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Startups

  • What gaps need to be plugged in the African startup ecosystem?

    Africa's startup ecosystem is in a state of flux. These are the formative days, the few million years post big-bang, if you would. So there are many questions and many gaps that need to be filled as we seek to learn from other innovation centers around the world, while at the same time setting the rules that will work best for our context all while actually building this thing. In a sense, it’s like setting about building a structure while figuring out what the actual structure should look like in the end and not just that but also how...

  • Eight startup sins and how to avoid committing them [Net Prophet]

    Starting a business baby, starting a business. It can be a wild ride. Sylvia Gruber co-Founder and CEO of Rubybox broke down her experiences with Rubybox into eight, bite-sized tips for burgeoning startups. Gruber is big on keeping things basic and personal, simplicity is key -- often the most difficult and the most important aspect to get right. Rubybox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that provides its subscribers with beauty product...

  • Mobi.lity — A lifeline for railway commuters

    When civil engineer Justin Coetzee took a position as a public transport planner, he decided to leave his car parked at home and started taking the train to work in the morning. His daily route opened his eyes to the inconsistency of railway transport in his hometown of Cape Town, and in South Africa as a whole. The given timetable is unreliable. Commuters do not know when they will get to work or arrive home, nor are they privy to information about maintenance, cancellations and strikes. Instead of organising a riot he spent some time thinking about a solution. Trains break...

  • 6 Japanese startups worth keeping an eye on

    Given that Japan has some of the biggest tech companies on the planet, it's easy to overlook its startup scene. It's also probably fair to say that the country's emerging tech companies also don't get nearly as much press those from Silicon Valley, or even China and Russia. Thing is, once you take a step back from the massive corporates, there are some very exciting things happening in Japan. At a recent...

  • Google’s Page and Schmidt backing asteroid mining startup

    Wired is reporting that a group of intrepid billionaires will soon announce their new venture called Planetary Resources, Inc, “which plans to send swarms of robots to space to scout asteroids for precious metals and set up mines to bring resources back to Earth." Nope, this is not a movie, this is actually happening. “The resources of Earth pale in comparison to the wealth of the solar system," Eric Anderson who founded the commercial space tourism company Space Adventures, told Wired. Anderson is co-founder of Planetory Resources along with Peter Diamandis, who started the X Prize foundation, which offers prizes for...

  • Startups head to the cloud

    The excitement evoked by the word 'entrepreneurship' too often drains away when the business leaders of tomorrow start trying to turn their 'big idea' into reality. Along with challenges around securing funding, building a client base and finding skilled staff, the challenges around setting up the essential IT organs required for running a healthy and secure small business is possibly one of most daunting prospects. Beyond a great idea, two things drive successful startups: speed to market and keeping the burn rate to a minimum. The cloud can help startups do both and is quickly proving a competitive advantage. By...

  • 14 International events and a startup exchange for your calendar

    The last post I wrote featured seven, which later became nine, South African events worth attending to grow your startup. If you have started building a product or platform that you deem worthy of international exposure, which I’m sure it is, then you may want to attract the attention of investors, mentors and innovators worldwide. Here is a list of 14 events and a startup exchange programme you may want to consider: 1. South by Southwest (SXSW) One of the most talked about conferences is SXSW, whose focus is in music, independent films and emerging technologies. It is renowned for being...

  • ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge: Win big in Zimbabwe

    If you’re a Zimbabwean tech entrepreneur, this might be of interest to you. A competition launching next week at the Harare Club of JumpStart -- the community driven initiative for tech entrepreneurs -- will enable developers to launch their apps and earn revenue from them on Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s biggest cellular operator with an estimated 6 million subscribers. The competition is called the ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge. ForgetMeNot Africa (FMNA) is the company that partners with mobile operators to provide internet type services to users who don’t have smartphones or data connections. FMNA provides these services as part of...

  • All aboard the StartupBus: The pressure cooker startup incubator on wheels

    Bottle the following ingredients: the electric buzz of a Red Bull fueled hackerspace, the interpersonal caterwauling of a reality show and pressure, loads of pressure. Now, let it loose on a bus travelling at 60 miles an hour and you get StartupBus. StartupBus has been around for over two years now and it continues to bring together intrepid tech entrepreneurs, designers and developers who present ideas and develop working prototypes while in transit. Buses carrying these enterprising tech geeks meander towards a final destination, at which time a judging ceremony is held, recognising the best prototype. This all happens in...

  • 30 brilliant African tech startups

    The methodology behind this list of startups had two simple directives. First, the startup had to have African roots and secondly it had to be brilliant. More specifically, we were looking for that type of brilliance that exudes intelligence, talent, quality or simply, something fresh. Of course brilliance, like most things in life, is subjective, so we went into this journey with an open mind. Tabula rasa if you will and we hoped to recognise brilliance when we saw it. We did, over and over again. Why did we focus on Africa? The continent’s one-billion people are coming online and 600-million...