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  • Y Combinator is a cult and Silicon Valley is unique

    Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley-based retired serial entrepreneur, does a fabulous job in this interview in defining what makes Silicon Valley unique as a global engine of innovation. It's about culture and culture cannot be easily copied or exported. He also talks about how people around the world can be reading his posts and lessons in near-real time and that this is helping to change culture in innovation centers around the world. I disagree with this point, just because you can read something today doesn't mean that you "get it." Culture travels a lot more slowly than electrons. I refer you to...

  • Company Office

    With over 350 hectares, treadFEST offers adventure and stunning views

    TreadFEST, which takes place in Drakensberg, is just a few weeks away. Set to take place from 3 to 6 December, one of the festival's main features is the area's setting. In the heart of the Drakensberg, surrounded by mountains and trees. The moment you arrive you will be swept away by the beautiful scenery and the fresh air. treadFEST want you to absorb the beauty around the camp, and have specially created activities that allow you to connect with nature in the best possible way. With over 350 hectares to walk, you will fully explore the natural wonders around you. If you long...

  • mPowa beats Square to Africa in multi-million dollar deal with FNB

    This is big. Square competitor mPowa will launch its payments device in South Africa after inking a multi-million dollar deal with banking giant FNB. The deal is the first for the UK-based company, which is now offering its mobile card reading device as a white label solution. While the exact terms of the deal are unknown, mPowa says that it is in the “multimillion pound” range. Under the terms of the deal, FNB will integrate mPowa's hardware into existing merchant services (which also include mobile GeoPayments), with its own branding. “This deal validates our white label strategy, which in...

  • Wait. Simon Cowell and will.i.am are on the hunt for the next Steve Jobs?

    Simon Cowell is looking for the next big tech entrepreneur. Why am I not surprised? The music producer and former American Idol judge has set his sights on the tech industry, reports The Sun. The show will be based on the same premise of Cowell's current show, The X Factor, and will see the veteran music industry heavyweight team up with American rapper, will.i.am. "We’re working on a project called X Factor for Tech — and it’s going to be out of this world," said the rapper. The hope of the show is to find the next wave of tech industry innovators,...

  • 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...

  • 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...