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Startup news

  • Instant messenger 2go is targeting smartphones, hedging its bets, hiring

    Ventureburn recently reported on 2go, the instant messaging startup that was seeing significant traction in Nigeria. The company attributed much of its success -- 10 million active users compared to an estimated five million on Facebook -- to its feature phone focus. It might be surprising then, to learn that the company will be expanding to smartphones. With that, 2go is also growing its team of software developers and support staff. The instant messaging service is currently pushing 6 billion messages a month, mostly on lower-end feature phones in Nigeria and South Africa. “Feature phones have been an incredibly successful...

  • Nokia and the Kenyan government team up to fund mobile startups

    Finnish mobile phone-maker Nokia has partnered with the government of Kenya through the Kenya ICT Board to work towards ensuring tech startups specialising in agricultural, health and educational apps benefit from technical and financial support. During the two-year partnership, Nokia will fund the startups as well as provide technical expertise, while the Kenya ICT board will be in charge of the coordination of the activities. Speaking during the signing of the partnership, Jussi Hinkkanen, Nokia Vice President for corporate relations in charge of Middle East and Africa, said: “Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and to...

  • Valuation startup wins Tech4Africa’s Ignite competition

    ValuationUP has won the top spot at Tech4Africa's ignite startup competition. The competition is part of the annual conference that looks at tech innovation in Africa. The company allows businesses owners to learn what drives the performance of the business they are buying, growing, selling or advising. ValuationUP benchmarks the financial performance of companies to see if they can take a knock, what it's currently worth and if it will be around next year. The market for this product is truly global if VU can adapt their model for different industries, currencies and influencers. The aim of the ignite competition is...

  • GoMetro and iROKING partner to bring free music to SA commuters

    Man, mobi.lity is on a roll. First, the startup's GoMetro service got picked up as the official traveller information system of commuter rail agency, Metrorail, and later became one of the four finalists selected for IBM's SmartCamp programme. Today, the service announced its rollout in Gauteng and a partnership with iROKO Partners, the world’s largest online distributor of African music & movies. Not bad for a service launched in September this year. The GoMetro mobile site provides commuters with real-time train schedules, timetable deviations, schedule changes and platform changes. In addition to this, as of 31 October 2012, GoMetro...

  • Naspers snaps up online photography retailer SAcamera

    Emerging markets internet and media giant Naspers has snapped up SAcamera, an independent online retailer that sells cameras and photographic equipment. According to Bandwidth Blog, the outfit will be absorbed into Kalahari -- one of South Africa's largest online stores. SAcamera will however reportedly retain its own identity within Kalahari. “The appetite for online retailing in South Africa, and for quality products backed up by efficient service at the right price, has...

  • Internet startups in South Africa: some home truths

    Founders of South African startups are overwhelmingly white and male. And, for all the rumpus around the lack of access to VC in the country, the majority of new ventures do not seem to be actively pursuing funding. Furthermore, turnovers seem to be R1-million or less and emerge mainly from founders with tertiary educations and stable incomes -- either while being an employee at a company, or as an existing business owner. If startups are to be the solution to South Africa's economic woes, the importance of education is clear or at the very least, there has to be an...

  • With CellSchool Mxit flexes its muscles as an online teaching platform

    Despite the recent turmoil at Mxit, it's good to see the instant messaging service continuing to attract interest from companies involved in South Africa's education sector. A free revision series designed to help this year’s Matrics ace their exams, has been developed on the Mxit platform. ‘CellSchool’, created by the EISH-Team in partnership with the Digital Media and Marketing Agency (DMMA), consists of short video lessons for six key subjects that guide Grade...

  • Journey: an astoundingly smart solution for building data-gathering mobile apps

    In 2009, four guys based out of a dorm room in Stellenbosch started working on something quite extraordinary. It’s called Journey and it’s a bold new approach to building data-gathering mobile apps. Blasting off today, Journey straddles a line somewhere between a low-level mobile platform and traditional "form builder". It hopes to resonate with businesses and NGOs that are looking to digitise or improve data capturing elements in their workflows, especially paper-based ones. Philip Joubert, co-founder of the company behind Journey, Embark Mobile, believes the best way for businesses to capture data for their internally facing processes, is through mobile...

  • Google for Entrepreneurs: a boon for emerging market startups

    Google reckons there are about 400 million entrepreneurs out there in the world and it wants to see that number increase. The search giant recently celebrated its 14th birthday by launching Google for Entrepreneurs, a hub for its several dozen programmes and partnerships that support startups and entrepreneurs. The initiative that aims to boost entrepreneurial activities within local communities has projects running in 30 countries around the world including those in emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and Brazil. Google also supports Startup Weekend, the 54 hour weekend incubators...

  • 5 Ghanaian startups recognised at inaugural TopApps Awards

    Ghana, a strong West African tech startup region, played host to the first ever TopApps Awards ceremony, held in Accra last week. The ceremony recognised leading web and mobile applications in 10 categories and were decided through a mix of public voting and deliberation by judges. Of the 65 nominees, MEST incubator startup Dropifi walked away as overall winners, followed by 233Law, winner of two categories. Dropifi The team behind Dropifi are re-imagining one of the web’s oldest and most resolute elements, the “Contact us” form. The Dropifi solution consists of a website plug-in, optional QR code (for print-outs) and an analytics tool....