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  • Nedbank launches financial management play

    Wow. Talk about coming back from behind. A month after its late entry into the world of smartphone banking apps Nedbank has announced an online personal financial management tool. The South African bank claims that the tool, called My Financial Life, is an attempt to help people manage their finances. Running off the back of its online banking platform, the tool won't only be restricted Nedbank customers. Non customers will be able to access My Financial Life via a standalone site. According to Nedbank's group managing executive for retail and business banking Ingrid Johnson, the bank wants My...

  • Company Office

    Tremendous innovation in sophisticated fintech payments in South Africa

    In 2016 $5.5-billion of venture capital investment went into payments startups. This represented 22% of global fintech investment activity. In South Africa, payments still dominate the fintech landscape. At AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs, we are seeing a tremendous amount of innovation in payments as SA consumers seek new ways to transact. Due to SA’s sophisticated banking infrastructure, we possess strong skills in this sector and many AlphaCode entrepreneurs are finding better and more efficient ways to transact. Here below are some of the really innovative startups operating in the payments space that fulfil specific customer needs. Including the informal economy Due to...

  • With rumoured sale looming, Zoopy founders depart

    Mere days after Ventureburn was tipped off that parent company and mobile operator, Vodacom, could offload a large portion of its investment in Zoopy, the mobile video company, founder Jason Elk and co-founder Pat Elk announced in a statement that they will be leaving Zoopy at the end of September. The statement reads: "After launching Zoopy in March 2007, we have built a company and service that we have been incredibly proud of. We have decided that it’s now time for us to move on to new opportunities and we will be leaving Zoopy at the end of September. We...

  • TrashCanKidz: socially conscious gaming with a big heart and giant ambitions

    Following in the footsteps of socially conscious toys and games such as Karito Kids and Xeko, TrashCanKidz is taking an everything but the kitchen sink approach with a unique game and retail product one-two punch that contributes 20% of its revenue to charity. The startup hailing from Mauritius is seeking funding via Kickstarter, hoping to raise US$100 000 to bring the project to life. The aforementioned game Xeko also took to Kickstarter for funding and succeeded in reaching its target of US$250 000 earlier this year. TrashCanKidz -- as a game -- is currently in closed online beta, with an...

  • Listener-driven radio station looks to take Afrikaans music global

    Given that Afrikaans is only recognised as an official language in South Africa and as a minority language in Namibia, it might seem a little surprising that an online Afrikaans-language station is trying to go global. When you bear in mind that there are at least 1.2-million South Africans living abroad though, you can see that Ja.fm might just have a chance. The fact that the top five selling albums in South Africa are all by Afrikaans artists doesn't hurt either. Ja.fm is an online radio station provided by terrestrial station Jacaranda FM, that makes heavy use of the...

  • Is there a solution to Groupon’s SA woes?

    There’s been a recent surge in complaints about the South African iteration of Groupon, with many customers getting vocal about undelivered products, not receiving refunds as promised and even about difficulties in opting out of their mailing list. Complaints are flooding in on consumer websites such as HelloPeter, most of which typically relate to users not receiving goods paid for, refunds that never get processed, poor after-sales service and spamming by the group-buying giant. One HelloPeter user said that he keeps receiving the company's daily deals, despite repeated attempts to make it stop emailing him: “I unfortunately subscribed to Groupon...

  • 4 tips for protecting your tech startup idea

    In this month’s Entrepreneur magazine, startup adviser and mentor Ed Hatton provides four tips for turning your idea for a tech startup into a business, without someone stealing it. To develop an idea, founders need to approach service providers and investors. This may require divulging your secret recipe. Unlike offline businesses or products that can be protected by patent laws, internet-based businesses require a different approach. #1 Deal with trustworthy suppliers Check references carefully before picking financiers and advertising agencies. Opt for reputable and established suppliers who respect the confidentiality of their clients’ ideas. #2 Use a Non-Disclosure Agreement Although banks and financial...

  • From TEDx Cape Town: How to incubate new business ideas

    At TEDx Cape Town over the past weekend, Peter Greenwall, author of the book Logical Stupidity delivered a colourful presentation on innovation. Greenwall stressed the importance of embracing discontent, failure, anxiety and curiosity as energy sources for creativity. The creative process starts with asking the question: “What went wrong?" or as Greenwall likes to put it "Why The Failure (WTF)". If it’s hard to identify the root causes at first, start by describing the symptoms of the problem -- it will help you connect the dots. Greenwall describes anxiety as a "dark hole of vulnerability" that should be celebrated as a...

  • Paperight: turn your copy shop into a book shop, pay less for books

    In a time where digital books and distribution are vying for mindshare as the best weapon in the fight against illiteracy in Africa, Paperight is reviving the traditional paper textbook in an innovative way. Launched in May this year, Paperight is aiming to repurpose the humble copy shop -- plentiful stalwarts in most small towns -- for printing affordable books, while protecting the rights of authors and publishers. “Paperight is essentially a rights clearing house,” says founder Arthur Attwell, a former publisher who developed the business as a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. “We negotiate printing rights with copyright owners and...

  • 10 African news innovations with serious potential

    If you’ve been following the Knight News Challenge, the US headquartered Knight Foundation’s multi-million dollar initiative that rewards innovation in the news media industry, you’ll find the African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) equally compelling. With ANIC’s maiden voyage this year, it became Africa’s largest fund for supporting digital news startups and encouraging new media experimentation. The challenge will award prizes totalling US$1 million to startups that create innovative solutions in fields such as “data driven journalism, investigative reporting, newsroom management, audience engagement, digital convergence, and media business models." ANIC is headed by the African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent's largest umbrella...

  • Tech startups in Botswana are tackling transport and health challenges

    This week finds me sitting in Botswana. I’ve talked to a couple of startup entrepreneurs; Pule Mmolotsi who is testing out an Oyster-like payment card for public transportation in the country, and Katy Digovich who is creating mHealth apps for the Ministry of Health. While only a small sample, they do a good job of representing what I continue to see around the continent; a new generation in Africa trying new ideas and taking to technology to cut the way forward. Five years ago in Tanzania we had TED Africa, where George Ayittey coined the term “cheetah” to represent the...