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Startups

  • 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...

  • OfferZen wants to be the curated marketplace for SA’s top devs, top companies

    It's not easy finding the job you deserve in South Africa, especially if you're a talented developer exposed to what's on offer in, say, Silicon Valley. This might change as curated jobs marketplace OfferZen sets out to help top developers find the best jobs the South African tech industry has to offer. In 2014, two South African brothers Malan and Philip Joubert traveled to Silicon Valley where they pitched their startup Journey Apps to various venture capitalists. The entrepreneurs, who are also behind startup incubator FireID, wanted to know how difficult it was for a South African tech company to...

  • From banks to microlenders, Fincheck wants to help you find the best loans

    Financial service comparison websites have been around for a while in South Africa with the likes of Hippo, Click n Compare and many more, assisting people with probably one of the most stressful undertakings out there. Now, two young entrepreneurs are trying to help South Africans with a more in-depth finance comparison website, called Fincheck, which helps people find loan options. Slated as an independent comparisons website, Fincheck focuses on comparing complex verticals of the financial sector in a more simplistic manner. Its offerings look at finance plans for personal, payday, and student loans, debt consolidation, and credit cards. The company place...

  • Q&A with AzarGen Biotechnologies on $3.1m funding round

    Starting 2016 with a bang, VC4Africa-listed venture AzarGen Biotechnologies closes US$3.1-million in Series B funding. VC4A had a chance to speak with Dr. Mauritz Venter to learn more about their progress and plans for the future. VC4Africa: Can you highlight the origins of the company and its inspiration? Mauritz Venter: AzarGen was started by four aspiring life science entrepreneurs with a diverse set of skills, interests and passions as post-graduate students at Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Plant Biotechnology. Throughout our years at university the team had a keen interest in the business aspects of science and in the beginning of 2003...

  • Deep VR is the startup bridging videography and virtual reality

    Virtual reality (VR) startups are rare companies, even with the technology gaining more traction. Deep VR is one such company -- specialising in 3D and 2D 360 degree video production -- that came together while in a pinch. Founded and self-funded by Ulrico Grech-Cumbo and Telmo dos Reis, in October 2015, the South African-based company started off as something of a necessity. Its sister company, Ambrosia Brand Experience Agency over-sold itself on a project. The client required a jazz club to be filmed in 360 degrees, but the agency didn't know how to achieve this. Fortunately, the pair stepped up to the...

  • Primecart’s bold attempt to dominate ecommerce in Nigeria through Shoprite

    During the festive period, public holidays, and those notable days that are not recognised in Nigeria's calendar, people often troop en masse to quite a number of places, with one of these being Shoprite. But not every Nigerian waits until the holidays to visit Shoprite – as a matter of fact, a sizeable proportion of the corporate demographic in Nigeria relies on Shoprite for their daily living. "I spend more than 60% of my monthly earnings on Shoprite," said Dayo, an Abuja-based Nigerian high-earning medical professional. There are more people like Dayo whose daily lives revolve around Shoprite; from the food...