COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in SA with 2,000 volunteers
in partnership



Hello there,

Welcome to today’s edition of TC Daily! In today’s digest: Andela becomes a completely remote company, sells off office assets and COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in South Africa.

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Andela is now fully remote.

According to an Exclusive from WeeTracker, the company says “we have moved out of our physical leased offices in all locations and all Engineers and
Enterprise Staff are working from home.” Assets that were no longer needed have been sold off to employees or third-party companies.

Last month,

Andela laid off 10%

of its staff over COVID-19 uncertainties. It was the third round of layoffs in the last 9months at the company. In addition to a
$5 million sum it expected to save from the layoffs, the company also cut
costs from travel, compensations, softwares and others to save an additional $25 million.

September last year saw the company lay off junior developers citing that it had more junior developers on the bench than the market needed and shifted focus to seeking senior talent to meet the demands of its target market.

In addition to a completely remote team working from across all of its locations, Andela is opening its doors to top engineers from around Africa and beyond who aren’t full-time employees.


Nigerian venture capital firm, Ingressive Capital, has closed a US$10 million funding round after welcoming new limited partners including the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), a sovereign wealth fund established by Nigerian law in 2011.

Following the close, the venture firm’s ticket sizes now range from US$200,000 to US$400,000 for a 10% equity stake.

In spite of the lockdowns, the firm has been able to continue closing deals remotely and are partial to tech-enabled businesses solving issues across a number of sectors from agriculture to financial service.

Founder and CEO, Maya Horgan Famodu

speaks with TechCabal

about the raise, Ingressive’s investment thesis and the fate of the VC space in the COVID-19 pandemic.


In South Africa, the University of the Witwatersrand

in partnership with the University of Oxford has begun what is said to be the continent’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial. The pilot will involve 2,000 people, including 50 who have HIV, according to AlJazeera. Volunteers will be administered the Ox1Cov-19 vaccine developed by the
University of Oxford to test for its efficacy and safety. Depending on the outcomes of the trials, the vaccine is still not expected to be made public until mid next year.

According to the Africa Center for Disease Control, drug testings are also ongoing in Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia and Tunisia mostly for therapeutics. Drugs like the popular anti-malarial, Chloroquine are being tested. Herbal cures from Madagascar, referred to as COVID Organics have sparked arguments and disapproval from a lot of quarters. With clinical trials yet to ascertain the efficacy and safety of the purported cure, countries like Nigeria have received a batch of the medication with the government saying testing will be conducted before any approvals for public use.

Our guest on this week’s

My Life in Tech, Abimbola Adebakin,

shares some
insights around drug manufacture, clinical trials, and how tech-enabled solutions are improving how last-mile users access medication among others.


Applications are open till August 15

for the 3-month MINT Incubator programme run by EGBank and Cairo Angels to help startups grow and become investment-ready.


One week after it launched in Brazil,

Facebook’s WhatsApp Pay has been suspended

by the country’s central bank over regulatory issues. The apex bank said the decision was to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in the mobile payments space and to ensure “functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap.” Similar regulatory challenges has also stalled the roll out of the feature in India in the past two years. WhatsApp’s payment partners in the country, MasterCard and Visa have also been instructed to cease money transfers via the app or face fines and sanctions.

The payment feature is an add-on to the WhatsApp for Business which is very popular in India and
Brazil, the two countries where a bulk of their users are.

That’s all for today,

We’ll be back tomorrow.
– Kay

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