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All posts by Ronan Steyn: Staff Reporter

Ronan Steyn: Staff Reporter
Ronan Steyn has a love for all things technology, with a particular focus on startups, gadgets and games. When not writing the good write, he can be found making films or purveying the latest gadget, game or film. At night he attempts an MA in Screenwriting at UCT. A firm believer that video is the future of the web, he hopes to be at the forefront of online multimedia in Africa.
  • Enabling Writers comp seeks innovative reading software for young kids

    Investing in the youth of a country is investing in that country's future. Educating and developing young minds can help nurture potential leaders and, perhaps more importantly in developing economies, potential job creators. Literacy is one such challenge for the developing world, and in this light The All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) has launched a US$100 000 prize competition called Enabling Writers, which seeks to find technological solutions to improve the reading skills for children in developing countries. Specifically, the technological solutions Enabling Writers seeks are software solutions that "allow authors to easily create and export...

  • SA entrepreneur launches world’s first bitcoin-only betting site: BetVIP

    The Fifa World Cup in Brazil is kicking off in just a couple of days, and launching just in time is a new venture from South African entrepreneur Daniel Schwartzkopff: BetVIP -- the world's first licensed bitcoin-only betting site. BetVIP's aim is not just a timely launch, but a desire to add legitimacy to the young crypto-currency. Supporting more sports than just football, the site accepts wagers, and pays out winners, exclusively in bitcoin -- only accepting bets made in regulated markets. Schwartzkopff stresses that BetVIP is not a PR stunt during the Fifa World Cup but rather a long-term bitcoin...

  • Social is easy: Pocketplan lets you find, book and pay for events in your city

    Entertainment, like transport, is integral to any major city's attractiveness to its citizens and tourists. And while we've seen some truly disruptive (read:Uber) and innovative startups entering the transport sector, entertainment in South Africa and emerging markets, for the most part, has not changed too much in the last few years in terms of event discovery and ticket purchasing. While there are some players facilitating mobile payments for goods at events, event discovery still largely relies on traditional avenues such as nightlife guides and brochures. Enter Pocketplan, a mobile event discovery app founded by ex-Rocket Internet members Martin Mygind and Fabian...

  • EFL uses psychometrics to give entrepreneurs access to bank loans

    One of the greatest challenges for almost every entrepreneur worldwide is access to financing. There's a very logical reason for why this is the case: loans -- at least those from traditional institutions such as banks -- are given out based on a number of metrics such as credit rating, financial records, proof of income, collateral -- basically historical evidence as to whether someone has the ability to pay back a loan. But entrepreneurship, by its very nature -- building a new venture, means that many entrepreneurs around the world, specifically those in developing markets, do not have such records. This leaves...

  • Business Confidence: what world-class accounting solutions mean for SA startups

    Starting a business isn’t an endeavour one takes lightly. Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but turning those ideas into viable businesses that generate revenue isn’t as simple as registering a domain name -- you need more than just a good idea, product or service -- you need the right team (especially in the early days), the right attitude, and, if you’re savvy, the right operational and financial fundamentals. Ideas that become products or services, a strong team and good attitude are pretty self explanatory, and many entrepreneurs don’t miss a step when finding the perfect combination of these pressing startup...

  • India’s Flipkart raises $210 million, investors include Naspers

    Hot off the back of acquiring rival online shopping site Myntra, India's ecommerce leader Flipkart announced that it has raised a new round of funding at US$210 million. Flipkart, which is often referred to as the 'Indian Amazon' saw this round led by DST Global, while other investors included Tiger Global, Iconiq Capital, and South African-based Naspers. Flipkart's acquisition of fashion ecommerce site Myntra was reported to be around the US$300 million mark and it was anticipated that Flipkart would raise more capital. In total, the company has now raised around US$540-560 million in VC funding, all this without being profitable. Flipkart, whose founders...

  • WooThemes hopes security breach, 1 000 fraudulent cases, will make it ‘even stronger’

    Wordpress Theme and Plugin provider, WooThemes, announced last week that it had received reports of fraudulent activities on customers' credit cards. An update to an official blog post on 12 May confirmed that there had been close to 1 000 fraudulent cases reported, but these reports have drastically slowed down. After the attacks were brought to WooThemes' attention, the company set out to determine the origin of the vulnerability. After updating its SSL certificate, requesting a full review by its host and payment gateway, and contacting Sucuri (which handles WooThemes' code and security audit) the company found three modified files...

  • SA consultancy Anthropology launches, aims to create ‘meaningful marketing’

    SA's consumer marketing space just got a little more competitive. A new consultancy with a focus on direct marketing is on the block -- Anthropology -- founded by Melody Maker and Katherine McChesney, who together bring to the table over 20 years of experience in the digital industry. Based in Cape Town, Anthropology hopes to differentiate itself from the pack by creating consumer marketing initiatives that uses big data in real-time, thanks to a proprietary software that can be applied to an overarching digital strategy or a direct marketing campaign. McChesney stresses that Anthropology will look at each client "objectively and...

  • Nomanini takes its mobile prepaid POS device to Mozambique

    Nomanini, the electronic voucher distribution platform, has announced the expansion of its Southern Africa operations thanks to a new partnership with a distributor of mobile prepaid in Mozambique. The move continues the company's mission to faciliate cash-based transactions in informal markets and "fostering inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked majority," which the company has achieved thanks to its small orange POS device (green in Mozambique) that can facilitate a range of prepaid transactions from distributing airtime to taking mobile money. "Nomanini is pleased with the validation of our platform as a general payment platform applicable in multiple countries," notes Chief Commercial...

  • Alibaba to acquire digital mapping platform AutoNavi for $1.5 billion

    Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce giant which is currently working on a US IPO, has acquired AutoNavi, one of the leading providers of 'digital map content and navigation solutions in China' for a reported US$1.5-billion. The move will give Alibaba full access to AutoNavi's platform -- or the tech thereof -- that provides users with a range of location-based services, including B2B and B2C, such as peer customer reviews of shops and restaurants. According to AutoNavi's co-founder and CEO since October 2009, Congwu Chenge, the move will "maximize value for AutoNavi's shareholders." Upon completion of the acquisition, AutoNavi's shareholders will receive US$5.25 in...