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  • Design like a machine? Get your original infographic featured on Ventureburn

    Some of the biggest names in tech have... um... interesting beginnings. Motorola was originally the name of a car radio, Facebook started in a dorm room and Google began its life as a research project. Think you can tell their stories better than a boring Wikipedia page? We’re looking for a talented designer to create an original infographic that shows how major players in the tech industry went from hopeful startups to household names. Outline the major events in their history and their quirky back stories and if we like your style, your design could be the one we pick to...

  • Company Office

    Callpay, MyGate announce telephonic payments collaboration

    MyGate, one of Africa’s largest and fastest growing gateways, and Callpay, an innovative provider of secure payment solutions have collaborated to provide a payment solution that offers secure, telephonic payments in South Africa. Through this exciting collaboration, companies that require contact centre agents to accept card can now process these transactions through MyGate to the bank. Card payments are processed in a PCI compliant manner through their contact centre agents without the agent hearing or seeing any sensitive card data. At the point of payment, the agent simply delivers a virtual terminal directly to the customer’s mobile device. It can...

  • 2go: SA startup you’ve never heard of crushes Facebook in Nigeria

    South African instant messaging startup 2go is getting some good traction in Nigeria. The company is reporting that it recently crossed the 10 million user mark. That’s a significant number seeing as Facebook has managed to attract just over five-million users in the Nigerian social networking market. The service claims to have more than 21 million registered users in total and is reporting an average of 50 000 new registration per day. Its biggest direct competitor, Mxit reported just over 50 million earlier this year. Nigeria is one of Mxit’s strongest markets, South Africa being its strongest with 10 million...

  • Meet Hike: the Indian messaging startup going after WhatsApp

    As Korea gave birth to Kakaotalk, Japan to Line, and China to WeChat, an Indian startup is looking to have its own group messaging smash hit with the new Hike app. For the moment, Hike is Android-only, but versions for iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Symbian are in the works. Also, Hike has been focusing on just India in its first few months of running – but the aim is for it to go global. Of course, New Delhi-based Hike will need to challenge some other behemoths in this space, such as Whatsapp, and eventually Apple’s iMessage too. To do...

  • Meet the 40 startups selected for DEMO Africa 2012

    The final 40 startups for the first ever DEMO Africa conference have been announced. The 40 entrepreneurs chosen for the conference have gone through "three rigorous screening processes with the final vetting and adjudication done by a pan-African panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, VCs and Academia," say the event organizers. The conference, which is part of the global DEMO conference series, touts itself as a "launchpad for emerging technology and trends". The event believes that noteworthy startups are being created in Africa, developing real-world solutions, worthy of investment, global attention as well as becoming part of the global...

  • Daterly: a new social dating network emerges from the African startup scene

    Online dating sites like Match and eHarmony use matching algorithms to identify romantic partners, but this approach is believed to be flawed. The New York Times cites a study that divulges 80 years of scientific research on what makes couples romantically compatible. It turns out, the core of traditional matching algorithms, similar interests and personality traits, are not key to predicting happy relationships. So what works? Well, good old fashion dating is still the best way to tell if you’re a match, but a new “social dating network" called Daterly, believes that by building “an online social resume," couples could...

  • 3 SA ecommerce sites really stepping up to the plate

    Over the last couple of years, South Africa has seen a massive growth in online businesses and ecommerce websites. While the eCommerce Awards are great at recognising the top performers, it is almost impossible for a new website to immediately win an award, due to the first part of the awards requiring a high numbers of votes. Longer established websites such as bidorbuy and Kalahari already have massive databases of customers. With that in mind, I have identified three ecommerce players who are different and have the potential to make a big splash in the space. 1. eBooze.co.za eBooze is an...

  • BlackBerry reaches out to Nigeria’s academic community

    Research In Motion (RIM) seems determined to make its mark in Africa. The maker of BlackBerry smartphones and tablets has announced that it will be launching the BlackBerry Academic Program in Nigeria. The BlackBerry Academic Program is part of RIM's mission to support global education. According to the device manufacturer, "the programme helps students gain further knowledge of concepts related to mobile computing such as networks, spectrum, efficient use of battery life and mobile application development. Its aim is to bring new opportunities and industry relevant mobile computing curriculum that will prepare students for the wireless world." Nigeria's programme will...

  • Mxit buys mobile social network builder Motribe, CEO steps down

    Sources close to Ventureburn have been speculating for a while that Mxit was on the verge of buying Motribe. Now we have confirmation that Africa's largest social network is in the final stages of inking a deal to acquire the mobile social network builder. Big surprise. Motribe has been working closely with Mxit over the last few months building photo-based apps for the platform. The most successful apps include MxPix (an Instagram-style photo sharing and filtering app that hit a million users in just over a month) and JudgeMe, an app that allows people to meet each other by uploading,...

  • How mobile apps are disrupting retailers: the PriceCheck example

    Did you know that you can now compare prices of goods between supermarkets, while standing in one of them? Imagine, walking through Woolworths, thinking about buying a two litre bottle of cola, but by scanning it’s barcode, you find that it costs R5 less in a Pick ‘n Pay nearby. This is now totally possible, and a bit scary for retailers. A great example of this comes from Price comparison service PriceCheck. The company has launched the latest version of its app, which now allows you to scan bar codes of almost any supermarket product and see comparative prices at...

  • 75% of US startups fail says new study

    A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reveals that the number of startups that fail to return their investors' capital, might be significantly higher than generally reported. The article cites a study by Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School that estimates that three out of four venture-backed startups go bust. That's in stark contrast to estimates given by the National Venture Capital Association in the US, who puts the failure between 25% to 30%. According to the article, venture capitalists generally agree that "of 10 startups, only three or four fail completely. Another three or...