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Featured Startups

Autochek acquires Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana

Autochek acquires Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana

Autochek, the automotive technology company recently founded by former Cars45 CEO Etop Ikpe, has announced the acquisition of automotive marketplaces Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana, previously part of ROAM Africa’s portfolio of leading online marketplaces. The new platform will relaunch by the end of 2020.

Autochek is an automotive technology company that aims to build digital solutions that will enhance and enable a seamless and safe automotive commerce experience across Africa, starting with Nigeria and Ghana. Having identified a number of challenges in the car purchase market on the continent, the new company plans to use technology to transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for consumers’ automotive needs, from sourcing and financing to after sales support and warranties.

Despite the average price of used cars in Africa standing at $5,000 (almost three times the current GDP per capita – $1,720), with credit penetration in the auto market at less than one percent, almost every used car is bought without any institutional finance. Autochek aims to address this issue by making auto financing more accessible to consumers across Africa. Autochek is also now working to standardise solutions around warranties and maintenance, to enable dealers to offer these services more readily to consumers.

ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), Cheki’s parent company, has transferred ownership and operational control to Autochek, and all Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana outlets will now be rebranded as Autochek. The leading cars marketplace Cheki Kenya remains fully owned and operated by ROAM Africa. Building on Cheki’s 10 years of progress with a network of more than 500 paying dealers, Autochek is set to introduce additional technology solutions that will make it easier for dealerships to service their customers better.

Speaking on the acquisition,  Etop Ikpe, CEO of Autochek says, “We are really excited by this new opportunity to drive the African automotive space forward. Our aim is to create a one-stop shop for consumers’ automotive needs, embedding technology at every stage of the process, thereby making the journey of car ownership easier for everyone. The Cheki brand is well established in Nigeria and Ghana, and we look forward to building on the solid work that the Cheki team has done over the last ten years in reinventing how car purchases are made. Our goal is to continue the great work, as well as expand operations into other African territories from 2021 onwards.

Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa, said, “With Autochek, we have found a company and founding team that will carry on the incredible results Cheki has achieved in Nigeria and Ghana over the last decade in developing a specialist car marketplace, loved and trusted by both car buyers and sellers. Etop and his team have an outstanding record of success in the African automotive market and we are excited to be handing over these assets to them, ensuring continuity of service as we migrate the platforms over. We are also pleased that the Autochek team is committed to working collaboratively with the existing Cheki team and long-term partners. We look forward to seeing all the success they will achieve together

The current Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana team remains intact with Cheki Nigeria’s current CEO, Chimezie Okonkwo, staying on with the new company.

Cheki Kenya will remain a part of the ROAM Africa portfolio and the sale of Cheki Nigeria and Ghana does not impact Cheki Kenya. Cheki Kenya will continue to focus on establishing solutions for the Kenyan automotive industry and accelerate its investment in tailoring solutions for the Kenyan market specifically.

Read About: Hilda Kabushenga appointed new ROAM Africa Jobs MD

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Author: EditorAutochek acquires Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana

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Digital Featured

How I lost €4k in a Facebook scam after clicking an ad

How I lost €4k in a Facebook scam after clicking an ad

This is a story of someone that was scammed after clicking a Facebook ad. The moral of the story is: Don’t click ads if you don’t trust them 100%.

This is a cautionary tale of how I lost close to €4,000 in a sophisticated Facebook scam. I still find it hard to believe I fell for a scam like this. I have 2FA on all my accounts, use a password manager, and I’m generally very cautious with account security.

 

Two days ago, I spotted an ad while browsing Facebook promoted by Tiktok Ads Business. Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of the ad in question, but it promised a $3000 credit for new businesses that signed up for the TikTok Ads program. As someone being 15+ years in ad tech, I am used to the idea of businesses giving away ad credits to new advertisers. $3000 is a very high amount, but it didn’t raise any red flags since I’ve heard of the generous TikTok Back to Business Program before.

The ad click took me to the TikTok Ads Business Android app on the Google Play Store. 10k+ downloads, 1000+ reviews and a 4.6 rating on average – again, this didn’t raise any immediate red flags. Sure, the developer name “Develop App” sounds strange and should I have looked better, the developgameonline@gmail.com developer email and com.acazira.tforbusiness package name would have definitely raised some concerns.

After installing the app, it opened a clone of the TikTok Back to Business Program page. After entering my phone number and email, the app asked me to log in with Facebook to get the credits.

