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  • Snapplify plans global expansion with a shimmy into New York

    Things are going well with Snapplify it seems: the app maker favoured by South African publishers is setting its sights on world domination with a global expansion plan. Last month, the mobile digital publishing solutions provider announced a global partnership with SPi Global, a global digital and epublishing service provider to content owners and publishers, to help expand its footprint. Since launching in 2011 the company has enjoyed some major successes in with multiple partners in Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the US and UK. To help fast track its growth, the company has opened up a New York office to help...

  • Company Office

    Goodbye online crooks: SA startup keeps money safe till buyers, sellers both agree

    As online fraud in South Africa escalates, buying and selling goods using online platforms places both buyers and sellers at risk. After Jethro O’Brien, CEO and co-founder of TradeSafe.co.za, was duped while trying to buy car parts that had been advertised online, his idea for TradeSafe was born. TradeSafe is a licensed, independent fintech company that safeguards a buyer's funds in trust (escrow) until the seller delivers what was promised. Only once the buyer is happy with the goods or services received, does TradeSafe release the funds. Explains O’Brien, “We act as a buffer between a buyer and a seller. The...

  • 8 startups taking the African gaming scene to the next level

    With the popularity of mobile phones and climbing internet penetration, African game developers are taking advantage of the growing demand for games. Africa's tech scene is buzzing, and out of this evolving and exciting community we are seeing innovations in industries, ranging from agriculture and financial to medical and, of course, entertainment. The global mobile gaming industry is said to become a massive US$83-billion industry by 2016 and as internet accessibility and mobile use advances, key African startups have started establishing themselves. By using cultural relevance to narrow down target markets to educational or puzzle solving games, developers across...

  • OLX takes top spot in SA ecommerce stakes

    Good news for Naspers shareholders: OLX, the online classifieds platform it bought a major stake in back in 2010, can now lay claim to being South Africa's number one ecommerce platform. OLX came out tops in a report released by global emerging markets research firm Jana. The Insights on the e-commerce preferences of African consumers survey was conducted across India, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Africa. When respondents were asked what their favourite website was for purchasing goods, OLX came out tops in both South Africa and Kenya. “With regard to security, OLX ads are moderated before...

  • Rating the world: is Bugscore the most enterprising startup ever?

    Bugscore has a compelling premise: rate any person, product or business in the world. Investors are biting. The score almost anything startup headquartered in the UK, launched in March of this year, and following a US$330 000 seed round is already valued at US$2-million. Bugscore, currently in beta, is sort of what Jotly could have been if Firespotter Labs took its "rate everything" -- and we do mean everything -- app seriously. Unlike Jotly however, Bugscore won't allow you to issue inane rate things for that mountain ridge outside your window or the individual ice cubes in your glass of...

  • FNB announces search for ‘next great innovator’

    Reckon you've got the next great innocation up your sleeve? Then South African banking giant FNB wants to hear from you. The bank, which last year claimed the title of world's most innovative bank at the BAI Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards, today announced the launch of the “Ideas Can Help” competition. The competition brief, says FNB, is to be creative, be original, while making a real difference to communities in South Africa. The winner will receive R 500 000 to develop their idea plus a one year Business Development Programme / Incubation from the Vumela Enterprise Development Fund....

  • Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi drives into Nigeria with global expansion

    Latin American taxi app today Easy Taxi announced its global expansion in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The company recently received an additional funding of US$10-million from Rocket Internet and African Internet Holding, which is helping fast track its growth strategy. The service works very much like Uber or similar cab services like Hailio. Download the Easy Taxi app, available for iOS, Android and the new BlackBerry devices, confirm your pickup point and order your cab. Users then receive confirmation of the name, photo and car model/plate of your driver, and will be able to follow the vehicle’s...

  • Wits University to conclude MIT tech entrepreneur incubation programme

    As we reported last month, the Johannesburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University is responsible for TechinBraam -- a new tech hub that focuses on innovation in the area. Now, the JCSE has been responsible for hosting an entrepreneurship training programme that was presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google. The programme comes from a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that focuses on encouraging tech development for emerging markets. Known as MIT AITI, this initiative involves a six week long incubator programme and included more than thirty engineering...

  • Venture Talk: Bootstrapping vs funding [Part One]

    Ventureburn's monthly panel show, Venture Talk, is out with its second edition, all about the pros and cons of bootstrapping versus getting funding. Guests Nic Haralambous, the founder of Nic Socks and Motribe (which exited to Mxit) and Emma Kaye, the founder of Bozza and formerly Triggerfish Studios (Khumba), chat to Mich Atagana about their entrepreneurial journeys and the various types of funding they used/received to start their diverse companies. Whether its bootstrapping, VC, Angel, or client funding, this candid talk gives insights into Haralambous and Kaye's funding experiences, and how the African tech scene tends to value the...

  • 4 things I wish I’d known about business 15 years ago

    Today I thought I’d jot down some of my learnings from the past 15 or so years of running smallish to biggish businesses. I sincerely believe that many of these are lessons you can only learn from experience -- and that if you have your own business you probably have to make these mistakes yourself before you can learn them. But nonetheless I’d characterise these as: the things I’d wish I’d known 15 years ago. 1. Medium is beautiful Good businesses grow. They have to for two key reasons: first, they have to keep pace with the increasing costs (and thus...

  • Exclusive: Could Thoopid be the Rovio of Africa with upcoming Snailboy game?

    High-quality games are not something you readily associate with Africa or South Africa's gaming scene. Sure there are a lot of gamers, and they all love to play high-quality titles, but it's a young and small scene on the development side. A startup based in Cape Town, Thoopid, is out to change all of that with its upcoming mobile game Snailboy, a game so beautifully animated, brimming with life and character, we'd go so far as to call it the Angry Birds of Africa, not least because Snailboy controls similarly to Angry Birds' 'catapult' mechanic. Snailboy is a simple enough concept:...