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If your Google account has been inactive for two years, it will be deleted next Friday.
Starting December 1, Google will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years or more—or since 2021. This includes the content of the account from emails to photos and calendar appointments.
To save yourself, all you have to do is take your Google account as seriously as you do your New Year Resolution—sign in once a year and then pretend it doesn’t exist. 😉
Zazuu shuts down
On Saturday, London-based startup Zazuu told TechCabal that it had shut down its services just one year after raising $2 million.
Why? The startup, which is a marketplace for African remittance companies, said the shutdown was due to its inability to raise more funding.
Founded in 2018 by Kay Akinwunmi, Korede Fanilola, Tosin Ekolie, and Tola Alade, Zazuu has raised about $2.2 million since its founding—a $200,000 seed round in 2018, and a $2 million raise in 2022. The company attracted investors including VC firms like Founders Factory Africa and Launch Africa, as well as angel investors like irokoTV founder Jason Njoku and Kuda CEO Babs Ogundeyi.
During its run, Zazuu reportedly helped over 100,000 users find the best rates for sending money to Africa. With people paying as high as 22% in remittance fees, Zazuu’s service would have been attractive with the 1.5% which it offered.
Unfortunately, as CEO Akinwunmi told TechCabal, the company found it difficult to explain its business to customers and partners.️
The big picture: Well, the big picture here is that more African startups are falling victim to the funding drought on the continent. By Q3 2022, African startups had amassed a staggering $4 billion in funding, yet in Q3 2023, the figure has dwindled to a more modest $2.8 billion. This year, at least eight African startups have shut down and half of them—Lazerpay, WhereIsMyTransport, Hytch, Zumi—shut down due to a lack of funding.
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OpenAI’s board closes door on Sam Altman
If you can’t beat them, just delete them. Or at least that’s what the board of directors at OpenAI is doing to CEO Sam Altman.
On Friday, the parent company of ChatGPT announced the sudden departure of CEO Sam Altman after the board of directors decided he was not being “candid in his communications” and could not be trusted to move the company forward.
The board’s decision came a month after Altman announced a new feature that would allow users to build their own versions of ChatGPT—a service that is barely a year old, and achieved over 100 million active monthly users in its first quarter!
Everyone’s shocked: Taking a leaf from Nigeria’s ex-president, the public has expressed shock at the board’s seemingly irrational decision. Sources close to the story report that Altman only found out about the decision minutes before he was informed in a Google Meet call.
Image source: Zikoko Memes
Following the announcement, co-founder and president of OpenAI Greg Brockman, who was also removed as chairman of the board, also quit in solidarity with Altman. Several senior researchers at the company also followed suit.
Chief technology officer Mira Murati has been appointed interim CEO while the board searches for a permanent successor.
Investors were blindsided: It also appears that investors were as blindsided by the changes as Altman and Brockman. Microsoft reportedly learnt of the change one minute before the OpenAI announcement was made. Forbes also reports that other investors were shocked by the news.
CEO of Khosla Ventures Vinod Khosla took to Twitter to say, “To be clear, Khosla Ventures wants @sama [Sam Altman] back at @OpenAI but will back him in whatever he does next.”
CTRL + Z: The board may be trying to undo its damage as Altman and Brockman are now in talks to return to their positions. The reversal is partly due to investor intervention—with Microsoft and Thrive Capital at the helm, and threats to the value of the startup. While nothing is set in stone yet, Altman is reportedly setting conditions for his return: he wants some members of the board gone, and stronger control.
If he succeeds, the CEO will bring new meaning to what doesn’t kill a person makes them stronger…or had better start running. The big question that no one has answered yet is what brought on the board’s illogical and ill-timed decision. What does “candid in his communications” mean? And what does success look like to the board if what Altman is doing isn’t enough to “move the company forward”?
Ghana’s apex bank bans eight fintechs
The Central Bank of Ghana has barred eight money transfer organisations (MTOs) from operating in the country. The eight companies include Xoom, Wise, LemFi, Transfer Go, SendValu, Aza Finance, Boss Revolution and Supersonicz.
What’s happening? Per the apex bank, these fintechs don’t have the regulatory approval to operate in Ghana. The bank has also warned all financial institutions in the country to stop dealing with these fintechs.
“Approved MTOs are hereby reminded to terminate their foreign exchange flows through their partner institutions only and to adhere strictly to all guidelines in respect of their operations,” the notice from the apex bank read.
Ghana’s laws say companies can’t trade foreign currency without a licence. If caught doing so under Section 29.1, the companies could face a fine of up to seven hundred penalty units or be in jail for up to eighteen months, or even both.
Nigerian state to build 250 smart schools in 14 months
GIF source: Tenor
Enugu, a south-eastern state in Nigeria has announced plans to build 250 smart schools over the next 14 months.
The plan was revealed by state governor Peter Mbah last Saturday at the convocation ceremony of the University of Technology, Esut. The governor noted that the schools will be built across 260 wards in the state to allow students in the remote parts of the state access to quality education.
What makes a school “smart”? Solar panels, internet access and modern ICT centres, according to Governor Mbah.
Every smart school is also set to feature a robotics and artificial intelligence centre, alongside two fully equipped laboratories for both primary and junior secondary levels. Additionally, there will be a creative production studio in each school, 25 inclusive classrooms furnished with interactive digital whiteboards, and Android tablets for student utilisation.
Governor Mbah also revealed that instructors spearheading the model smart schools in Enugu State are presently undergoing training conducted by international experts.”
Zoom out: Per Nairametrics, at least one of the schools have already been constructed and a contract for nine more has been signed. The governor said that 30% of the state’s 2024 budget had been marked for education as the growth of the sector could boost Enugu’s GDP from $4.4 billion to $30 billion by 2032.
Attend the Tek Experts Webinar
Tek Experts, a leading global provider of technical talent solutions through its cybersecurity brand, is set to hold a webinar themed “Ensuring Cybersecurity Resilience in Financial Services Companies in Nigeria”, to address cybersecurity challenges in the industry,
Date: Wednesday, 22nd November, 2023 at 12:30 WAT. To register for free, please click here.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 10:10 AM WAT, November 19, 2023.
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There’s a crypto surge happening—-with bitcoin at its highest since May 2022—and it’s all thanks to the US’ bitcoin ETF update. The US is reportedly close to approving a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Last week, leaked U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chats revealed that the agency is negotiating with crypto exchanges on ETF applications. A bitcoin ETF is a financial product that tracks the price of Bitcoin. It allows investors to gain exposure to bitcoin without owning the actual cryptocurrency, making it easier for everyday people to invest in bitcoin through traditional brokerage accounts.
For the everyday person, a bitcoin ETF offers a more familiar and regulated way to invest in bitcoin compared to directly buying and holding the cryptocurrency. It can provide potential benefits like easier access, liquidity, and the ability to invest through existing brokerage platforms, making it more accessible and convenient for those interested in bitcoin but not comfortable navigating cryptocurrency exchanges.
There’s general excitement for the US to approve bitcoin ETF which will see more investors use crypto. So far, only four countries—Brazil, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands—have approved ETFs.
The FBI has arrested three men for duping US banks of $10 million and trying to convert the stolen funds to crypto. CoinDesk reports that Zhong Shi Gao, Naifeng Xu and Fei Jiang allegedly stole millions of dollars from nearly a dozen financial institutions throughout the New York metropolitan area between 2018 and 2022, and then tried to make money off the stolen funds by converting it to crypto.
What else is happening in tech?
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