Meet The Brilliant Nigerians Working With Mark Zuckerberg At Facebook

It’s no longer news that the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is in Lagos, Nigeria.

His first stop was the Co-Creation Hub, in Yaba where he watched children learning to code and interacted with at least 50 local startup founders and developers.

More impressively, he trekked over 2km through the streets of Yaba to get to Andela, the talent accelerator he recently invested $24 million in.

But if there’s anything most exciting about Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise visit, it’s the fact that he chose Nigeria as his first destination in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is more than enough validation for the Nigerian technology ecosystem

Without a doubt, Mark Zuckerberg is beginning to take Nigeria seriously. But that didn’t happen suddenly. You’ll find proof  in the increasing number of Nigerians on his payroll.

Chukwuemeka Afigbo

chukwuemeka-afigbo

Chukwuemeka Afigbo joined Facebook from Google, where he served until 2015 before being replaced by Aniedi Udo-Obong.

Afigbo currently manages Strategic Product Partnerships for Facebook in Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in Mark Zuckerberg’s Nigeria tour.

Ime Archibong

Facebook-Ime-Archibong-Fire-Side-Chat-Free-Basic

Ime Archibong is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, where he leads a team working to connect Facebook’s products and strategies with various business partners.

Archibong and his team have worked on everything related to Facebook including the Messenger app. Prior to joining Facebook, Ime was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at IBM.

Nmachi Jidenma

jidenma

Nmachi Jidenma manages Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global, right from the heart of San Francisco Bay Area.

With previous experiences working at PayPal, Google and JP Morgan, she also happens to be the founder of CPAfrica.

Ebele Okobi

ebele-okobi

Ebele Okobi has headed Public Policy for Facebook in Africa for the past 2 years. She was the former Global Head & Senior Legal Director, Human Rights for Yahoo!

Laurence Aderemi

laurence-aderemi

Laurence Aderemi built Moni, a person-to-person money transfer app, which won the 2013 edition of Start with e-novation.

Apparently, his competence got the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, who hired him to head Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global.

Morin Oluwole

morin-oluwole

Having been raised in Nigeria but lived in 3 continents, Morin Oluwole is a polyglot — she speaks about 5 languages. This is probably why she sealed a role as the Chief of Staff, VP Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook.

UPDATE 1: Morin Oluwole has since taken up a new position as the Luxury Vertical Lead for Facebook/Instagram.

Lauryn (Hale) Ogbechie

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie leads a Strategic Partnership team within Facebook’s Global Platform Partnerships organisation in Menlo Park, CA. In this role she partners with mobile developers to help them build, grow and monetise their apps through the integration of Facebook platform products.

Prior to Facebook, Ogbechie worked as a digital organiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Francis Ebong

francis-ebong

Francis Ebong joined Facebook in November 2015 where he has since acted in the capacity of Director, Online Operations. Francis is a graduate of The George Washington University.

Teniola Adedipe

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Prior to joining Facebook, Teniola Adedipe served in two capacities within Konga, in the space of 14 months. She started out as the Head, Merchandise Planning in January 2014, she then went on to become Associate Director, Retail Operations.

Teniola Adedipe is now the Program Manager, Deal Desk & Global Agency at Facebook, New York City area.

Monica Ugwi

Monica Ugwi

Still relatively new at the company, Monica Ugwi works with the Product Operations division of Facebook. Prior to that, she was an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company and an Analyst at Goldman Sachs.

A graduate of Computer Science, Ugwi also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ibrahim Shekoni

ibrahem

Ibrahim Sekoni is Facebook’s Product Specialist at San Francisco Bay Area. His previous experience no doubt played a huge role in blending him into Facebook.

Prior to joining Facebook, he was the Mobile Product Manager at optionXpress where he managed the top-rated mobile trading App across multiple Mobile platforms. He also worked as a Business Analyst at Phoenix bits LTD overseeing various operations. He joined Facebook in April 2015.

Olaoluwa Okelola

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Olaoluwa Okelola is one of the few Nigerian-born software engineers at Facebook.

Having completed his secondary education at the International School Ibadan, Okelola proceeded to Avi-Cenna International School and Howard University, Washington DC, to complete his secondary and university education respectively. He then joined Microsoft as Explorer Intern in January 2005 and left in August the same year for Google where he worked as an Engineering intern from May 2006 until August 2006.

Okelola joined Facebook in 2007 and has been there ever since.

UPDATE 2: All post-publication updates are below. The total number of Nigerians on the list is now 18


Barbara Mbanefo

barbara-mbanefo

Barbara Mbanefo is another Nigerian-born software Engineer at Facebook, where she develops iOS applications that help businesses connect with their customers.

