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  • 88mph partners with Samsung, extends reach of African startups

    Startup accelerator 88mph and Samsung Electronics Africa have entered into a partnership to provide three lucky startups, who enter the 88mph programme before 1 August, the chance for placement on the Built for Africa App store, potentially giving a presence on millions of smart devices across Africa, as well as marketing help from Samsung to boot. “88mph is extremely excited about partnering with a company like Samsung, and being a filter for sourcing great products to their platform,” says Kresten Buch, Founder & MD of 88mph. “As an early-stage investor, it's important to create an infrastructure around the startups that...

  • Company Office

    Four black-owned fintech startups each win R1m at Alphacode pitching event

    Four black-owned South African financial services startups each won R1-million last night at a pitching event hosted by AlphaCode. The event was held on 31 October and was run for the third time in collaboration with AlphaCode, a club for next generation financial services entrepreneurs powered by RMI Holdings. The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) pitching event is an initiative of Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings which seeks to identify and reward high potential South African fintech entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech in South Africa. Monetary awards were made to four of the 10 black-owned financial services businesses which pitched. The four businesses, as recipients of the grant funding, will become members...

  • FlipOver.org wants to ‘flip social challenges’ through crowdsourcing

    Today Flipover.org has announced its partnership with Indonesia's largest non-profit youth organization Karang Taruna. The aim in this partnership is to connect Indonesia's local neighborhood entrepreneurs to the global crowdsourcing community. FipOver.org is an Indonesian-based that creates awareness and uses crowdsourcing as a platform to "flip social challenges to individuals to empower change." This is mainly done on a global scale-- connecting social entrepreneurs that use crowdsourcing to co-design solutions. The organization plans to expand to the rest of South East Asia and other emerging markets. Karang Taruna has 10-million active members and although spanning across 500 cities, is mainly...

  • Startup Blitz: pay-per-meet with group dating site Weaver

    The group dating, not-so-dating startup Weaver takes to the stage this week on Startup Blitz. Currently based in Cape Town, founders Kiril Dobrev and Andrew Lynch share their startup pitch and insights. Using the familiarity of friends and some dutch courage, the dating experience hopes to create a platform where people can meet new friends and simply have a good time. Weaver aims to distinguish itself from the run-of-the-mill "creepy dating sites." This is done by focusing on group dating which includes the familiarity and loyal backup of trusted friends. Also, rather than purely focusing on once-off customers aiming to...

  • Laudable: social shopping platform for South African fashionistas launches

    It's probably easiest to describe Laudable, a South African e-store aggregator as a type of Fancy.com with a fashion bias. Its users discover fashion items -- which ship locally -- from their favourite brands through following people and stores that match their personal taste in style. Laudable doesn't have partnerships with South African ecommerce stores. Instead, it relies on its users to curate its catalogue. How? Laudable members are encouraged to install a web browser bookmarklet. When they find a fashion item that meets their taste, and its available in South Africa, they can bookmark the item. It then...

  • Founder Institute confirms Microsoft partnership for African chapter launch

    If you've been reading Ventureburn, you knew it was coming. Founder Institute, the mega incubator from Silicon Valley with a presence in over 50 countries, is now ready to launch in Johannesburg. Microsoft BizSpark has stepped up to provide Founder Institute participants fully subsidised course fees to the entrepreneur training programme. Through the partnership, promising South African entrepreneurs can take part in the programme at no cost -- the course is usually priced at US$950. Microsoft BizSpark further boosts the programme by bringing additional technology, support, visibility, and community to the table. BizSpark, which supports over 45 000 startups from...

  • Hey startups, good luck with Paul Graham’s ‘do things that don’t scale’ tip

    Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is a deity in Silicon Valley's startup communities and whenever and whatever he writes on his blog is closely scrutinized. His latest post: Do Things that Don't Scale. The word "scale" is code for software automation. His post is about startups that believe that all they need to do is launch their web service with sufficient attention and users will sign up and the business will grow (like a hockey stick). He points out that successful startups, such as Stripe did not sit back but went out "manually" to "recruit users." "Sell" is a four-letter word in...

  • Rocket Internet raises $500-million, has big plans for emerging markets

    Rocket Internet is one of the key startup backers in the world. With currently over 75 ventures across the globe, it is also popular for its interests in backing startups in developing markets. Today Rocket Internet announced that it has managed to secure over US$500-million from the Stockholm-based Investment AB Kinnevik and US-based Access Industries since May 2012. This massive total sum of investments means that Rocket Internet is now a US$1-billion organisation. The organisation tends to develop and support ecommerce companies in the fashion, general merchandise and furniture sectors. “This is a highly significant investment from our partners Kinnevik and...

  • Screw the startups, Africa needs more netrepreneurs

    It’s the dream of any tech-person: come up with an idea or concept that you can build up and sell off for millions. Consider something as banal as Draw Something which only a few weeks after its release was sold to Zynga for US$180-million. Everyone wants the “big score”. Technology and app development in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya have pushed hard towards finding thing that will make venture capitalists and sponsors sit up and notice. Startups seem to be all about the quick get-in and get-out; lacking very little substance. Incubators and think tanks have been set up across the...

  • Growing ecommerce through innovative payment systems

    Africa and ecommerce have become quite the BFFs over the last few years. Ecommerce plays are sprouting up everywhere and, on a continent where most transactions are cash only and the society is wary about online payments, it's interesting to see the growth. The reason? Innovative payment systems and 70% mobile penetration -- everyone connects via their mobile in Africa. So it makes sense to meet the users there. At the Jumia ecommerce conference in Lagos, the ecommerce player revealed that success in a country that is mostly unbanked is more about choosing to almost coax customers into accepting ecommerce....

  • Got a Video-ad? Learn from Blink Tower, use Google TrueView for best reach

    So you've spent money making a video ad, but no one's watching it. You've put it up on YouTube, circulated it to your email subscribers, tweeted those tweets, and clicked share ad nauseum, but the views just don't reflect this. "The shares do not maketh the views," as the saying goes. Well, this could be due to the fact that your marketing officer is ignoring potentially the best video-ad platform available on the internet - Google TrueView - and Cape Town-based Blink Tower is a great case study to prove its effectiveness. An animated explainer video production company, Blink Tower...