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  • 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"...

  • Company Office

    Tshwane free Wi-Fi TV – TV by the people, for the people, on the people's network

    The City of Tshwane has added another trailblazing project to its name with the launch of the WiFi TV, a Video-On-Demand service made available over the Tshwane Free WiFi network. The WiFi TV is another pioneering project geared towards positioning Tshwane as a Smart City by using technology to bridge the digital divide, engage communities on government affairs and bring about social cohesion.  Local crews have been recruited and trained to create videos covering local topics including music, current affairs, entrepreneurship, religion, jobs and sport in the townships of Mamelodi, Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and the Tshwane CBD. These videos are then uploaded...

  • 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...

  • LoyalT: Bringing check-in rewards to sport

    We're always looking for hot startups and so it was with great glee that we were introduced to LoyalT, which brings location-based reward programs to life for small businesses by offering users special deals based on checking in, similar to Foursquare and Scvngr. The first implementation of LoyalT's technology is called SharksFrenzy for The Sharks Rugby Union in Durban, South Africa. According to Justin Raleigh, New Media Director at LoyalT, the concept of SharksFrenzy was started in August 2010 with a need to develop a sports rewards programme that not only rewards fans for their support to a...

  • What does running a startup feel like?

    Someone recently asked what it felt like to run a startup. It's an interesting question, because you constantly get peppered with advice on how to choose your partners, what sins to avoid committing, and what events to go to but never get told how you'll feel. It's not an easy subject to tackle with any brevity -- emotions are, after all, complex -- but I've given it my best shot. First off, it's very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don't mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr on missing his first shot at Mxit, founding World of Avatar

    In the second in a series of extracts from his book "Mobinomics", South African entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr reflects on the first encounter he had with Mxit founder Herman Heunis. At that stage the company was worth a lot less than Knott-Craig would eventually end up paying for it. He also describes the bits of luck, opportunities, cups of coffee, and marital difficulties that put him on the path to leaving wireless broadband company iBurst and starting World of Avatar -- the group of startups that would come to include Mxit in its list of properties. ...

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