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  • A tale of two online shopping giants: Konga & Jumia put to the test

    They both claim to be the largest ecommerce platform in Nigeria and Africa -- even though they won’t make their sales figures publicly available so it could be made easier for those who are interested in comparing their services to do so. This means the only thing that can be legally done is to determine which of them offers the best service delivery. And since no one else would do it, I decided to order stuff from both platforms and compared the experience. To really get an accurate result, it would make more sense to order from outside Lagos since both Jumia and...

  • Asimmetric is a startup keen to monitor, optimise your Wi-Fi hotspot

    Wi-Fi hotspots are quickly becoming the norm for customer service in any organisation whether that be a coffee shop, hospital or a public park. Yet, there still seem to be a lot of companies struggling to take full advantage of their Wi-Fi offering. With its product now officially launched, Cape Town-based Asimmetric reckons it's found a solution to monitor and optimise Wi-Fi networks so that providers can easily measure and manage the users' experience. “Today, there’s a disconnect between what Wi-Fi providers think they’re offering and what users are actually experiencing. Wi-Fi providers’ systems don’t see what their users see and...

  • Does South Africa’s ecommerce future really lie with niche players?

    The South African ecommerce space is pretty complex. On the one hand you've got players like Takealot attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in international funding. On the other you've got people from some of the world's biggest retail companies suggesting that it won't be a major force. That flies somewhat in the face of the reasons given for Takealot's merger with Naspers-owned Kalahari. At the time, both parties said it was so they could better compete in the international arena. It is however consistent with industry talk, which suggested that the merger had come about because there was...

  • How to hack startup growth with Pay Per Click advertising

    Here’s the thing with PPC (Pay Per Click): it’s a live-action, real-time slugfest. Everything happens so quickly on the paid advertising front that if you don’t get it right, you might very well end up pouring buckets of money into a vast sea of nothingness. While it might seem that PPC could be pretty straightforward, it is and it isn’t. But even before you get into anything to do with actual dynamics of PPC advertising, it’s an advertising channel that can help startups in many ways. As Jonathan Long, founder of Market Domination Media, explained in this article on Huffington Post,...

  • Kenya’s BitPesa announces $1.1m investment led by Pantera Capital

    Despite recent tales of Bitcoin's demise, people still seem to be throwing money at startups focusing on the virtual currency, especially in the remittance space. Led by Pantera Capital, the Kenyan-based Bitcoin startup, BitPesa, recently secured US$1.1-million (nearly R13-million). Other investors include Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Crypto Currency Partners,Future/Perfect Ventures and Stephens Investment Management. In a blog post the company notes that its total equity investment now clocks in US$1.7-million. "We will now be expanding across the region to meet the demand for truly low-cost international transfers," the company writes. "BitPesa is just one third of the price of banks and traditional remittance companies,...

  • Australia’s CBA acquires SA branchless-banking startup Tyme

    In a recent earnings announcement by the major Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the company revealed that it has acquired South Africa's Tyme Capital -- a company that builds digital banking solutions. "We are delighted to announce that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has acquired 100% of Tyme," says the Johannesburg-based startup in an announcement. "This acquisition is a logical continuation of CBA's strategy to pursue capability led growth outside Australia and one that reinforces CBA's core strength in innovation and technology." Tyme was founded in November 2012 when it introduced its mobile bank to South Africans. Riding on the acronym,...

  • Vuga: Africa’s smart music-streaming service for your every mood

    Nigeria’s music industry is regarded as the most popular in Africa considering the numerous continentally acclaimed and globally heard music superstars that are filling halls and stadiums in several parts of the world. Even though the stars are largely regarded as wealthy, much of their wealth doesn’t come from album sales since it has been largely difficult to get people to pay for music, forcing the artists to focus on making money from endorsements, events and other franchises. The proliferation of platforms such as NotjustOK.com and NaijaLoaded.com, where individuals could easily download music tracks and albums for free, make it...

  • IBM invests $61m to help Johannesburg tech hub grow

    Johannesburg's Braamfontein has been making steady moves into becoming the tech hub of Johannesburg, in fact, many see it as one already. The Johannesburg Metro has also initiated a number of programs to see that this happen. And though the results must be assessed in the long term, Jozi has begun to attract investments. IBM, an American multinational technology and consulting corporation, has invested in Braamfontein by expanding its IBM Research Africa. IBM is investing R700-million (around US$61-million) over ten years in a new laboratory at the University of Witwatersrand’s Tshimogolong Precinct tech hub in Braamfontein. The new research...

  • MEDO’s startup truck starts off in Cape Town to educate local entrepreneurs

    It's 2015, and MEDO (Micro Enterprise Development Organisation) is back with its mobile office for South African entrepreneurs. Called Treppie, its mobile truck sets out to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to chat with the MEDO team who helps companies achieve their Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment goals. The initiative this year starts its trip in Cape Town where it plans to travel through urban, suburban and rural areas on a mission help smaller and medium South African enterprises to grow. This presents a great opportunity for big businesses to jump start these aspects of their businesses -- especially considering the...

  • SA university partners with Canadian, Indian institutes to boost startup growth

    South Africa's Wits University has just announced a partnership with Canada's Ryerson University and the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute in India, in a mission to boost growth opportunities for entrepreneurs and accelerate startup incubation in the three partner countries. Ryerson has a strong track record in creating ecosystems for entrepreneurs and last year invited South African students as part of its fellowship and entrepreneurial incubation initiative. Read more: Canada looking to entice SA entrepreneurs with startup visa “This trilateral partnership is exactly the kind of boost that South Africa requires to foster development, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering...