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Startup news

  • Prominent SA startup FireID hits the skids

    FireID, a Stellenbosch-based startup specialising in mobile authentication, will probably be forced to close its doors or dramatically downscale after news that its main investor has pulled its funding. The main source of funding was via the Luxembourg-based Reinet Fund S.C.A., run by billionaire Johann Rupert, who invested in the company through Cape Town VC 4DiCapital. The company employs just under 40 people. Justin Stanford, who runs 4DiCapital, told Memeburn on Wednesday night that Reinet's refusal to renew the funding "came as a surprise". "It's been an emotional day... We were confident of a renewal due to FireID's revenue," he said. Stanford...

  • Groupon moves into South Africa, India, Israel via new acquisitions

    Groupon, the famous collective online buying phenomenon, has announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisitions of similar daily-deal sites in those countries, namely SoSasta, Grouper, and Twangoo. Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates discounts with businesses and shares them with subscribers via free daily emails. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share...

  • Mobilitate: A social media platform that takes on government

    Social media has become the proverbial soap-box for causes, issues and many things that need a voice. Social media campaigns spear-headed by individuals often lose momentum because they fail to mobilise people. The power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs lie in the fact that they empower individuals to publish, influence and make a cause known. But that's the ideal world. The reality is that the impact most individuals can make on a regular basis is limited, fragmented and not coordinated. Enter Mobilitate -- a platform that allows an individual to coordinate a response using various social media tools to...

  • TrustFabric: One startup’s solution to call centre hell

    Pretty much everyone hates calling a call centre. They keep you on hold perpetually and when you finally get past the annoying repetition of bad eighties music and speak to a human being they have no idea how to help. So begins the "departmental bounce" and after you run the gauntlet of incompetence, running up a colossal phone bill, the call is ended without any real help being delivered. The days of the call centre gauntlet are apparently over according to a new Cape Town-based startup TrustFabric.com. The company claims to offer a service to individuals and businesses to...

  • 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...

  • CrowdFlower: Providing a global 24-hour workforce

    Labour-on-demand startup CrowdFlower envisions future workplaces without stifling offices and unyielding daily schedules. The San Francisco firm has taken another step in that direction with the launch of a Business Listing Verification service that lets people, ranging from stay-at-home moms to refugee camp dwellers, cash in on idle moments. The service essentially parses and distributes to many hands the daunting task of checking to make sure each business contact in a colossal database...

  • SA startup selected as one of Techcrunch’s ‘Best New Startups’

    The TechCrunch Europas, the European Startup Awards for tech companies, has listed Cognician, a South African technology startup, as one of the top 11 Best New Startup's in 2010. The Europas serve to honour the best technology companies and startups across the web and mobile space. The awards span 22 categories and recognise and celebrate the most compelling technology startups, internet and mobile innovations of the past year. Cognician, the original thought processor that...

  • Evly.com: The art of outsourcing crowdsourcing

    Evly.com claims to be the "world's first crowdsourcing social network" and launches next Monday with the goal of bringing users together to "solve new challenges". The site is the brainchild of the team who developed Springleap, a Cape Town-based T-shirt design crowdsourcing company, based on threadless.com, which has carved out a remarkable niche on the web. Crowdsourcing is the method of sourcing a solution from a crowd, community or social network as opposed to a single contractor with the understanding that the wisdom of the crowd is greater than the wisdom of the individual. As an example South African snack-food...

  • iSigned.com: A new age of digital storage

    Storing a document to last for a long period of time in one physical location is not only difficult, but risky as well. Secure digital file storage is also problematic, with risks of lost external drives, corrupt hard-drives, missing discs amongst the many potential problems. The easier and supposedly safer option is cloud storage, which involves storing the document on a network online for easy, secure access from anywhere. iSigned.com, launched in July 2010, is an online file storage platform that offers secure, permanent storage for legal records and other important documents with the aim of "helping individuals and...

  • Startup GetAGreatBoss fills a gap in the recruitment process

    The dearth of systems to rate and recognise great bosses prompted Gavin Symanowitz to create GetAGreatBoss.com, a rating system that helps job seekers to identify companies that have exceptional leaders. Symanowitz launched the startup in 2009 from Johannesburg with the belief that "people join companies, but they leave bosses." The site is not a recruitment portal itself, but rather targets six different groups of people that work in the recruitment field: Career-seekers looking for great bosses, recruiters, online job portals, HR professionals, executive coaches and great bosses themselves. According to a Gallup Organisation survey of one million people, ''what...

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