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  • #GovHackSA: intrepid developers tackle challenging government problems

    The first-ever #GovHackSA event held recently, was a free, day-long coding marathon for developers to create new and novel solutions to problems faced by the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and Wesgro. The event was spurred by Alan Winde, MEC for Finance in the Western Cape Government, and taken forward by the volunteer GovHackSA team. There were four challenges presented to over 40 community members in attendance. Each participant could choose which challenge they wanted to work on, and teams were formed organically. Some chose to jump right into coding while others brainstormed ideas. Justin Coetzee of...

  • Company Office

    First Two Apple Watches Sold on bidorbuy

    (4 May 2015) The Apple magic is as strong as ever. The proof is in the sale of two Apple Watches on bidorbuy at prices that can only be described as premium. Tech7, one of thousands of sellers who sell regularly on South Africa’s online marketplace, posted his wares on 28 April: two beautiful Apple Watches, one made of aluminium alloy, and the other of stainless steel. On 3 May, one buyer snatched both, presumably happy to pay the premium price for the bragging rights of being one of the first in South Africa to wear Apple’s newest wonder. The aluminium...

  • London calling: 11 SA entrepreneurs head to the UK

    Silicon Cape, in partnership with Western Cape Provincial Government and the South African Chamber in the United Kingdom takes eleven entrepreneurs to London this week to expand their ecosystem of funders, mentors, partners and peers. “The objective of this trip is simply to give the eleven businesses attending access to people, information and experience that will make their companies even more successful,” says Rob Stokes, chairman of the Silicon Cape Initiative. “We have utilized our network in the UK to get our local business leaders in front of people who are keen to do business with IT companies in...

  • Nollywood 2.0: how tech is making Africa’s movie industry a global leader

    Nollywood, Nigeria’s ever-expanding film industry, is ranked #2 globally, after Bollywood (#1) and Hollywood (#3), by the number of annual film productions (making roughly 40 films per week, at an average cost of $40,000 per project). This stat still blows me away — this is arguably the most popular content across sub-Saharan Africa and the prolificity of this US$590-million movie industry has all happened in less than 20 years. Impressive when we consider the challenges the industry faces: Rampant piracy Poor production quality and infrastructure Insufficient funding sources and venture capital Lack of reliable electricity (Nigeria is one of the most inefficient producers of electricity...

  • Social journal startup LifeCrumbs kills the noise, focuses on intimate sharing

    Ever think there's just too much noise on your social networks? LifeCrumbs is a new social journal that allows you to share memorable moments in your everyday life. It aims to minimise the hassle of all the social networks, presenting you with the most important events in a calendar format. Users can import posts, including the ones you write on your friends’ walls. The Taipei-based startup was the winning idea in an internal rocket pitch within the team back in May. It first came about when they were tired of filtering through content spread across different social networks, and envisioned...

  • Online retailer Loot.co.za secures funding from Titan Investments

    In October this year, online retailer Loot.co.za launched enhancements to its site usability and the customer experience -- just in time for the festive season which accounted for 22% of its total revenue in 2011. Today, the eCommerce company, headed up by ex-Kalahari CEO, Gary Hadfield, announced that it has raised a new round of funding from Titan Investments. Titan is a broad-based black economically empowered investment company whose investments include, among others, a shareholding in EOH, Connection-Telecom, wysetalk.co.za, Quadrem Africa, BCX and RainFin.com. Investment Director at Titan Investments, Sean Emery -- also co-founder and CEO of RainFin.com...

  • Mimiboard: an African hyper-local ad network and social platform

    With Mimiboards, Umuntu Media is re-imagining the humble noticeboard. You can think of a Mimiboard (pronounced me-me board) as a geographically sensitive, virtual noticeboard. Just like their real world counterparts, Mimiboards are relevant to enclaves within larger communities -- some say "hyper-local". But, that's where the similarity solemnly ends. The fact that Umuntu Media, founded in 2009 by Johan Nel, received a US$1 million seed investment late last year, without any revenue to speak of, tells you that the Cape Town-based company is about more than just virtual noticeboards. Beneath the surface, Mimiboards form part of an ambitious publishing...

  • Silicon Lagoon: Nigeria’s growing innovation hotspots

    It seems Nigeria's Silicon Lagoon, based in Lagos is upping its innovation game. The region recently saw the launch of the 'Lagos Angel Network,' reports VC4Africa. The aim of the network is to help foster tech startups in the Lagos area. The angel investor platform hopes to bring "together individuals and organisations seeking to invest in and mentor Nigerian tech start-ups". The initiative is headed by Tomi Davies, CEO of TVCLabs a Technology Business Incubation Company based in Lagos. The network currently consists of 15 Angel investors, who are each expected to commit at least US$6 000 a year to...

  • Mobile payments startup GustPay gets serious about cashless events

    We've been monitoring GustPay, the geo-fenced mobile payments solution for some time now. Earlier this year, it piloted an additional service called "Event Intelligence", a wristband-driven, cashless events service. As the Stellenbosch startup recently held a second cashless event to refine the service, it seems to be serious about pursuing the cashless events market. We now also have more detailed information about how the system works. Around 900 students and Stellenbosch locals were introduced to Gust's cashless event technology at the Grim Furdango 2.0 event. People who attended the event could pay using both of the startup's payment services --...

  • We’ve broken this startup thing

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our ideals and idols are totally broken and that we needed to re-evaluate how we work on, and within online / digital / technology companies. So I was quite sad to see another idol admitting that same brokenness. I’m trying to figure out when and why it became so acceptable for us to: Leave the office at 7pm AND then go home to work some more. Not take any kind of non-working holiday. Work every single weekend. Compromise on every single aspect of our lives in favour of work. The thing is that this has really...

  • Trend watching, market intelligence and research online portal TREND. launches

    TREND., launched last week, will track and publish consumer data and trends across the media, advertising and marketing communications industry. Visitors can look forward to original, in-depth trend reports combining local and international research contextualised for the South African market with interviews with thought leaders and experts. The trend watching, market intelligence and research online portal is the brainchild of industry editors and publishers, Louise Marsland and Herman Manson. TREND. is a free resource and is targeted at the media, as well as the advertising and marketing communications industry. Regarding content on TREND., expect to find consumer and media...