Mbanefo completed her primary and secondary education in Nigeria before proceeding to France to obtain her Masters degree in Software Engineering. She speaks French fluently. Prior to joining Facebook in May 2016, Mbanefo worked as a Software Engineer and a Mobile App User Experience Designer in France, Canada and Hollywood, California

Kunbi Adeyemo

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Kunbi Adeyemo has served in two capacities at Facebook. Between 2013 and 2014, she was on the Facebook North America Small and Medium Business Team as a Customer Insights Analyst.

In December 2014, Adeyemo moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has since served as Facebook’s Diversity Programs Manager – Women in Computer Science.

Isaac Nwokocha

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After obtaining a First Class degree in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2010, Isaac Nwokocha tried his hands out on entrepreneurship; he co-founded two startups, including real-time road traffic web app,TrafficDey.

Probably deciding he had had enough of entrepreneurship, Nwokocha proceeded to Stanford for a Master’s Degree in Management Science and Engineering. No sooner had he completed his Masters Degree than he secured a role as a Product Data Integrity, Community Operations/Project Manager at Facebook.

Michael Awotedu

michael-awotedu

Armed with an MBA in Finance (summa cum laude) from the University of Tampa John H. Sykes College of Business, Michael Awotedu works in Risk Program Management at Facebook where he helps to facilitate strategy, and execution for Risk Management on products like FB games, Oculus VR and Ads.

Prior to Facebook, Awotedu oversaw Risk Management for Walmart’s $30 billion check cashing portfolio.

PS: I happen to know Michael Awotedu personally, as he hails from my alma mater — Federal Government College, Odogbolu (I couldn’t resist the temptation to let you in on that).

Jane Okpala

jane-okpala

With almost 10 years of strategic, analytical, negotiating, presentation, and management expertise, Jane Okpala is the Product Specialist (Social Good and Goodwill), Community Operations, at Facebook.

A polyglot in her own right — she speaks at least 4 languages — Okpala worked previously as an Associate at McKinsey & Company where she served mainly technology and financial institution clients on a wide variety of analytical and strategic engagements

Dayo Olopade

dayo-olopade

Dayo Olopade started her career as a journalist Washington, covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama era for publications including The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Nowadays, Olopade applies her wealth of journalistic experience on the Facebook Media Partnerships Team, where she helps publishers take advantage of Facebook, from a business and product perspective. She maintains a painstakingly detailed personal website.

Credit: TechPoint

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Mark Zuckerberg Returns To Nigeria To Attend Aso Villa Demo Day

Barely 24hrs after his exit from Nigeria to Kenya, Mark Zuckerberg is back to Nigeria. Although he shared a disappointing news yesterday, his prescence in Abuja for the Aso Villa Demo Day shows how optimistic he is about the country.

The SpaceX rocket carrying Facebook’s first ever satellite worth $200 million crashed yesterday. The satellite was an initiative by Facebook to provide internet coverage to Africa.

Zuckerberg shared the news of the failed launch on his Facebook page, while he was in Kenya.

Following these developments, Mark Zuckerberg returns to Nigeria with an optimistic spirit about providing connectivity to Africans. Mark earlier today was sighted at the Aso Villa Demo Day in Abuja.

Although it appeared that he shunned the Nigerian government while he dined with Kenya‘s, his presence puts an end to that speculation.

His first visit to Nigeria which began on Tuesday during his visit to the Co-creation Hub and Andela continued on Wednesday at the Town hall meeting where Mark shared his journey as an entrepreneur to developers and entrepreneurs.

Credit: TechPoint

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17 Year Old Boy Hacks President’s Website, Demand Postponement Of Exams

A teenager in Sri Lanka has been arrested for hacking the president’s website and posting a message demanding that his college entrance exams be postponed. As the AFP reports, the 17-year-old boy was arrested on Monday and faces a fine of 300,000 rupees ($2,000) and up to three years in jail.

As the BBC reports, the official website of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was hacked on Thursday and Friday last week by a group that calls itself Sri Lankan Youth. The group posted a message on Thursday demanding that April’s final exams be delayed, and called on the president to “take care of the security of Sri Lankan websites or… face a cyber war.”

The group also demanded Sirisena “stop the prime minister’s irresponsible work and look more into the problems of the university students.”

The message was taken down, but the site was hacked again shortly afterward.

According to the AFP, this is the first time that a teenager has been charged under Sri Lanka’s computer crimes laws. Several government websites have been hacked recently, the BBC reports, raising concerns around cybersecurity.

