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Rocket Internet is $Bn Company, World’s Largest Internet Incubator

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Rocket Internet has announced that it has raised a total of $500 million from partners Investment AB Kinnevik and Access Industries since May 2012, representing the largest investment ever made in an internet incubator and accelerator company.

The funds will be used to further expand Rocket Internet´s world-wide network of successful internet start-ups.

Rocket Internet is the world’s leading internet incubator, bringing together the four elements required to create digital companies on a global basis: team, concept, technology, and capital. To date, Rocket Internet has started over 100 companies developing many of them across five continents.

Rocket Internet’s core team of experts works with outstanding entrepreneurs, establishes new businesses, and then supports the new enterprises to maximize their growth.

Rocket Internet´s engineering work is primarily done in-house through its 250 dedicated IT engineers based in Rocket Internet’s corporate headquarters in Berlin and in various technology development centers throughout the world.

Currently, Rocket Internet holds a significant interest in 75 ventures with 20,000 employees in over 50 countries world-wide.

Rocket Internet´s strategy is to develop and support leading, highly innovative e-commerce companies in the fashion, general merchandise and furniture sectors.

Rocket is targeting Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, India, South East Asia and Australia with its ventures – covering in total five billion people and 60% of global GDP.

Since 2010, Rocket Internet has helped to create and grow over a dozen leading e-commerce players including: In the fashion ecommerce sector: Dafiti, the fashion market leader in Latin America; Lamoda, the biggest fashion ecommerce site in Russia; Zalora, the market leader in South East Asia; the Iconic, the market leader in Australia; Namshi, the market leader in the Middle East; Zando, the market leader in Africa; in the general merchandise ecommerce sector; Lazada, the largest ecommerce company in South East Asia; Linio, the largest ecommerce company in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela and Jumia, the largest ecommerce company in Africa

In the online furniture and home decoration ecommerce sector: Home 24, the leading online furniture site in Europe; Mobly, the leading online furniture site in Latin America; Westwing, the market leader for home & living in Europe, Russia and Latin America

Other companies recently founded by Rocket Internet include (i) payment service provider and Red Herring award winner Paymill.com, (ii) Foodpanda.com, a fast growing food delivery service company currently available to three billion people in over 20 countries, and (iii) EasyTaxi, the market leader for online taxi booking in Latin America and Asia. Rocket also holds a participation in Zalando, Europe´s largest online fashion company.

Rocket Internet companies are backed by leading global institutional investors and entrepreneurial families. Recent capital raises include (i) $100 million for 18 month old Zalora, market leader in online fashion in South East Asia, (ii) $100 million for year old Lazada, largest general merchandise ecommerce site in South East Asia, (iii) $130 million for two year old Lamoda, market leader in online fashion ecommerce in Russia, and (iv) $25 million for 18 month old The Iconic, market leader in fashion ecommerce in Australia.

The Lamoda capital raise was the largest investment ever made in Russian ecommerce; the Zalora and Lazada investments were the largest ever made in internet companies in South East Asia. The Iconic capital raise was the largest investment ever in Australian ecommerce.

Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet’s co-founder said: “This is a highly significant investment from our partners Kinnevik and Access Industries.

The additional capital supports our goal to be the world´s largest and most successful creator of high impact companies in the internet space and reaffirms the confidence our investors have in our business. We will use the new capital to further strengthen our global presence while continuing to build successful companies together with great entrepreneurs.”

Rocket Internet was founded in 2007 by Alexander, Marc and Oliver Samwer. Investment AB Kinnevik and Access Industries became Rocket Internet investors and partners in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Rocket Internet is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and operates 25 international offices in five continents.

Over the past 15 years, Rocket and/or the Samwer Brothers have created, developed, and successfully exited over 25 significant online businesses to leading international companies such as eBay, Groupon, Rakuten, and NBC Universal. They were also early investors in Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite and many other successful internet companies.


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Microsoft Moves into 5G Race with Azure Cloud for Telecom Operators

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Microsoft Corp unveiled a new cloud platform on Monday aimed at enabling telecom operators to build 5G networks faster, reduce costs and sell customised services to business clients.

After banning China’s Huawei from its telecom network, the U.S. government has been pushing big American companies such as Microsoft to get more involved with 5G – a technology which promises to enable everything from self-driving cars to remote surgery and more automated manufacturing.

The new platform will be on Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud computing business, and the company says it will reduce infrastructure costs, give flexibility to add services on demand and use artificial intelligence to automate operations.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure Networking, told Reuters that it could cut costs by 30%-40% in some cases.

The developer of Windows and Office software entered the 5G arena after its acquisition of cloud networking companies Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch earlier this year.

“The telco DNA was obtained through those acquisitions and we went from a small number of engineers in this space to literally hundreds of engineers,” said Khalidi. “On the other hand, the foundational pieces, including edge compute, we have had in a pipeline for many years.”

The company has already partnered with companies ranging from telecom operators such as Verizon VZ.N and AT&T T.N to network equipment firms such as Samsung 005930.KS and Mavenir to either use or sell the new platform to clients.

Microsoft’s move will increase competition for existing 5G service vendors like Nokia NOKIA.HE and Ericsson ERICb.ST, said CCS Insight analyst Nicholas McQuire.


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Interior Ministry Boosts Digitization Process with New ICT Projects

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, over the weekend commissioned the e-Library, e-Law Library, CCTV Surveillance network services and other projects in his office in Abuja to digitize work processes and procedures in the Ministry.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said that the projects were part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at repositioning the Ministry for better performance in line with its mandate of providing internal security and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike.

According to him, the e-Library will avail officers the opportunity to access the right information, in the right form and time.

“The e-Library gives our legal and other officers 24/7 access to a wide range of online resources, which can be updated in real time and we believe this will enhance the quality of their work to the benefit of the Ministry”, he said.

The Minister further assured of government’s commitment to putting in place measures that will boost staff capacity and also ensure self-development, with a view to ensuring proper implementation of projects, policies and programmes that will improve the lives of Nigerians which would lead to economic transformation in line with the present Administration’s policy thrust.

Aregbesola emphasized that crime and criminality has become complex to handle, the world over, hence the need to deploy modern technology to fight it.

He therefore called on staff to see the projects as morale booster for self-development and urged them to continue to support the efforts of government towards improving the lives of its citizens.

Earlier, Lanre Adesuyi, the Chief Executive Officer, Havillah Merchants Limited, thanked the Minister for giving them the opportunity to provide workers with state of the art equipment for efficient service delivery.

On his own part, Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, the Managing Director, Aliph Technologies, called on government at all levels to see the deployment of modern technology as one of the best ways to tackle security challenges in the contemporary world.


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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use of Tech to Tackle Fraud & Rescind Effects of Covid-19

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO of Heritage Bank, speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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