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Startups

  • Pitch Day 237 selects 4 startups for second leg of Activation Bootcamp

    The second leg of  Pitch Day 237, organised by the African Centre for Technology, Innovation and Ventures Spaces (ActivSpaces) alongside Cameroon Angels Network (CAN), has come to an end. ActivSpaces is a tech hub which aims to progress the state of technology in Cameroon through an intense six-month incubator programme called the Activation Bootcamp. CAN is the first angel investor network within the country which seeks to invest in all sectors and industries who have an interest in technology. The event saw 12 startups pitch to startup investors for seed capital, eventually being whittled down to four: Kemi Store  - An online store that lets...

  • The Solaris initiative: locally sustainable biofuel for jets

    Human nature is to progress, to continually improve on existing structures. Project Solaris is an example of that nature. A joint initiative started by Sunchem SA and SkyNRG, it's already making progress in the world of biofuel. Two years ago, Sunchem SA and SkyNRG launched the project in Limpopo with the aim to roll it out on a wide scale and be the go-to for locally sustainable jet biofuel production. Today, they've achieved that goal. "The Solaris crop yields about 2.5 MT ton (sic) of oil per hectare. This is significantly more than traditional oil crops," said Solaris' Project Manager Samantha Hampton in...

  • Siyavula, the edtech startup enabling learners through feature phones [updated]

    Update: Facts and quotes have been amended. Our apologies to Mark Horner and Siyavula for the errors. Education has been preached about as the way to a better life, "get good grades, go to a good school, then off to a better university where you'll get a degree and make lots of money". In our country, it's especially hard to follow that path. According to the 2014 education statistics, 28.3% of learners who passed their matric exam only qualified for a Bachelor's programme, 31.3% qualified for a Diploma programme and 16.1% qualified for a Higher Certificate programme. These stats prove why more...

  • A startup wants to solve India’s farmer problems with data and tech

    My family has owned a farm for years and we’ve always made our money growing and selling vegetables, but things have been changing. To sustain ourselves, we now need to sell to people in cities – customers whose faces we’ve never seen and are only talked about by the men who arrive once a week in big trucks to sift through our vegetables and throw half of them away. Some give us reasons – the eggplants we grow aren’t worth anything because they’re not popular this year, or less lumpy potatoes have become the fad – how would we know...

  • Looking for startup office space? Coworking SA can help you

    The popularity of coworking spaces in SA has soared in recent years as they offer an alternative to working from home or an office block. For entrepreneurs, these facilities also mean affordable places to run their business from, and access to almost anything they need for operations. As Philip Joubert of OfferZen discovered, many of these places aren't comprehensive enough in their online listings. In December, both Philip and his brother, Malan, were sharing an apartment, which acted as the base of operations for OfferZen. The two were sleeping on the floor and needed to roll up their beds before staff...

  • Meet Asia’s first accelerator for AI startups, founded by a Techstars London director

    There's a new startup accelerator in Hong Kong called Zeroth.ai, and it's accepting applications from artificial intelligence startups throughout Asia. It's started by Tak Lo, who was a director at Techstars London. Techstars is one of the pioneers of the startup accelerator movement. The accelerator has on its team Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn and Jon Bradford, the former managing director of Techstars London. Zeroth will offer mentorship and US$20,000 in capital to startups for 6 percent equity. The first program will be run from November 7 this year to February 17, 2017. The accelerator is named after zero-based numbering, which is basically...

  • What we learnt from Snapscan at MTN’s app breakfast

    MTN Business's App of the Year awards is a pretty noteworthy event in the tech industry, featuring quite a few notable representatives. To encourage entries (and for networking), the company held a breakfast event, featuring a rather interesting speaker lineup. Representatives from CustomApp, Uber South Africa and Snapscan were on-hand to dish out some knowledge. But it was Snapscan's Rupert Sully, head of sales and business development, who got our attention. So what did we learn then? Snapscan wasn't a mobile service at first It's weird to think of the payment app as anything but a mobile service, but Sully said the service was...

  • Expensive, legal software a conundrum for Nigerian startups

    Last Thursday, I chaired a panel at the Nigeria International Technology Exhibition and Conference (NITEC 2016) that focused on how Nigeria can harness cloud solutions. I had my talking points ready and introduced the panel by speaking on how cloud computing remains both a research question and a market product -- but I couldn't have predicted how the session ended with the panelists. We argued back and forth on Nigeria's preparedness for cloud services beyond just using social media, YouTube, email services and the like. There was a consensus among panelists that infrastructure-wise, Nigeria isn't ready yet for cloud computing as several of these services require...

  • Nigeria’s ‘underperforming’ food apps leave many questions

    It's an open secret that food apps are not as popular as ecommerce and payment apps in Nigeria, despite the love for food uniting the people more than music and sports. A few weeks ago, I heard of the ambitious goal of a re-launched app called Bukka. It's pitched as a person-to-person food app that uses seamless connections to link cooks to their clients, connecting users to all available chefs in their neighbourhood and giving them access to a large variety of cuisine. They likened the way the app functions to the way Uber connects riders with drivers. They're so confident of the new app's success that they claim it would...

  • Startup focus: Lentus-H wants to change the world through water [update]

    Update: correction on Hippo Water Roller pricing. Water in developing countries is problematic. The availability and cleanliness of this resource are just some of the challenges people face. For the makers of Lentus-H, the problem of transporting clean water is one they hope to answer. Globally, 783-million people do not have access to safe, clean water, with 37% of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa. With statistics this high, there are a number of organisations and programs focused on improving access to clean water. These initiatives take time and while plans are hatched, alliances negotiated and the occasional pipe laid, there are women...