Dr Nick Bradshaw, Co-founder of AI Expo Africa
Two members of Africa’s artificial intelligence (AI) community – data science competition platform Zindi and Ghana’s Runmila AI Institute – in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, have launched two initiatives seeking AI and data science solutions that will help in the fight against the viral disease.
As of 16 March there were about 169 387 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 6 500 reported deaths around the world.
In a bid to fight the virus, Zindi has launched a challenge sponsored by the Artificial Intelligence for Development-Africa Network (AI4D-Africa) which asks data scientists to build an epidemiological model that predicts the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world over the next few months. The platform says the solutions will be evaluated against future data.
Zindi points out that accurate modelling of the spread of viral diseases like COVID-19 is critical for policy makers and health workers to take appropriate actions to contain and mitigate the impact of these diseases.
The challenge, titled AI4D Predict the Global Spread of COVID-19, was launched on 13 March, with submissions set to close on 19 April. At the end of the challenge, participants with solutions that place first will receive a $2,500 prize, this while second and third placed data science practitioners will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively for their solutions.
On 21 March, Accra-based Runmila AI Institute will hold the Runmila AI4COVID-19 Hackathon and AI Research Fellowship Event at the University of Ghana.
The event aims to use AI and data science to combat COVID-19 in Ghana and Africa.
Runmila will host the event in collaboration with minoHealth AI Labs. In attendance will be Runmila AI Fellows and alumni, data scientists and AI engineers from minoHealth AI Labs and Gudra, virologists as well as bioinformaticians from the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and delegates from organisations that include German development agency GIZ, UN Global Pulse and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Dr Nick Bradshaw, Co-founder of AI Expo Africa, the largest AI business community in Africa stated, “With the announcement by the South African President on Sunday 15th March around measures to combat the growing COVID19 virus we want our community to play its part and leverage data science and artificial intelligence to help model the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These two platforms and associated challenges will contribute to the global body of knowledge to help combat COVID-19. We are all in this together and have to help people, families, businesses, front line workers, society and the world cope with this global issue – these two initiatives are a significant contribution from Africa”.
Young data scientists looking to participate in the event can apply to join the Runmila AI Fellowship programme by filling this form https://forms.gle/h26617RknRCjNGc66
Learn more about the Zindi’s AI4D Predict the Global Spread of COVID-19 challenge : https://zindi.africa/competitions/predict-the-global-spread-of-covid-19
North Ladder Secures $5 Million Series A Financing Round To Accelerate Global Expansion
North Ladder Team (Source: Siddharth Sudhakar)
North Ladder (previously called BuyBack Bazaar), a UAE based secured trading platform for pre-owned luxury assets and electronics, today announced a $5 million Series A funding round led by regional venture capital firm BECO Capital. The new investment will help the company scale up its technology platform, enhance customer experience and pursue further geographic expansion.
The homegrown start-up also revealed that it will begin operating under the new brand name North Ladder effective immediately, representing the company’s strategy of charting new markets and supporting individuals across the globe in their endeavour to elevate their financial situation. The disruptive and innovative technology platform is the first of its kind, providing access to verified buyers of second-hand goods and instant cash. North Ladder currently enables users to sell electronics such as phones, laptops, tablets, and smart watches, as well as luxury assets including watches and cars, with a unique option of buying it back within a few months.
The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for North Ladder which saw rapid growth of its clients, network of buyers and corporate partnerships. To date, the platform has witnessed over 15,000 transactions in the UAE, with over 85 different nationalities served while earning an impressive 4.9/5 customer satisfaction rating. In 2021, the start-up is looking to establish its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, with a focus on scaling the platform significantly in the next 18 to 24 months.
“North Ladder has demonstrated tremendous success with its unique model of helping customers access immediate funds against their assets. The provision of a seamless and trusted digital platform for the sale of pre-owned goods has immense socially transformative potential at a global scale. We are excited about partnering with them to take their services to the next level,” said Dany Farha, CEO & Managing Partner, BECO Capital.
The company recently appointed Sandeep Shetty, former Managing Director of the core ride hailing business at Careem, as Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of North Ladder. Prior to Careem he also led the digital transformation program at Emirates NBD and has held leadership positions at McKinsey & Company and GE Capital across India, the United States and the Middle East. Sandeep joins the leadership team of co-founders Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini who together bring years of prior global start-up, financial services, technology and operations experience.
“Our exciting partnership with the region’s leading investor BECO Capital gives us the opportunity to scale operations in the UAE and expand to other strategic markets, with the mission of meaningfully impacting people across all strata of society,” said Sandeep Shetty of North Ladder. “Our global auction brings professional buyers from around the world to compete and provide local customers with the best prices and no hidden surprises.”
Since its launch in 2018, North Ladder has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 innovative start-ups in the MENA region” by PayPal backed accelerator, Village Capital and awarded as an Innovator by Entrepreneur Middle East.