App screen 2

After logging in with my Facebook, a voucher code was displayed under the balance with the explanation that it would take up to 48 hours before TikTok would contact me:

App screen 3

Two days went by and I was getting curious when I would get that promised email. Then, a transaction email from PayPal arrived:

PayPal email

Facebook charged €3,990.17 from my linked business PayPal account. I was surprised – I didn’t recognize the ad spend so I tried to log in to my Facebook Ad account. Unfortunately it was nowhere to be found – the scammer used my Facebook auth token to remove me from the Facebook Business entity. Strangely enough this is possible without getting any emails from Facebook. I had no way to check my Business entity or Ad account on Facebook to see what’s going on.

Contacting Facebook about such scams/hacks is a challenge on its own: there is a support page but in all my attempts I was unable to click the “email” icon. The “chat” icon always says “chat unavailable”:

Facebook support

Fortunately I found the Facebook Business Support messenger account, and they replied quickly by confirming the issue:

Facebook chat

A day later I contacted Facebook for an update, and they confirmed the issue again. Another 24 hours later an I got full access back to my ad account. This is the damage that was done before Facebook disabled the account:

Ad spent

All this money was spent on this one Vietnamese ad, promoting some kind of aluminium thinking product:

Ad spent

To recap:

  • Total spent: €8,235.82 (of which I was charged €3,990.17)
  • Total impressions: 3,184,933
  • Total reach: 2,674,194
  • Total conversions: 2,126 “send message” clicks flushed

I am still waiting on a decision from Facebook if they are going to refund the charge. In the meantime, I have done the following:

  • Changed my Facebook and PayPal passwords
  • Invalidated all signed in devices/tokens
  • Reported the fake TikTok Ads Business page to Facebook – no reponse yet
  • Reported the fake TikTok Ads Business app to Google – the app was taken down 2 days later
  • Initiated a PayPal chargeback process – PayPal responded: “we’ve determined there was no unauthorized use”

Beware of such scams.

Source: How I lost €4k in a Facebook scam

Read About: What is Facebook Watch Together and how does it work?

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Author: EditorHow I lost €4k in a Facebook scam after clicking an ad

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Digital Featured

YouTube is rolling out ‘YouTube Shorts’ to take on TikTok

YouTube is rolling out ‘YouTube Shorts’ to take on TikTok

YouTube is rolling out YouTube Shorts, a short-form video feature called to compete with the popular social media platform TikTok. The feature, which is set to launch in the next few weeks, will allow creators and artists to shoot short, catchy videos up to 15 seconds long using their mobile phones. This is much less than the 60 seconds for TikTok, but a lot familiar. 

Shorts will feature a multi-segment camera to edit multiple video clips together, and will feature a library of songs to include with the videos. Like TikTok, Shorts will also have speed controls as well as a timer and countdown to easily record content.

The new product will first be released over the next few days in India where it will be tested.

Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test this out. This is an early version of the product, but we’re releasing it now to bring you — our global community of users, creators and artists — on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months as we learn from you and listen to your feedback. Here are more details on what to expect.

The move by Youtube comes as TikTok, the short-form social media app, is under watch to be taken over in the US and facing a ban in India. It also comes as Facebook’s Instagram launched Reels, similar TikTok-style videos. 

TikTok recently revealed that it has about 50 million daily active users in the US alone, and 100 million who use it at least once a month. There were nearly 700 million active users per month worldwide as of July. Shorts could help YouTube fend off TikTok and keep you glued to its apps.

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Author: EditorYouTube is rolling out ‘YouTube Shorts’ to take on TikTok

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Featured Tech

How to set Chrome as your default browser on iOS 14

How to set Chrome as your default browser on iOS 14

The launch of the new iOS 14 brought with it the ability to set non-Apple apps as your defaults. You can easily set your web browser or email client to the latest version of Google Chrome from the App Store. For now it is the only non-Apple web browser that you can change to default, possibly as other developers need time to add the support for their own apps.  

Here’s how to set Google Chrome as your default browser so every link will open in it.

How to set Google Chrome as your default browser in iOS 14

You need to first get your iPhone or iPad operating system updated to iOS 14. Of course, this means running beta software, but the full release is nearing you should get used to it in no time. Here’s how to download and install iOS 14 public beta.

