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  • African fintech startup goes past $1bn in transactions

    African fintech startup Zoona this week announced that, since going live in 2009, it has processed more than US$1-billion in transactions. Playing in the highly competitive mobile payments space, the service operates predominantly in Zambia and Malawi. Using a network of entrepreneur agents, the Zoona allows ubanked consumers access to money transfers, bill payments and other financial services. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the company’s entrepreneur agents serve more than one million customers every 60 day, across close to 1 500 locations. "Zoona was born from an idea in a text message," says Zoona CEo Mike Quinn....

  • Company Office

    SA consumers doing their product homework before purchase

    At a time when most consumers are spending conservatively, with a hawkish eye on every last Rand, value for money has become paramount. Long gone are the days when people sign on to mobile contracts on a whim, or buy insurance products at the behest of a smiling salesman. With deep-seated economic and political uncertainty prevailing, consumers are looking to inform themselves as best they can before spending a cent. “The good news for sceptical South Africans is that a host of new and sophisticated digital tools are coming online, giving people much-needed access to information,” says Ryan Marx, CEO...

  • SA Innovation Summit to foster Swiss collaboration

    The SA Innovation Summit is one of the country's biggest entrepreneurial and innovative showcases and will this year feature an official partnership with Switzerland’s Swiss Start-up Summit. The Summit also this week reveled that it had brought on the Swiss embassy as an international partner. SA Innovation Summit Director, Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, says the partnership is expected to support local innovators by providing global inspiration, knowledge, systems and funding. “The ultimate goal of the Innovation Summit this year is Innovation Acceleration - scaling and impact for SA-owned ideas,” says Dr Verhaeghe. “What better way to help us bring this...

  • New CT innovation cluster to punt tech in travel space

    The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative on Thursday announced the launch of its Traveltech Open Innovation Cluster, which aims to bring a new technological edge to the travel space. According to organisation head Ian Merrington, the cluster was inspired by the initiative's recent initiatives in the fintech space (it currently plays host to Barclays Africa's Rise accelerator in its Woodstock facility). In looking for a new vertical to focus on, they quickly hit on travel as an obvious one." "The role in tech and digital channels is massive," he said at a special launch event for the cluster....

  • LifeQ, Analog Devices to collaborate on non-invasive body monitoring

    Stellenbosch-based health tracking startup LifeQ is on a roll. Having launched globally in 2015 and with its technology included in the new range of TomTom activity-tracking watches, the company on Thursday announced a partnership with Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), a US-based designer and manufacturer of semiconductor products and solutions. According to a press release sent to Ventuerburn, the partnership will allow the two companies to develop technology that will make it possible for non-invasive body monitoring devices to provide highly accurate physiological data that currently is only available through the use of expensive, invasive and hard-to-access equipment. They plan to do...

  • 5 big business lessons you can learn from Star Trek

    Gene Roddenberry had a dream. The result of that dream was Star Trek. Roddenberry's concept was embodied in a future where mankind had, after eons of trial and error, finally grown up. In three hundred years the pettiness of racism, greed, war (among Earth people) and drug abuse crimes have mostly gone the way of the dodo. Warp drive opened the universe to the children of the Earth and showed them the diversity of life elsewhere; and the children, finally, matured. Executives at Desilu Productions first thought Star Trek was "too cerebral" for audiences, and turned down the first pilot....

  • Reframing and solving the right problem: why it’s so important for entrepreneurs

    Bernard Roth is the co-founder and academic director of Stanford University's d.school. He recently presented at Stanford's eCorner a talk called: reframing problems and getting honest. I was so struck by the importance of the talk for entrepreneurs (and non-entrepreneurs) that I thought I should summarise the key points in a blog, but also publish the talk itself (see below). Read the summary if you like, but the video is definitely worth watching. From an entrepreneurial perspective, we face problems and challenges practically everyday. Although there seems to be a never-ending supply of support on the web or from experts,...

  • 5 tips to keep your employees from burning out

    If there are people who work extremely hard it has to be entrepreneurs. These people can put in serious hours of work time and not feel like they have done enough. There are those people who just want to show up at the office at nine in the morning and leave before five. The moment you own your business and you want to achieve something from it, you will work yourself like a donkey. The reason for working hard could be a motivation to attain success or simply to avoid failure. The most surprising thing is that some people...

  • 10 great merchant account providers (that aren’t PayPal and Google Wallet)

    When your ecommerce dreams are new and you aren’t yet sure how to run an online store, it makes sense that you would use the most popular online payment services providers on the web. Indeed, Paypal and Google Wallet offer some interesting and exciting merchant services when you have no clue what you need or how you want your shop to function. However, after a few months, most people in the ecommerce industry become frustrated with the titans of the internet: Paypal is outrageously expensive, Google’s customer service is atrocious, and both have clunky interfaces that rarely mesh well...

  • Here’s who’ll be competing for top prize at the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge [update]

    Update: added infographic for the challenge The MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge, powered by Jumia, on Wednesday announced its top three finalists. Whittled down from a field of more than 700 entries, the three finalists beat out competitors from 26 countries across Africa. The challenge, which aims to boost entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as build a stronger and more sustainable business environment on the continent, kicked off in February, and is a joint initiative between MTN, Jumia and the MTN Solution Space based at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. Through the entrepreneurship challenge, students were invited to develop a unique...

  • These 15 startups are vying for victory at African Utility Week

    From 17 to 19 May, leading players in the African water, energy, and electricity spaces will converge on the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) for African Utility Week. Joining them will be 15 startups -- ranging from an Aquaponic farming outfit and a geyser switch company to makers of data gathering software -- for the conference's Innovation Hub. The finalists will each receive a free exhibition stand within the Innovation Hub area for the duration of the three-day exhibition and showcase their developments or inventions through live presentations. Four of the entrants have also earned speaking slots in...