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  • 4 reasons big-time VCs are investing in emerging markets

    With technological advancements in developing nations speeding the growth rate of high impact tech start-ups, many American venture capital firms are now looking further afield to expand their investment portfolios. But what is driving this trend? 1. Lack of local funding There’s certainly no shortage of innovative ideas coming out of emerging market countries. Africa, China, Russia and many others are growing steadily, and are producing an ever-increasing number of tech success stories, many with an extensive global reach. However, the potential for innovation in these countries has been historically hampered by a lack of access to funding, based on an entrenched...

  • Company Office

    What is Edtech and why it matters

    Digitalisation has impacted every aspect of modern day life, from communication to finance, but there is one sector that has been largely overlooked - education. For over a century, learning models have remained the same with educators relaying information and ideas to students who sit and listen (one hopes) and then supplement that with information found in physical textbooks. Thanks to the rise of mobile technology, that learning module is slowly changing with students now utilising tablets to make their lessons more interactive, at least that’s the idea. The current problem with this structure is the devices being used. Tablets are primarily...

  • The Cameroon Startup Challenge: Is the next global company in Cameroon?

    Sanaga Ventures and VC4Africa are turning their sights to Cameroon to uncover the most innovative web, mobile or hardware-based startups. The Cameroon Startup Challenge offers a cash prize of US$5 000 and an opportunity to receive mentorship and incubation at ActivSpaces, Cameroon’s leading technology hub. “Innovation can come from anywhere in the world, and the next global company might very well be from Cameroon. We want to do what we can to make that happen”, says Ben White, founder of VC4Africa, the large online community of venture capitalists, angels and entrepreneurs that concentrate on developing businesses in Africa. Entries...

  • 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 tech event I had the privilege of finding out about a handful of them. 1. Beatrobo CEO/Founder: Hiroshi Asaeda A music community service which enables users to share their...

  • Ad Dynamo goes on a Brazilian adventure

    There are a good few people who think that the next big thing in tech could come from Latin America. It makes sense that foreign companies would want to invest there too. The latest to do so is Ad Dynamo, an online and mobile advertising marketplace with a global presence. The company today officially announced its entry into the Brazilian market, with CEO Sean Riley saying the country represents "an enormous growth market in both online and mobile advertising". Ad Dynamo isn't going it alone in Brazil either, announcing that it would be working in partnership with native outfit...

  • 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...

  • Umbono Alpha Beta: Beer, pizza and startups, the Google way

    Umbono Alpha Beta is a Google event at which you can have as much free beer and pizza as you want, as long as you love startups. Memeburn was invited to watch as six startups -- three teams at the end of their six month Umbono program (last year's winners) and three who are just beginning -- presented their products and businesses to a packed (and we do mean packed) room. Umbono launched last year as a trial startup incubation project exclusive to Cape Town, South Africa. The Umbono programme aims to transform visions into businesses by taking successful applicants with new...

  • Exclusive: A peek at ex-Yola chief’s new startup, Gyft

    When well-known serial web entrepreneur, Vinny Lingham, recently resigned as CEO of his successful website builder and hosting service, Yola, he announced that he would be heading up a new venture called Gyft. At the time of the announcement all we knew about Gyft was what everyone else knew, simply that Gyft promised “to change the way you think about gift cards". Today we know a little more thanks to a sneak preview given exclusively to Memeburn. Gift cards are estimated to be a US$100 billion annual market in the USA alone. The trouble is, 20% to 30% of gift...

  • 10 Startups that could change the face of news forever

    There are an estimated 7-billion of us. Between us, its other inhabitants, the big black bit around it and Mother Earth herself, there’s never a dull moment, news happens organically, all the time. The news machine is an efficient one, the cogs -- reporters, news agencies and so on -- have become invisible. It seems seamless, news follows us everywhere, the machine works, but that doesn’t stop brilliant minds -- internet entrepreneurs, emerging media innovators and legacy newsrooms -- from attempting to push it forward, especially in the digital age. The Knight News Challenge is part of Knight Foundation’s US$100-million...

  • Stand a chance at receiving expert startup mentoring

    Running a startup is tricky: you have way more work than you would in an office job without any of the safety nets offered by a big corporate. You need all the help you can get. That help couldn’t come in a much better package than seasoned UK-based startup mentor Permjot Valia. Startups attending the Startup Acceleration Workshop at this year’s Net Prophet conference will have the opportunity to spend time with the CEO and founder of Help with Sales and prolific Angel investor. According to the conference organisers the course “gives technology startups the opportunity to greatly...