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A year in review of Google’s $1B commitment to support Africa’s digital economy

Today, Google announced its new cloud region in South Africa, the African nation which is now home to the major global cloud providers on the continent. For Google, this move is part of its broader commitment to invest $1 billion to support “digital transformation” across Africa over the next five years. The commitment, when dissected, includes projections of Google landing a subsea cable, providing low-interest loans to small businesses and equity investments to African growth startups, among other things. Google CEO Sundar Pichai made this announcement last October – precisely a year ago – meaning there’s no better time to review the tech giant’s activities so far. In a media roundtable, the managing director at Google Africa, Nitin Gajria, pointed out that Google’s $1 billion investment in the continent is focused on four key areas. They include providing affordable access and helpful products for Africans, supporting businesses with their digital transformation process, investin

Google picks South Africa for its first cloud region in Africa

Tech giant Google has today announced the launch of a cloud region in South Africa, its first in the continent, playing catch-up to other top providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, which made inroads into the continent a few years ago. Google said it is also building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites, which link users’ on-premises networks with Google’s grid, in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), and South Africa (Capetown and Johannesburg), in its quest to provide full-scale cloud capabilities for its customers and partners in Africa. Google plans to tap its private subsea cable, Equiano , which connects Africa and Europe to power the sites. Equiano has been under development since 2019 and has so far made four landings — in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa now joins Google’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide, and the announcement follows the recent preview launch of regions in Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand .

Whistleblow while you work: This startup wants to make it easier to report corporate wrongdoings

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From Edward Snowden’s government surveillance revelations through the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and Twitter’s recent security pitfalls , whistleblowers have been the driving force behind some of the biggest news stories of recent years. But whistleblowing isn’t always about insiders shining a light on shady practices in governments or billion-dollar tech companies. Oftentimes, it’s simply a case of a concerned employee wanting to report unethical or questionable activity at a relatively small scale, and raise their concerns with the right people internally to address issues before they become a public relations disaster. At its core, whistleblowing is a way for anyone directly connected to a public or private body to bring attention to practices they feel contravene some law or code of conduct — no matter how big or small this contravention may be. And it’s against that backdrop that the European Union (EU) is setting out to offer better protections f

Gourmey grabs $48 million to keep working on lab-grown foie gras

French startup Gourmey just raised a Series A funding round led by Earlybird Venture Capital. In total, the company banked $48 million (€48 million). The company has been working on cultivated meat, and more specifically lab-grown foie gras. It is part of a new wave of companies that want to turn cell-cultured meat products into mainstream products. “Most of the financing is equity but also includes a minor portion of non-dilutive funding, specifically from public institutions like Bpifrance,” co-founder and CEO Nicolas Morin-Forest told me. Gourmey isn’t disclosing the valuation of the company. Other investors in today’s round include Keen Venture Partners, Omnes Capital, Discovery, Thia Ventures, Instacart CEO Fidji Simo and some existing investors, such as Heartcore Capital, Point Nine Capital, Air Street Capital, Partech and Beyond Investing. Gourmey matures stem cells in bioreactors with the right nutrients at the right temperature so that it becomes synthetic foie gras or —

IriusRisk lands $29M to automate threat modeling for apps

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IriusRisk , a threat modeling platform, today announced that it raised $29 million in a Series B funding round led by Paladin Capital Group with participation from BrightPixel Capital, SwanLab Venture Factory, 360 Capital and Inveready. In a conversation with TechCrunch, CEO Stephen de Vries said that the proceeds will be put toward growing IriusRisk’s U.S. and Europe, Middle East and Africa sales and marketing teams as the company’s total raised nears $40 million. De Vries, who previously worked at cybersecurity firm Corsaire, KPMG and ISS as a principal security consultant, said he came to the realization that companies were wasting resources performing security testing on software that developers didn’t design with security in mind. If developers could understand the security flaws in their designs by threat modeling — i.e. identifying the types of threats that cause harm to software — it’d reduce the bottleneck caused by security reviews, de Vries theorized. Indeed, threat modeli

Daily Crunch: Blocking VLC player downloads violates Indian law, claims VideoLAN in legal challenge

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here . Good to have you with us again, as the TechCrunch train continues to rumble along the tracks. It’s gonna be a fun and busy week, so let’s dive straight in with the news! — Christine and Haje The TechCrunch Top 3 Last to know : VideoLAN, maker of the popular media player VLC, sent a legal notice to some of India’s ministries alleging that they banned its website without informing the company it was going to do so. Manish has more. “ The next Mark Zuckerberg? ”: Two Stanford dropouts created Fizz, which Amanda describes as “the anonymous, college-only, Reddit-like social app” that helps you stay connected should your alternative pandemic communication options fail you. It’s here, it’s here! : The Google iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets are starting to roll out, enabling users to put widgets on the Lock Screen of their iPhone, Sarah writes. Startups

Egyptian venture capital firm Algebra Ventures hits first close of second fund at $100M

Last April, Egyptian and MENA-focused venture capital firm Algebra Ventures announced the launch of its $90 million second fund . It was the sequel to its first: a $54 million fund invested in 21 startups across Egypt and the Middle East.  While Algebra Ventures predicted it would reach its first close in Q3 2021, the firm had to wait an entire year to achieve that. However, the lag afforded Algebra Ventures enough time to exceed what it initially earmarked for the fund. The firm disclosed in a statement that it has finalized a $100 million first close and expects to reach its final close by the end of Q1 2023.  Since its inception in 2016, Algebra Ventures has backed Egypt’s top startups in various industries. They include names such as Halan, Brimore , Trella , elmenus, Khazna , Yodawy, Mozare3 and Shift EV. In a past interview, managing partners  Tarek Assaad  and  Karim Hussein  told TechCrunch that the firm hopes to back 31 startups from the second fund, which focuses on seed

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