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All posts by Mich Atagana

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then decided that law might be the best place for her talents, but with too many litigation classes missed in favour of feminist prose, that too had to end. Like all true dreamers, writing was the backup plan. Today she lives out her backup like a it was the only plan. She is likely to be found in front of a startup asking them what their business plan is. She has been attempting a PhD for a while now...
  • How do you infiltrate the startup ecosystem in Africa?

    The question posed by the headline makes Africa's VC (Venture Capitalist) ecosystem seem like the mafia, where your cousin Vinny has to introduce you to the godfather and you have to get through a series of tests to get into the inner circle of this elite group. In some ways, it pretty much is like that, or at least that's what it will have you believe. I have been asked this question many times and it wasn't until I took a small hiatus from the ecosystem that I realised the answer wasn't so easy. When I used to get...

  • Making millionaires: the developers who won big in Gyft’s Silicon Valley exit

    "Gyft was mostly built out of Cape Town," Vinny Lingham told the audience at a recent Silicon Cape event where a big funding announcement was made. The announcement was hailed as the financial commitment that would change everything for the Western Cape's startup ecosystem. But the ecosystem is already changing. It began changing when the early stage employees of Gyft found out about the startup's exit worth more than US$50-million. Why? Because the developers based in Cape Town were given share options in the company. Five out of eight of Gyft's developers are South African and are all founding members of...

  • Silicon Cape gets over R3m in funding from FNB, big changes to come

    South African-based entrepreneurial initiative Silicon Cape has just announced that it has received more than R3-million worth of funding from First National Bank (FNB). This announcement certainly means big things for the initiative and the ecosystem as a whole. Founded in 2009 by Venture Capitalist Justin Stanford and entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, the Silicon Cape has been running as support structure and galvaniser for the tech ecosystem in Cape Town. "We have had a longterm relationship with FNB," says Alex Fraser the outgoing chair of the Silicon Cape. "They funded our first big event. FNB has seen the value of what we...

  • An article and a bootcamp: the makings of a Nigerian-women-in-tech movement?

    This is interesting. Last week an article on Webtrends.ng asked if you could hire a female developer in your company. The piece, based on nothing more than the author's thought process, argued that women are not as dedicated as men would be in the world of coding. That's his opinion, and he is entitled to it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's unfounded and kinda rude. The author reckons women aren't willing to do what it takes or commit and sacrifice their time. His argument goes something like this: "However a whole of sacrifice go into becoming a good...

  • What startups may come: a look at Silicon Savannah in Kenya

    "How would you like to pay?", a cashier at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport asks me. "M-Pesa or cash?" she continues as I try to gather my thoughts. And then it hits me -- this is Kenya, where mobile payment works and is everywhere. This is Africa's hub of innovation. The technology ecosystem here works and unlike Nigeria, the fragments are better held together. So I have decided to spend some time getting to know the ecosystem and the startups and components that make it tick. Welcome to the world of startups Nairobi is quite something, from the airport to the city...

  • Uber is bringing its enterprise-like offering to Africa, meet Uber for Business

    Uber is shaking things up with its latest offering Uber for Business. The enterprise space is hotly contested right now and everyone's favourite private driver is digging in for its share. According to the service, it wants to assist businesses with very mobile employees. How? By assisting business travelers to "move with ease and get where they need to go". The new enterprise offering was launched earlier this year in parts of North America and Europe. Uber says that since the launch it has seen "Uber for Business" trips take place in more than 120 cities across 35...

  • Grim start to Dragons’ Den SA: six pitches, one investment

    Okay South Africa, Dragons' Den is here. "In the Den, sometimes dreams are made and sometimes hopes are dashed," said show host Xolani Gwala as he introduced the audience to the first episode of SA's version of the popular UK pitching show. The rules of the Den are simple: entrepreneurs have three minutes to pitch and the Dragons interrogate them. They have to get the full amount requested or leave empty handed. Tough crowd, no? We have already met the Dragons and we have told you why entering the show is at your own peril. But with these pieces, which...

  • Disrupt everything: 11 exciting Kenyan startups worth your time right now

    We love Kenya. So much so that we recently headed to the East African country for some fun times with startups. Ahead of the trip, we thought we would list some noteworthy startups. How do you pick 11 great startups to write about? You reach out to the community. And the community delivered. By no means is this the definite list of Kenyan startups, but these are ones our community loves. Kenya has long been at the forefront of tech innovation in Africa and we are excited to get more involved in that community, so please tell us which startups you...

  • 22seven now officially free for everyone

    Yup, you heard right. Money management platform 22seven is now free, according to an email from founder Christo Davel. The move to take the platform free will start today. "We’ll no longer charge a subscription fee for the current service," the email to users reads. The platform has been slowly moving toward making the service free since its inception. Previously users were charged R70 a month to access its money management system but this was later reduced to R25. "We’re doing this because we have great plans," Davel adds in the mail. According to Davel, 22seven is great at helping people manage their...

  • CcHub Nigeria launches $500K seed funding for its pre-incubation startups

    Nigeria's Co-creation Hub (ccHub) is kicking things up for the next two years with the launch of a US$500 000 seed fund to support early stage startups. Located in Lagos' up-and-coming tech neighbourhood, ccHub is a social innovation centre dedicated to providing a space and accelerating tech startups. "We leverage a community of progressives -- software developers, organizations, government officials, businesses, academics who bring their creativity and knowledge into play in crafting novel ways to address the myriads of social and economic challenges that impact the lives of Nigerians every day," says the hub. This new fund will be disrupted...