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Starlink is now available in Malawi.
The service launched in the country on Wednesday, about a week after it launched in Kenya. Malawi becomes the sixth African country to receive the satellite internet service after Nigeria, Mauritius, Rwanda, Mozambique and Kenya. The service is set to launch in 17 more African countries in 2023, including Zambia and Angola.
How Israel Oloruntoba thinking about products
Israel Ayo Oloruntoba is a product design manager at TradeAlly. With about four years of design experience, he has helped businesses and organisations solve problems, leading to customer retention, growth, and revenue increase. Israel possesses extensive experience in working on multiple products ranging from custom startup solutions to simple and complex enterprise software.
Image source: Israel Oloruntoba
Explain your job to a five-year-old.
The toys you play with, I design them. It’s my job as a product designer to ensure that you, first, have the right kind of toy. Creating toys that just make you happy when you use them is what I do.
And is product design something you stumbled on? Or is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
For my adult years, it’s definitely something that I wanted to do. I started first as a graphic designer and I also was interested in product management and engineering; I even learnt to code at some point. So I looked for something that was in between
Product design was what made most sense. I’m also very interested in building products that people will actually use and enjoy. So it’s a little bit of both.
I wouldn’t say my life’s dream was to be a product designer. But, it’s something that I stumbled upon and something I was also very interested in basically.
What’s one thing you think any aspiring product designer should know?
That product design is not just about pixels, it’s not just about shiny things. It’s about the thinking. It’s about really understanding how products works.
It’s not just going on Figma and putting squares, circles and text together. Understanding how people use things, understanding people’s mental modes for the basic things that they use, that’s product design. It’s seeing beyond the shiny interfaces and shiny looks of products generally.
You’ve had freelance and salaried employment. Which do you prefer? And why?
For me, I prefer salaried. I’m not the biggest planner, but when it comes to things within my sphere of control, I don’t mind having them within my sphere of control.
And I think the non-predictability that comes with freelance requires meticulous planning. I personally paid employment, especially in a startup, not in a company. Because in a startup, you get to do a lot of exciting stuff all the time. In bigger companies, it’s very easy to be very obscure, and just faff around and not do anything.
Can one become a product designer with Canva alone? Or are tools like Illustrator and Figma critical?
That’s actually a very interesting question. I think you can, especially with the new AI tool that Canva has.
If we go back to what I said about what product designers need to understand, which is the product thinking itself, and how people use products, I think it’s less of the tool that you use, and more of the thinking behind what you’re creating that determines how good you are as a product designer.
It’s less of the tool and more of the thinking.
Speaking of AI, what do you think about the rush for AI? Is it legit? Or will it die down as Web3 did?
I think there are two sides to it.
There’s the business side and there’s the product side, which is the everyday use. I think that AI is not just unlike Web3 because everyday people use it. Web3 is very specific to people that just have an interest in it. AI is something that goes into everyday life. And a lot of people in the world have access to it so I think it’s something that is here to stay for a very long time.
Final question. What’s something you’re insanely proud of?
I designed Termii to be what it is right now. ☺️
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Airtel Africa loses $151 million in Q1 2023
Image source: Airtel
Airtel Africa has reported a loss after tax in its Q1—April 1 to June 30, 2023 results.
The telecom reported a loss after tax of $151 million, compared to a profit after tax of $178 million during the same period in 2022 due to the currency devaluation in Nigeria.
Growth in revenue but a currency exchange loss: The telco’s financial statement reported that its mobile services revenue grew by 19.1% in constant currency, driven by voice revenue growth of 11.9% and data revenue growth of 29.8%.
Mobile money revenue grew by 31.2% in constant currency. Similarly, its total customer base grew by 8.8% to 143.1 million, as the penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving a 22.0% increase in data customers to 56.8 million and a 24.3% increase in mobile money customers to 34.3 million.
The telco’s revenue also grew by 9.6% to $1.37 billion in Q1 2023, compared to $1.25 billion in the same period in 2022.
Comments on financial performance: Airtel Africa’s CEO, Olusegun Ogunsanya, stated that the group delivered a strong operating performance with improvement in both constant currency revenue growth and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) margin despite the challenging macro environment. The telco saw an improvement in voice, data, and mobile money but its results were impacted by foreign exchange “headwinds”.
