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Startups

  • SA’s Geek Crate delivers games, comics and merchandise to your doorstep

    Brand new startup Geek Crate based in Cape Town, South Africa, looks to bring a range of geek products to the masses. It's an idea sure to take off during the current Geek Chic trend, made popular by properties such as The Big Bang Theory and Marvel's Cinematic Universe. The company has been founded by full-time UCT students and friends, Grant Meeser and Jordan Lambis. What they lack in years of experience, the pair have in vision, foresight, and drive. The concept driving Geek Crate is very simple, and is one that we've seen before: each month customers pay a set...

  • Nigeria’s Talking Bookz wants to become Africa’s top audiobook store

    Last week was a great one for Nigerian startups -- for the second year in a row, they filled up more slots at DEMO Africa than any other African country. If that wasn't enough, one of the eight startups representing Nigeria at the continental event quickly followed up with seed investment from the co-founder of one of Africa’s leading hotel booking platforms, Jovago. The startup is Talking Bookz -- an online audiobooks publisher and retailer. According to its co-founder Damilola Aransiola, its recent achievements can be attributed to the simple pain point the business is trying to solve. "Everybody understands the business,"...

  • Meet NicheStreem: SA’s curated streaming service for music lovers

    Just two blocks up the road from where she pitched her latest startup at a Seedstars World event, sits the headquarters of NicheStreem -- entrepreneur Catherine Lückhoff's music- streaming play. Launched in March this year, NicheStreem has developed a technology that enables it to provide unique, curated music streams for specific markets around the globe and looks set to make waves in the global online music industry, one niche community at a time. The idea that "niche doesn't necessarily equal small" resonates strongly with the startup's business philosophy. Its first product app is a proof-of-concept called Liedjie, which will focus solely on...

  • When do startups stop being startups?

    At Tech in Asia we often come across well-funded companies that have been in existence for a number of years, but began as a startup. Personally, I used to think the term “startup” simply referred to an immature technology business, or a small company starting out on their journey to success. But flying in the face of this logic are world-renowned entities like Xiaomi, Didi Kuaidi, and US companies Airbnb and Uber. They’ve all been referred to as startups, but at some point they clearly managed to graduate to fully-fledged giants. Surely there must be some way we can distinguish...

  • Machine learning startup DataProphet hones in on profitable call centre industry

    Machine learning is a complicated subject. First experimented with by computer scientist Arthur Samuel back in 1956, the American eventually managed to build a program that could beat him at a game of checkers. As badass as that was, it doesn’t really compare to the advancements we’ve witnessed over the past few years. Today, tech like Google’s self-driving cars and Microsoft’s near real-time voice translation are frequently making the headlines on tech sites. A rebranded form of artificial intelligence, these intelligent pattern recognition algorithms could revolutionise the way we work in practically every industry. Yet there are still very few formal education institutions that cater for...

  • PriceCheck’s Andre de Wet proves that a door-to-door salesman can make it big

    "Students all have money," said PriceCheck's Andre de Wet, who sold denim jackets while studying Medicine in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Inspired by his father, De Wet sold his first business at the age of 27. The South African entrepreneur traveled the world, worked in Singapore and London but always made his way back to his home country. He came back to a market he reckons is ripe for innovation and one that he's definitely going to take advantage of. Today, he's heading up one of South Africa's most popular mobile ecommerce companies which he's grown from four to 41 employees in...

  • Does iGrow Academy have what it takes to help educate the masses on a budget?

    The youth bears the brunt of South Africa's unemployment crises. Ranked third highest in the world, a 2014 report by the World Economic Forum reckons that more than 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed. Founder of iGrow Academy Jared Koning estimates that one of the main reasons for this discrepancy is due to a disconnect between the primary and tertiary education sectors. The entrepreneur estimates that there are over 400 000 matrics each year of which 67% do not have the access to higher education. With its online learning platform, iGrow Academy aims to provide education...

  • AgriProtein: the company using flies, our waste to keep the planet from eating itself

    The fly makes the world go round. While many find these critters repulsive, they actually play a very important role in how we get our food we eat. For starters, by eating decaying materials, the fly helps speed up the nutrient cycling which helps generate richer soil for plants and vegetables. It's also a protein food for some animals -- a lot of which, people eat. As much as we might hate it, it's actually nature's filthy little farmer. The problem with nature is that it is slow. Way too slow for our overpopulated, capital-driven world of today. But if AgriProtein...

  • Q&A with Francesco Signoretti from lastminute.com group on emerging markets

    Feature photo: Seedstars Cape Town judges during a startup's pitch Francesco Signoretti is the CEO of lastminute.com group, a European leader in the online travel and leisure industry. The Group has an impressive portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Bravofly, Rumbo, Volagratis and Jetcost, with websites and mobile apps in 15 languages across 35 countries. As an official partner of Seedstars World, lastminute.com group has agreed to power a Travel Investment Track that will award US$500 000 in equity investment to the best travel startup. Signoretti was with the Seedstars World team at the Cape Town event to help source...

  • Meet SenseVirtual: the dedicated VR startup shaping frontiers in Africa

    On the back of the popular gaming show, E3, in Los Angeles last month, Virtual Reality (VR) is a really hot topic right now. Microsoft, Sony, HTC, and Valve are all backing the technology in different ways. And while it's still early days for the hardware, startups from around the globe are leaping at the opportunity, building immersive virtual experiences for customers and businesses alike. Ventureburn spoke to co-founder and co-CEO, Tyrone Rubin about SenseVirtual -- a Cape Town-based VR startup in South Africa and all its exciting applications. The idea of VR is what I love. I love the idea...