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Startup news

  • Rocket Internet backed Namshi receives $13M in funding

    Things are looking good for Rocket Internet companies. Namshi, a Middle East-based online fashion store from the German Incubator, has secured funding to the tune of US$13-million from growth equity firm Summit Partners. The online store, which launched in 2012, follows the same template as most of the company's fashion outlets, including South Africa's Zando and Zalando in Germany. The Middle East iteration is touted as the "fastest-growing" online store for fashion and lifestyle and serves customers in six countries: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. According to Namshi it offers more than 550 footwear and...

  • Africa 2.0: a startup event hoping to take Africa to the next level

    It's obvious that Africa really is pushing an entrepreneurial agenda at the moment. Africa 2.0 is an entrepreneurship competition aimed at bringing together startups in a workshop format following the Startup Weekend model. Africa 2.0 is a Pan-African organisation made up of more than 300 people from Africa and the Diaspora. According to the collective, it shares a vision for Africa and "a commitment to finding and implementing sustainable solutions capable of leapfrogging the development of the continent". Startups pitch before a room of mentors, judges and other startups and 10 startups get selected to go through to the...

  • Net Prophet wants to help take startups from mind to market

    Net Prophet is an annual gathering of 2 000+ geeks, and one of the bigger tech conferences on the South African calendar. For a couple of years now, it's hosted a startup workshop as an offshoot of the conference and it's looking for entrepreneurs keen to take part in this year's edition. The workshop, which is limited to participants from 10 startups, will see the startups cover a number of topics which,...

  • Rocket Internet’s Foodpanda receives $20-million worth of funding

    The online food delivery space is heating and Rocket Internet's latest pride and joy Foodpanda looks to be leading the way. The Berlin-based online food delivery platform has just landed "more than US$20-million" funding from a group of investors including Investment AB Kinnevik and Phenomen Ventures. According to the company this new round of funding will help it move forward in its current global expansion plans. Focusing on emerging market countries, Foodpanda currently operates together with affiliate brand Hellofood in 27 countries on four continents and reaches about three billion people worldwide. In the last few months, Foodpanda and...

  • BRCK: Ushahidi’s Kickstarter project designed to fix Africa’s internet issues

    Leave it to the Kenyans to figure out a way to connect to the internet no matter where you are and without electricity. Currently attempting to raise a whooping US$125 000 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, BRCK is an Ushahidi initiative that hopes to solve internet connectivity issues in remote areas. The device is "the easiest, most reliable way to connect to the internet, anywhere in the world, even when you don’t have electricity," says open source information and mapping company Ushahidi. According to the team, the gadget, which could be described as mobile router, works as a backup generator for...

  • 5 small-town SA tech entrepreneurs sign deals with international investors

    In March this year we reported that a group of SA tech entrepreneurs from small-town South Africa, were set to take a trip to the UK with the hope of signing deals with international investors. The organisation behind the programme, MEDO (Micro Enterprise Development organisation) reports that five of the 11 small businesses represented on its current programme signed deals or partnerships with stakeholders in the UK and Europe. MEDO says that the remaining six created networks with potential partners, with a long-term view for exponential business growth. “We had more successes than we were expecting,” says Judi Sandrock, CEO...

  • Location startup Waytag shortlisted for Global BlackBerry Achievement Awards

    The Waytag location naming and sharing app for BlackBerry 10 is a finalist in this year's BlackBerry Achievement Awards in the Mobile Innovation of the Year category. Waytag is one of 15 apps selected as a finalist. Winners will be announced at BlackBerry Live in May. Waytag, active in the fast-growing mobile markets of South Africa and Nigeria, enables users to more easily find businesses and people in areas that do not have...

  • iROKO-partnered gaming company Kuluya now valued at $2M

    Hot off the back of its website redesign, online Nigerian gaming company Kuluya has raised another small seed-stage investment valuing the company at US$2-million. Users can now place bets, challenge other players to a game, and make money through competitive cash games. This redesign shifts the website from an advertising play to a hybrid commerce platform. Kunle Ogungbamila, Head of Kuluya says: “Without a doubt, we have the best team of designers and animators in the country, who have grown the company to a $2M valuation in six months. Our goal is to become one of the most successful media companies...

  • With $150k backing PromiseUP aims to rid the world of broken promises

    PromiseUP, a free app that tracks and incentivises the promises we make, launched this week on iOS. The goal of the app is to use social gamification to rid the world of broken (or forgotten) promises and ultimately improve the relationships in our lives. The idea is to make us accountable for the things we say we'll do, and when we'll do them. Each promise is custom-made, with a simple and intuitive UI. A wager is placed on that promise (with the app's own virtual currency, $UP), and a time-limit set. After the time-limit expires, PromiseUP will ask the necessary...

  • ‘Seed Engine experience has been crazy, busy’ says accelerator finalists

    Seed Engine, the early stage venture accelerator, recently announced the first six startups that will receive R100 000 startup capital as part of its acceleration programme. The funding goes toward helping the startups convert their ideas into practical business plans. In May, the startups hope to raise between R200 000 and R2-million in additional funding at a showcase event with investor attendance. So, what has the inaugural Seed Engine experience been like? We've been given four videos of Seed Engine finalists talking about their ventures, and their journey as part of an accelerator. The consensus appears to be that the...