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Startup news

  • Blink Tower: Making money by explaining ideas

    If a picture says a thousand words then, some may argue, a video packs in a million. In the internet age, concentration spans are increasingly shrinking. An effective message makes a point and keeps attention. The fact that there are arguments that social media may be causing attention deficit disorder is perhaps enough to underlie the issue. Enter Blink Tower, which believes it has a solution. Its founders, including Skyrove's Henk Kleynhans say they turn ideas into simple videos which "even your grandmother can understand". The company simply titles its videos "explainers", a term which came up frequently during an...

  • Hummba: Virtual guides anywhere, anytime

    An online audio and text guide shop may not be the most innovative idea, but having content easily available on mobile application anywhere in the world may just beat having a tour guide. If anything, according to its founder, it eliminates the need for one. This seems to be the thinking behind Hummba.com, a company planning to afford the resources of a personal tour guide to any user anywhere in the world....

  • Create your own mobile application for your company

    It's self-evident that most organisations have already rolled out their own email and personal information software (PIM) to their workforces. Are internal apps, however, the next step in productivity and mobility? One Johannesburg startup believes this trend is already underway, paving an opening for mobile to step into the next phase. Device Magic’s product Mobile Forms follows in the wake of the company’s launch at the beginning of the year. The...

  • Startups to ‘Ignite’ Tech4Africa 2011

    Tech4Africa, one of the continent’s most prominent web and emerging technology conferences, has launched an initiative called Ignite, which will provide leading African startups with the opportunity to pitch their products to a carefully curated panel of Angel investors, mentors and business leaders. Startups selected to partake in the Tech4africa Ignite pitches will be given five minutes to showcase their products, with the opportunity to gain not only potential investors but also invaluable exposure to the wider Tech4Africa audience of thought leaders, decision makers, journalists, influential people and potential recruits. From the initial applications, a select group of the most...

  • Lessfuss and the Virtual PA — A workable concept?

    Few of us would turn down the use of a personal concierge service. With the rise in busy lifestyles and the need to still get the more mundane tasks of everyday life sorted, one online startup reckons it has a solution. Cape Town-based Lessfuss is an online personal assistance service for busy people who can’t afford or don’t need a full-time PA. This is according to Marije Pierson, one of the company’s...

  • Ra.ise a to.ast with some Bre.ad

    URL shorteners have become ubiquitous to social networking, especially with the sharing of links across Twitter. Bit.ly, Cli.gs, Goo.gl and many others offer an easy and painless way for you to shorten your URL within the 140 character constraint of Twitter. Most of these URL shortening services offer a simple analytics dashboard which is useful for tracking and analysing the number of times people shared your links or clicked on them. But a little known service called Bre.ad is gaining in popularity. What is Bre.ad? from Bre.ad on Vimeo. Bre.ad, which has only five employees and backers that include Lady Gaga's manager, has decided...

  • Myows: managing your copyright online

    Creative people are generally not well known for being legally switched on. But the challenges of protecting original work in the digital age means bloggers, freelance writers, photographers and web designers should all be prepared to interact with the law to protect their intellectual efforts -- and their businesses. Luckily, the concept of copyright is pretty straightforward: as soon as a work is created in a tangible form – be it on paper, film, online or in sound – it is eligible for copyright. It is automatic and, unlike patents or trademarks, official registration is not required. If, however, there is...

  • Visa snaps up SA mobile financial services company Fundamo for $110m

    Visa, the world's largest credit and debit card network, has snapped up South African mobile financial services company Fundamo for $110-million in cash. The Cape Town-based Fundamo is a privately-held company which has more than 50 active mobile financial services deployments across 40 countries, including 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The company has been operating since 1999 and has a number of funders which include Cape Town venture capitalists and emerging market investment group PoweredByVC, investment company Remgro and financial services corporate Sanlam. PoweredByVC is also linked to dot.com billionaire Mark Shuttleworth. Fundamo’s deployments currently have...

  • Uconomy: The business of customer loyalty

    Customer loyalty is a problem for new businesses and one startup believes it may have found the solution through a mobile application service. Uconomy, a Cape Town-based company, claims it offers an integrated m-marketing and mobile loyalty option to the SMME and consumer market. Considering the importance of loyalty amongst the world’s large companies, the claim is worth considering. Henry Land and Florian Lucke, the founders of Uconomy, are targeting companies ranging from township entrepreneurs right through to established medium-sized businesses in the formal sector with their service. It’s part of the company’s effort to capitalise on the success of traditional...

  • GetGlue brings social check-ins to media and entertainment

    People like to be rewarded for things they would probably do anyway. Hence it stands to reason that sooner or later someone would capitalise on this. And that is what entertainment check-in network GetGlue did -- by offering real and virtual incentives for consuming media online. GetGlue, founded in 2009 by New York City entrepreneur Alex Iskold, has pioneered the media check-in space, piggybacking on the Foursquare phenomenon with more than one million users earning stickers and discounts as they watch, read and listen. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla have come a long way offering virtual “badges” to complement the...