but the fact that we were going to have sex later. We didn’t even kiss until we’d each had a few cocktails. We finally jumped in a cab and made out all the way back to his place. I felt strange taking off my clothes: No one but Darryn had seen me naked in five years, if you don’t count the art student and the sex worker. Also, even though I knew I wasn’t cheating, a small part of me couldn’t let go of the idea that what I was still doing was wrong. But once things got going, I started to relax and enjoy the sensation of an unfamiliar body next to mine. (I asked him recently for his impressions of that night. He said our chemistry and the level of comfort we’d already established through our friendship served us well, and that he trusted me not to make any decisions I would regret.)
I got up early the next day and went home. I was proud of myself for going through with it, but also a little frightened. I had to speak to Darryn. We spent the rest of the day holed up in a diner across the road from our apartment. He didn’t want to hear too many details; he seemed satisfied with the knowledge that I’d enjoyed myself. We decided we could keep going as long as we were careful to immediately come clean about any feelings of doubt, or insecurity. We drank our milkshakes and went home.
A few weeks later, we both signed up for Tinder. We were honest about the open relationship in our profiles, and, a few weeks later, I was helping Darryn dress for his first date. (I vetoed his blazer and tie in favor of jeans and a T-shirt. He took the blazer anyway, and, according to him, the first thing his date did was compliment him on his “style.” Whatever, man.) I made him promise to text me every few hours. After he left I tried distracting myself as best I could, but I couldn’t sit still. I kept checking my phone. Finally, he texted to say it was going well. An hour later, he texted again: They were going back to her place. I panicked. “USE A CONDOM,” I texted back.
When he came home the next morning, I wanted to know everything: what she was like, what she said, how she’d acted. What they did. Knowing everything made me feel composed, as if I’d been in the room with them. I needed facts, not guesswork. But I wasn’t jealous; mostly just curious, and, if I’m being honest, a little turned on. We began going on a few dates a week, separately. I had pretty shitty luck: I rarely went on a second date with a guy, and almost never got to the point where I liked someone enough to want to sleep with them. (Guys on Tinder, right?) Darryn, on the other hand, was meeting cute, interesting women every week. While not all of his trysts ended in sex, the intimate details of other’s people’s lives made the experience totally worth it. Almost every woman Darryn met was interested in our experiment. Some even wanted to meet me. Since I wasn’t getting much action anyway, this eventually led to us supplementing our individual adventures with a steady run of threesomes. We also made a few close friends this way — last week, we hung out with a friend we met on Tinder, someone we’ve both slept with on separate occasions. Darryn had left his belt at her place and she’d remembered to bring it along. It was a surreal moment.
I do still occasionally get jealous, particular when women hint they want more from Darryn. One kept sending him poetry she’d written and asking for writing advice. Another asked for handwritten letters. As long as the interactions are purely sexual, it’s fine. But once they cross over into emotional or intellectual territory, I get uncomfortable. It’s like these women are trying to muscle in on my territory. The jealously, however, is not unwelcome. It reaffirms our feelings for each other. It also keeps our own personal sex life interesting: Watching other women fall over themselves for Darryn makes me hyperaware of my own attraction to him.
Ultimately, we look upon each new conquest as a shared triumph. There’s no competition between us. Some couples in open relationships give each other free rein but insist on not knowing of each other’s affairs. We work as a team. Our interest in this isn’t purely sexual — we like having the kinds of conversations and connections that are usually off-limits for people in relationships. While other couples at the coffee shop argue over whose turn it was to take the dog for a walk, we vet each other’s Tinder matches. When our friends ask us what we did on the weekend, we have to make up something less exciting than the truth. We’ve become better at communicating our feelings, both in general and to each other. Our experiences, together and individually, have helped build a rare trust between us that we could never have with anyone else.
We got married last year. The few friends we’ve confided in about our situation have asked if we could ever go back to monogamy. Sure. But why would we, when this is still so much fun? Besides, I’m not sure that I still believe that monogamy is the basis for a healthy, happy relationship. Darryn and I have met plenty of people who’ve confessed to all kinds of infidelities, friends and lovers alike. Some said they considered broaching the subject of sexual experimentation with their partner, but were scared that it would lead to a breakup. Others said they preferred to just get it out of their system and hoped they wouldn’t be discovered.
A few months ago, my first lover started dating someone. We went for a drink recently, and I asked him how it was going. He confessed he was hoping to convince her on the merits of an open relationship. She, not surprisingly, wasn’t keen. I warned him it’s not for everyone. “I know,” he said. And then we kissed.