Gebeya Inc. Launches App to Accelerate Access to Job Opportunities and Skilled Talent on the Continent
Gebeya Inc. announced the launch of its new app: Gebeya Talent. With this, the Pan-African online talent marketplace will expand access to its network across the continent and around the globe. African talent seeking their next freelance work opportunity will now have access to these features:
- A quick and easy application process
- Save time with automatic matching with exciting projects inline with their skill sets
- No bidding; get paid at rates that represent their capabilities and experience level; get paid in multiple currencies
- Being part of an engaging, growing community with exclusive professional networking, events, free upskilling, and mentorship
- Showcase their best work via custom portfolio and profile
Prior to the release of the Gebeya Talent app, the process to apply to join our talent network was largely manual, requiring intensive human involvement. Now, leveraging improved processes and automation, the process has greatly improved. Throughout the year, additional features will be added to streamline and further optimize the process, and leverage the full power of artificial intelligence and automation. From application, to testing, from interview to onboarding, potential candidates can expect to enjoy a seamless experience.
“We strive to be THE most-referenced freelance African Talent company. Having fast, reliable, seamless digital tools at the heart of our marketplace is a MUST,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-founder of Gebeya. “Currently, the process for talents wanting to join our marketplace takes anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. “Our objective is that, with the Gebeya Talent app, we will be able to onboard a talent within 24 hours after they submit their application.”
A New Kind of Talent Marketplace
The year 2020 was abuzz with phrases like “future of work,” “gig economy,” and “remote work.” The release of the Gebeya Talent app proves that this bold, new future predicted has arrived. Access to opportunities for talent has expanded, as they are no longer restricted to their immediate geographic location; we follow a remote-first work model. And: anyone can download the app.
“This is only the beginning,” said Thierno Niang, Chief Platform Officer at Gebeya. “We launched a mobile app before a web application, because all of our talent have access to a phone. As we add features to the product, we will also expand to include a web app.”
The most in-demand talent for startups and corporations include: software development, graphics & design, project management, digital marketing, product management, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. But, as market needs evolve, so will the Gebeya Talent pool.
Best of African Talent for the World
The Gebeya Talent app grants access for talented professionals in Africa and its diaspora to join a community built with them in mind. Rather than bid against millions of freelancers in an anonymous pool of talent, they can be assured that every opportunity caters to their skill set and agreed-upon rate. No more underbidding, missed payments, or ghosted clients. Because Gebeya manages the entire process of matching, plus administrative and finance processes, talents are ensured timely and fair delivery of payment in exchange for their work.
Within the next three-to-five years, we anticipate identifying and vetting the top 100,000 talent. From that, we expect to onboard the top 20,000 best. If you’re a talent from Africa or of African descent, seeking to join a community that will care about you, download the Gebeya Talent app and apply today.
A web-based application to connect clients of all sizes, including individual entrepreneurs, startups, and large enterprises with talent, will launch later this month. This will be for clients that are seeking to: diversify their workforce, augment their existing team, or expand into new markets without the hassle of opening a physical office. Our goal is that clients will be matched with talent within seconds, and within 24-to-48 hours of contract-signing, begin the work.
Tayary Lands Pre-Seed Investment from AUC Angels, Alex Angels, and The Cairo Angels
Amr Abdelfattah, CEO of Tayary (Source: AUC Angels)
Tayary an online logistics and delivery platform secures pre-seed investment from AUC Angels, Alex Angels, and The Cairo Angels.
Launched in 2017, Tayary is a multifaceted online platform that facilitates order delivery through both B2B and B2C models. The Alexandria-based startup has developed its own order-tracking feature in-house, allowing businesses and individuals to send and receive deliveries in an affordable and efficient manner. Their current services include: online food ordering, B2B delivery services, grocery and pharmacies shopping. During the lockdown initiated in Q2 of 2020, the startup was quick to respond by launching an additional on-demand courier service, Tayary Go, to help clients run errands while staying safe.
Amr Abdelfattah, CEO of Tayary said, “At Tayary, we work hard to maintain a solid user experience. Along with our Vendor Partners, we ensure that a wide variety of restaurant choices are available to our users, We continue to strive to provide more delivery solutions to a wider range of user base, both to B2B and B2C.
In 2019 we released our vendor on-demand delivery app, which enables restaurants to access riders in their range and deliver their own orders, we serve a wide range of business starting from multinationals like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Hardee’s to single local restaurants.”
The raised funding will be deployed towards expanding geographically, growing the team and launching extensive marketing efforts in order to increase the clients they serve over the next year.
This is not the first syndicated investment bringing together the three angel investment
networks. Earlier this year, The Cairo Angels, Alex Angels, and AUC Angels announced
investing in ElGameya, a fintech mobile application that manages ROSCA cycles.