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  • Orange launches new money transfer service in Africa

    Orange telecom recently launched a new money transfer service to compete with an already competitive industry. The Orange Money International Money Transfer takes advantage of an existing lucrative market that's hoping to secure the telecom giant's foothold in Africa. People from and in between Mali, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire are able to use Orange's new money transfer service. The service allows cellphone users to directly send and receive money by simply using a general code and the recipient's unique cell phone number. According to Orange, more than US$260-million transfers between these three countries every year. The Middle-East and Africa contributes...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • Investable or employable: what kind of startup founder are you?

    As a startup founder, would you consider yourself to be investable or employable? There’s a big difference in terms of being nice, consistency, passion and attitude. After going through a few rounds of raising funds with numerous startups, I’ve come to realize that investors use two universal, yet unspoken, categorization of founders pitching to them: “investable” or “employable”. The terms are quite self-explanatory and are antonyms of each other. That being said, it doesn’t mean that an investable founder will definitely get funded or that an employable founder cannot. I believe that the fundamental differences between these two are their characters...

  • Rocket Internet’s Chinese Airbnb Clone Shuts up Shop

    In an entirely unsurprising move, Rocket Internet’s Airbnb clone for China, Airizu, has closed. The Airizu URL now redirects to Wimdu, another vacation home rental site run by Rocket that operates in over 40 countries. Airizu launched exclusively in China in early 2011, but a few months ago rumours swirled that 80 percent of the Arizu team had been laid off. Rocket Internet now has only two of its many startups operating in China – Wimdu and the multi-country subscription e-commerce service Glossybox. No more China-only sites from Rocket. But Wimdu, it doesn’t look too promising. Even with the language settings changed...

  • Mavericks, innovation, gaming & expats: Africa’s tech scene at a glance

    My favorite thing about Africa right now is how everyone is gingered up about amazing things that are happening in the tech scene. It's not just about the innovations or the fact that the continent has more than 45 tech hubs, it's the culture that is emerging. We are building a real tech-obsessed community here and that is great. Uganda's Hive Colab is gaining respectable traction and Teddy Ruge is determined to grow the country's tech scene. All around, Africa hubs and incubators are popping up to help foster a renewed interest in tech and entrepreneurship. Expats are returning to...

  • Bozza boss reveals major Omidyar Network investment

    Bozza boss Emma Kaye has revealed to Ventureburn that Africa-friendly Omidyar Network made a sizable investment in the company. Bozza, which is currently based in South Africa, adds Omidyar as a second Venture Capital funder after securing investment from Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa in 2011. The startup is a video-based mobile social networking service aimed at township users. Its primary focus is to give a voice to the Pan-African market. Bozza provides a platform for youth to create their own content about their lives and environment. In its own words, the service focuses on "contextually relevant made-for-mobile content". The Omidyar Network,...

  • Africa’s crowdfunding context: starting up startups the African way

    "Crowdfunding is the democratization of for startups," says founder of Thundafund Patrick Schofield. People get the opportunity to directly vote with their wallets for the services or products they want. Though massively popular and hyped-up by the media in the US and Western Europe, where does it leave Africa? How has the continent adopted its philosophy to its own advantage, and is it successful? Starting up startups the African way Out of all the sites we could find, there are as many as three in South Africa namely StartMe, FundFind and the most recent ThundaFund to provide micro financing...

  • Duties, supply and cost: the problem with making hardware in Africa

    Recently I wrote about the making of our mobile internet router, the BRCK, here in Nairobi, and I alluded to some of the issues around doing hardware in Africa: Making things is hard. It’s harder in Africa. I can’t overnight an order of processors, boards or 3D printing filament here. There isn't an over abundance of local fabrication facilities or tools, and the milling machine you find might be in disrepair and take you two days to calibrate. We’ve got our work cut out to create the right spaces for prototyping and small-scale fabrication on the continent. I just had another...

  • Don’t go unappreciated or waste money on gift cards anymore, be Kiind

    A gift-card given, is a gift-card thrown away, as a wise man once said. A verbose and fake idiom, but in reality about 8%-19% of gift cards are never used. For Kiind, a Canadian-based startup, this means waste: financial waste, environmental waste, delivery and time waste... it's just so wasteful, and Kiind aims to fix that with its new gift-card platform which only charges a giver, "when the receiver chooses to use the gift." Actually, if you were to take Kiind's press release at face value, we've got a gift-card crisis on our hands. "If you bought a gift card for...

  • African crowdfunding site seeks funding… on crowdfunding site

    There are a number of upcoming crowdfunding platforms in Africa, but this Nigerian-based startup is taking an interesting route -- it's launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds it needs to get its site up and running. Yes, a crowdfunding site is using another crowdfunding site. Meta. Headed by two co-founders and five volunteers based in Abuja, GogoAfrika is currently seeking US$15 000 to cover the building of its website and the initial marketing and awareness costs. It is currently working on a beta version which is set to launch in early August, but if it meets its...

  • Startup Blitz: Supernice on improving brands’ digital engagement

    "Innovate. Touch. Create." are the words that Supernice stands for. While aiming to create "not just another app," the startup wants to create fun, engaging and rewarding brand experiences. Our new Startup Blitz, puts Supernice founder Daren Fuchs under the spotlight. Simply put, the startup promotes better user engagement for brands to connect the online with the offline world. This is done by designing digital widgets ranging from web, mobile to touch and gesture-based applications focused on improving interactive digital experiences. So far Supernice's portfolio includes applications for Adidas and The Bubbleheads as well as an environmental awareness iPad game called POP...

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