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  • How to find the right lawyer for your startup

    Choosing a tech-savvy lawyer for your startup isn't easy, but it's critical that you find the right person. Not all-self proclaimed web startup lawyers are equal, and some can do more harm than good. Figuring out how code and law fit together requires a great deal of curiosity and experience, and an ability to see the big picture. You will often find 21st-century lawyers playing with new technologies that don't have an obvious business case for lawyers, yet. They are just curious. The best lawyers for startups that I know move easily between worlds; helping non-profits that fight for a...

  • Company Office

    Barclays accelerator announces latest participants in African programme

    Barclays Africa Group and Techstars today released the names of 10 financial-technology (fintech) companies selected to participate in the second Barclays Accelerator programme, powered by Techstars. The successful companies, all focused on providing fintech solutions in Africa, will participate in a 13-week growth acceleration programme at Barclays Africa’s Rise fintech innovation hub in Cape Town from mid-May. The 2017 programme participants are: Flexpay (Kenya), Howler (South Africa), Spatialedge (South Africa), Abe.ai (USA), The Sun Exchange (South Africa), Byte Money (South Africa), Avenews-GT (Israel), FOMO Travel (South Africa), Kapitalwise (USA) and eCOIDA (South Africa). Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief creation officer at Barclays Africa Group, said:...

  • Viewdle gives mobile phones the ability to ‘see’

    High-powered players are pumping US$10-million into Viewdle, a technology startup crafting ways that enable smartphones "see" things the same way people do and identify faces. The influx of cash announced this week is coming from Qualcomm, BlackBerry Partners Fund, US electronics retail chain Best Buy, and Anthem Venture Partners, an investment firm that has backed Viewdle from the outset. "We are giving smartphones human eyes," said Viewdle co-founder and chief executive Laurent Gil. "Letting them see the world the way people do... it is artificial intelligence," he said. "It is happening." Northern California-based Viewdle bills itself as the leading independent facial recognition company...

  • VC: ‘If you can’t describe your business in a tweet, it’s not a business’

    PoweredbyVC is a venture capital fund based in Cape Town, initially established in 2010 by members of emerging market investment group Here Be Dragons (HBD) -- the company created by famous internet entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. PoweredbyVC now runs HBD's portfolio, and is always on the lookout for businesses to invest in. Keet Van Zyl, executive director at PoweredbyVC spoke to Memeburn about what he looks out for in a startup, discusses the investment environment right now and delivers some sound advice for young entrepreneurs looking to attract venture capital. MB: Is this a bad time to be looking for...

  • Thinkup: A web app to help analyse your social network

    ThinkUp, a free software project founded by Gina Trapani of Lifehacker fame, helps you harvest insights from the conversations you have on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. One of ThinkUp's most compelling features is its ability to collect and organise replies to the questions you pose to your friends and followers on your social networks. The free, installable web-application is still in beta testing but has received a lot of positive acclaim already. With ThinkUp, you are able to store your social data such as posts, replies, retweets, friends, followers, and links from Twitter and Facebook in your own...

  • iSigned.com: A new age of digital storage

    Storing a document to last for a long period of time in one physical location is not only difficult, but risky as well. Secure digital file storage is also problematic, with risks of lost external drives, corrupt hard-drives, missing discs amongst the many potential problems. The easier and supposedly safer option is cloud storage, which involves storing the document on a network online for easy, secure access from anywhere. iSigned.com, launched in July 2010, is an online file storage platform that offers secure, permanent storage for legal records and other important documents with the aim of "helping individuals and...

  • Tourism is now ‘the top selling online industry’

    With annual global sales skyrocketing to over US$150 billion, and robust growth that has shaken off the recession, tourism is the 'top selling commodity online', according to Damian Cook, Founder of E Tourism Frontiers. This is good news for South African Tourism, the organisation responsible for increasing tourism to South Africa, which is staging this year's 3rd annual E-Tourism Africa Summit. The two-day Online Tourism Conference and Travel Technology Exhibition will be taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Center on the 25th and 26th of October 2010. The trend towards online travel booking is confirmed by South African...

  • Now you can create a social network using your phone

    The next evolution of social networks involves customisable, targeted communities that share specific interests, as opposed to the one-size-fits all mega-networks that exist today. And these new networks need to be flexible enough to take advantage of the massive growth spurt reported that is happening on the mobile web. These two trends have played perfectly into the hands of South African internet veterans, Nic Haralamobous and Vincent Maher who have just created and launched a startup called Motribe, which is “a platform that enables users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own mobile social...

  • Will SA’s unbanked masses embrace M-Pesa?

    On paper, the argument for embracing M-Pesa, a mobile-phone based money transfer service, is a compelling one. But implementation needs to be perfect if it is to gain traction with wary South African consumers. Cellular service provider Vodacom, in conjunction with banking giant Nedbank, have finally begun rolling out M-PESA to South African consumers, having seen the critical role it plays in the Kenyan economy, where it is reported that almost 20% of all transactions are done through M-PESA. Days after I interviewed Mark Taylor, MD of Vodacom Payment Services, I received an SMS telling me I had received...

  • Startup GetAGreatBoss fills a gap in the recruitment process

    The dearth of systems to rate and recognise great bosses prompted Gavin Symanowitz to create GetAGreatBoss.com, a rating system that helps job seekers to identify companies that have exceptional leaders. Symanowitz launched the startup in 2009 from Johannesburg with the belief that "people join companies, but they leave bosses." The site is not a recruitment portal itself, but rather targets six different groups of people that work in the recruitment field: Career-seekers looking for great bosses, recruiters, online job portals, HR professionals, executive coaches and great bosses themselves. According to a Gallup Organisation survey of one million people, ''what...

  • Three South African startups chosen for Seedcamp week

    South African web startups, Cognician, GetAGreatBoss and iSigned are packing their bags for London. Seedcamp, the European micro-seed fund that focuses on early stage startups has announced the selection of three South African technology startups to attend ‘Seedcamp Week’ in London from the 13th till the 17th of September. This is great news for South Africa, having secured three of the 23 available places at Seedcamp week, from the more than 600 teams worldwide that have applied over the year. The Seedcamp finalists 2010 include a wide selection of teams from 16 different countries, active in more than 19 cities. The South...