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  • Village Telco: Addressing the issue of rural connectivity

    In the words of African telecommunications expert Steve Song, Village Telco is "an easy-to-use, scalable, standards-based, wireless, local, do-it-yourself, telephone company toolkit". He’s just put out a new video making it very clear just how useful this system is. The team over at Blinktower has done an exceptional job of creating a short, concise and eminently understandable video of what Village Telco is. The Village Often, we get caught up in our high tech wizardry and get overly excited about the newest Android app or the best new web app built in African Megalopolis #5. And by “we”, I mean “I”, since...

  • Kenya’s astonishing internet growth: Six key trends to watch

    For many years, Kenya was known as fertile ground for agriculture, but increasingly it's becoming known as a place where technology companies can grow and flourish. Many new technology players from across Africa have chosen Kenya as a base to serve their East African interests, to expand and launch new products and services into this dynamic regional economy. 1. Online classifieds MIH Internet Africa and the Bid or Buy group are both set to go head-to-head for the classifieds market in Kenya, and in other emerging African markets across the continent. After the launch of its mobile directory business, Mocality, MIH...

  • Kenyan startups jump on the ‘Groupon’ bandwagon

    Groupon has been a massive success in the United States. It’s a deal-of-the-day site, with projected revenue of US$500m in just it’s second year of operations. It uses the framework of "collective buying", which means that if enough people sign up for a particular deal, then it’s on. If not enough people sign up, then the deal is off and everyone walks away. Revenue is shared per deal, which means that Groupon only wins if the company doing the deal wins. Of course, this framework has caught the attention of savvy business people in Africa. Rupu Rupu is a similar site...

  • Nigeria’s rapidly growing online job search market

    When you start talking about online employment sites, you're likely to mention global behemoths such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, both originating from the United States. Or perhaps you think about the UK's Reed.co.uk or India's Naukri.com. But with the success of these online career sites as an example, Nigerian entrepreneurs are finally keying into the online job search market. Today there are probably over 100 online job sites in Nigeria, all offering to match employers and employees, but with different business models and technical functionality. Some of the most popular online job sites in Nigeria include Jobberman.com, CareersNigeria.com (which I...

  • Kenyan startup proposes solution to modern-era information overload

    In an age of information abundance, curating meaning is key. Nine months ago that is just what Jon Gosier set out to do as he took over the reins of the SwiftRiver initiative at renown crowd-sourcing activism site, Ushahidi. Recently he announced the Beta release, and unveiled a new website at Swiftly.org. What is SwiftRiver? SwiftRiver Open Beta Announcement. from Ushahidi on Vimeo. “SwiftRiver is an open source intelligence gathering platform for managing realtime...

  • Kenya’s mobile money innovation boom

    Kenya is quickly gaining a competitive advantage in the mobile payments space. Led by mobile operator giant Safaricom with their Mpesa product, the market locally sees huge value in mobile money transactions. Add to that a regulatory system that is relaxed enough for innovation to be encouraged, and you have a great space for interesting things to happen. Pay.Zunguka The team at Symbiotic always have more than one iron in the fire. I was...

  • 20 Kenyan web and tech innovations worth watching

    Kenya is abuzz right now. The outlook for technology and innovation in Africa has never been brighter, and Kenya is positioning itself strategically in anticipation of a wave of groundbreaking web and mobile emerging market products and services. The resources being put into the Kenyan IT sector currently demonstrate how seriously the country is taking the challenge to become Africa’s Innovation hub. The Kenyan Government, through its ICT Board,  recently closed the window for proposals for its $4-million grant towards local content and software applications using mobile and/or the web. This was a concerted effort by the government to meet its mandate to make...

  • Mocality aims to be ‘largest’ mobile business directory in Africa

    If you’re in downtown Nairobi before the 4th of August, be sure to pop in to the Barber Q Hair Studio and get yourself a free head massage. The studio is on the 2nd Floor of El-Roi Plaza, close to the Odeon Cinema. This is just one example of the thousands of snippets of information that are at the heart of Mocality, a free-to-list, hyper-local mobile business directory in Nairobi, Kenya. Mocality offers a free business suite of tools to all listed businesses, such as the ability to upload customer mobile numbers into the Mocality platform, a free mobile website...

  • Are classified sites in Africa profitable?

    You’ve probably heard of these very popular online classified sites, Craigslist and Gumtree. Both sites offer buyers and sellers an opportunity to engage in a free and open market. With the success of these sites in their respective countries and beyond, African entrepreneurs are keying into the online classifieds market. Today, there are probably more than 20 classified sites in Nigeria alone that offer the same service, but with different business models and technical functionality. Some of the popular niche classifieds sites include Nairalist.com, Txtoweb.com, Chukslist.com, Gbogbo.com, Bunchbay.com, Kerawa.com Nigeria, and WhoGoBuy.com. In addition, other Nigerian websites also offer online classified...