The unnamed boy has been taken into custody, and is being questioned by police.

  • SOURCE: AFP, BBC
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5 Companies Emerge Winners At Demo Africa 2016

5 startup companies emerged the winners of the 5th edition of DEMO Africa, concluded last Friday August 26, 2016, and will benefit from the DEMO Africa LIONS programme.

The eventheld for two days and took place at the Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg. South Africa.

More than 600 delegates were in attendance of the defacto launch pad for African technology startups, over 30 speakers in 12 sessions, and four master classes handled by the World Bank and the African Business Angel Network (ABAN).

Announcing the winners, Stephen Ozoigbo, the CEO of the African Technology Foundation, the agency responsible for the LIONS AFRICA initiative said companies that have been chosen have a global outlook, and can benefit by seeing similar companies are doing in the United States.

In his statement:

“These companies have a global appeal and have the highest potential to becoming global companies,” said Ozoigbo. “By participating in the innovation tour, we are helping to connecting these companies to the global innovation ecosystem and also continue connecting them to potential investors,”

The DEMO Africa LIONS programme is a partnership between DEMO Africa and the LIONS@FRICA initiative that curates a 2-week Innovation Tour of Silicon Valley. The Innovation Tour exposes the startups to the technology and investment ecosystem in the Silicon Valley with the aim of creating bridges and attracting investments from investors from the Valley.

The companies that made it into the program include:

Sortd

The product suite is aimed at helping people escalate conversations into action right from the source. Sortd works seamlessly with Email, IM, Skype and Slack. Sortd plays into an emerging category in the SAAS collaboration space with a vision to create an all-in-one Communication & Teamwork Platform for “the rest of us” (aimed at small-medium size businesses).

ConnectMed

ConnectMed is an online machine learning-enabled telehealth platform that allows patients to seek treatment from GPs over video for common ailments, either directly through app (ConnectMed Prime) or indirectly through clinic partners (ConnectMed Care). ConnectMed Prime targets middle and upper income South Africans who have easy access to internet-enabled devices and use the private healthcare system.

Strauss Energy

Strauss Energy sells electricity to homeowners and organizations at 75% cheaper than the national grid. The power is generated from the innovative BIPV Stima 2 in1 solar roofing tiles that they manufacture. 2 Million Houses are required annually according to a UN Habitat report. In Kenya only 150,000 houses are built annually. Strauss targets 30% of this market and is already working on 1,000 houses in Kenya and an additional 10,000 houses next year.

Solstice Home Energy Solutions

Solstice has developed a low cost energy monitoring solution for Nigerian households that gives insight into energy consumption patterns by measuring both utility grid and generator usage. The data the hardware provides can be used by homeowners to track energy usage, set budgets, and get energy saving tips through our mobile application.

MediaBox

MediaBox is gateway to content in the home. They can make any existing TV old or new a truly smart device for entertainment, education & access to the internet. MediaBox is the only aggregation platform in Africa that works with any and all current providers of content, such as DSTV, ShowMax, Netflix and Supersport.

Credit: Tech City

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Facebook Partners Coollink To Launch Express WiFi In Lagos

According to this report, Facebook is partnering Coollink, a Lagos based Internet Service Provider (ISP), to launch Express WiFi in Lagos.

Express WiFi is a Facebook initiative to bring Internet connectivity to underserved locations around the world.

It does this through partnership with local entrepreneurs to help provide quality Internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income.

Working with local Internet service providers or mobile operators, these entrepreneurs are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.

Express WiFi in Lagos will enable users surf websites on Free basics for free. However, they’ll have to pay for more browsing activity.

For as little as ?40, they can get up to 100MB daily, or ?1,600 for a 5GB monthly plan for extra surfing on a 10Mbps connection which is shared across all the users.

Other data plans include ?110 for 300MB for 24hrs; ?270 for 750MB for a week, ?700 for 2GB for 7 days, and ?1000 for 3GB for a month.

The service is expected to launch in some parts of Lagos, such as Ikota Shopping Complex, some time this week. Users can sign up for a 14 days free trial and enjoy free Internet for that perios – up to 100MB per day.

Express WiFi was first launched in India. It is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, which will bring Internet to millions who find it extremely difficult to get it.

Credit: TechLoy

 

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Whatsapp To Discontinue Support For Blackberry Devices

Another nail appears to have been hammered into BlackBerry’s coffin.

The once-dominant smartphone’s popularity has dramatically waned in recent years.

Now Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp is dropping support for some older phones – including all BlackBerry models.

