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Startups

  • Solving global problems is the best way for Nigerian startups to scale globally

    Nigeria’s tech ecosystem is getting attention from within and outside Africa even though the ecosystem is less than a decade old. The successes of ecommerce giants, Jumia and Konga, were an eye opener to the potentials of the tech market in Nigeria yet few startups are profitable, very few are scaling up and expanding to other markets. Simeon Ononobi, Founder and CEO of MyAds.ng, an advertising platform that recently expanded to India and plans to roll out in more countries outside Africa, believes that the chance of Nigerian startups growing to become ‘unicorns’ such as Google, Facebook and Twitter...

  • Peer-to-peer review platform Hi5 shows success outside of SA

    Peer reviews and 360s can be a daunting and challenging task for employees and companies alike. Cape Town-based startup Hi5 is looking to try and simplify the entire process. To date, 90% of the signups for Hi5 have come from outside of South Africa, specifically from the US, UK, and Australia. "I think the reason it's doing well, is that it's helping fast-paced companies take the laborious time intensive administration out of managing staff and replaces it with a solution to help managers focus on staff growth, which ultimately increases efficiency and reduces employee turnover," writes founding partner, Gary Willmott. Each employee is...

  • Exclusive: Sendr delivers SA’s next big courier startup

    South African-based startup Sendr wants to deliver your packages in a flash. Its on-demand service means parcels can be delivered in an hour. "We're an Uber of parcels, documents and small items. We see ourselves as a personal concierge service," says co-founder and CEO of Sendr, Neo Lekgabo (pictured above centre). Sendr is based around a delivery app. The customer books a collection and the company handles the rest, including insurance for all items that are transported. Where this startup stands out from the rest is its utilisation of a one-time password (OTP) system. In order for any delivery to take place, the...

  • This crowdsourced phrasebook app wants to help South Africans understand each other

    South Africa, like our ever globalising world, is made up of a really diverse bunch. It's colourful but often messy. This is where Aweza steps in. It's a novel app that wants to help people better communicate and understand each other. Developed in Cape Town, Aweza is a phrasebook app which essentially pairs pictures with common phrases. It relies on crowdsourcing and gamification techniques to ensure correct pronunciations of South Africa's 11 languages. Pretty cool, right? But for the guys currently behind this project -- Glen Stein, Jeanne Fourie and Farrel Strul -- it's more than an educational product. It's about...

  • This app wants to completely change the way South Africans pay for parking

    We've all been there. You go to the mall, get your shopping done, and head towards your car, only to find that you have no cash for the parking machine. And so you find an ATM, draw some cash, break that cash, and finally pay for your parking, muttering "there must be a simpler way" all the while. It was just such an experience which led KaChing founders Jaco Marais and Rudolph de Wet to decide enough was enough and build such that simpler way themselves. That decision led to KaChing, an app which aims to take the hassle out...

  • Ideo: the mattress startup that wants to look after your sleep [Update]

    Purchasing a mattress can be a tiring, frustrating process; there are a lot of sales hoops to jump through. Ideo is the startup looking to make purchasing mattresses easier with its own online store and product. The it may not be a fintech solution or a Uber-style business, but it’s a damn fine idea. "Everyone has a mattress shopping story as I found out," says Robin Jones, CEO and founder of Ideo. The idea for Ideo came together from two different events in Jones's life. He had previously been working in the online space for the past five years, trying different ideas,...

  • This Google-backed startup from SA is training thousands of coders

    If South Africa is to really become a knowledge economy, it seriously needs to develop the youth's Computer Science skills. That's a no-brainer. But while government and academia have their hands full, creative minds are putting inspiring initiatives in motion to foster the country's next generation of software developers. Hyperion Development is one of these gems. Since it launched in 2012, the Durban-headquartered company has allegedly helped over 8 500 people from six Southern African countries in software development training. "We are fortunate to have the ability to scale this online platform to the point where I don't know everyone's names...

  • This service wants to bring luxury products to your pets every month

    A Durban-based online subscription store for your pets, Happy Tails, aims to bring a subscription of a variety of awesome pet products straight to your doorstep. The team of pet lovers realised that there is a huge market of pet lovers who want to spoil their pets every now and again. But it is so hard to find an online store that really provides you with the best of pet’s products. Imagine you need to send a gift to someone you know who has almost everything they need? You know they are crazy about their dog or you are in a...

  • EventRoom: the Cape Town startup that wants to be the Airbnb of events

    If you want to book a table at a restaurant, a hotel room, or a cab, you can do so with a few swipes on an app. If you want to book a venue for an event though, you still have to do a lot of your own searching. In Cape Town at least, one startup is looking to change that. Founded by sisters Moira Johnston and Nicky Rosin (the two left careers in law and accountancy to start the company) EventRoom sees itself as the Airbnb of event venues. Its primary aim is to streamline and simplify the...

  • Meet the SA-born chaps who built a Slack for developers

    Chat rooms used to be popular hangouts for cyber dating, gaming and a whole bunch of things. Today, they've undergone a professional makeover. They've become billion dollar communication tools catered for the modern workplace, which is fast-paced, knows no borders and encourages collaboration. "It’s weird that you end up taking a conference call at home and do Amazon shopping at work. Tech today enables you to do anything from anywhere," says Mike Bartlett (pictured top right), one of the founders of a chat collaboration tool, called Gitter. He's talking to me over Skype from his flat in London. I'm sitting...