Alerzo lays off staff… again 

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May 9, 2024
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6 min read
Alerzo founder, Adewale Opaleye
Alerzo founder, Adewale Opaleye

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Përshëndetje,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Alerzo lays off staff… again
  • 6 questions on cybersecurity levy answered
  •  Microsoft lets go of its ADC engineering team  
  • Syndicate Bio wants to improve improve cancer diagnostics in Africa

Alerzo lays off staff… again 

Alerzo founder, Adewale Opaleye
Alerzo founder, Adewale Opaleye

Alerzo, a B2B eCommerce player, had to let go of around 70 folks in February 2024, even though they snagged some funding in 2023.

Word on the street is, they were trimming costs to stretch their runway. But Alerzo insists it's all about digitalising and building a sustainable business.

Apparently, this wasn't their first rodeo with layoffs — they chopped off about 400 heads in 2023. Most of them were warehouse staff, and Alerzo said it was all about upgrading tech and boosting efficiency.

The latest round of cuts hit junior staff at warehouses and front offices, according to insiders.

Alerzo confirmed the layoffs but kept mum on the exact numbers. They did mention giving out severance packages and extending health benefits for three months to those affected.

Even with all the belt-tightening, Alerzo managed to pull in some funding last year. They kept it under wraps, though. Apparently, they got some "non-equity assistance" after joining the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers program.

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Rumor has it they also raised funds in April and September 2023, but the exact amount remains a mystery. 

Founded by Adewale Opaleye in 2018, Alerzo had a pre-seed round in 2020 and a $5 million seed round the same year. Their Series A round of $10.5 million made headlines, and they quietly secured more cash in a Series B round in January 2022.


6 questions on cybersecurity levy answered

PoS

Remember this? Nigerians to pay more for cybersecurity fee

Well, this 0.5% cybersecurity levy that will be charged on all electronic transactions only applies to select businesses and not individuals. 

Turns out, the 0.5% cybersecurity levy that will be charged on all electronic transactions is not hitting regular folks—it's aimed at certain businesses. 

Telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies, and Nigerian Stock Exchange will be the ones ponying up.

So, how do they cough up the cash? Well, they'll pay directly into the National Cybersecurity Fund, managed by the Central Bank. 

But here's the twist: financial institutions will handle the nitty-gritty of the payment process.

Got more questions? Bolu's got all the answers in his latest insights. Check it out for the full scoop!


Microsoft lets go of its ADC engineering team

Microsoft building

Did you see or hear reports about Microsoft shutting down its African Development Center (ADC) in Nigeria? Well, it turns out, they're not entirely true. According to a Microsoft rep, the Lagos facility is still up and running.

But here's the deal: while the engineering team at the ADC in Lagos got the boot, the Microsoft office itself in Nigeria is still open for business.

Why the shake-up? Microsoft chalks it up to "organizational and workforce adjustments." Basically, they're doing what they have to do to stay nimble and focused on growth.

Since 2023, Microsoft has been tweaking its workforce and organisation to adapt to market changes and meet customer demands. They kicked off some layoffs in July 2023, adding to the 10,000 jobs they had already trimmed in January of that year.

The ADC in Lagos and Nairobi was set up in 2019 to beef up Microsoft's engineering talent pool and engage with students and communities. They've been big on training and hiring local talent to develop products used by millions worldwide.

But despite chugging along for five years and employing over 200 folks, Microsoft decided to part ways with the engineering squad.

Now, there's chatter about what's next for the Lagos centre. With the core team gone, folks are wondering if Microsoft will pull the plug or explore AI options. Recent news about Xbox shutting down some game studios, including Arkane Austin, adds fuel to the speculation.

It's a bit murky why Microsoft made these moves, but it seems like they're not alone. Economic challenges, like forex issues and tough business conditions, have led many international companies to pack up shop in Nigeria.


Syndicate Bio wants to improve cancer diagnostics in Africa

cancer

Syndicate Bio has teamed up with SOPHiA GENETICS to bring advanced genomic profiling and liquid biopsy to Africa, aiming to level the playing field in global health.

Why? Well, the World Health Organization dropped a bombshell in February 2023, revealing that Africa sees a whopping 1.1 million new cancer cases annually, with about 700,000 ending in death. And if things don't change, those numbers are set to hit nearly a million deaths per year by 2030. 

So, Syndicate Bio is stepping in to offer cutting-edge liquid biopsy testing to folks who couldn't access it before or had to travel outside the continent to get it.

Abasi Ene-Obong, Syndicate Bio's Co-Founder, is pumped about the partnership, seeing it as a game-changer for cancer patients across Africa. They're bringing together their scientific know-how with AI-driven tech from SOPHiA GENETICS to revolutionise cancer treatment with precision medicine.

And the Chief Medical Officer of SOPHiA GENETICS is all on board, too. They reckon this collaboration will not only make a big difference in Africa but also generate crucial data that'll shape the future of healthcare worldwide.

Founded in September 2023 by the brains behind 54gene, Syndicate Bio is aiming to take genomics and precision medicine global, starting right here in Africa.

In fact, they've already struck up a partnership with Nigeria's Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to dive deep into infectious and non-infectious diseases. 

Together, they're laying the groundwork for groundbreaking genomic studies that could lead to better understanding and treatment of diseases in Nigeria and beyond.


In case you missed it

What I'm watching  

Opportunities   

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  • Apply for Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) by May 6, 2024, here
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Have a tremendous Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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