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Startups

  • This inspiring entrepreneur proves startups can be born from anywhere [correction]

    Correction: this article originally stated that Kanayo Okwuraiwe was let go from his previous employer Ad Dynamo. We have since updated the article to reflect that Okwuraiwe left Ad Dynamo on a mutually agreed basis. Kanayo Okwuraiwe is an entrepreneur that has been through an incredible amount of hardship over the last few years. Even with these problems, he sees disaster as a blessing rather than a curse and shows us that entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, regardless of circumstance, or personal loss. A taxi lies overturned on a Lagos highway. Moments ago, its tire burst, sending the vehicle skidding along the road and...

  • Nitestay’s attempt to stand out in Nigeria’s highly competitive hotel booking space

    Even though ecommerce giants Jumia and Konga are still Nigeria’s foremost startup companies, attention is gradually being extended to other sectors as 2015 saw the launch of quite a number of well-equipped startups emerge in non-retail sectors. A sector that saw surge in the number of new companies is the online hotel booking space which used to be dominated by the likes of Mark Essien’s Hotels.ng and Rocket Internet-backed Jovago. But that’s not all. There is also Hotelnownow, SlimTrader also secured US$1-million to grow its online booking platform and several similar services are expected to be rolled out in the...

  • Ventureburn’s top 5 tech startups in South Africa of 2015

    There's no doubt that 2015 has been an exciting year for South African innovation. Out of the hundreds of companies building exciting new products and services, five stand out for their innovative solutions, impact, and sustainability as businesses. "Its been a great year for startup South Africa, which started on a high with the January sale of Stellenbosch-based iKubu to Nasdaq-listed Garmin and has ended with the recently announced sale of Kapa BioSystems," echoes Vuyisa Qabaka from Abaphumeleli Business Consultants, who assisted with nominations. Other judges Ventureburn consulted with include CEO of Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative Ian Merrington, Knife Capital's...

  • The rise of African startups is a business opportunity, not a threat

    We are in the middle of a tech startup frenzy, with research suggesting that South Africa alone is home to more than 5 000 tech startups. Rather than just seeing this rise of new potential competitors as a threat, enterprises should take the opportunity to transform themselves, work and learn together -- and bottle some of that entrepreneurial spirit. Last year, a report on tech startups published in The Economist, likened the sudden growth in digital startups to “an entrepreneurial explosion”. The report explored the fact that “digital startups are bubbling up in an astonishing variety of services and products,...

  • Riovic wants to be the personal financial advisor in your pocket

    Plaguing unbankable communities -- in addition to not having access to banking services -- is not having access to professional financial advice. South Africa's Riovic, a virtual financial advice service, wants to change this. Based in Johannesburg, Riovic wants to bring virtual financial advice to every single person in South Africa, by putting a financial advisor in your pocket 24/7. “It puts your bank branch in your pocket,” quips twenty-three year old Naledi Mokoena (pictured above), the founder of Riovic. Having studied BCom Financial Management at the University of Pretoria, Mokoena is focusing on a field that she understands all too...

  • SA instant messaging startup Notafy wants to kill SMS for good

    Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat have become the norm for mobile communication. At least that's the case for the majority of consumers. Most banks, insurance companies, telecoms and other large service providers are still sticking with an outdated SMS technology to communicate with millions of people on a daily basis. SMS technology, according to B2C instant messaging startup Notafy, is a bad thing. Not only is SMS costly, its clunky infrastructure makes for a terrible user experience in our smartphone world. That's not to mention security threats. If Notafy has its way, though, that is all about to change. Founded by entrepreneurs Andrew...

  • OfLocal: the site aiming to curate the best of your town

    Ever wanted a website that can tell you about the best places to eat in a city and where to find the best photographers? Well then you'll probably get some use out of OfLocal, a site which aims to curate the best of South African towns and cities. Launched in November, the site relies on user-generated content in the shape of lists which are published, shared and voted for by the consumer. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, local business owners are able to create and publish their own personalised lists, as well as share the lists that...

  • Beyond insurance: How TopCheck aims to transform Nigeria’s financial services industry

    In a country where online sale of services is still arguably unpopular compared to retail and other services, TopCheck is attempting to achieve profitability by selling financial services to Nigerians. And the company is starting with insurance specifically car insurance. But the company’s journey did not start in any of the incubation centres or skyscrapers on Victoria Island, TopCheck’s was essentially created on the West African leg of the AMPION Venture Bus by Thomas von Pilar, and his co-founder. According to him, he had already been attracted to the West African market after conducting research. “I knew before that West...

  • How Flickswitch is enabling Africa to become a continent of connected things

    The Internet of Things (IoT) -- or the concept of connected devices -- is becoming more prominent by the day. It's estimated that there will be around 38 billion connected devices by 2020. While still in its infancy in South Africa, it's growing fast. In fact, Kees Snijders along with his partners Hein Koen, Gerrie Swart and Kristien Wolmarans from South Africa's Flickswitch are banking on it. And so far, it's boded them well. Since bootstrapping Flickswitch back in 2007, the SIM management company is today recording R22-million in annual turnover, generating R1-million in profit. "The IoT market is ripe in...

  • Rush wants to change the way South Africans move their stuff from A to B

    Powered by WeChat, Rush is a new platform that's looking to forever change the way South Africans move stuff their from A to B. Launching today, the Rush app lets you compare a number of couriers, their prices and service delivery, in real-time. "A combination of an Uber and Hippo.co.za," the startup's CEO, Glenn Whittaker, likes to refer to the startup as. By aggregating numerous courier services, Rush enables users to choose their preferred brand based on reputation, price or delivery time. So far, the startup has boarded a handful of couriers such as Courier  IT, The Courier Guy, Globeflight, RTT and SkyNet, which collectively reach...