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  • 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...

  • 5 valuable things you should know about SA’s ecommerce scene

    Thinking back to some of the golden nuggets shared at this year's eCommerce Africa Confex in Cape Town, South Africa, one can't help but note that the announcement of ParcelNinja's recent multi-million rand investment came at a really great time. This investment reaffirms two crucial things we should keep in mind: First, South Africa's ecommerce scene is growing, and -- as the case usually is with ecommerce -- there's a lot of money being shifted around. Secondly, and more excitingly, is the fact that there's a lot of room for unique innovation to take place. Read more: ParcelNinja just raised a...

  • Kenya’s ICTA launches $1.2-million fund for tech startups

    A new initiative launched last week by Kenya’s Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) and the Netherlands Trust Fund phase III -- a programme funded by the Dutch government -- has signed a three-year funding project aimed at Kenyan ICT startups and SMEs. The funding, according to TechCabal, is worth US$1.2-million and is aimed at enhancing the export competitiveness of Kenyan ICT companies. The argument that African startups need venture capital cannot be repeated enough. Except for a few startups that have venture capital, the majority of African startups often have great ideas but not enough money to implement them into startups. “Building...

  • SW7 accelerator opens applications for 2015 intakes

    In mid 2014, we told you about SW7, the latest in a line of tech startup accelerators which don't take equity from its participants. What set it apart was that the fact that much of the programme took place after office hours, allowing to participants to build their startups while still working at their day jobs. The accelerator, which now calls itself the largest in Africa, has opened up applications for its 2015 intakes. The next semesters will kick off in Johannesburg on 3 March and late May in Cape Town. The programme is run over nine-weeks part time,...

  • Orange, Ecobank team up to launch new money transfer service in Africa

    Pan-African banking group Ecobank and major telecom Orange have rolled out a service that will enable Orange Money subscribers to transfer money between their respective accounts. Mobile remittance is on an up in Africa. Amazingly, of recent, it is sidestepping the issues that hogged it early in its entry, reluctance from users because of security being among the top barriers to entry. The market is warming up to the idea of never setting foot in a bank or carrying money in a wallet. As this trend keeps on growing, more and more alternatives are popping up from clever startups to...

  • Here’s where Africa’s payments revolution should be happening today

    In emerging markets, mobile money services have the power to simplify lives, offering people the convenience of paying from anywhere and at any time, but also to transform them, playing a social noble role by addressing the unbanked or underserved population in Africa, offering them payment services they did not have access to before. Africa is a continent filled with digital opportunity. With the mobile phone as the primary online device and a 72% mobile phone penetration rate, by far surpassing landline internet connections, the African digital revolution will take place through the small screen. Seven out of 10...

  • Payment startup Nomanini sees over 1 million end-users per month

    South African-based company Nomanini, which is responsible for an innovative mobile Point of Sales (PoS) terminal, is taking the prepaid voucher industry in informal markets by storm. Since launching in 2012, the startup has rolled out its service in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia where -- according to a recent case study by GSMA Mobile for Development -- it reaches up to 1 million end users per month. This means that of the 750 active terminals, the average number of transactions per terminal is between 700 and 1 000. The in-depth study found that most of Nomanini's growth...

  • Foodpanda buys out Asian competitors with massive expansion

    When German startup factory Rocket Internet moves, it moves big. And no less so is Foodpanda proving this with its most recent announcement. Rocket Internet's food delivery company Foodpanda (also operating as Hellofood in Africa) has announced the acquisition of seven key competitors in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Thailand. This increases the fat panda's presence to a total of 39 countries. Ralf Wenzel, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodpanda group says that “With the recent acquisitions Foodpanda becomes the market leader across South East Asia. The combined expertise and experience of several great local companies allow us to significantly...