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  • 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...

  • Company Office

    treadFEST 2017 – five stages with New Hero, Grimehouse, Opposite the Other

    treadFEST 2017 presents five stages with a mix of music genres: Grimehouse, New Hero and Opposite the Other are just three among a host of bands and DJs in the pipeline. Welcome to the filthy side of South African Drumstep: Grimehouse. His tracks are played by some of the biggest artists in the world, including the Beatport Studios Live and a compilation for one of the world’s biggest record labels "MAD DECENT". But this is just the beginning for the filth monster! Grimehouse’s tracks are racking up thousands and thousands of plays every month on his Soundcloud page and he tries to give...

  • 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...

  • East African startup accelerator gets international attention

    East Africa has a new tech startup accelerator fund and it’s getting international attention. The Savannah Fund is a partnership between Mbwana Alliy, Paul Bragiel and iHub founder Erik Hersman and is “focused on finding and investing in East Africa’s highest potential pre-revenue startups”. According to Hersman, the “idea is to bring the Silicon Valley-style accelerator model to Africa, seeing what needs to be tweaked to make it work for our region”. At present the fund has about US$10-million at its disposal with classes of five startups at a time being brought on board and invested in. Each startup...