Zoom out: Despite the foreign exchange devaluation, the company will continue to have positive outlooks for Airtel in Nigeria and sees it as the most significant market for the company.
Hackers launch cyberattack on digital services in Kenya
Image source: Google
Kenya is getting hacked.
Yesterday, a pro-Russian hacktivist group called Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for a series of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks on websites of Kenyan media, hospitals, universities, and businesses, including Safaricom.
Sidebar: DDoS attacks are cyberattacks where the attacker overwhelms a website, online service, or connected device with excessive internet traffic, making it impossible for regular users to access the targeted platform.
A series of attacks: Media websites including The Standard Group, and Kenya News Agency were attacked. On Monday, 10 university websites, including the University of Nairobi, experienced attacks while on Tuesday, the focus shifted to seven hospitals and Kenya’s transport agency’s website.
Additionally, the eCitizen platform—a platform that provides Kenyans with access to a wide range of government services online—also faced an attack. The Kenyan government is now granting visas on arrival to travellers due to the current unavailability of the eCitizen online application portal, but Eliud Owalo, the cabinet secretary overseeing the ministry of information, communication, and the digital economy, assured that no data was compromised or lost during the incident.
Furthermore, Safaricom’s M-Pesa service and Kenya Power, the national utility company were also targeted.
Why the attack? Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has been experiencing internal conflict between its military factions, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and there have been disputes and power struggles within the Sudanese government.
The group attacked Kenya because the country “released statements doubting the sovereignty of [the Sudanese] government.” Additionally, the Sudanese government rejected the appointment of Kenya’s president, William Ruto, as leader of a mediation group, accusing Kenya of lacking neutrality in the Sudanese conflict.
A report on Twitter shows the group is demanding an official apology from the Kenyan government or a ransom payment of $200,000 worth of Bitcoin to cease their attacks.
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This week, Kenyan agritech company Farm Works raised $4.1 million in pre-series A funding. The round was led by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund, other participating investors included Livelihood Impact Fund, Vested World, a number of family offices, and angel investors.
Here are the other deals this week:
- Clafiya, a Nigerian health-tech company, secured $610,000 in pre-seed funding from Norrsken Accelerator, Acquired Wisdom Fund (AWF), Hustle Fund, Voltron Capital, Microtraction, Ajim Capital, and other investors.
- Kenyan health-tech company, Zuri Health, raised an undisclosed funding round from Five35 Ventures.
That’s it for this week!
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements. You can also visit DealFlow, our real-time funding tracker.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 21:50 PM WAT, July 27, 2023.
TC Live: The State of Tech in Africa, Q2 2023
Join us on Friday, August 4, 2023, for a special edition of TC Live, as TechCabal Insights will be launching The State of Tech report, the Q2 2023 edition. This is our flagship report offering a bird’s eye view of African tech trends and analyzing quarterly data on funding, acquisitions, expansions, regulations, policies, and emerging developments in the continent’s digital economy.
The latest edition will explore happenings during the previous quarter in retrospect with actionable insights and expert perspectives on notable patterns and trends to look out for. At the launch event, we would also bring together various ecosystem stakeholders to discuss our exciting findings and highlight from the report with you towards shaping conversations about the general outlook of African tech.
Register to reserve your seat here.
- The AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards 2023 ($5,000 prize) is now open to applications from reporters doing work for independent news organisations around the world, with articles readily accessible to the public by subscription, newsstand sales or online access, with the submitted work available in English are eligible to Apply by August 1.
- If you are a young (no older than 24 years of age) and emerging photographer looking to embark on a career in the world of photojournalism, the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant 2023 (up to £10,000) is open for Applications. Apply by August 31.
- Applications are open for the L’Oreal-UNESCO Young Talents for Women in Science Program – Maghreb 2023. Awarded doctoral and post-doctoral candidates will each receive an endowment of €10,000. Apply by July 30.
- Are you a startup founder looking to build your company? The ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator program is open for applications. Each company receives up to $120,000 in funding, and access to the worldwide network of investors, hands-on mentorship, and over $4M of perks. Join the 7,000+ founders who built their businesses with Techstars. Apply by August 9.
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