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Pindrop Raises $90m for Global Expansion

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Pindrop Raises $90m for Global Expansion

Leading voice security and authentication company, Pindrop, has closed a $90 million in Series D funding package led by Vitruvian Partners, which would be used to propel its global expansion ambition.

Apart from Vitruvian Partners, others involved in the fundraising are Allegion Ventures, Cross Creek, Dimension Data, Singapore-based EDBI, and Goldman Sachs.

They will join existing investors like CapitalG, IVP, Andreessen Horowitz, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Citi Ventures to take the firm to the next level.

“Our broad range of investors collectively view Pindrop as the established industry leader for securing the future of voice as it moves beyond the voice channel and towards voice-enabled devices,” said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, Co-Founder, CEO and CTO of Pindrop. “This investment enables us to quickly boost our advancements in consumer IoT and voice technology while also continuing to strengthen our market leading solutions for anti-fraud and authentication solutions for the global enterprise.”

Pindrop is leading the way towards a future of secure, trusted, and convenient voice interactions. In doing so, the company has built the leading technology in voice biometrics security. Through expanding market penetration, Pindrop will build additional products and continue to develop partnerships with global channels, telecommunications leaders, and consumer IoT organizations.

Pindrop’s latest investment round — led by London headquartered Vitruvian Partners, one of the largest growth capital investment funds in Europe — signals the company’s intentions to establish stronger regional presences in the UK and European markets.

“One of our key goals is to help leading high-growth companies like Pindrop grow in Europe and internationally,” said David Nahama, Senior Partner at Vitruvian Partners. “We are confident that Pindrop is poised for massive expansion given the company’s depth of engineering expertise, pioneering efforts in machine learning technology and patent portfolio.”

EDBI, a global technology investor, also joined the round to drive Pindrop’s progress in Asian markets. With EDBI’s APJ network, Pindrop is now able to expand its go to market capabilities globally and serve a worldwide customer base.

Dimension Data, a major global technology integrator and managed services subsidiary of Japan’s NTT Group, is an investor in this round and will partner with Pindrop to leverage their world-wide systems integrator and value added reseller network. Through Dimension Data’s vast expertise delivering integrated solutions to a global customer base, this partnership will significantly accelerate and scale Pindrop’s go to market strategy across the global enterprise.

The new infusion of capital will also serve to advance Pindrop’s evolution towards providing security and identity solutions for voice-assisted smart devices ranging from Google Home to smart locks to connected cars. Pindrop’s deep roots in securing the call center enables the company to apply its advanced deep learning technology to make voice a trusted form of biometric authentication for voice-enabled devices.

Pindrop will be working with Allegion Ventures, a corporate venture fund of global security products and solutions provider Allegion plc, a strategic investor in the company’s latest financing. Allegion Ventures believes Pindrop’s proprietary technology can bridge a gap between physical and digital security.

“Voice-enabled interfaces are expanding how consumers interact with IoT devices in their everyday lives – as well as IoT manufacturers’ ability to offer smarter and stronger solutions,” said Allegion Ventures President Rob Martens. “We’re excited about the future of voice technology and see Pindrop as a pioneer in the space. We look forward to working with Vijay and his team to accelerate the adoption of voice technology into new markets.” Pindrop and Verizon Enterprise Solutions announced a new integrated solution offering authentication and anti-fraud protection for enterprise call centers on its network just last month. The Verizon VoIP Inbound Anti-Fraud and Authentication service is the first solution on the market to integrate voice and multi-factor authentications, enabling businesses to quickly and cost effectively verify the identity of inbound callers while simplifying the consumer self-service experience.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France

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Binance

By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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Economy

We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat

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Seplat

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%

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killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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