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  • M-Pesa’s rollercoaster ride

    M-Pesa, the world-famous mobile payment system, has effectively become a type of credit card for poor communities in East Africa. The payment system has had unbelievable success in this region and other emerging market regions, prompting interest in it from many sectors in the world. But M-Pesa is much more than a mobile payment system. It's a blueprint for a future mobile-based currency, used by every corner and every community in the world. It's also testament to how emerging market countries are using technology and innovation to overcome barriers. It's an example of how countries, that are largely behind the...

  • Company Office

    Zapacab Releases the Simplest App to Order a Taxi

    Cape Town mobile taxi ordering startup Zapacab has released native apps for Android and iOS devices. This is in response to passengers demand for “clever, easy to use apps”. Zapacab initially launched their product on mobile browsers to allow all passengers the easiest access to ordering a cab. With the majority of users being Android and iPhone users, the requests for a slicker app-based experience have been numerous. Chief executive officer (CEO) Rupert Sully says they will continue to offer the web based service for Blackberry users, but felt it was strategic to launch the native apps. "It is the sort...

  • What the web thinks of eBay’s Magento buyout

    When auction giant eBay announced this week that it was buying out the well-known ecommerce platform Magento, reaction was varied. In announcing the buyout eBay President and CEO John Donahoe stated that Magento would merge with the company’s own open source, online retailing platform X.Commerce. Precisely how X.Commerce will work, and what part Magento has to play in it will only be revealed in October during eBay’s X.Commerce Innovate Conference. Here’s what some of the web’s commentators had to say: Mashable: Mashable’s Christina Warren noted the uncertainty around the fate of Magento’s open-source Community Edition, which is currently a...

  • M-Pesa, Google Wallet & PayPal: How do they stack up?

    Last week Google added to a busy period of big product releases with the launch of Google Offers. The Google Offers launch followed hot on the heels of the launch of Google Wallet. Added to this, PayPal is suing former employees for giving away trade secrets to Google which allegedly fueled the development of Google Wallet. So what exactly is Google Wallet? Google Wallet is a new point-of-sale ecosystem that will allow users to use their smartphone as their wallet. This does however require a smartphone with an NFC (near field communications) chip. Currently three forms of payment are supported by the system...

  • Silicon Valley: There’s no bubble but there could be a bust…

    Are we in a bubble? This is the common question as I chat with people at various events around Silicon Valley. The concern that many are expressing is that if it's a bubble, then a crash is not far off. But that's a misdirection of concern, I'm far more worried that the economy will crash long before Silicon Valley's boom has had a chance to bubble and burst. I see the current boom as a resumption of where Silicon Valley was in mid-2008. Finally, after the bubble burst in 2000, funding was coming back and so were jobs and optimism about...

  • Groupon IPO on shaky legs

    One wonders how this happened -- Groupon being called the fastest growing company in history, and then going for an IPO, only to find almost every single blogger and journalist shooting them down. But that is exactly the answer to how it has transpired. The company has grown too fast and is now listing at the wrong time. It is a good and bad day for group buying. Hopefully people will not lose any interest and faith in the world's busiest new online sector, yet on the other hand, many online sources are quoted as being tired of Groupon's antics....

  • 10 reasons why you should get your hands on some Bitcoins

    A previous Memeburn article on the well-known digital currency Bitcoin generated quite a bit of interest and debate from this site's readers. The article focused on some of the challenges Bitcoin faced as a global currency. But here's another side of the coin, so to speak. We now give some good reasons, ten of them in fact, why Bitcoin could be an option for the future. No transaction fees. Unlike many credit card or online payment gateways, moving money around isn't going to cost you anything. This is due to the P2P nature of the system, which allows you to...

  • Groupon a ‘tech startup’? I don’t think so

    Tech companies can scale their business largely through adding servers and software, which is why VCs love to invest in them. That's why they shun services companies (like agencies), where hiring lots of people is required to scale a business. Groupon, the very well-known two-year-old Chicago-based group-shopping coupon service, now has more than 8 000 staff, at least half working in sales, says CEO Andrew Mason, speaking at the AllThingsD D9 conference. That's up from 1 500 staff a year ago! That sounds like a services company to me. So why is Groupon lumped in with other tech high flyers, such as...

  • Uconomy: The business of customer loyalty

    Customer loyalty is a problem for new businesses and one startup believes it may have found the solution through a mobile application service. Uconomy, a Cape Town-based company, claims it offers an integrated m-marketing and mobile loyalty option to the SMME and consumer market. Considering the importance of loyalty amongst the world’s large companies, the claim is worth considering. Henry Land and Florian Lucke, the founders of Uconomy, are targeting companies ranging from township entrepreneurs right through to established medium-sized businesses in the formal sector with their service. It’s part of the company’s effort to capitalise on the success of traditional...

  • 3 key strategies for starting your own online business

    Ever wanted to start a business, but are simply not sure where to start to minimise risk or expand your network? If a lack of access to capital was the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs until now, history is being kind. With the lowest barriers to entry in the global online market, the time to launch an idea for profit on the net is ripe. Here are three considerations for launching an online business. Each is with a view to minimise risk, maximise your network and begin asking the right questions to determine your strategy. Invest minimally if...

  • GetGlue brings social check-ins to media and entertainment

    People like to be rewarded for things they would probably do anyway. Hence it stands to reason that sooner or later someone would capitalise on this. And that is what entertainment check-in network GetGlue did -- by offering real and virtual incentives for consuming media online. GetGlue, founded in 2009 by New York City entrepreneur Alex Iskold, has pioneered the media check-in space, piggybacking on the Foursquare phenomenon with more than one million users earning stickers and discounts as they watch, read and listen. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla have come a long way offering virtual “badges” to complement the...