After this, go on to:

  1. Install Google Chrome from the App Store
  2.  Open Settings and tap on the settings for Chrome
  3.  Tap on Default Browser App and change it to Chrome

Once you have done this, every web link you click on iOS will open up in Google Chrome, instead of Safari. You’ll get a confirmation notice the first time you open a link inside an app, letting you know that Chrome is wanting to open the link. This is part of the new security check in the iOS 14 that lets you know more about what’s going on when you do things on your iPhone.

So, tap OK to confirm and be sure that it won’t ask you again.

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Author: EditorHow to set Chrome as your default browser on iOS 14

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Digital Featured

What is Facebook Watch Together and how does it work?

What is Facebook Watch Together and how does it work?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen streaming services adopt interesting technology such as the similar co-viewing features. While many users could have expected it, Facebook was not quick to announce such a feature. The company had actually announced plans to develop a co-viewing experience at its F8 developer conference two years ago. And here it is – named Watch Together!

The new feature will allow friends and family to watch videos together over Messenger. The feature works with all Facebook Watch video content, including original programs, user uploads, creator content, live streams, and soon, music videos. For starters, it can be used by up to 8 people in a Messenger video chat on mobile, or by up to 50 people in Messenger Rooms.

How to use Facebook Watch Together

To use the feature, you have to first be in a Messenger video call or a Messenger Room. From Messenger, you are able to start a co-watching session by selecting the new option from a drawer that pulls up from the bottom of the screen. 

Once you get started, you can easily browse or search to find something to watch together. Facebook Watch content is organized into categories like TV & Movies, Watched for content that you recently watched, Uploaded for your own videos, and Suggested.

Interestingly, all participants can help choose videos though can’t create playlists or queues. Everyone can also stop, pause, jump forward or back in the videos, too. 

Another point to note is that official music videos will not immediately be available in this co-viewing experience. However, they should be added in the next few weeks, initially in the U.S., India and Thailand to start. Each market will also feature localized content under the TV & Movies section.

For now, this feature is only available on iOS and Android mobile devices. However, Facebook intends to have web support ready in a matter of weeks, and other platforms, like desktop, will follow.

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Author: EditorWhat is Facebook Watch Together and how does it work?

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Featured Startups

Women in FinTech Hackathon underway

Women in FinTech Hackathon underway

The first of its kind Women in FinTech Hackathon is currently underway in Kampala with 15 women led and dominated teams taking part. The participants are conceptualizing and developing different financial inclusion products with special focus on women in areas such as payments, lending, saving, e-commerce, e-education and e-agriculture among others.

As part of the project, all teams are interacting with a pool of facilitators, mentors and assessors pulled together from all over the world but mainly accessible remotely via ID8, Slack and other virtual platforms.

Organized by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne program in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox, Mojaloop Foundation and Level One Project, this women focused hackathon will culminate in to the Women in FinTech summit on Friday 18th September.

We are excited to deliver this. Day One had all teams get introduced to latest financial inclusion tools, detailed discussions around level one principles, submission of each team’s problem statement and business case,” Nicholas Kalungi, the COO of HiPipo, noted on Saturday 12th September, the first day of this Hackathon.

He added; “The next four days are very crucial to the success of each team. The teams are doing their work and getting continuous guidance from facilitators, mentors and assessors both on site and remotely. We are convinced that this is the start of something amazing for all of the participants.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon and Summit come at the back of the great success of the recently concluded 40 Days 40 Fintechs initiative and the FinTech Landscape Exhibition that attracted over 100 financial sector organisations from all over the world, between May 13 and July 30th 2020.

Important Dates.

    1. 12 September: Women in FinTech hackathon kicks off.
    2. 14th to 17th September: Women in FinTech hackathon underway.
    3. 18th September: Women in Fintech summit.

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Author: EditorWomen in FinTech Hackathon underway

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Featured Telecom

How to access MPESA in Kenya using USSD Code

How to access MPESA in Kenya using USSD Code

MPESA is one of the most used mobile money services across Kenya and Africa as a whole. The service has over 25 million customers in Kenya who rely on it day to day purchases and payments. The latest development from Safaricom indicates that customers can now access MPESA services through a USSD code menu.

MPESA services will now be accessed by dialling *334# on your phone. This is in addition to the already existing methods of accessing MPESA menu, which is through the toolkit and the mySafaricom app. During the release of its financial results, Safaricom quoted Kenya’s smartphone penetration to be at 40%. This means that a majority of users of its services such as calls, SMS and, M-Pesa, are non-smartphone users.

The Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, says that they have embarked on a strategy to simplify the telco’s range of products and services for customers. This is to provide them with an even better experience. M-PESA on *334# is the first solution as part of this ongoing strategy and it refines how customers interact with the service.

When you dial *334#, you will be presented with a list of MPESA services that you can use. This includes Send Money; Withdraw Cash; Buy Airtime; Loans and Services; Financial Services; Lipa na MPESA; My Account; and Mfuko wa Biashara.

The new USSD code makes it easy for Safaricom users with feature phones to use it without using the toolkit. It also makes it easier for Safaricom users with iPhones to access MPESA services without digging into settings to find the SIM toolkit.

Read About: Safaricom, Alibaba Group reach deal on M-Pesa payments

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Author: EditorHow to access MPESA in Kenya using USSD Code

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Featured Startups

15 Teams shortlisted for Women in FinTech Hackathon

15 Teams shortlisted for Women in FinTech Hackathon

As part of its on-going Financial Inclusion efforts in Uganda and across Africa, HiPipo is implementing the Women in FinTech hackathon and summit this month. 15 women-led teams have been announced for the Women in FinTech hackathon slated for 12th to 17th September at Hive Colab, Kamwokya, with the exception of Sunday 13th.

The participants will for 5 days conceptualize and develop products for enhancing women financial inclusion in Uganda and across Africa. They will network with fellow Developers and Facilitators from across the World, receive Mentorship from Industry Players and Business Leaders, get access to latest infrastructure and technology in addition to taking home a variety of prizes.

Organized by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne program in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox Mojaloop Foundation and Level One Project, this women focused hackathon will culminate in to the Women in FinTech summit on Friday 18th September.

We received close to 30 team entries for this first of its kind women focused hackathon. Unfortunately, we couldn’t accommodate all of them this year. We thus shortlisted 15 teams that ticked all the project boxes,” Nicholas Kalungi, the Chief Operating Officer of HiPipo noted while announcing the teams, adding;

Registration was the easier part of the project. The hard work will start on Saturday 12th as the teams will get down to developing ‘would be world changing and lifesaving products and services’. The 15 teams’ leaders and majority of their members are women. This is part of our contribution to addressing the huge gender diversity challenge that currently exists in the financial technology space.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon and Summit come at the back of the great success of the recently concluded 40 Days 40 Fintechs initiative and the FinTech Landscape Exhibition that attracted over 100 financial sector organisations from across Africa, between May 13 and July 30th 2020.

The 15 Teams shortlisted for Women in FinTech Hackathon

Number

Team Name

Team Leader 

1

E-Moments

Emily Nakabuye

2

Yo Uganda Limited

Penny Kamusiime

3

Team Spec

Edith Ndagire

4

W-Sacco

Nassanga Jalia

5

Kanzu Code Ladies

Aretha Kebirungi

6

GreenGrab

Valentine Masicha

7

Achors

Nanteza Nuriatt

8

UgMart

Diana Nafuna

9

Hack Girls

Halima Bukirwa

10

Team Kameeza

Suzan Mbabazi

11

Alpteq Solutions

Namubiru Aminah

12

Team Affinity

Musimenta Maria

13

Sky Code

Mourine Tumuhaise

14

Team Time

Eva Mirembe

15

Kuzimba Services

Ephrance Eunice Namugenyi

Important Dates:

  1. 17th August to 4th September: Online Registration.

  2. 4th to 8th September: Eligible participants announced.

  3. 12 September: Women in FinTech hackathon kicks off.

  4. 14th to 17th September: Women in FinTech hackathon underway.

  5. 18th September: Women in Fintech summit.

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Author: Editor15 Teams shortlisted for Women in FinTech Hackathon

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Featured Telecom

Liquid Telecom unveils its cyber security unit

Liquid Telecom unveils its cyber security unit

Liquid Telecom has unveiled its Cyber Security unit to offer end-to-end managed services for digital security solutions. The offering is designed to protect customers at every intersection of their digitally transformed business including network, people, and systems, revolutionising how cyber security is approached.

Cyber security is a real and imminent threat to businesses and their end-users, as highlighted by the survey commissioned in August 2020 by Liquid Telecom. IT decision makers across Africa were asked for their insights on cyber security trends, with 57% of those surveyed stating that they have seen an increase in threats over the COVID-19 pandemic period. And while many employees across the continent are returning to work, organisations are embracing a hybrid model of digital and onsite working. As such there are increasing concerns over the security of data, shadow IT and the financial implications of a security breach.

