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  • Will the real African startups please stand up?

    With so much focus on advancing the entrepreneurial ecosystems around African startup hubs at the moment, more and more Africans are starting their own businesses by choice as opposed to necessity. But, not all interesting ventures that launch can automatically claim ‘startup’ status. While the essence of successful innovation-driven Silicon Valley startups can be found in the African spirit of Ubuntu, African ventures are still mostly backed by efficiency-driven entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, game-changing startups from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana have led the technology revolution on the continent with homegrown innovations, highlighting the contribution Africa can make as an emerging market...

  • Company Office

    Judges announced for the IAB SA Bookmark Awards 2017

    The IAB SA has announced the list of judges that will decide which contenders will scoop a coveted Bookmark Award in 2017. The team of judges, led by Jury President John Dixon, features more diverse industry players than ever before. Josephine Buys, CEO of IAB SA says, "Our mid-year, judges workshop yielded valuable insights from the best in the business for judging the Bookmarks 2017. We have secured the time and talent of some of the brightest minds in digital and have expanded our pool of experts to include gamers, innovators and engineers.” Judges will now fall under the categories of...

  • What’s the next billion dollar idea?

    A couple of months ago, Facebook acquired the wildly popular photo sharing social network, Instagram, for a cool US$1-billion. Popular yes, profitable? Nope. With zero revenue to speak of, hacker-CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw something in Instagram and its thirteen employees that justified spending a chunk of Facebook’s newly acquired change after its record-breaking, yet troubled IPO. What’s the next billion dollar idea? It’s anyone’s guess, but here are our favourites. Pinterest Pinterest, the social scrapbooking darling has seen its user base shoot past the 104 million mark in March. Just one year ago, the site was managing a comparatively meager 500...

  • Mobile payment solution Gust bursts into beta

    Mobile payment solutions Square and PayPal Here have yet to enter Africa and with the gap left wide open, we're seeing startups stepping forward to stake a claim. Three distinctly different non-NFC mobile payment solutions, all currently operating in stealth mode, are on Ventureburn's radar: the card-free, pin-entry system from Ching Payments, the Square-like card-reader solution from CheqOut and now, a Wi-Fi geo-fence startup called Gust. When Ventureburn's sister site, Memeburn, first wrote about Gust, the company was on track to deliver a beta in June of this year. The Gust app should be available in the Apple App Store...

  • What Steve Jobs can teach us about hacking charisma

    Olivia Fox Cabane makes her living by teaching people the skills needed to be charismatic, influential and persuasive. During her career, she’s been invited to speak at Harvard, MIT, Google and the United Nations. And through her new book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Cabane wants to change the way you think about charisma. While most people think charisma is so something you’re either born with it or you’re not, Cabane believes that charisma is nothing more than a set of attitudes, skills and behaviours that can not only be practiced...

  • 6 breakthrough startups set to disrupt the news industry

    In April this year, Memeburn picked ten innovative Knight News Challenge entries that had the potential to propel the news industry forward. The “Networks" leg of the competition required entrants to innovate on top of existing social media and other services to create new ways for informing and engaging communities. The Knight Foundation recently announced the winners of the first round at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference. The winning ventures will receive US$1.37-million in funding as well as support from the Knight Foundation’s network of peers and advisers. The second round of the competition aims to spur innovation in its “Data"...

  • Privly: Organise your next coup online, in total privacy

    There's a Kickstarter project I want you to know about. It's called Privly and it's a defiant kick to the face of oppressive governments. The Privly proof of concept works as a browser plugin and will allow you to view and post encrypted content on any website -- Twitter, Facebook, Google+, even Gmail. Let your imagination run wild. Taking Twitter as an example, you write a tweet -- 140 characters or more -- right click and select "Post to Privly." The text of your tweet gets sent to (and stored on) the Privly servers which return a link, for...

  • SA startup to publish Arabic ebooks in deal with major regional online player

    Snapplify, a service that transform PDFs into company branded mobile applications, has signed a deal with Kotobarabia, an online e-book store that specialises in Arabic content. The deal with the South African-based startup has apparently been signed in a bid to make Kotobarabia's content available to a wider audience. In part this is because it's easier to make Snapplify's mobile apps available to a wide range of devices and also because conventional e-publishing forms such as EPUB don't deal well with Arabic text. According to director and co-founder of Kotobarabia Ramy Habeeb: Snapplify's platform is innovative because it is...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr on birthing World of Avatar, sealing the Mxit deal

    In the third and final extract from his book "Mobinomics", South African entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr details how he took World of Avatar from concept to company. As was the case with some of his previous ventures, there were speedbumps along the way. At one point Knott-Craig had less than R2 000 to his name and kept the business afloat with emergency loans. Slowly though, things began to turn around, until he was ready to make another play for Mxit: Africa's largest social network. Things began to move at the speed of lightning. Pete’s development team moved to Stellenbosch, bringing...

  • Meet 19 of Korea’s hottest startups

    South Korea is a leading player in the global tech industry with Korean brands leaving their mark in various sectors. Thing is, you don't usually hear all that much about the country's startup ecosystem. If BeLaunch, which calls itself "South Korea’s first and biggest global startup-tech conference", has its way all that could soon change. The conference aims to connect the emerging startup ecosystem in Korea with global players through a two-day event taking place over 13 and 14 June. The conference has just announced the final group of startups that will pitch at the event, selected from a...

  • 3 up-and-coming Asian startups to keep an eye on

    It's a crowded marketplace for startups, but there are quite a few companies who are doing something interesting. Hopeful startups battled it out in pitch sessions at the recent Echelon 2012 event in Singapore, hoping to walk away with the title of the top startup and a smattering of prizes. Builk, a niche social network for construction industry professionals, eventually came out on top, but some of the other finalists are just as innovative. Here are three startups working in the cloud storage sphere, developing HR solutions for businesses and streamlining consumer rewards. PayrollHero This payroll management software from the...