It will also no longer support some Nokia and Android devices by the end of the year.

WhatsApp says that using developer time on these devices could hold back the app’s growth.

The BlackBerry was once an indispensable device for many

In a blog post the company said: “When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today.

“The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70% of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia.”

These days, BlackBerry has less than 1% market share as Apple and Samsung dominate worldwide phone sales.

Every BlackBerry, including ones running the relatively new BlackBerry 10, will be hit, along with the Nokia S40, Symbian S60 and any phone running Android 2.1 and 2.2, plus Windows Phone 7.1.

WhatsApp advised those with the affected phones to upgrade to newer models.

The blog post added: “This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”

 

Source Sky News

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Saheed Adepoju: The Man Who Invented ‘Inye’ Nigeria’s Low Cost Tablet Device

Nigeria’s Saheed Adepoju is a young man with big dreams. He is the inventor of the Inye, a tablet computer designed for the African market.

According to the 29-year-old entrepreneur, his machine’s key selling point is its price – $350 (£225) opposed to around $700 for an iPad.

He believes that, because of this, there is a big market for it in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, particularly amongst students.

He is also hoping to sell his tablet – which runs on the Google Android operating system – to the Nigerian government and plans to have at least one computer in each local government area.

The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you access to the internet; it allows you to play media files and watch movies”

“The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you access to the internet; it allows you to play media files and watch movies. What we have is an 8-inch device, a device that is half-way between a laptop and a mobile phone,” he told the BBC’s series African Dream.

“You have the standard software applications that come pre-installed and then you have the ones that we are working with various local developers to bundle on,” he added.

Among those local apps there is one designed to raise awareness about HIV and others related to water and sanitation.

“We work with local developers that have expertise in particular areas so that we don’t end up doing so much work and we just have a collaborative way of doing things together,” he said.

‘Word of mouth’

Mr Adepoju has a background in software development and is a Sun-certified Java programmer.

Saheed Adepoju

  • Age: 29
  • Degree in Maths and computer science, The Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, 2005
  • Advanced Computing, Bournemouth University, UK, 2008
  • Worked briefly for a consulting firm
  • Cofounded Encipher Group with Anibe Agamah
  • Starting capital: $60,000
  • The Encipher Inye was released in 2010
  • Inye means One in Igala, a language in Nigeria

After doing a first degree in maths and computer science in Nigeria, he completed another one in advanced computing by research at Bournemouth University, in the United Kingdom.

Upon graduation in 2009, he returned to his home country and started working for a consulting firm.

“Within eight months I got fired, primarily because of differences in approach to doing business. In the middle of all this, the Apple iPad launched, back in January of 2010, which inspired us to actually look to build such [a] product within the African marketplace,” the entrepreneur told the BBC Africa’s Chris Ewokor.

He said that, with that goal in mind, he borrowed money from friends and family, raising a total of about $60,000.

According to him, all of that went on the devices and the logistics – there was no budget for marketing, so early advertising was “word of mouth” on social media.

The first 100 units of the Inye, which means One in Nigeria’s Igala language, were built in China and, after receiving feedback from its users, a second version was launched in May 2011.

Encipher Group, the company he cofounded with web developer Anibe Agamah, also offers customised IT services and products, including cloud computing, which are mostly based on open technology to keep costs down.

Raising capital

According to Mr Adepoju, the company and the apps it develops are focused on preserving local culture through technology and making products which are specific to the local market.

Inye

  • Screen: 8-inch capacitive touchscreen
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth
  • I/O: USB, micro USB, SD card slot (up to 32Gb), 35mm sound jack, HDMI, SIM card for 3G
  • OS: Android
  • Battery: 5hrs
  • Storage: 8Gb internal, 16Gb in the box
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • App store: Google play store
  • Local apps: Spinlet for streaming local Nigerian music and many locally inclined applications

Another product that the firm has been working on is Encipher TV, a box where people can watch African television, plays and films.

However, he says that it has not been easy to raise capital in order to develop the business faster.

“Here venture capital (VC) is still in its infancy and most VC firms wound want to invest in tried and trusted companies that have gained some form of traction,” he said.

“We face the challenge of getting people to listen to the various propositions. We’ve been to a number of private investors and also to the government,” he explained.

Not surprisingly, his immediate plan is to “try and raise capital from whatever sources we can get – locally, internationally or privately – and to try and still to push the brand forward as much as we can”.

Will his tablet computer succeed in such a competitive environment? Only time will tell but Mr Adepoju and his colleagues are adamant that it will, not only in Nigeria but also in other African markets

– BBC

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