Liquid Telecom has streamlined and strengthened its cyber security offerings into one unit to address these growing concerns. With decades of knowledge in this field and an eye on the future, the offering is designed to address the key concerns of IT decision makers, by securing businesses effectively to increase productivity.

David Behr, the Group Chief Digital Officer at  Liquid Telecom, says that the company has successfully secured our own network for the past 15 years.

Although we’re unveiling the cyber security unit today, Liquid Telecom is not new to this space. Through our strategic partnerships with Netskope, Logicalis, Microsoft and Cyber Risk Aware we have curated the best solutions in the industry to address the changing demands of a digitally transformed business world. Allowing customers to focus on their core business offering while we manage their complete IT environment.

While many African companies already have some level of protection, this safeguard may not be designed to protect an organisation at every level of its operation. With 71% of the survey respondents confirming that they use cloud-based services, the need for a solution that secures the network, cloud and desktop is becoming urgent. Separating the cloud, network and security not only puts businesses at increased risk but also increases expenditure.

Liquid Telecom releasing its end-to-end solution is not only well timed but also covers all aspects of security working together seamlessly, decreasing the opportunity for breaches and risks. According to the research 83% of the respondents are putting an increased focus on cyber security this year.

Liquid Telecom has been Building Africa’s digital Future, and now we are just officially putting our stamp on Securing Africa’s digital future.

Read About: Liquid Telecom launches its Azure Stack Hub in Kenya

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Author: EditorLiquid Telecom unveils its cyber security unit

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Featured Tech

Xbox Series X will cost $499. Here are the specifications

Xbox Series X will cost $499. Here are the specifications

Close to seven years since the launch of the original Xbox One, we have a successor. It has been officially confirmed: the Xbox Series X will be on sale starting November 10th, for $499, with pre-orders beginning September 22nd. This is after the announcement of the much smaller and cheaper console, the Xbox Series S, which will be the “smallest Xbox ever” costing $299 – also coming to the market at the same time.

Xbox Series X specifications

The Xbox Series X is more like a PC desktop tower that you can lay down horizontally. There is no USB port on the front for easily connecting a wired controller. Like the Xbox One, most of the Xbox Series X’s ports are on the back of the console. The only features on the front are the Xbox button, disc drive, and the eject button.

The Xbox Series X controller is almost identical to the one for the Xbox One, and it uses AA batteries instead of a rechargeable pack. The major difference is the addition of a Share button which is positioned in the middle of the controller below the power button.

In terms of speed, the Xbox One X is said to be a powerhouse and much faster. The Series X’s GPU is eight times faster than that of the base Xbox One, making it twice as fast as the Xbox One X. The CPU is also likely to be much stronger than what’s been seen in consoles before. It also supposedly runs really quietly, managing to keep itself cool with one fan and additional heat-sinks.

Xbox Series X games

The Xbox Series X supports backwards compatibility for all three previous generations of Xbox console, and they’ll play even better. Xbox One games installed on an external hard drive can be played immediately when plugged into the new console. It will also continue to support Xbox Game Pass, the popular game subscription service that Microsoft launched this console generation. The console will allow users to jump into the games they want to play more quickly.

The new console will also integrate Microsoft’s cloud-based gaming service, codenamed Project xCloud. With xCloud, you’ll be able to continue playing your Xbox games on your PC or mobile devices. You will also be able to use your console as a server to stream to these devices, and you won’t have to pay to do so provided that you own the Xbox version of the game you’re trying to play. A Game Pass Ultimate subscription will include access to xCloud, as well, ensuring you can play the vault of games on the go.

You can opt for the Xbox All Access service, a monthly subscription that includes an Xbox Series console, Game Pass Ultimate, and full online play, with a cell-phone style interest-free payment plan. The Xbox Series X plus Game Pass will be $35 a month for two years, with the Xbox Series S being just $25 a month.

Some of the games coming to the Series X, including games that are also launching on Xbox One, are:

  • Halo Infinite
  • Avowed
  • Everwild
  • Gears Tactics
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Fable
  • Forza Motorsport
  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
  • STALKER 2
  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • Far Cry 6

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Author: EditorXbox Series X will cost $499. Here are the specifications